One year had passed after the events with Le Paradox and when Fox McCloud had finally located Sly Cooper. Now that Sly has returned things seemed to shift back into gear and go about as they usually did. Sly, Bentley and Murray kept stealing and Carmelita was always on their tails. And Fox was always there to watch over his beloved raccoon. But now the autumn season was in and everyone started to take a break from their usual jobs. Even the workaholic Carmelita took some time off to chill out. Fox had decided that he would use this chance to take Sly out on a romantic date so they could enjoy the calming presence of the colorful, falling leaves. However there was one little problem.
The adventurer pilot had no idea what he would do for their date. He considered asking Bentley or Murray for advice, but they would end up unintentionally telling Sly his plans. Fox then went to ask Panda King but got lost in the firework artist's proverbs and analogies. His next go to anthro was Dimitri but Fox couldn't understand the lounge lizard's hip talk. He tried speaking to Guru but when the koala tried to tap into his mind to explain it just made Fox uncomfortable. Fox even considered asking Falco, Slippy or ROB for advice but stopped himself short. After all he wasn't that desperate.
So that left only one other person. The no nonsense, hard working, honest cop Carmelita Montoya Fox. The space anthro called Carmelita and asked if she would be willing to assist, and she replied with a yes. After getting directions to the Latin vixen's apartment complex Fox went to the middle class side of Paris and rung the doorbell of apartment 501. It wasn't long before the door opened and revealed a casual looking Carmelita wearing grey sweatpants, pink bunny slippers and a white shirt.
“Hey there, Fox. Hope you didn't have a hard time finding your way here.” Carmelita said.
“No, but I almost didn't make it up here. Five older women kept stopping me to ask why I was visiting you.” Fox replied.
“Eh, don't worry about them. They're just a bunch of harmless gossips who feel the need to know about my personal life. They want to pass on their 'wisdom of love' so I can finally land a husband. They always complain about how the only men I let up here are my boss or subordinates.” Carmelita explained.
“Well that would explain why they asked what case were we busting today.” Fox said with a grin.
“Heh, yeah. It seems like I spend more time catching criminals than anything else. I used to be out so much I considered renting out my apartment. But anyway come on in.” Carmelita said and moved aside so that Fox could walk in.
When the adventurer pilot walked inside he took note of the humble, yet nicely decorated space that was Carmelita's apartment. It wasn't some luxurious penthouse but it was elegantly quaint. Its the kind of apartment that brought out a sense of comfort. The Latin vixen led Fox to a pair of chairs for a seat and gave him a cup of fresh coffee.
“I hope that I'm not taking you away from your vacation.” Fox said.
“Don't worry, you're not taking me away from anything I can't get back to later. So, you want advice on where you can take Sly for a date.” Carmelita said rather than asked.
“Yeah. I know that I want to do something special for him, but I don't quite know what I could do.” Fox said.
“Well, as I'm sure you've noticed Sly isn't really all that hard to impress even though he's got expensive tastes in what he steals. Don't plan anything too fancy or overly romantic. Sly doesn't like being put on a high pedestal.” Carmelita explained.
“Alright, well that narrows it down some. But I don't want to do anything too simple either. It has to be something in between...” Fox trailed off thoughtfully.
Carmelita gave a 'hmm' as she pondered on this, twirling her braid in thought. Her eyes wandered around the room until they landed on the newspaper on the coffee table. It seemed in that instant Carmelita got an idea and she picked up the paper, then flicked to the center of it. Fox looked at her questioningly and observed the cop's face as she grinned.
“I think I found a date for you and Ring Tail, Fox.” Carmelita said.
“What is it?” Fox asked.
Instead of answering Carmelita sat the paper down on the table, and turned it before Fox. The adventurer pilot leaned forward and read the featured article. In bold letters it read “Changing Leaves Festival in 2 Days! Please Attend!”.
“Its the Changing Leaves Festival, it happens every autumn in Paris. They have all sorts of activities like games, karaoke and bobbing for apples. They even have a rollercoaster there too.” Carmelita explained. Fox picked up the paper and looked it over with great interest.
