Really, it was just supposed to be a simple trip to the zoo. Saber had made a comment about wanting to see some lions, Rin was going stir crazy about needing to finish one of her regular reports for the Clock Tower on time, and I was tired of being cooped up in our rather small apartment. So, one day the three of us set out for the ZSL London Zoo. There was some brief hesitance on Rin's part though. Apparently she had had been banned for the zoo when she was 10 after her father had taken her there while on a trip to the Clock Tower. All I could get out of her after that were some mumbles about 'elephant tusks' and 'wanted to ride a tiger'. Still, that was 10 years ago, so we figured that no one would recognize her. All in all, it was shaping up to be a peaceful, uneventful day.

That should have been the first sign, really.

I ran as fast as I could from zoo security without reinforcing myself, following Saber as we weaved between fellow zoo patrons. We had lost Rin earlier in the chase and I hoped she was having better luck evading the authorities. Saber and I ran around a bend and jumped into some bushes near to the path. As the guards ran past our hiding place, I breathed out a sigh of relief. I then turned to the one responsible for this mess, a disapproving frown on my face. "You can't keep it." I said simply.

The King of Knights somehow managed to look petulant. "Why not?" She asked. "It's completely normal for a king to have exotic animals in his menagerie. Besides, you saw how this noble creature walked up to me when I entered its enclosure. Clearly, it wants to go with me." The lion cub in Sabers arms squirmed a bit while gnawing playfully on her hand. I imagine that it would have been much more painful if she were a normal human and not a heroic spirit.

I sighed. "Ignoring both the legal and ethical reasons not to steal animals from a zoo, where would we keep it? We barely have enough room in our apartment for the three of us. That's not even counting the fact that when that thing grows up, it will be huge. We couldn't afford to feed it, let alone shelter it."

Saber looked off to the side. "Our neighbors have been rather loud lately. I'm sure I could convince them to find lodging elsewhere. That would leave plenty of for Somba."

"Don't name the lion, we're not keeping it!" I yelled. "And don't 'convince' our neighbors to leave just because you want a lion as a pet!" I'm sure that the 'convincing' Saber had in mind was more along the lines of terrifying than persuasive.

It was at this point Saber decided to use the big guns. She turned back to me, her eyes widening and watering a little, her lower lip pushed out with the slightest quiver. For another woman this would have been a mild expression. On Saber it was a full blown Sad Puppydog Face. And it was adorable.

Gah! No! When did Rin teach her how to do that? I was doomed. If the two of them ever did that at same time, I would never be able to say no to them again.

"I.. but.. guh…"I stumbled for words in the face of such cuteness until I slumped my shoulders in defeat. "Well… maybe we could convince the Clock Tower that it's Rin familiar…"

Saber smiled in response and began to dote on Somba. I sighed again, wondering how I would explain this to Rin.

My worries were cut short when I noticed the guards that had run past the two of us earlier ran past us again, only this time from the opposite direction and screaming. The reason for this, as I saw a few seconds later, was that they were being chased by a large Bengal tiger, ridden by none other than the tiny magus herself. It seems that Rin figured so long as we were going to get in trouble anyway, she might as well re-live a childhood fantasy. She screamed in joy as the large cat bounded after the guards. "This is even better than I remember! Onwards, Copernicus!" She yelled as she and her mount dashed past our hiding place.

I just know I'm going to be blamed for this somehow…