O-once upon a t-time—
Oi, Mia, don't start a story like that!
How would you suggest we do it then, Lydia-san?
I agree with Midoria and Akiros. We should start off a classic tale with 'once upon a time'.
...Fine. Keep going, Mia.
O-okay. Once u-upon a time, there was an emperor. H-his birthday w-would be coming up s-soon, so he invited all of the a-animals in his kingdom to his p-palace.
Whoa, this sounds like an awesome story! What happens?
Daiki, if you had not interrupted Midoria, you would have found out.
Does Thaddeus-kun already know how this story goes?
Of course, Akiros.
All the animals on earth got invited. Since it was his birthday after all, he decided to host a competition. In front of his palace was a very large river. The first 12 animals across would have the zodiac named after them.
Th-that seems r-rather unfair. Don't hit me!
Why would Thaddeus-kun hit you, Midoria-chan?
Maybe if ya asked.
*sigh* Continuing... The cat and mouse were very good friends at this time. Pondering how they were going to get over the river when neither of them knew how to swim, they asked their friend the ox to help them. The ox agreed. The three of them trained hard, only stopping for basic necessities.
That does not seem wise. Are you sure that this is the case?
Yeah, it sounds like overkill, even to me.
Hah! Daiki admitted he's a sports idiot!
I do not see how you find this amusing, Lydia-san, and I am surprised you noticed this. Perhaps you care more than you let on?
...Do not start badmouthing each other.
Of course not, Thaddeus-kun.
On the d-day of the race, the th-three of them m-met at the bank of the river a-at the crack of d-dawn. I-isn't that right, Th-thaddeus?
You should learn to control your stuttering, Midoria.
I would also prefer if you were not so apologetic of all the things you do.
This does not seem as if it will go anywhere.
Can we get back to the story already? I want to know who wins!
... Do you not know of the Chinese zodiac?
Who are you fooling? As if he would know of such a thing.
Please continue, Thaddeus-kun.
The three of them set off across the river, with the cat and rat on the back of the ox.
That's kinda underhanded of them. The ox is doing all the work!
That's how life works, Daiki-kun. Someone sits there, taking credit, while you do all the work.
Whoa, Ross has a really dark outlook on life, eh?
You sound surprised, Lydia.
You knew about it?
Could you please stop talking as if I am not here? I do not appreciate it.
The way you giggle disturbs me, Lydia-san.
Moving on... About halfway across the river, the rat pushes the cat off.
Are you certain of that, Thaddeus-kun?
That's mean! I don't want to listen to a story like this. Change it!
You sound like an infant, Daiki.
Now even more so.
I actually agree with Daiki-kun for once, Thaddeus-kun. I will not stand for someone who treats a friend as such.
I do not care for this part of the story either. It is not possible for a rat to move a cat, much less push one off an object while trying to stay on said object.
*sweatdrop* That's what you care about?
What if we were to change the story?
Let's do that!
How would you propose we do that? Without changing the zodiac?
...I cannot come up with a solution that includes both those points.
Neither can I.
So we just change the zodiac.
We can't very well do that!
Whoa, Ross just used a contraction...
We have not heard that in a while.
Come to think of it, I've never heard you use a contraction.
I simply avoid instances in which I must use them.
Perhaps we should just tell the story and see how it goes?
That sounds reasonable.
Let us continue then.
So the rat does not push the cat, and the threesome continues down the river. Once they reach the shore, the rat jumps off the ox, coming in first place.
So the ox would be second, and the cat third.
The ox would be mad, would he not?
Hey, Daiki, don't you feel intimidated by their conversation?
You feel it too?
Please cease your whispering.
Thaddeus-kun, do you know what happened to Midoria-chan?
I do not.
I'm r-right h-here, you t-two.
Would you like to continue the story, Midoria-chan?
Oh, n-no, thank you. I c-can't p-possibly come up w-with something f-for this.
So the ox, enraged, goes around chasing the rat, yes?
The cat, also angry at the rat, also tries to catch the mouse.
Ohhh, so that's why cats chase mice.
Why do I feel as if I am in the presence of an imbecile?
Prolly cause you are.
While the three of them were argu— I mean, chasing each other around, the tiger arrived, panting and out of breath.
Heh, that reminds me of a certain other activity.
*cough* After the tiger came the rabbit, who made it across the river by jumping on the backs of the animals. Then was the dragon, who had stopped to make rain for some villagers.
That doesn't make sense!
It does not?
Yeah! I mean, the dragon is so almighty and powerful—
You are only assuming so.
—Why can't he be more badass?!
So then you are suggesting that he should come first?
So then the order would go dragon, mouse, ox, cat, tiger, rabbit, and then what comes next?
I am at a loss. Akiros?
I no longer have an opinion. Perhaps you should just follow his whims.
*sigh* At this point, the horse was about to get seventh place, when the snake showed up and startled the poor equine into giving up his spot.
So that is seventh and eighth, then. The ram, monkey, and rooster had worked together to get across the river on a log. The ram, who had to strain his eyes to see the other shore, ended up with poor eyesight. The monkey, who had been sitting on the log for such a long time, now had engorged hindquarters, and the cockerel was wobbly from being seasick.
*snicker* I like the way he described that.
Shush. The dog, who had lost track of time playing in the river, managed to scrape into twelfth place, therefore concluding the race.
Wow, how much did we screw up this story?
Well, originally, the order was supposed to go rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.
We completely forgot the pig!
The pig, being a glutton, had waited until luncheon had passed before joining the race. When he arrived, his first thought was to say, "I'm starving. Can someone get me some food?" Perhaps we should say that he competed, but was unable to earn a place in the Zodiac.
Who the hell still says luncheon.
Lydia-san, I do.
You're an old-fashioned freak. You're excused.
I resent the way you defended me.
Are we done? Is Daiki finally satisfied?
I would like to leave.
I'm good. Thanks guys.
Be prepared for when we get home. Do not think you will get off with no punishment.
Ooh, Thaddy-boy's gone all seme on Daiki's ass!
Lydia-san, please kindly shut up.
Is someone jealous?
Lydia, please refrain from making any more sound, or else I will shut your mouth for you.