“Carmelita, this is perfect! Sly would definitely enjoy this festival and its the right setting for what I have in mind.” The adventurer pilot said with a bright smile. Carmelita smiled back then stood up and went to a dresser by the TV and opened a drawer, looking for something.
“Yep. And as it so happens, I actually have two tickets for it. A neighbor gave them to me as thanks for busting a noisy poker game here, but I was just planning to have a quiet weekend. I'd hate to see these tickets go to waste so I think you should have them.” Carmelita explained as she took out the tickets and handed them to Fox.
“I can't begin to thank you enough. How can I repay you?” Fox asked and gratefully took the tickets. The cop seemed to consider this for a moment before answering.
“When you get downstairs tell those busy bodies below that you brought me a message explaining how my husband died in a car crash. Then they'll make me all those goodies they never share out of sympathy.” Carmelita said with a grin making Fox laugh.
“I don't think I want to be apart of such manipulation. How about I get you a pond of gourmet coffee from my home planet?” Fox asked. Carmelita hummed in thought before nodding.
“Deal.” Carmelita said and the two shook hands.
After sealing the deal with the cop Fox left the apartment complex and went to Sly's home/hideout. He knew that when Sly relaxes he tends to stay at home. Bentley and Murray agreed to stay out on 'errands' until Fox asked Sly out so that he'd feel less pressure. Fox walked up to the door and knocked firmly on it. He heard the soft thumping of footsteps coming to the door before they came to a stop.
“What's the password?” Sly asked.
In order to keep the hideout hidden Sly and the group had daily passwords. Each one was more different and unique than the last. Sometimes they were random words, other times they were based on certain things. It was also a way to tell apart Carmelita's little tip off street urchin kids from the Cooper Gang's tip off street urchin kids. Luckily Fox happened to know today's password.
“Autumn breeze.” Fox said.
After five seconds the space anthro heard the locks on the door unlatch and it opened up to reveal Sly wearing a comfortable green button up shirt. What Fox liked the most about this shirt was that it was short enough to show off Sly's mile long legs. At seeing his lover the raccoon smiled brightly.
“Fox, hi. I was just about to sit down for my favorite movie and some hot chocolate. Want to join me?” Sly asked.
“Of course, but I also came to ask you something.” Fox said as he let himself in and Sly closed the door.
“Oh really? And what was that?” Sly asked as he walked towards the couch to sit down.
“Well, I figured that since fall is in and its your vacation time that we should do something special. But I knew that you wouldn't want to do anything too fancy, and with a little help I was able to find something for us to enjoy.” Fox explained.
“What is it?” Sly asked with growing excitement. Fox smiled at the twinkle in those pretty amber eyes and brought out the tickets.
“Two tickets to the Changing Leaves Festival coming in two days.” Fox announced.
For a moment, Sly didn't respond. He only stared at him and Fox was worried that Sly didn't like the idea. But then after another moment the raccoon exclaimed joyfully and tackled Fox with a big kiss. It didn't take a genius to figure out that Sly was happy about the announcement. After a while of making out Fox left the safe house to return to his hotel. Soon after the space anthro's departure Bentley and Murray returned, happy to see Sly so eager for the date. The master thief always seemed to get a pep in his step whenever it involved Fox McCloud.
“This will definitely be a day to remember. I've always wanted to go to the Changing Leaves Festival, but we always have a heist when its about to start.” Sly said eagerly as he searched through his closet for the right outfit.
“We hope you have an awesome time, little buddy.” Murray said.
“Yeah. According to the statistics the Changing Leaves Festival is said to be 20% cooler than most celebrations that occur in Paris.” Bentley said.
“Now those are statistics I can get behind. Say, I forgot to ask, what are you guys going to do for your vacation?” Sly asked.
“I've been booked as a guest judge for the racing circuit competition happening in the USA.” Murray said with a proud smile.
“And I'll be going with him to provide a technological view on the race cars. I don't normally care for car racing but those machines are too beautiful to stay away from. Plus its a great chance to look under their hoods for inspiration to my engineering.” Bentley said.
“Sounds exciting, and right up your alley. I hope you guys have a great time.” Sly said with a smile.
