Arminius H O Fiddywinks

Paradise Rediscovered

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Arminius H O Fiddywinks

Sandor rubbed the lower back of Jacob with rubbing oil: all of the masseuses were either dead or in jail. "Uhhhhh..." groaned Jacob, pleased with how Sandor's smooth fingers gently rubbed his tense body. He lied face-down on those special massage tables with the hole to place one's head in to relax. Within the rather plain hotel room, there was a flat-screen television, a sofa facing the television, and a coffee table in front of the sofa. Two armchairs flanked either side of the table. There were also two twin-sized beds sitting beside one another, separated only by a nightstand, with a lamp and telephone on it. It's wood finish held within two empty drawers. Some distance away from the beds was a tiny kitchen with a refrigerator and mini-bar inside, a small stove, a microwave, and some cabinets. A minuscule counter separated the kitchen from the rest of the room. There was a glass sliding door which gave way to the balcony, which had a view of the Zonessian capital of Themiskyra, a battered city. Two iron-wrought chairs and an iron table were situated outside on the balcony. The walls were painted teal, and the ceiling was teal as well. Jacob thought the palate was simply hideous.

"Remember," started Sandor, "how much does this cost?"

"200 credits," groaned Jacob.

"That's right," confirmed Sandor, "200 credits." Suddenly, Sandor's phone vibrated in his pocket. "Ooh," said he as he plucked it from the depths of the right hand pocket of his faded jeans. He unlocked it, and answered the call. "Hello?" After a few moments of chat, he hung up. "Sorry, Jakab, but I have to go." Sandor then wiped the massage oil on his pants and dashed to Jacob's wallet on the coffee table of his hotel room. He took 200 credits from the wallet and stuffed it in his pockets.

"Wait, you're not finished!" yelled Jacob. Sandor ignored Jacob's words, and rushed out of his hotel room, slamming the door. As Jacob got up from the masseuse table to pursue Sandor, his lower back felt utterly heavenly. In disbelief, he touched it with his hands. "Holy crap," he said.

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Shmibli7

"Commander in sight." Kimber said as he watched a Venomian transport aircraft fly over his military base on the Zonessian city Zilnia. 

From where he sat on the top of a tank, the underbelly of the aircraft came directly over him. It landed a few meters away on a landing pad. 

Slinging his rifle over his shoulder, the teenage raccoon made his way to the landing pad, his fatigues entirely too big for him he struggled to roll up his sleeves.

He sighs as he walks, knowing the reason his commander was here: to tell them to pull out.

The Venomian People's Liberation Army had helped the pro-sociest forces extensively and since their defeat, the push to have all Venomian forces removed had been extreme.

Kimber hated the idea of leaving. He knew that if they won, a peaceful sociest state could've been formed.

He arrives at the landing pad and a guard opens the door. Commander Wolf O'Donnell steps out as Kimber salutes him.

"Pounce Company welcomes you." He says as his commander steps out.

The  commander said nothing as Kimber walked him to his destination, the commons room. Once there, he starts a speech. Kimber pays no attention until the last sentence of his speech.

"...And that's why I want Pounce Company to stay behind. To show that we may be down, but not out." 

Kimber's ears perk up. He wasn't expecting that.

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Zaphyr Stone

Jolene breathed in deep, the mild ocean breeze soothing to her. She leaned against the metal fencing on the patio balcony of her hotel room. The view was nice, considering much of the city was still vastly under repair. If she were to look for a silver lining, they had gotten a good deal for a room that technically had a view of the water. Really, every room had a view of the water now. The breeze ruffled her creme halter top sundress and her blaze of short white hair.

This trip was much needed. She really could use the time off of work to relax and get back to a realistic level again, but even more so, this was a big step for her personal relationship. This was the first time her and her boyfriend were going on a trip together.

Her friends and co-workers all had the same response upon meeting her boyfriend for the first time. Shock and awe. Being a painted dog, she was used to getting a few looks simply because of her unique coat pattern, but nothing compared to the magnitude of a seven foot-tall crimson-scaled dragon.

Bohdan was so much more than that, though. He was kind, smart, funny–even when he wasn't trying to be. He looked menacing, but he was as playful as a puppy when he wanted to be. She couldn't imagine being with anyone else, and hopefully this trip would prove that they could handle this.

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Arminius H O Fiddywinks

Bohdan sat on the queen-sized bed, holding a little box in his hands, its contents unknown. He examined it as he twirled it in his massive palms, but after a few moments of deep thought, put it away in his luggage. Someday, he would open it. Someday... After his examination of the box, he looked up and saw Jolene standing outside on the balcony, leaning on the railing.

