Because there will be a considerable amount of French and Japanese in these next two chapters, I'll be adding a little dictionary at the end.
One sunny, summer afternoon, the food fanatic trio took a peaceful stroll through Dim Some. They had another day off from The Rice Bowl and hoped to make the most of it honing their food-fighting skills. Among the three, Sage knew she had to be more serious about her training. After winning a close eating contest with her rival, Honey, the blue-haired girl wanted to ready herself in case they had to face-off in another Meal Melee. And, of course, Colby and Mr. Snugglepuss were glad to be of assistance to her. Even the spiky-haired boy himself had to remember his goal of becoming the world's best food fighter, but he didn't see it as a hassle to aid someone in their training as well.
Moving away from the shopping district, the three came across a lush, green part of the town with fresh grass. A variety of colorful flowers grew around the greenery, bringing out the beauty of the scenic setting. Out in front of the group stood Colby, puffing out his chest as he inhaled the fresh air.
"Mmmm... ahhh! Now, that's some of the purest air I've smelled in a long time!" the rookie grinned to the sun, always in a cheerful mood regardless of the weather.
"I shudder to think what you mean by that." Mr. Snugglepuss sneered, trotting beside Sage.
"Same here, but I think we can all agree it's a pretty nice day out." remarked Sage, watching a few squirrels play on the grass.
"Hear, hear! A pretty nice day means a pretty nice training session!" Colby exclaimed.
"What are you waiting for? Let's begin already."
"Hold it, Sage. If you remember the conversation we had earlier with Mr. Indecisive here, we have to wait for him to pick out our new spot." informed the brown tabby.
"Look, Mr. Snugglepuss, the stream's nice and all, but we need to expand our horizons. As food fighters, not only do we have to learn about food, but we have to learn more about our surroundings. Plus, I needed an excuse to check out this part of town."
"And if we end up getting lost, that's on you. This looks like a nice spot, why not train here?" suggested the violet-clad girl, but of course, Colby refused to listen.
"'Cause it's not cool enough. Our new training spot has to earn the Colby Seal of Approval before we can use it. I just gotta wait for the right moment..." the brown-eyed boy glanced around as he continued to walk.
"Speaking of moments, can we take a prompt break here? I'd like a drink of water from that stream over there." Mr. Snugglepuss licked his paws.
"But I bought some water with me. You can have some when we find our spot."
"Which may take all day because of you. Mr. Snugglepuss has the right idea, though. We've been walking for hours, a little break couldn't hurt." Sage tried to reason again as her friend uttered an anguished sigh.
"Leave it to you to take the cat's side again. Tell ya what, we'll play rock, paper, scissors. I win, we keep going, but if you win, we'll take a break. Deal?" the boy posed to the bluenette, but she didn't seem to be in the mood for childish games.
"Oh, whatever. Let's get this out of the way."
"I knew you couldn't turn down a chance to play rock, paper, scissors. Alright, here we go," Colby brought his fist out in front of Sage's. "Rock, paper, scissors!"
The game resulted in Sage picking rock against Colby's scissors.
"No, impossible! How could I, the rock, paper, scissors champ of my neighborhood, lose?!" whined the spiky-haired teen.
"Hah, hah! To be honest, I just threw that out without thinking. But yeah, as promised, we'll take a break!" chirped the violet-clad girl.
"Very well. Now, let's see how fresh this water is," Mr. Snugglepuss made his way to the stream and pecked his tongue at the water. "Yuck, this is disgusting! It's almost as bad as toilet water, eck!"
"Aww, sounds like you need my water bottle..." cooed Colby, shaking his bottle to taunt the cat.
"Yes, I do. May I have some, please?"
"Course ya can! Only if you lick me, though..."
"I'm just kidding, geez... nah, but a good lick on the cheek would be nice."
As Colby gave some of his water to his pet, Sage sat down on a stool-sized stone and sighed, still taking in the tranquil atmosphere.
"You never realize how peaceful nature is when you've been around a bunch of noisy guys for so long... I should come here more often." the bluenette spoke to herself, not expecting a reply from her pals.
Shutting her light blue eyes, she listened closely to the birds singing over the light breeze. The rushing water from the stream still sounded, but somehow, she could hear another source of water from afar and stood up from her seat.
"And that should be enough," the headband-clad boy screwed on the cap of the water bottle before turning to Sage. "Sage, you alright?"