“We will. But....” Murray trailed off, a frown now on his face.
“But what? What's the matter?” Sly asked.
“We don't want to leave without anyone to help you prepare for your date, and what's more leave the hideout unattended. We need a housekeeper here that we can trust to watch the place who can also provide you with fashion forward input.” Bentley explained.
“You got a point there....” Sly trailed off as he stroked his chin in thought, then stopped and grinned. “What if we got more than one housekeeper here? In particular, certain fellows of my species that we all know and trust.”
“Wait, are you talking about your ancestors?” Bentley asked.
“That's right. But not all of them, of course. Just Sir Galleth, Rioichi, Tennessee and Salim.” Sly explained.
“Hey, that's not a bad idea! They're just about the most trusted guys we have. Heck, maybe they could even have a vacation here with us.” Murray suggested.
“Well, I agree that Sly's ancestors are the most trusted people we could turn to...But aren't you concerned about the ripple effect that could happen by bringing in not one but four different ancestors from four different time periods? It could quite possibly cause irreversible damage in the space time continuum!” Bentley stated.
“True, but it didn't happen when I interacted with them and went to their time periods myself. Plus they know I exist in the future already.” Sly said.
“Yeah, Bentley. Shouldn't there be like, evil doppelgangers of us trying to take our places by now?” Murray asked. The turtle seemed to consider this before shrugging.
“Point taken. Alrighty then, lets juice this baby up and bring back the past.” Bentley said and the trio went to the Time Machine room.
It wasn't long before Tennessee, Rioichi, Galleth and Salim were all gathered up in the 21st century. When the Cooper Gang told them that they wanted them to keep watch of their home while they were gone the older generation of Coopers agreed. After Bentley and Murray left Sly brought his ancestors to his room for their opinion on his wardrobe for his date. While Sly was getting snacks the ancestors were conversing. And for Tennessee's part, complaining.
“I still don't see why the boy needs ta get all purdied up for some damn festival. Sides, I hate autumn. Them leaves fall off faster than an overworked farmer's hair line and are harder to get off the floor than a hammered cowpoke at the saloon.” Tennessee said as he lit up a cigarette.
“Honestly, Tennessee-kun, I wish you wouldn't speak so crudely.” Rioichi said with a shake of his head.
“And what's more, dear fellow, this festival day is very important to young Sly. He wishes to have our honest opinion and for saving our time periods and making the Cooper name mean something we owe him that much.” Galleth stated.
“And besides, he has food!” Salim added eagerly.
“Alright, alright. I guess we can sitter 'round here for a spell. Still, I wonder who it is that boy is tryin' ta look so special fer if it ain't Miss Carmelita.” Tennessee said just as Sly walked in with a tray filled with all sorts of goodies and drinks.
“Sorry it took so long. I hope you guys will enjoy this spread.” Sly said and sat down a tray with fruit stuffed crepes, cinnamon buns, kabobs with beef and various vegetables, sauteed shrimp, chocolate chip cookies and iced tea.
“Oh, I think that I will find this 'spread' most satisfactory.” Salim said with a smack of his lips and grabbed a cinnamon bun.
“It all looks very scrumptious, young one! I will thoroughly enjoy your fine looking gruel.” Galleth said and took one of the crepes.
“Arigatougozaimasu.” Rioichi said gratefully and took out a pair of chopsticks in his Gi and went for the shrimp.
“Not too bad for schmancy type food.” Tennessee said and took a kabob.
“Now that you're all fed I want your opinion on an outfit for the Changing Leaves Festival happening in two days.” Sly said.
“If this festival is in two days, why'd ya bring us in now?” Tennessee asked.
“Because I need the extra time to tell you all about the special person who's taking me to the festival.” Sly said, blushing a bit at the thought of Fox.
“Ah, yes. You did speak of this special person. The keeper of your heart's flame that burns with pure desire. Ah, young love.” Galleth said with a sigh.
“Yes. It is rare to find an honest romance that blossoms with the fair beauty of a sakura.” Rioichi said.
“That's something that I can drink to.” Salim said and downed his second helping of food with a glass of tea.