Jolene was special. She was like a pacifier to him. Whenever he fell down into a dark hole, all he needed to do was think about his relationship with her, how her calming aura seemed to melt away the darkness, how it somehow banished the shadows that haunted him. Whenever he hugged her, he felt her soft fur caress his scales, and smelt her iconic scent: chocolate covered popcorn and Oreos. He also began to sleep regularly at night, especially when he was with her. The nightmares were, instead, replaced with her. Bohdan, over time, believed that she was a godsend, something to be cherished and thanked. It was as if his prayers were answered, the prayers to end his pain.

He stood up and strutted like a proud bird-of-paradise, and ventured out onto the balcony. He turned and did a 180 degree spin, placing his back on the rail. Nudging his girlfriend with his left wing, he asked, "So, what is our game plan for this fine day?" He smiled, the sun beating down on his red vest with the custom-fitted hood draped over his head. His white v-neck highlighted his muscular tone, while his long dark blue jeans were neatly ironed, and his large boots were hardly scuffed.

Edited by Arminius H O Fiddywinks

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Zaphyr Stone

Jolene lightly tugged on his wing with a playful smile. It was a strange part of him, his wings. Light as a feather but as sturdy as bone, thin as membrane but as warm as an electric blanket.

"I thought maybe we could take a walk down by the beach." She answered, "It's such a nice day and all. I thought I saw some shops and food stands on the catwalk nearby too."

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Arminius H O Fiddywinks

"Ah, Komnenos Way," remembered Bohdan, noting his past experience in the avenue which bore the name of an MA president. It was the largest pedestrian bridge in all of Zoness, crossing over the Evrotas River which split Themiskyra in two, and shops and food stands were open for business there. Most businesses in the avenue operate solely on Komnenos Way, hoping to benefit from the huge amounts of pedestrian traffic. Even with the strict police force, most Zonessian natives and tourists can find something to enjoy in Komnenos Way. However, his experience was not as.... relaxing as the one he will bear witness to now. Nevertheless, things have changed. No more are their civil defense siren blaring or people shooting at one another in the streets. Now was the time to unwind, kick back, and relax. "And the Boeotian Beaches... hm, I would like to go there."

"So, Komnenos Way first or the Boeotian Beaches first?" Now, the Boeotian Beaches were the famous beaches of Themiskyra, renowned for their almost impeccable sandy whiteness and clear blue water. Not even two civil wars and an environmentally homicidal Venomian Empire could taint their glory.

Edited by Arminius H O Fiddywinks

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Zaphyr Stone

"Hmmm," Jolene tapped her chin in thought for a brief moment. Her eyes sparkled with delight, "My vote is the beach first, then the catwalk."

She moved away from the balcony to go back inside, "I just need to put on some shoes and my hat. GOD, this place is beautiful!"

She hopped onto the bed and leaned over the side to grab a pair of black flip-flops and a beige sunhat–with a decorative rusty orange beaded tassle hanging off to one side–from her suitcase.

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Arminius H O Fiddywinks

"Well, do you want to take the elevator, or the express way down?" asked Bohdan, still at the balcony. He looked ten stories down to the cratered street below. An armored police vehicle puttered along, bouncing up and down as it traverse the pot-marked road. Loudspeakers erected by past regimes shouted indistinct phrases and announcements, the voice of the speaker echoing throughout the city.

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Zaphyr Stone

"Tch, Bohdan, I'm in a dress." She teased him as she walked back in shoes, hat and sunglasses, "I don't want to put myself on display for the whole of Zoness. That's only for you when you've been especially well-behaved."

She leaned up and bopped her nose gently against the blunt of his scaly muzzle. "Buuuuut, maybe when the sun has gone down? I know you get cramped in elevators."

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Arminius H O Fiddywinks

Bohdan chuckled as her and his muzzle made contact. However, he knew her situation. The police here were known for ogling attractive foreigners, especially if they were... revealed. He nodded. "I will forge through the elevator trip, just for you." He smiled, and kissed her on the lips briefly.

"And that night flight sounds... quite adventurous."

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Zaphyr Stone

She laughed, settling back down on her feet again. "Come on." She took his hand and led him along, "If we're lucky we'll get the elevator all to ourselves. More room for you."

