Cadpig and Jake trudged disappointedly across the fields and acres of Dearly Farm. "No matter where we go," Cadpig said, "we just can't get away from that mockery of a–"
Spot now jumped out from behind a nearby haystack. "Hey, Cadpig, are you ready for the w-w-wrestling match?"
"No, Spot, I am not ready for any of these so-called–"
"Hey guys," Spot said, "I found her!" Rolly now came running across the fields, followed by a barrel with legs.
"You ready for the big match, Cadpig?" Rolly asked, without anything resembling tact.
"Big match? Big match?" Cadpig responded. "I'll have you know that I'll have nothing to do with any match."
Lucky now poked his head out of the barrel. "You have to, sis. You're the champ."
"Why don't you do it," Jake said, "since you've already got the suit of armor."
"At least I wouldn't run away the first chance I got," Lucky said, directing the remark more at Jake than Cadpig.
"Maybe you should repeat that to Dumpling," Jake shot back.
"Well–" Lucky began.
"Quiet!" Cadpig yelled before he could finish. "I will not have you two fighting over that pathetic excuse for uninvited machismo they call a wrestling match!"
"Then you'll just have to forfeit…" Everybody looked behind them to see Vendella coming up with Scorch and a large group of other dogs. She grinned at the thought of such an easy triumph.
"No way," Lucky said, jumping out of his barrel, all fear of Dumpling promptly forgotten. "We'll never forfeit! You want the title, come and get it fair and square!"
"Fine by us," Vendella responded. "Let's just do it in the ring so that it's official."
"We'll be there!" Lucky said.
"No, I'm not go–" Rolly and Spot quickly clamped down on Cadpig's mouth.
The representatives of Dearly Farm and of Villa DeVil marched over to the ring in solemn procession. There was already a crowd gathered. Lucky, heading up the Dearly Farm retinue, immediately noticed Dumpling among the audience. As she was about to look in his direction, he quickly jumped behind Jake, who now had the task of leading Dearly Farm to the ring. Jake faltered a bit but continued forward once he realized that there what had happened. He shot a glare at Lucky, who was too worried about Dumpling to notice. Rolly and Spot were carrying Cadpig, who was squirming to get free and looking all-together like she was going to kill the two once she did. The audience began to let out a few cheers, but they were half-hearted. Nobody was quite sure how Dearly Farm could come away victorious this time.
Vendella, Scorch, and the thugs marched as though they were on parade. The audience yelled and jeered as they approached, but they ignored. Or rather, they took pride in it, soaking up their enemies' hatred as though it was a rush of applause.
Finally, as Spot and Rolly reached the side of the ring, Cadpig forced herself loose and fell to the ground. She stood up and approached the two menacingly.
"Now, somebody's going to have to pay for that."
Lucky jumped between Cadpig and her intended victims. "Save it for your opponent," he said, pointing at the ring.
"How many times do I have to tell you that I am not going through with that wrestling match?"
"I don't think they see it that way," Spot said. She pointed to the ring, where, to Cadpig's surprise, stood El Diablo, briefly the champion and even more briefly Cadpig's old boyfriend. Behind him were the two ruffians from earlier and two other large German Shepherd dogs.
Cadpig gasped to see him. But she would not let that move her. "I don't care how they see it," Cadpig said. "I am not going to wrestle them."
"Hey Lucky," Jake said, "I think your girlfriend's looking for you."
"What girlfriend?" Lucky said. Then he remembered. He looked up to see Dumpling bounding down the makeshift bleachers, sending the other farm animals on the benches flying as she landed on each one. She had definitely seen him.
"Lucky, oh Lucky!" she called out. She took a mighty leap from the bleachers and landed right in front of him, knocking Cadpig out of the way and sending her flying straight into the ring.
"There you are!" Dumpling continued. "I've been looking for my little valentine all day!"
"Hey Dumpling," Lucky said as he desperately searched for a way out of the situation. "I…" He then noticed that Cadpig had been knocked into the ring. "I… think that the match is about to start!" Dumpling looked at the dogs in the ring and, when she looked back, Lucky was gone.
Cadpig picked herself up and looked around. She saw that the five were closing in on her. Something occurred to her. "Hm, this doesn't seem fair," she said.
"Isn't it a bit… unbalanced?"
"Hehehe, you're the one who's going to be unbalanced after this," Vendella said from ringside.
"What does that even mean?" Spot said.
Vendella smirked deviously. "Look, there's no rule that says it has to be a one-on-one match."
"No rule, eh? Then I guess anybody can join in," Jake said as he proudly stepped through the ring ropes. He walked over and stood beside Cadpig.