“So who's the lucky person? You said it wasn't Miss Carmelita, and I can't figure out who else it could be.” Tennessee said.
“Well, its actually the man who brought me back to my own time after I got lost in Ancient Egypt.” Sly said as he looked through his shirts.
"What ho? A man?" Galleth spoke up, sounding surprised.
Rioichi let out a hum but smiled nonetheless. "From my homeland, taking a man as a lover is not an uncommon thing," The Tanuki explained. "The samurai, for example, is well known for asking his apprentice their consent to be their significant other. It is considered a bond stronger than that of a samurai and his lord."
Salim just shrugged as he sipped his iced tea, relishing its sweet taste. "I personally don't see what the big fuss is about." He admitted.
Tennessee, on the other hand, wasn't so sure.
"Don't misunderstand, I don't see anythin' wrong with two guys or two gals being together," The Texan raccoon stated. "But we all met Miss Carmelita, and know what she's like. We still have yet to see what this fella Sly is bein' with like."
That got the rest of the ancestors thinking. Other than the gender, it was Fox's personality that they had yet to see. Just what is he like anyway? More importantly...
"So what is the name of thy savior?" Galleth asked.
“Fox McCloud. He's a very kind person, and really sweet. We've known each other for a long time and have been together since then. I was actually surprised he would be interested, considering the age difference.” Sly said, now looking through his shoes.
The words “age difference” was enough to perk their ears up, even Salim was sitting up a bit straighter as he placed his partially empty glass of tea upon the coaster.
"Sly...how much of an age difference are we talkin' about here?" Tennessee asked, trying to sound casual.
Surely, he meant at least one or two years right? ….Right?
"Not much of a difference. He's only thirty one. Oh damn, I just remembered I have to call the others and tell them we'll be on vacation. I'll be right back." Sly said and grabbed his cellphone then went to the other room.
This left enough time for the ancestors of the Cooper Clan to let that fact sink into their heads. 31... Sly was currently 24 in this era. Silence fell densely among them, and the only sound that they all could hear was the constant ticking of the clock. Soon, the silence broke. And Tennessee was the one to break it....in a thousand pieces.
"I OUGHTA SKIN THAT LIL RATTLESNAKE!" Tennessee bellowed, making the knick knacks on the shelf rattle. The shout was enough to make Salim to jump out of his seat as Rioichi and Galleth stared at him in surprise.
"Peace, friend! Peace!" Galleth soothed to him, hoping that their descendant didn't hear Tennessee's outburst.
"Oh there'll be peace, Gal! I'll make that coyote rest in peace! I'm gonna hunt him down like a vulture on dyin' cattle and show that bushwhacker that the little hand is on the two and that my fist is on his face!!" Tennessee stated and whipped out his gun Old Blue, storming to exit the room and hunt a certain vulpine.
"Becalm yourself, Tennessee-kun." Rioichi said as he got up and stopped his fellow Cooper.
"Ta hell with that, Rio! Don't tell me that there ain't a part of you that wants ta skin this cretin!" Tennessee shouted.
"We should remember that Sly-kun is twenty four." Rioichi said while placing an emphasis on Sly's age as he stared Tennessee in the eye. "Sly is an adult, and we each have seen him hold his own against adversaries that would do anything to destroy our clan."
"Aye, I agree with our shadowy comrade here." Galleth spoke up, dramatically as always.
“And besides, its not as if they would engage in anything obscene.” Salim said and as he reached for the bowl of mints on Sly's dresser he accidentally hit the remote control which turned on the TV, and it tuned in to a commercial about the Changing Leaves Festival.
"Hello, everyone! Paris Life Television is here to present you with a small briefing on the Changing Leaves Festival coming up in two days." The news woman, a cat, explained to the screen.
"Dear Lord! A poor maiden is trapped in that box!" Galleth exclaimed dramatically.
"Relax, Gal, it's just one of those new fangled tekkies that Bentley was talkin' about." Tennessee drawled out, twirling Old Blue a bit. Salim stared at the television in wonder.
“Do you think she can see us?" Salim asked, waving his hand over the screen.