"I'm okay. Is it just me or do I hear a waterfall up ahead?" the rosy-cheeked girl asked.
"Hmm... I can make out another body of water, but I can't say it's a waterfall." Mr. Snugglepuss remarked, taking a few steps away from the stream to listen.
"I think I can hear it too. Wanna check it out?" Colby offered.
"If you want to." shrugged Sage.
"Alright, so break's over then?"
"Yep, break's over."
"Okay. Onward, my friends!" the young food fighter cried as he pointed to the path possibly leading to the sound of flowing water.
The path they took did, in fact, lead the trio to a waterfall, guarded by leafy bushes and silver stones. Throwing his hands in the air with glee, the spiky-haired boy relished in its astounding appearance. It appeared to be such an extraordinary area for a less-than-ordinary town like Dim Some, that he wondered if they were the only ones who knew about the waterfall's location.
"Yep, that's it! That's our training spot! That's her!" grinned Colby as he jogged up to the waterfall. "Isn't she lovely?"
"Well, I'll be darned. You were correct, Sage, it really is a waterfall." Mr. Snugglepuss spoke, also amazed.
"Good to know my so-called bionic ears are useful for something... eat it, ya dumb jocks!" Sage whispered the last part, referring to her brothers.
"Man, I wish I had my mp3 player with me, this calls for some training montage music... meh, no big deal. What do you guys wanna do first?" asked the food-fighting novice.
"Why don't you try meditating in the waterfall?" the bluenette suggested with a grin.
"Are you crazy? That water looks crazy cold, I could probably freeze to death if I sat there for, like, a minute."
"No, you won't, you big baby. My dad used to do it himself when he was a food fighter. It's supposed to strengthen your mind and your endurance."
"Which is one of the key parts to becoming a food-fighting master." added the human-turned feline.
"Eh, good point... aw, what the heck? I'll give it a shot, should probably ditch the shirt first before I do anything else," Colby slipped off his black muscle shirt, causing Sage to blush at the sight of his bare, slightly muscular torso. "Uh, Sage... why do your cheeks look more rosy than usual? Are you sick?"
"N-No, I'm not! Shut up!" the violet-clad girl turned away with a huff.
"Huh... anyway, time to meditate!"
"Wait, you fool! Put your shirt back on. I have a feeling we're not alone here..." Mr. Snugglepuss warned.
"What'chu talkin' about, Mr. Snuggly? Is it your tiger instinct again?" teased the shirtless boy as he slipped his top back on.
"For the last time, that was a hairball. I can see another person a few feet away from us."
"Well, why don't we head over and say hello. Like the saying goes, ' a stranger's just a buddy you haven't met yet.'"
"Colby, not everyone you meet wants to be your friend, you dork," Sage rolled her eyes at the boy's habit of being friendly to others. "Remember that demon guy who said he wanted to kill you?"
"That's before I discovered he had a beef with me and my dad. This'll be different, trust me. Now, let's go introduce ourselves." the blond strolled ahead with his friends lagging behind.
"You think this next person is gonna hate Colby too, don't you?" the bluenette glanced down at the cat for his opinion.
"Undoubtedly." replied Mr. Snugglepuss.
Just north of the waterfall located a hill and on that hill happened to be the stranger the feline referred to. Stretching his bare chest to the sun, a young man with dark brown hair flowing in the wind posed as he leaned beside a light gray stone half his size. After hearing the footsteps of the trio, the young man opened his almond-colored eyes and jerked his head towards them. He seemed to have an East Asian appearance based on his features, but the freckles across his nose implied that he was a mixed race.
The mostly nude male stood away from the stone as he gave the group a seductive smirk, "Oh, bonjour... I take it you'd like an autograph?"
"Uh, we'd have to know who you are first, dude." Colby replied, finding it a bit odd the man assumed they wanted his signature.
"And we don't, nor do we care." Mr. Snugglepuss spat.
"My, such bluntness... well, I'll be glad to introduce myself to my future fans-" the long-haired man spoke before Sage cut him off.
"Before you do, would it kill you to put some clothes on?" the bluenette shielded her eyes with her dark violet sleeve, blushing at the young's man lack of clothing aside from a black speedo.
With a snap of his fingers, the male dressed himself in a black suit jacket over a white dress suit and dark blue-violet tie. A pair of pear yellow plaid shorts that came down to his hips and apple red leg warmers completed his outfit.