She grabbed a small handbag to carry her room key, wallet and phone. "Oh, crazy thing. I found out earlier today my old friend Ezra is taking advantage of the low vacation costs here as well. We might run into him. I did promise to have drinks with him at some point. I hope that's all right."

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Arminius H O Fiddywinks

"Oh, that is just fine," answered Bohdan, stumbling forward as Jolene dragged him to the elevator. "And I must say, reuniting with old friends can be especially beneficial for a sociable person like yourself."

 

Sandor had finally arrived at his destination: his room. He inserted his hotel key and it unlocked the door for him. He went in, and was met by a completely empty room. He slammed the door shut behind him. Tired, he plopped face-down onto one of the twin-sized beds in the room, and began to nap.

Edited by Arminius H O Fiddywinks

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Zaphyr Stone

"It's not too much, is it?" she asked suddenly as they stopped at the elevator to wait. She looked up at him in concern and mild embarrassment, "I mean, I'm not too high-energy, am I?"

She usually wasn't this self-conscious, but she had a habit of tip-toeing when she felt she might be crossing any kind of boundary. That was hardly ever the case, but it never stopped her from worrying.

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Arminius H O Fiddywinks

"No, no, it is fine," assured Bohdan, straightening his red vest. "Jolene, I thrive on energy." After he said this, he cupped his hands and placed them against his snout and made a slurping sound, as if to feed off of something. He made small, shaking motions with his head. A few seconds into these motions, Bohdan noticed an Avian man staring at him a few doors down the hall. Bohdan stopped, and looked at the man. "Hello," said Bohdan. The Avian man, dumbfounded, retreated into his hotel room. Bohdan then looked to Jolene, smiling and chuckling.

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Zaphyr Stone

Jolene laughed, covering her mouth to keep from laughing too loudly. "You're such a goof. All right, I believe you."

The elevator doors opened, and she gave a grand gesture to him. "Please, after you, Father." she grinned.

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Arminius H O Fiddywinks

Bohdan was rather taken aback when she said "Father". Only Ogniemites referred to Bohdan as "Father", reminding him of his status as a clergyman. His religiously decorated hood was a dead giveaway. But most other people, not knowing what to think of it, simply call him "Sir", or "Mister".

"Thank you," said Bohdan, stepping inside the elevator. He bent his neck to fit his tall frame in, and he placed his hands on the rails installed on the elevator walls. "You do not need to call me that, though."

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Zaphyr Stone

"Sorry," she giggled, walking in after him, "I guess that would be weird to hear coming from someone like me."

She pressed the button on the listing for the lobby, the elevator whirring to life as it descended.

"I can't wait to go out and see the water. I've never seen such a pristine blue-green in my life. I bet you could see all the way to the bottom in that water." She gabbed on.

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Arminius H O Fiddywinks

Bohdan listened quietly and smiled as Jolene talked on. He looked at her almost wondrously. It was truly a divine miracle for him to meet someone like Jolene, someone who could love him for his character. He had never felt love like that in a very long time. Even as she went on, he was mesmerized by her glow. Her presence. He then remembered his box. Something very important to Bohdan lay in there, and one of these days, he would show Jolene that important object. Suddenly, they both snapped back to reality as the elevator arrived at the lobby. The doors opened.

"You first. I am in a bad spot to go out before you." 

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Shmibli7

( Here come the Venomians to ruin your day.)

The Destroyer Squad of Pounce Company rode out to their destination in a transport craft. Kimber sat in between two of his squadmates, a bit squished since they were considerably larger than him. To his right sat Walt, an aging locust, who was inspecting his rifle. To his left, Dae, a bearded dragon and somewhat of Kimber's older brother. As he breathed in and out, Kimber could feel his warmth radiating towards him. In front of him was Hally, a female coyote five years his senior. She said nothing as she looked through a Venomian magazine.

"We're heading to our destination, a local beach.  Once we get there, set up an impromptu pillbox and intimidate some of the locals." The pilot said over the intercom.

Kimber rolls his eyes. No action. He wanted to make Venom proud, do something. But this? It was low-caliber.

They land and set up their pillbox complete with sandbags, a tarp roof, and a large caliber JXR-50 Light Machine Gun. A box of assault rifles sat next to it. 

He lies back and waits for the controversy to start.

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Zaphyr Stone

"Good idea." she laughed, stepping out of the elevator into the lobby. It was a simple but well-decorated establishment. What caught her attention was the drink machine, an array of glass-bottled sodas on display.