“I do not believe so.” Rioichi said in uncertainty, cocking his head to the side in confusion.
“This year's festival will be twice as eventful as last year's. And to add to the the warm feelings the pleasant chill and colorful leaves bring, the festival has taken on a lover's theme!” The news woman announced.
“Lover's theme?” Tennessee asked in confusion.
“Much of the rides and activities will be made for people who have a significant other in their lives. From ice skating rinks, to dance halls and the ever classic Tunnel of Love. We also have a new ferris wheel that stops at the top for fifteen minutes, giving you lovers a chance to cuddle and coo. All that and more awaits you at the Changing Leaves Festival!” The femme feline exclaimed brightly.
And then the commercial went off. This left the ancestors in a new session of silence. But this time it was Sir Galleth who destroyed the quiet.
"SLY MUST NOT FALL INTO TEMPTATION!!!" Galleth bellowed.
"That's what I've been tryin to tell ya'll, ya walkin' tin can!" Tennessee shouted in exasperation.
"A flower must be preserved before being plucked." Rioichi spoke in a mysterious manner as he held up a kunai.
“In my country, a man would be tied down over a bed scorpions for such indecent behavior!” Salim stated angrily.
“First thing we gotta do is tell Sly that he ain't goin' no where with that rattlesnake. Then we find said rattlesnake and break his neck.” Tennessee said.
“Agreed! Forsooth, we shall smite this predatory suitor before his honey and lies take away our descendant's virtue!” Galleth exclaimed and unsheathed his blade, pointing it high in the air.
“But how will we properly explain this to Sly-kun? It seemed that he was very much set on attending the festival with this McCloud fellow.” Rioichi pointed.
“We'll just tell the boy the stone cold truth. And if he throws a fit we'll show him there are other cattle on the range. Preferably ones his age.” Tennessee said.
Suddenly, the sound of Sly's footsteps were heard coming down the hall to his room.
“What ho, I believe that is the young raccoon now.” Galleth said.
“Remember we're tellin' him the truth, the whole truth and nothin' but the truth.” Tennessee stated to his fellow Coopers who nodded in agreement. Sly walked into the room and smiled at his ancestors.
“Sorry about that, it took a little longer explaining it to Dimitri. Mostly because I couldn't understand what he was saying. Anywho, I want to start telling you guys about Fox.” Sly said as he went through his closet.
“Eh, actually Sly we wanted to talk about this Fox character too...” Tennessee started to say but Sly cut him off.
“He's a really amazing person. I didn't think I'd ever meet someone like him.” Sly said with a happy smile.
“That is nice, Sly-kun, but we must tell you...” Rioichi tried to say but was cut off as well.
“You know, we've been together for exactly five years. I can't believe how long its been because it seems like we've been together since yesterday. I guess romance makes time fly.” Sly said.
At the mention of the five years, the ancestors looked at each other in surprise. That's quite a long time to be together for a May/December romance. Well, it wasn't such a romance technically but still. And the way Sly spoke, he sure sounded very happy and not like he was being taken advantage of. However they had to act in Sly's best interests and forewarn him.
“Young Sly, please listen. We do not think that this McCloud fellow is...” Galleth tried to speak but his efforts were all in vain.
“I've never felt like this about anyone before, even with Carmelita. I think I can honestly see myself being with Fox for a long time.” The youngest raccoon said.
Again the ancestors exchanged a look of surprise. The way Sly spoke of Fox, it was so adamant. So passionate. So....No! They couldn't let Sly further delude himself like this!
“Sly, the way you think you feel for this Fox person...” Salim started but Sly interrupted him as well.
“I don't think, Salim, I know. For the first time in my whole life I can honestly say that I'm in love.” Sly said dreamily.
And that was the final nail in the coffin. Those three simple yet powerful words; I'm in love. Sly outright said that he was in love with Fox. And by the look in his eyes he was very serious. And no convincing would change his mind. After a grabbing his chosen outfit Sly turned to his ancestors.
“Sorry guys, I kept cutting you off. I couldn't stop gushing about Fox. So what were you going to say?” Sly asked. The ancestors looked at each other in concern, wondering if they should say anything now. Sly looked so happy and they didn't want to ruin it.
