Deep in the alleyways of a small city called Corona, a middle-aged
woman sat. She had long, light blue hair, piercing green eyes, and was
wearing thick gloves. Nursing a drink, she slammed her fist on the table.
"Where is he?" she asked, trying not to allow a note of panic to
creep into her voice. She bit her lip. As she flicked her fingernail
nervously on the glass, the door slammed loudly, and she jumped. Standing
before her was a young girl, looked to be about fourteen or fifteen, with a
vaguely oriental outfit, and her bright pink hair up in pigtails. The older
woman's lips curled in a sneer.
"Mint." She said, and the young girl turned. She smiled.
"Oh, hey Belle!" she said brightly, "Where's Duke?" The anger fled
from Belle's face, as worry replaced it.
"I don't know. I think he went off with Rod, or something." She said.
"Oh. Makes sense, I've seen them hanging out. Well, fighting, I
mean." She tossed her hair over her shoulders, "So, where'd you find that
guy, anyhow, he's a pretty good fighter.. When he's not being a star."
Belle looked at her, and then sighed. She put her hands to her forehead.
"Well, if you don't mind a story, I could tell you.." she said. Mint
"Sure, after all, I can't go looking for the Dewprism until I get all
of those Fire Orb thingys to fly that Pinto whachamacallit.. So, shoot."
She said. Belle nodded.
"Yea, well, it was about a month after you and I last met. I was
outside and. well, I was screaming.."
"AUGH! Dammit, dammit, dammit, dammit, DAMMIT!" I shouted, stomping
my foot. Why? Well, just wait.
"Damn you, rain!" I shouted, shaking my fist into the sky, "This is
just great." I had said. Suddenly, I spotted a tavern in the distance,
"Yes!" I shouted. In my haste to get to the tavern, I think I knocked down
some punk on my way, but, you know.. politeness is really redundant in the
rain. I didn't even look back. As I got into the inn, and slammed the door
behind me, I glanced around the place. It didn't really look all that
different from this one. All these dank pits are the same. Anyhow, in the
corner, there was a guy reading a book. He had an umbrella resting against
"That was Duke, right?"
"Yes.. Will you please not interrupt me?" Belle said. Mint shrugged.
"Just wondering.. Gosh.." she said. Belle paused.
So anyway. He looked like one of them scholarly types. So, I turned
away from him, and took a look around the rest of the place. My eyes
"Damn!" I whispered urgently, backing against the door. And there
they were. I bit my thumb.
"Huh?" Belle asked, blinking.
"There who were?" Mint reiterated. Belle looked embarrassed,
"Oh, um. They were these three guys named the Corleones. I had
borrowed some money from them.. And then I left town."
"Oh." Mint said.
"Yeah. well.. Just let me go on!"
So anyway, I backed against the door, but, damn my bright blue hair,
they spotted me.
"Well, well, well, look what we've got here." the leader, Eldest
Corleone, said, "It's Belle. Hey sweetie, got our money?" I crossed my
arms, and narrowed my eyes.
"No, I don't. You'll have it later!" I said. I really hate being
called sweetie. Of course, they didn't believe me one bit.. And you know,
these were the kind of guys that would break you up if you didn't give them
their money.. In fact, that was probably all you could trust them to do.
"Oh, my, she's fiesty." Middle Corleone said.
"Remember. when we said we'd break you up." Eldest Coreleone said,
cracking his knuckles, "If you didn't bring us our money the next time we
saw you?" I gritted my teeth. Of course, I hadn't planned on ever seeing
them again when I made that promise. They outnumbered and out buffed me,
but I had my magic, and if I took out Big Boy. They'd scatter so, I'd just
have to put one strong blast right in that fat gut of his. I grinned, I
would enjoy this. The three stepped forward, swinging swords.
"Yeah, swords!" Belle said, putting her hands to her hips, "You gotta
problem with that?" Mint shook her head.
"No. They sounded like the kinds of guys that would pound you into
the ground with their punks. You know, a bunch of guys in black suits that
they call their associates.. I'm gonna get me some of them, once I take
over the world. You could be one. If you got any better at magic."
"Gawd, do you want to hear the story or not?? Geez.. These ones used
swords.." She said, huffily. Mint shrugged.
"All right, go on." She said. Belle sighed.
"Fine." She said.
So, anyways, I was crouching down to deliver my blow, and I looked up
to aim when.
"KNAVES!!!!" shouted a voice behind me. I turned, and my jaw dropped.