"What do you think you're doing?" she said, with a hint of both anger and concern.
"I'm trying to save the girl I love from being pounded like in a trash compactor," he said.
"Recyclable, I hope." There was no hint of sarcasm in Cadpig's voice.
Jake stared blankly at Cadpig for a moment. Then he said, "I love you."
"I love you too," she replied, smiling sweetly as though they were not in a brawl with three-to-one odds.
El Diablo advanced first, staring Cadpig down. From the looks of him he had fire in his eyes and anger in his heart. Slowly he advanced but soon he quickened. He lunged, she braced, and soon he came down upon her.
And there he was, forepaws grasped around her feet. Tears poured from his eyes and he seemed to be afraid to let go. Cadpig was, though taken off-guard, unhurt, and all she could do was stare down at him in pity.
He let out a great sob and said, "Please, mamacita, please come back to me! I'm sorry for whatever I did! I don't even know what it was, but I'm sorry! Just come back!"
"Mph, you always were too clingy," Cadpig said as she pulled herself away. "Jake, get rid of him."
Jake came over and picked up El Diablo, who did not try or bother to resist. He took him to the side of the ring and moved to toss him out.
El Diablo then said, "She'll throw you away too! She'll throw you away, just like me! You can't win the wrestling match of love!"
"I already have," Jake responded, "but no hard feelings over your loss, right? And better luck on the home version of the game!" With that, Jake discarded El Diablo.
Jake returned to find the other four dogs advancing on Cadpig. "These other past boyfriends?" he asked her.
"No, it was just El Diablo and Mooch."
Jake's jaw dropped. "Mooch? You mean that brown sheepdog down by the old coach? The one that kind of acts like a jerk?"
Cadpig smiled and nodded. "That's the one. He was a lot worse before I cured him."
"Why can't you date a sweet, decent guy for a change?"
"Present company excluded?"
Jake winced. "Ouch. Guess I set myself up for that one."
"Um, guys?" Spot said from ringside. "You've got bigger problems to worry about!"
They looked to see that the oncoming ruffians had not stopped in their advance but were now almost upon them.
"Well, it's only two on four," Jake said with a sheepish smile, "we can take 'em, right?"
"What 'we?' " Cadpig said. She walked over to the edge of the ring and sat down.
Jake was alarmed. "Um, Pig, what are you doing?"
"How many times do I have to say that I won't have anything to do with this violence?"
"It's a bit late for that."
Cadpig shook her head furiously. "It's never too late!"
"It'll be when we're both being carried to our graves!" One of the ruffians leapt at Jake. Jake dodged and returned a blow, staggering the ruffian. Jake then grabbed him and slammed him down.
"We'll be fine if we just remain calm and refuse to give in to their brutish instincts," Cadpig said. She closed her eyes and began to meditate.
The ruffian now attempted to elbow Jake, but he countered it and quickly threw him from the ring. Two others afterward advanced on him. Grabbing them both by the neck, he chokeslamed them both to the outside.
"Come on, Cadpig! I can't do this all alone!"
Cadpig opened one eye just briefly enough to see what was happening. "Looks like you're doing fine enough to me," she said, a strong hint of disappointment in her voice.
"Oom! Lotus! Oom!"
Just then, the last ruffian, one of the large German Shepherds, smashed Jake in the back, sending him flying against the ropes.
As Jake stood there dazed, the ruffian approached Cadpig. Just as he was upon her, Jake looked up and saw what was about to unfold.
"Don't you dare touch her!" he yelled as he ran over and tackled the German, sending both over the top of the far rope and to the floor. Not entirely, in Jake's case, to the floor, for he had grabbed onto the rope and was able to pull himself back up. He walked over to Cadpig as the audience applauded, relieved at this sudden and unexpected victory. He lifted her up, so that she was standing, but otherwise she refused to leave her meditative state.
"Jake, leave me alone," Cadpig snapped.
"Cadpig, open your eyes. It's over."
Cadpig opened her eyes and saw that it was, indeed, over.
"What did I tell you?" she said. "There was no need for violence, was there? I just wish that you would have been more open to the idea."
Jake grimaced. "If I had been more open to the idea, my insides would now be open! I don't even want to think about what they would have done to you."
Cadpig put her paw on Jake's cheek. "Oh, you have so much to learn."
Jake knocked it away. "Is that the only reason you dated Mooch and the Chihuahua?"
"Of course! What other reason is there?"
"What about love? What about trust? What about loyalty? What about me?"
"What about you?"
"Is that the only reason you're dating me?"
"No, of course that's not the only reason!"
"But is it even a reason. I mean, could you love me if I didn't change?"