“Well, we were gonna say something about Fox...” Tennessee started. “What about him?” Sly asked.
“We were going to say....” Galleth tried to finish but couldn't.
“Yeah?” Sly urged.
“We were going...To say....” Rioichi struggled to say before Salim cut him off.
“Have a wonderful time with Mr. McCloud.” Salim said with a somewhat forced smile. Sly smiled at this and hugged his Arabian ancestor.
“Thank you, Salim. And I'm so glad that you all approve.” Sly said and hugged his other three ancestors.
“Oh yeah, 'course Son...We totally approve.” Tennessee said with an awkward chuckle.
“Well, I should probably see how this outfit looks for the date. So if you guys don't mind...” Sly trailed off hintingly.
“Ah yes, we shall give thee privacy to make your romantic preparations. Do enjoy yourself at the festival, young Sly.” Galleth said and walked out of the room along with the other ancestors.
Once Sly closed the door and the ancestors got into the living room Tennessee looked at his fellow Coopers with a glare.
“What in tarnation was that back there? I thought we were gonna tell the boy the truth, the whole truth, and nothin' BUT the truth!” Tennessee stated.
“Do not blame us! Sly has a way of being persuasive with his words, even when he isn't trying! It is the way of all Coopers, and it did not skip his generation.” Salim said.
“Aye, Sir Salim is quite right. What's more Sly's tender words describing his love for this Fox McCloud touched my soul ever so deeply. How can I, a man who lives on emotion, possibly tell him to go against his heart? How I ask thee, sir, how?” Galleth asked dramatically.
“What's more, you were not forth coming with the truth yourself, Tennessee-kun. You said that we all approved of Sly's relationship.” Rioichi pointed out. At this Tennessee tipped his hat low in a sign of expressing shame.
“Yeah, there's that too....Well, I guess its clear as a badger in hen house that Sly is head over boot spurs for this Fox fella. And he sounds like a reasonably okay person, but we still don't know him personally. And because of that, there's only one way we can make sure that he's worthy of being with our little Sly.” Tennessee explained.
“Test his durability by shooting him out of a catapult while strapped to a large rock?” Galleth asked immediately.
“Test his knowledge of the 1000 Tales of Scheherazade?” Salim asked afterwards.
“No, ya pair'a ninnies! We spy on 'em at that festival and make sure that this Fox fella ain't pushing ta fill up Sly's mineshaft with his shovel, if ya know what I mean.” Tennessee said.
“Actually...I do not believe I quite understand.” Rioichi admitted.
“Yes man, you talk all sorts of gobbledegook that one can barely keep up.” Galleth said. At this Tennessee face-palmed himself.
“Fer cryin' out loud...Look, the bottom line is that we watch Sly and this new fox and make sure that he don't try nothin' beyond holding hands!” Tennessee stated.
“Ah.” The other ancestors said simultaneously and exchanged understanding nods.
“Now that we got that settled, here's what we're gonna do...” Tennessee said and gathered up his fellow Coopers and started whispering their plan.
Two days passed by like a flash and found the ancestors casually sitting in the living room, idling with their canes as they waited for Sly to come out and get their opinion on his outfit for the festival. They tried to keep from feeling too anxious to get Sly out of the house so they could follow, but it was rather hard to do. Especially for Galleth. The Englishman raccoon was close to exclaiming their plans rather loudly more than one time, but was stopped at every turn by Rioichi shoving a sashimi in his mouth. Finally Sly stepped into the room decked out in his special outfit.
“Okay, how does this look?” Sly asked. The ancestors looked up at their descendant and took a good look at Sly.
The young Cooper dressed in a simple yet dapper fashion. He wore washed out blue jeans, a dark blue sweater, a white button up shirt underneath it, brown gloves and brown suede shoes. His hair was combed impeccably with his bangs brushed upward and parted. And his tail looked particularly soft and smooth from meticulous grooming.
“You look very attractive, Sly-kun. Like a once young stem that has grown into a fine bamboo stalk.” Rioichi said.
“Yes. Though it is not Arabian silk, it is still very exceptional.” Salim added.