"Oh weird! You never see glass bottles in a vending machine. Look, Bohdan, they have grape, orange, strawberry, pineapple, and cola! I didn't even know they made pineapple soda. How would that even taste?"

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Arminius H O Fiddywinks

"I assume it would taste both fizzy and somewhat like pineapples," answered Bohdan, approaching the vending machine containing the glass-bottled sodas. He peeked inside the machine, and saw the pineapple soda sitting on the fifth row from the top. Bohdan smacked his lips. "I thirst," said he, pulling out his wallet from his pocket. He revealed a few credits, and then stuffed the wallet back into his pocket. Inserting the bills into the designated area, he pressed a few buttons and watched as the glass bottle containing the pineapple soda was carried from its position on the row to the area where customers can get their dry paws on the drinks. Bohdan achieved his goal: a pineapple soda. He twisted the cap off of the bottle and took a quick swill. After a few moments of silent judgement, he reached his verdict.

"This tastes like crap."

Edited by Arminius H O Fiddywinks

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Zaphyr Stone

"Awww, I'm sorry. Isn't that just like life sometimes." the painted dog smiled sympathetically.

She turned her attention to the machine. "Hmmm, I'm thinking I'll try orange."

She fished out her wallet from her handbag and produced a bill. Inserting it and keying in her choice, she waited for the machine to serve the beverage. She pulled out and used the fabric her her dress to aid her in twisting the cap off. The soda hissed as the carbonation was released, and she took a sip. "Mmm, this is pretty good. Wanna try?"

She held the bottle up to him, "Can't be any worse."

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Arminius H O Fiddywinks

Bohdan shrugged his shoulders. "Okay, I guess," he agreed. Bohdan took a small sip. His raised eyebrows hinted at his approval of the taste. "Now, this is better. But ah... you can have it. You did pay for it, after all." He offered the bottle back to Jolene.

 

Jacob had finally washed off the last of the massage oil, and put on his clothing: beige slacks, brown shoes, and a blue polo. His glasses were perched atop his snout so as to aid his vision tenfold. After examining himself in the mirror, he elected to spend some time walking around and about Komnenos Way, to perhaps find something to eat or a knick-knack to buy as a memoir of his vacation. Jacob obtained his wallet, cell phone, and hotel key from the coffee table of his room and left the hotel room. He walked towards the elevator, and pressed the down button. He waited patiently for the elevator to arrive.

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Shmibli7

It wasn't long before the first wave of aggression came to The Destroyers. A group of Zonessan citizens entered the beach and showed their looks of disgust. Kimber welcomed them with a smirk and patting of his assault rifle. One woman picked up her young son and walked away. 

Dae shakes his head. "We don't kill children." He says.

"What are you talking about?" Hally  asks. "We blew up that orphanage."

"That wasn't by our hand. We simply called in an airstrike." Dae replies. "I, myself, love children."

"Yeah, pedophile." Walt says as he pulled the bolt back on the machine gun.

"What do you think you're doing?!?" An angry voice suddenly shouted.

Kimber turned around. A group of young Zonessan adults stood in front of him.

"What does it look like, hot shot?" Kimber asks.

"Like you're trespassing on a Zonessan beach." The man said again. Kimber cocked his head to the side, sizing him up. He was a dog, mutt of two breeds Kimber couldn't distinguish. Well built, but clumsy. He could take him.

"No." Kimber says. "We're trying to send a message to your fledgling government that we can and will take over."

"That a threat, raccoon?" The man inquires.

"No, it's a promise. Now go away." He replies.

"I won't go away, this is my home!" He screams. He throws a punch and Kimber dodges it. He then puts the barrel of his rifle to the man's gut, smiles, and says: "I told you before, go away."

He lets him go and the group of angry men walks away.

"Capitalists." He says.

 

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Arminius H O Fiddywinks

The elevator finally stopped on Jacob's floor, and the rhino stepped inside the empty elevator. Pressing the button labeled "L" for lobby, the doors closed, and Jacob felt the elevator glide its way down. It stopped on the 4th floor for an LBM male and MA female. Jacob payed no attention to them, staring at the interface which signified what floor the elevator was on. The elevator, after a few moments, glided once again down to the lobby, where Jacob and the Zonessian couple stepped out. The couple walked towards the exit of the hotel, but were stopped by a diminutive Toucan officer and two lackeys. They examined the couple with metal detectors, x-rays, and other hand-held scanners. Satisfied, the Toucan let the couple out into the street. Jacob followed the couple, and the Toucan officer and his goons let him pass unobstructed.

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