"Guys," Spot said, "do you really have to have this conversation now?"
Jake stepped away. He now felt a profound burden and he did not know what to say. He turned back, deciding to just tell her whatever came to mind. He spoke, "I'll change everything for you, Cadpig. I'll change everything, except my soul. I can't do that, not even for you. No dog can change his soul and, as I see it, he doesn't really have the right to. That's just who he is. But even if I can't change my soul for you, I can love you with every ounce of my soul. I want to know if that would be enough for you. Is that enough?"
Cadpig looked at him and tears welled up in her eyes. "That's the most beautiful thing I've ever heard!" she said. "It tells me that I don't need to change you. Not one bit! You're already the perfect dog for me!" She hugged him and, as though there was nobody else left in the world, they kissed. The audience, for some unfathomable reason, began cheering and applauding.
"How cute," Vendella said. "Too bad that's the last kiss you'll ever share."
"Wha-what do you mean?" Spot asked.
Vendella grinned. "That was just the warm-up. Now it's time for the main event."
As she said this, the remainder of her group of ruffians entered the ring.
"This isn't fair!" Jake said. "We won already!"
Vendella glared evilly. "Hey, there isn't any–"
"Any rule. I should've figured," Jake said with resignation.
"That's right, and now there's nothing you can do to keep that title out of our hands!"
Cadpig sat back down and began meditating again.
"Oh, not again!" Jake said.
The group of ruffians advanced. Jake looked around. The whole audience seemed dazed with terror. Then he saw Lucky hiding out on the far side of the ring. Running over and sticking his head through the ropes, he said, "Hey, I could use a little help here!"
"I could use a little help of my own! Dumpling knows I'm here!"
"I think your sister is in a just a little bit more trouble than you are!"
Lucky glared at Jake. "You obviously don't know Dumpling very well, do you?"
"No, I don't, but I do know that if somebody doesn't help us then the whole farm is going to be disgraced. Don't you care about that?"
Lucky stiffened up; his pride was hurt. "Of course, I care!" Taking a gulp, he stood up on the apron and stepped into the ring. "Luckybolt will never allow Dearly Farm to be brought to shame!"
"Yeah, like Thunderbolt."
Lucky's jaw dropped. "Don't tell me you don't know who Thunderbolt is!"
Lucky curled his lip in disgust. "You make me sick."
Jake shrugged and returned to the center of the ring. Lucky walked over to the other side and signaled for Rolly and Spot to join him.
"You mean… in the match?" Rolly said.
"Bu-bu-but it's dangerous!" Spot protested.
"I know it's dangerous, but we need all the help we can get!" Lucky said. Reluctantly, Rolly and Spot entered the ring.
They all assembled in the center.
"What's the plan?" Jake said.
"I haven't thought of it yet," Lucky replied.
"Oom," Cadpig said, oblivious.
"How about we avoid getting hurt?" Spot said.
"Sounds like a good plan to me," Rolly opined.
Each individual went in an opposite direction. Jake and Lucky charged into the fray while Rolly and Spot did their best to avoid making contact with the fists of the opposition. Both Lucky and Jake were able to take down several of their opponents with relative ease, but it seemed to make no difference as more members of the mob just filled in the gaps they left. It was as though when one went down, another five arose to fill his place. It was soon becoming quite clear that the situation was hopeless.
And so it was. Soon, enough, Jake and Lucky were sent flying out of the ring and crashing through the wooden bleachers. Dumpling, who was looking throughout the audience for Lucky, heard the noise and came running. Seeing Lucky, Dumpling rushed over and, to her horror, found him and Jake barely conscious.
"Lucky, Lucky, speak to me!" she said. "What happened?"
Lucky weakly lifted up his arm and pointed to the ring. "They're what happened," he said before falling unconscious. Dumpling grew angry and jumped into the ring with a single bound. "Alright, nobody touches my boyfriend!" The audience broke from its terrified pall to roar with laughter at this suggestion.
"Looks like mission accomplished, Luck," Jake said before he too passed out.
"You are all dead meat for harming my little hero!" Dumpling bellowed. Spot and Rolly exchanged glances, silently deciding that it would be best to retreat from the fight. And so they scurried from the ring before anyone could notice. Dumpling now sent dogs flying left and right. Hardly was there one who could withstand thirty seconds against her. In the midst of all this, Cadpig was still meditating. She opened one eye slightly and said, "If you insist on these barbaric fights, could you at least try to keep it down! I can barely hear myself empty my mind!"
Dumpling paused from the tumult to speak to her. "Maybe you haven't noticed, spotty, but your boyfriend has just been quite near broken in two by those jokers!"
"What? Jake has been… oh, no!"