“Thou dos look most stunning, Sly! You will no doubt be the Belle of the Ball. Er, well, I suppose I should say...Chap of the Festival instead.” Galleth said with an awkward laugh.
Sly chuckled then turned to Tennessee with a hopeful, expecting look. “What do you think, Tennessee?” Sly asked. The cowboy looked over Sly then gave a soft smile.
“Ya look like any cowpoke would be luckier than a seven legged rabbit to have you, Sly.” Tennessee said. The young raccoon smiled brightly at this and turned to the door when he heard a knock.
“Hey there, Diamond Rings. I'm here.” Called the voice of Fox McCloud behind the door.
While Sly swooned and smiled at hearing his lover say his nickname the ancestors made stern expressions. Diamond Rings. What a corny nickname, they thought. This McCloud person was clearly not original with sweet nothings. Sly opened the door to let in the vulpine and he walked inside. The ancestors took a good look at the man, first observing his face. He was fairly handsome in an old fashioned sort of way. And his style was an old fashioned one to match. He wore dark blue jeans, a black shirt, a dark brown leather jacket with two black stripes on the upper part of both sleeves and black coloring from the elbows to the wrists, a red ascot, black fingerless gloves, pale green sneakers and a matching beanie. The anthro's style had a serious contrast to Sly's but it was at least neat and not hoodlum like.
“Hello, Vulpecula. I'm sure you know my ancestors.” Sly said as he gestured to each Cooper on the couch.
“Yes, I know them very well. Sly told me all about his adventures with each of you. Its a pleasure to meet you in person.” Fox said, holding his hand out to Tennessee. The cowboy took this as a chance to personally test the older anthro's strength.
“Nice ta meet you too, McCloud. I'm Tennessee Kid Cooper.” The Texan raccoon said as he took Fox's hand in a strong grip. But he wasn't expecting the grip to be returned with as much force.
So, this McCloud fellow was clearly a fighter. And by the look in his eyes he was an experienced one, possibly trained both in life and by professionals. Tennessee mentally placed a green check by the words “Strength Test”.
“And I am Rioichi Cooper. It is an honor to meet you in person.” Rioichi said and bowed before the vulpine.
“A pleasure to meet you, Rioichi. Sly tells me that you're a great sushi chef. I'd love to try it some time.” Fox said with a polite smile.
“I would be humbly honored to share my craft.” Rioichi said.
“Well met, friend. I am Sir Galleth Cooper! Thespian extraordinaire and noble knight!” Galleth exclaimed as he struck a pose, making everyone look at him oddly.
“I see. You're definitely all that Sly told me and more.” Fox said with a chuckle.
“Why thank you, my good man.” Galleth said with a bright smile.
“And I am Salim Al Kupar. It is a pleasure to meet you.” Salim greeted.
“Nice to meet you, Salim. You must be glad to have finally retired.” The space anthro said.
“Oh yes, most glad indeed. No more will I have to deal with snakes and scorpions. Now I can enjoy a nice rest.” Salim said.
“Well we should probably go. The festival starts soon. And guys, if you start up any of the tech around here just call Bentley and he'll explain everything. There's plenty of food too. Don't let Salim it all.” Sly said.
“At least if eaten by me it would not be wasted.” The Arabian Cooper said defensively.
“Do not worry, Sly-kun. We shall watch your fortress with the utmost care.” Rioichi assured.
“Guess we should be off, Diamond Rings. It was nice meeting you all.” Fox said then took Sly's hand in his as the couple left the small house. Rioichi and the others looked out through the window and watched as Fox opened the side of the thing Bentley called a 'car' and let Sly in before getting in the other side and driving away.
“Alrighty, they're gone. Now's all we gotta do is give 'em a few minutes worth of a head start and tail 'em.” Tennessee said.
“But we cannot chase them atop of the rooftops. Sly will most surely notice us and sense our presence.” Rioichi pointed out.
“Indeed. We must think of an alternate method of transportation.” Galleth said.
“We could take the magic mist from my Genie's lamp.” Salim suggested.
“Please, that's no where near inconspicuous. We gotta do something subtle...And I think I know only one way.” Tennessee said in an ominous tone.
