The Chase

This is my first Okage fanfic, so let me know your opinion on the story. Let's say for the sake of this story that Stan still stuck around with Ari beyond the end of the game. Happy holidays when it gets to the days they're on!

December 23

"Run, slave, they're gaining on us!" Stanley Hihat Trinidad the XIV shouted, not rising out of Ari's shadow as the boy ran.

"I know!" Ari responded as he ran with all his might. If only he had his sword, he thought. Where does that thing go anyway? He seemed to just gain it whenever he was going to fight. He'd try to stand up for a fight, but, this opponent would destroy him.

The boy ran with all his might, until he ran up to a cliff side that he couldn't recall being near Tenel in the first place.

"Oh, great job, slave. Now we're cornered!" Stan screamed.

"Couldn't you scare them off?" Ari asked, desperately pleading to the Evil King's ego, "You're the ultimate evil, aren't you?"

"Yes! I am the Great Evil King Stan! I will frighten away these weak fools!" he shouted bravely as he left his hiding place and began heading toward the approaching pursuers.

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"Run away, foolish weakling!" Stan shouted, growing to his largest size.

"GET OUT OF MY WAY!" the pursuer roared, in a voice that was surprisingly not as commanding as usual, but more threatening, promising death if not heeded, causing Stan to scream and head back to Ari. The pursuer was close behind him, chasing him as quickly as possible.

"Hello," Stan said, returning to his hiding place, "I just wanted to say that it was interesting knowing you, slave."

"It's been interesting knowing you t…Was?" Ari inquired confusedly, "Why was?"

"There you are!" the one hunting the boy cheered.

"Um, hi, Princess," Ari said, hoping to increase his chances of survival by using her former title.

"Where is it?" she shouted, causing him to wince in fear. So, Plan A was a no-go. It was time for Plan B.

"Where's what?" he asked, trying to seem innocent.

"The music box!" she replied, "I know you took it!"

"I didn't take the music box," he replied, trying to look as innocent as possible.

"Annie saw you take it this morning, and I want it back, now," she responded.

Oops, Ari thought. He had completely forgotten that Marlene was in the room right next to Annie's. He wasn't going to explain what he did, yet, though.

"I really don't know what you're talking about, Your Majesty," he said, still trying to use Plan A.

"I'm not going to just forget what I'm looking for just because you're calling me that," she stated, getting strangely calm, "Where's the music box?"

"I swear, I have no idea what you're talking about," he responded, "You can ask Stan if you don't believe me. Right, Stan? Stan…?"

Ari noticed a complete lack of any sound from the usually extremely loud Great Evil King. He had clearly left the boy on his own.

"What did you do with it?" Marlene asked, sounding sad. Ari felt a sharp tug on his heartstrings as he looked at her sorrowful face, but he couldn't tell her. Realizing that he wasn't going to tell her where he took the music box, she just ran back to the house. Tears filled her eyes because he seemed to have decided that he didn't want her to have the gift that he had, just a few months ago deemed her worthy of possessing.

Perhaps he doesn't care about me anymore, she thought miserably as she fled.

"I'm sorry Marlene," he whispered, "I'll make it up to you, I hope."

December 24

"Marlene," Ari said, knocking on the former Princess' door. She had been rather distant with him since yesterday afternoon, and he had to talk to her.

Finally, the door opened, with Marlene looking sadly at him.

"What do you want?" she asked quietly.

"I just wanted to give you this," he answered, pulling a medium sized box out from behind his back. Gently, he put it in her hands.

She carefully opened it, wondering what was inside. Then, she saw it.

"The music box," she breathlessly exclaimed.

"Your music box," he responded softly, pointing at the lid, in which, the word "Marlene" was carved.

"It took me a while to get it done perfectly," he explained, "but I wanted everyone to know it was just for you."

"Thank you," she whispered as she opened the precious box, letting the beautiful music fill the air. Upon opening it, she discovered that there was a small card inside. Reading it, she was surprised to discover that the card read, "You're still a Princess, to me."

She looked at him, eyes full of immeasurable gratitude as he gently smiled at her.

To his surprise, she wrapped her arms around her neck and kissed him gently on the lips. When she eventually pulled away, she smiled and said, "Merry Christmas, Ari."

He smiled back at her and responded with a gentle, "Merry Christmas, Marlene."