There was Duke, that silly grin slapped across his face, and he was
brandishing that umbrella like a sword.
"Hahahaha..hahhhaaa.." Mint was saying, and she was slapping her
hands on the table.
"WHAT?" Belle said.
"Ha..hahm. Oh, I'm sorry, I can just see that.." She said, wiping
her eyes. Belle blinked, and then smiled.
"Yeah.. It would have been funny, I suppose.." She said, giggling a
little, "Well, anyway."
He was brandishing that umbrella like a sword. The three punks
stopped, and stared at him.
"Who the hell are you?" Eldest asked. Duke stood up straight, and
saluted them with his sword.
"I am Sir Duke, the knight in shining armor. I am here to protect
this damsel in distress." He said, swinging the umbrella to me. The
Corleones stared blankly for a moment, and then started cackling.
"Heh heh heh. This guy thinks he's some kinda prince." Youngest
Corleone said. Eldest grinned.
"Yep.. Savin.. The damsel.. in distress!" Then they all burst into
hysterical laughter. I balled up my fists.
"Why you." I growled, but then Duke stepped forward.
"Stay back, fair maiden, I shall deal with these brutes." Well, I
don't know what it was, I think it was the 'Fair'. I just kinda.. listened
to him. I sat down where he was sitting, and nearly sat on his book.
Picking it up, I ran my fingers over the cover. It was called. "Sir
Launcelot, the knight of Chivalry." It was, I think, one of a series. All
the knights of King Arthur. But anyway, Duke tore into those guys.
"I said, Duke tore into those guys." Belle reiterated. Mint sighed.
"Not what? WHAT???" she said, "Duke was using an umbrella, he
couldn't have possibly fended off three big guys like that, even with his
'acts'." Belle sighed,
"Well, you didn't let me finish." She said.
Duke lunged forward, towards all those sneering faces, with an
umbrella. and the three Corleones slashed. Duke was too fast for them. The
Eldest Corleone crossed swords with him. Big mistake. He whipped the
umbrella around, and the sword flew out of the fat guy's hand. Duke leaned
forward, and caught it, grinning.
"So, think you're so well off, now?" he asked. The Eldest Corleone
quivered. Duke paused, and with deliberate strokes, he carved his initial
in the old man's stomach.
"Take that to show thy master.. Thou shalt never bother this fair
lady again, as long as I shall live."
"Masta." The Youngest said, "What's he talking about?"
"Come on, Guys. This guy's for r-r-real.." Eldest said, and they made
their way out of the tavern. Very quickly.
"Youse can just forget it Belle, y-your debt is fine." Said Middle
Corleone, just before he glanced nervously at Duke, and ran out. I blinked
at the closed door, almost unable to believe that they had left, and my
debts were resolved. Of course, those weren't my only debts, but.. That was
"How much did you borrow from them?"
"What?" Belle said, slamming her hand down on the table.
"How much was it?" Mint asked nonchalantly.
"Look, that's one of the things you never ask a woman.. How much she
owes. Along with how old she is, how many boyfriends she's had, and.. how
old she is.."
Mint pointed at her, "You said that one twice." She said.
Belle growled, "Well that just means it's to be avoided twice as
much!" she said. Mint nodded, and took out a notepad.
"What are you doing?" Belle asked irritably.
"Taking notes.. If I'm to be queen of the world, I ought to know what
the four questions you never ask a woman are.." Belle sighed.
"There's only three.." she said. Mint smiled.
"I wrote the age one twice." She said with a perky grin.
Belle sighed, "Well, anyway."
So, anyway. Duke glanced at me, and bowed down far.
"Milady." he said, "I am forever your liege." He said. And then he
took my hand, and kissed it. For a moment I just stood there. Then. Well,
you can probably guess what happened then.
"GET AWAY FROM ME!!!!" I said, and I smacked him hard across the
face. He sprawled on the ground. One thing I can say for Duke.. He knows
how to take a hit. He sat up, rubbing his jaw, that grin still on his face.
Somehow that grin infuriated me. "AW!"
"WHAAAT??" Belle shouted.
"I said AW! It's so cute!" Mint said.
"What's so cute! I smacked him one upside the face!?" She shouted
"Oh, you know.. It's just.. so like you!" Mint said, grinning.
"LIKE ME???" Belle shouted, "What the hell do you mean!?" Mint
"Oh, nothing." she said in a singsong voice. Belle grunted.
"That's what I thought.." she said, "Anyway."