“What is it?” Rioichi asked.
“Just follow me, and you'll find out for yerselves.” Tennessee said cryptically as he snuck out of the safe house.
The other Coopers looked at each other in confusion before shrugging and following after Tennessee. The outlaw led them to what Sly called a 'parking lot'. Soon the Cooper ancestors stood before a car parked on the far end of the parking lot. It was a dark green hot rod, and one of the Cooper gangs spare get away vehicles.
“We're gonna borrow this dead metal horse right here and follow those two.” Tennessee said.
“What? Tennessee-kun, I think that the air from this time period has gotten to your mind.” Rioichi said.
“I hardily agree with our shadowy Cooper, my friend. None of us know how to 'drive' this horseless chariot!” Galleth stated, gesturing to the car.
“Indeed. And it seems very unsafe. It has no extra humps like a camel or protective tassels like a flying carpet.” Salim pointed out as he inspected the vehicle.
“Aw, don't be a bunch of sissies. This thang ain't no different than a locomotive. I'm sure we'll get the hang of it in no time.” Tennessee said.
“Perhaps, but in order to hang a monkey requires something with which to hang on. We do not even know how to gain access to this steel shoulder carriage.” The ninja master pointed out.
“Sure we do. Bentley told me where the keys were.” Tennessee said and took out the keys from his pocket.
“Why would Bentley tell you were the keys were?” Salim asked.
“Well, it wasn't exactly him telling me where the keys were so's we could use them specifically.” Tennessee admitted.
“Then what was it specifically?” Rioichi asked.
“It was more like somethin', somethin', 'Don't ever touch these keys'. Somethin', somethin', 'Stay away from 'em'. I don't know, its all one big blur. Anywho, let's get this locomotive in gear!” Tennessee exclaimed and unlocked the doors and the Cooper ancestors all piled in then closed themselves inside the car.
(WARNING: The things you're about to read with the Cooper ancestors after this part are one third funny, two thirds stupid and three thirds dangerous. For your safety as well as the safety of those around you, I would ask you all to NOT IMITATE any of what you're about to read. Especially so if you don't know to drive a car properly. Thank you. ^_^)
“Sir Tennessee, art thou certain you know what it is you're doing?” Galleth asked in concern.
“Course I do, Gal! Ya'll ain't got nothin' ta worry about. Now then, if I remember from what Bentley told me, all's I gotta do is insert this here key into this slot...” Tennessee trailed off as he inserted the key into the car's keyhole. “Then twist it like so...” The outlaw twisted the key until the engine turned on. “And finally, step right on this foot lever.” And with a hard stomp Tennessee stepped on the gas.
The car jerked forward fast and the ancestors all screamed as they swiftly approached a stone wall. Tennessee then harshly stepped on the brakes and made the car violently lurch forward as it came to a screeching halt. The Texan raccoon sighed in relief and turned to his fellow Coopers, who all looked like they saw the light and then some, with an awkward smile.
“See? I told ya'll there ain't nothin' ta worry about.” Tennessee said. None of the ancestors gave a reply until Rioichi noticed the seat belt.
“What is this device?” Rioichi asked.
“Bentley says that's a seat belt. Its supposed ta keep us safe. Though I don't get what's the point in it. I'm perfectly safe on my horse without gettin' strapped down.” Tennessee said.
“With all due respect, Tennessee, if you are the one driving I'd feel safer being strapped down.” Salim said and locked on the seat belt.
“Indeed. I have been shot out of catapults safer than what I just experienced.” Galleth said and followed Salim's lead.
“A ninja fears nothing...But that does not mean that he must ignore the common sense of safety precautions.” Rioichi said and strapped in as well.
“Fine. You all be a bunch of yella bellies and put on yer seat belts. I'm gonna be unchained and free so's I can feel the rush. Before ya know it I'll have this drivin' thing down pat like a bartender learnin' how ta make sarsaparillas on his first day.” Tennessee said and stepped on the gas again and used the wheel to swerve the car out of the parking lot. Though he was having fun, the other ancestors definitely were not.
To Be Continued...