"Oh, yes! And what have you done to stop it!"
"I've taken non-violent actions."
"A fat lot of good that's done!"
"Violence is never the right answer." Cadpig looked to where Jake and Lucky had been thrown and saw them both knocked out cold. Her expression turned from one of placidity to one of anger.
"Violence is, however, occasionally the closest estimate," she said. She then jumped into the oncoming horde and threw very many out herself. Together, Cadpig and Dumpling cleared the ring and soon all of Villa DeVil's challengers had been vanquished. Dogs flew left and right and no one could withstand the duo. Cadpig's anger was unstoppable, as was Dumpling's, and it made a fearsome sight to see as dogs several sizes larger than either could do nothing but be pulverized. Finally, the last few dogs, as Cadpig advanced on them, tiny but seemingly the size of an entire army and burning with fury all the while, made the wise decision to vacate the ring on their own accord and run far away. Seeing that they were all gone, Dumpling left the ring to go check on Lucky, leaving Cadpig alone and the victor.
Dearly Farm cheered madly as Spot reentered the ring to lift up Cadpig's arm. Meanwhile, Vendella and Scorch snarled for a second before attempting a quick escape.
"Put me down!" Cadpig yelled. Despite the general mood of celebration, all she could think about was her wounded boyfriend. Spot, knowing better than to mess with the twice-victorious champion, complied. Cadpig than ran out of the ring and over to where Dumpling was cradling Lucky. Jake was not there.
"Where's Jake?" she called out with worry.
Suddenly, the lights dimmed – quite an accomplishment considering that this was an outdoor ring. A flash of lightning came out of the sky, a shrill bell rang, and several eerie notes of funeral music was heard. And in the middle of the ring stood Jake, in a dark outfit and long black wig. He held his paws out and upward and his eyes, outlined by black eyeliner, were a ghastly white. "Prepare to face the terror," he said, "of the Underbarker."
He stomped around the ring, looking for victims. Cadpig slowly returned to the ring. "Jake, honey," she said, "the match is over."
"What? Who won?"
"That's… great. It really is. Too bad this stunt was all for nothing."
"Oh, I wouldn't say that…" Cadpig pointed at Vendella and Scorch, who had both been knocked out by the lightning strike just as they were about to make their getaway.
Jake took off his wig and rubbed the eyeliner from his eyes. "Mind you, you did look pretty silly," Cadpig said.
"What can I say? It was much more impressive when I actually had a match to use it in. So what if it's hopelessly derivative? What are they going to do, sue a Westie?"
"So what?" Cadpig continued. "I still think it was romantic. Brutish and morbid, but romantic."
"You do?" Jake looked at Cadpig with immense surprise as she approached him.
"Of course. You were just trying to protect me, after all."
Cadpig and Jake then hugged each other and leaned in for a kiss. The whole audience, euphoric at their victory in battle and this romantic spectacle in front of them, once again began clapping and cheering like fools, as well as stamping their feet (altogether the most practical measure) and letting out animal-specific noises of joy and gratitude. This interrupted the two and they looked out, somewhat embarrassed, at the cheering crowd. The whole of Dearly Farm was filled with joy.
Near the end of the bleachers, covered in shadow and unnoticed by all, a dark figure looked on. "The rumors are true!" he said, "Animals wrestling! And with more quality and professionalism than I could ever dream of! I'm ruined!" With this pain heavy in his heart, he slowly and quietly departed, completely alone.
That great man walked into the distance and was seen no more. Tommy Bison disappeared into history, leaving only his name and his legend behind.
Cadpig and Jake closed in to kiss again, but were interrupted by the sound (and vibrations) of Dumpling entering the ring with a semi-conscious Lucky on her back.
"Well, Dumpling," Cadpig said, "I have to admit, you did come through for Dearly Farm. I didn't know you had it in ya!"
"I'm not the Mayor's daughter for nothing," Dumpling responded. "Besides, it got me my little hero, didn't it?" She looked at Lucky.
"I guess it was unavoidable," he said with little sense but much resignation. "Wake me when it's over." He then fell back into unconsciousness.
"Well, I guess this was a pretty happy Valentine's Day after all!" Cadpig said. She and Jake then leaned in to try another kiss. However, just as they're lips were about to meet, Cadpig pulled back.
"There's just one thing I don't get," she said.
"What?" Jake asked.
"How did you make the sky go dark and how'd you cause that lightning-bolt?"
"Elementary, my dear sweetheart. Special effects."
"Special effects? I didn't know that you could do special effects."
"Of course I can. In fact, I'm going to show you some more special effects right now!"
Jake and Cadpig leaned in and, finally, they kissed.