"You know, I could have dealt with it myself." I said tersely. He
"Perhaps, Milady.. But.. You would have done it with loss of life,
and I cannot advocate loss of life for the sake of a debt in money. And
then, perhaps, you may have been injured, and I, for sure, cannot stand by
and let a beautiful maiden be hurt." Then, he took off his overcoat, and
put it over my shoulders, as I was still wet from the rain. I blushed
slightly, but then growled and whirled.
"Hey, you.. Stop doing that!" I said. He paused, and sat back down,
umbrella at his side, even thought it was now broken, and picked up his
book. I just kinda stood there, dumbfounded.
"Oh, Milady. I hope your planning on staying here.. I was hoping to
finish this book before I had to leave." I kind of blinked, and then
sighed, and ordered a drink. Of course, that was the end of my journey
"So, what, that' s it?" Mint asked. Belle sighed.
"Well, yeah, sort of.."
"Sort of?" Mint asked.
"Well, later.. "
"Could you stop calling me that?! And quit following me!" I said,
"Uh.. Where are we going?" Duke asked.
"I'm going to Solaria to search through the ruins for something to
sell, you can go to hell for all I care." I said. Duke smiled.
"I would love to accompany you to Solaria, Milady." He said. I
growled, and stalked off. Just then, a great beast jumped in front of my
path. Duke drew the sword that he had stolen from the Corleones, and then
he leapt up and tried to slice the beast in two. However, rather than
injuring the beast any, it just snapped the sword in half. Duke was right
in front of the beast, who had sharp claws, and he was at it's mercy.
Heroic me, I blasted it with my fire, and it expired. Of course, therein
lay my fatal error. Duke jumped up and bowed deeply.
"Milady, before, I had protected you, of my own honor and chivalry.
However, now, you have saved my life, and, as is the tradition, I now
forever swear my life to you. I will be protecting you and in your
protection forever." He said. I scrunched up my lips, and smacked him
upside the head.
"W-whatever.." I said, "Just. don't get in my way.."
"That's the end of the story." Belle said.
"And he just followed you forever?" Mint said.
"Like a PUPPY DOG?" Mint asked.
Mint nodded, "Sweet deal, I need to find me one of them." Mint said,
"So, when did he drop the whole, 'knight' act?"
Belle shrugged, "Entirely, I don't know that he has. He still calls
me Milady all the time."
"Noticed that." Mint said.
"Yeah, well, anyway. He really hasn't totally dropped it.. He really
did like that book series.." Belle said distantly.
Mint blinked (I'm not sure that was the only thing he liked about
it.) she thought. She leapt up, "Well, it's about time for me to go!" she
said brightly, "Maybe Duke would be with Rod, down by the lake.." Belle
"I suppose.." she said.
"I bet Duke has really taken a liking to Rod's Pulse-inferno Typhoon
"What?" Belle asked.
"The Pinto.." Mint said, smiling. They walked down to the field.
"Hello, Milady." Duke said, walking up to her.
"WHERE WERE YOU???" Belle shouted, beating him over the head. Mint
stalked over to Rod as Belle chewed Duke out. She smiled.
"Aw!" she said. Rod blinked.
"What was that for?" he asked.
"Can't you see?" She said.
"See what? She's beating the crap out of him!" he replied.
"Oh, Duh. Look, Rod.. He doesn't have to take her beatings.. She
doesn't have to deal it out." Mint said, "Get it now?"
"No." he replied.
"Just look at it from the viewpoint of 'heart'." She said. Rod
"Ahhh..." he said, "I see."
"I knew you could."
"AND ANOTHER THING!! I DON'T WANT YOU TO EVER EVERRRR LEAVE WITHOUT
TELLING ME! YOU COULD HAVE GOTTEN YOURSELF KILLED! AND I WOULDN'T EVEN HAVE
BEEN THERE TO SAVE YOU!" Belle shouted. Duke grinned, despite the pain in
his head. However, he had noticed that since they first met, the blows had
become more force, and less power. They threw him farther, but hurt him
"I apologize, Milady." He said with his smile, and bowed, "Next
time, I'll be sure to inform you before I leave. I wouldn't have died
anyway. I'm your partner forever, remember." He said. She paused.
"Well, just don't do it again." She murmured. He smiled.
"Of course not, Milady." He said, with a smile and a bow, "I wouldn't
"AW!" Mint shouted.
"Shut up!" Belle shouted, stomping her feet, and walking off to sit
by the fire. Mint giggled, and Rod and Duke smiled.