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Friday, June 21st, 2019, 6:23 pm

Espadas School of Self-Defense and Swordsmanship


The West End, bustling and chaotic, was winding down for the evening. While still short of sundown, the cooling day drew people to porches and cafes and away from the daily grind. The weekend was at hand, and the weather was lovely. It was at this moment, a warm breeze whistling between the buildings, that something odd happened. In the alley behind the Espadas School of Self-Defense and Swordsmanship a series of rents opened in space. Or more specifically, five thin, two-dimensional lines, spaced like vertical claw marks, split open space. The lines widened, drawing back reality to reveal two figures. The tall one stepped through the portal followed by smaller.


"Good girl, Penny. You're improving every day," said the larger figure: Mona. The smaller figure, a Siamese mix the size of a giant bobcat, meowed her reply.


Mona was expected. Word travels quickly in the West End. Especially when Gina "Nana" Espadas was Mona's first visit. There was catching up, pictures of grand kids, and the general goings on in the neighborhood. Then Gina put the word out that Mona was back in town.


Not that she was really ever gone. You see, Fulcrum had gone globe. But she was always in contact. Video chatting from an art exhibition in Berlin. Seashells from the Seychelles. Pictures of sushi from Tokyo. Boxing footage with a mutated Tasmanian devil (no one was hurt). Postcards from Dakana. Lots of pictures of rampaging, giant robots. A surprising number. And from time-to-time, she'd fly home to provide her famous Mona Bear Hugs and all sorts of eclectic presents. Recently though...she'd been going silent for longer periods. Months at a time even.


Today that ended. Before the portal swirled closed, Mona plucked out a large steamer trunk and hoisted it over one shoulder. She smiled as she knocked on the back door.


Home sweet home.

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"Me! Me! I get!"


"Mummy! Emily's gonna open the door! She's not s'posed to!! Tell her 'no'. Bad, Emmy! Bad!" That voice was still the soft high pitched lisp of a child but older than Emily's certainly. Mia, most likely.


"Emmy, no! Don't--" Talya's clipped tones meant that the dojo was empty of anyone that wasn't family though doubtless her disguise was still in place but she wasn't bothering to smooth out the crisp cadence of her natural accent. That was followed by an outraged squeal as the child in question was caught up by her mum. Taking advantage of the chaos that was his sisters, Terry stretched up to open the door. 


Mona was greeted by a blonde cherub wearing a patch over one eye. The little boy offered Mona an angelic smile. He was a charmer, that was certain. 


"Hullo!" Terry chirped brightly. In the background, Mona could see one of his mothers holding a squalling Emily on one hip as she tried to settle the small family squabble. Terry beamed up at Mona and thrust his arms up to be picked up. He turned his head to examine the trunk with great interest though he had to stretch to manage it out of his good eye. "Presents?"


Talya twisted her head at Terry's cheerful interest and sighed. "Help!" Talya requested, her voice carrying deeper into the house. The thread of laughter told anyone listening that it was usual chaos rather than any trouble. "I need back up. I'm out of hands. Do come in, Mona. We were about to let these little hellions run some energy off in the dojo. I think Erik's moving around mats. Min? Dearheart, Mona's arrived. Terry, don't pester Mona for presents before she's even set things down."


Terry pouted, his lower lip thrusting out before he tipped his head back with a sly look at Mona. "Hugs?"

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Mona met Terry's look and returned her own. Her eyes narrowed and her jaw set. Yet somehow a ghost of a smile slipped through. The gaze of mock disapproval lasted a good three or four seconds. A good effort. Then she winked at the little boy. 


The giantess stooped low to clear the door and scooped up Terry all in one swoop. Mona Bear Hug deployed, if one armed, she peppered his face with kisses.


"Rawhr! Monasaur hugs!"


The big trunk landed with a gentle thump and freed the globetrotting aunt for two-armed hugging. And tickles. The blonde cherub was nearly engulfed by her arms, but her tickling technique was strong. The pair slowly plodded into the dojo. The tickles, however, continued apace.


"Business as usual, huh? Good to see you, Talya." Mona was an incurable ham.


Clearing the doorway heralded the appearance of Mona's partner in crime. Rarely seen but always regale, Mona's cat Penelope sat poised in the door frame and watched the action with the disdain only a cat could conjure. The cat's blue eyes though, and the way her ears twitched betrayed her interest.


The Siamese trotted into the dojo, and promptly flipped the door shut with her tail. That's when reality dawned: Penny was big. Way bigger than normal. Maybe two feet at the withers and 50 or 60 pounds. Apparently, owner and cat were taking after each other.


Penny stopped in front of Talya and Emily and meowed.

Edited by Dariusprime
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