"Are you satisfied, mademoiselle? There's no need to be bashful, no one can resist my radiating beauty." smirked the male, speaking in a soothing, light French accent.
"Well, me and Mr. Snugglepuss can. We're guys." the headband-clad boy remarked, brushing off the male's arrogance.
"Anyway, you were about to introduce yourself?" the brown tabby yawned, already annoyed with the long-haired teen.
"Ah, oui. I am Dijon, I apologize that you had to meet me like this. I happen to be a model so I often find myself posing at the most inopportune times. A bad habit, but a good one nonetheless."
"Oh, that explains the speedo. I should do that myself sometime..." mused Colby as Sage cleared her throat to snap him out of his thoughts. "Oh, right! I'm Colby, the girl behind me is Sage, and the talking cat beside me is Mr. Snugglepuss."
"A pleasure to meet you all. Especially, you, mademoiselle." Dijon went over to the violet-clad girl and kissed her hand, painting a deeper blush on her cheeks.
"Ugh, what's wrong with me?! I wanna sock this guy in the face so bad, but I can't... am I seriously falling for him?" Sage thought to herself.
"Heh, your cheeks are redder than a cherry tomato, Sage." teased the master-in-training with a chuckle.
"Shut up, dork!"
"So, Dijon? That's a name you don't hear often... how long have you been a model?" asked Mr. Snugglepuss.
"All my life, honestly. My very first gig was for a cabbage ad," Dijon retrieved a photo of himself as an infant, cuddling a head of cabbage. "It's because of me that cabbage sales had tripled at the time."
"Dang... a looker even as a widdle, bitty baby. I bet you wore silk diapers back then." Colby grinned as he observed the picture.
"Is it normal for a little kid to have that many freckles?" Sage cocked a brow, not as impressed by the photo as her friend.
"I don't know. Is it normal for a guy like me to have such good looks and a charming personality? Oh, hon, hon, hon, hon, hon!" the teen model put his hands on his hips and cackled.
"Why does his laugh remind me of Honey?"
"Based on that obnoxious laugh, I'm assuming you're French?" the human-turned-feline questioned.
"Half. I was blessed to be born to a French father and Japanese mother, both of whom are quite glamorous. As you can see, elegance runs in my family." bragged the long-haired male as he flicked his hair off his shoulder.
"I wouldn't be surprised if arrogance does too." sneered the rosy-cheeked girl, folding her arms.
"Oh, you're so witty, mademoiselle. Outside of modeling, I'm an accomplished chef. My father runs a wine company that just went international outside of France and I plan to help expand his business when I'm older. It's always good to have something to fall back on."
"A chef, huh? You wouldn't happen to be a food fighter, would ya?" Colby asked with a smirk, eager to test the model's abilities.
"Bien sûr! I never miss a chance to show off my prowess in both fighting and cooking. That being said," Dijon pointed at Sage, sporting a conceited, yet sweet smile. "Je voudrais vous défier à une bagarre alimentaire!"
"...huh?" the bluenette stared blankly back, unsure of what the boy meant.
"I believe he wants to face you in a food fight, Sage." Mr. Snugglepuss translated for the girl.
"Comme c'est mignon! You're fluent in French too, Monsieur chat?" the freckled teen smiled warmly at the brown tabby, who winced at his sudden perkiness.
"...er, no. I just assume that anyone's being challenged to a food fight when they point at someone..."
"And you're about to witness another challenge, Mr. Snuggles! Alright, Digeon! I challenge you to a food fight!" Colby followed suit and directed his pointer finger at an unamused Dijon.
"One, it's Dijon, and two, I already issued a challenge to your friend, you idiot." spat the model.
"Oh, uh... right, this is awkward. Is that even allowed?"
"Let me refer to the unofficial handbook for a sec," Mr. Snugglepuss whipped out a red hardback book and skimmed through the pages. "Hmm, challenges... challenges. Ah, here we go. 'In the rare instance that a fighter challenges someone who had challenged another fighter at the same time, there are two ways to settle this predicament: a three-way food fight may take place or the last person challenged may decide who shall face who.' Which means you have the final say in this, Sage."
"I think I'll let you two go at it, just to see who's the bigger clown." scoffed Sage.
"As you wish, mademoiselle. I know we'll have our battle another day." Dijon smirked at the girl with a wink.
"Stop trying to sweet-talk me and have your food fight already!"
"Heh, heh, I love it when Sage blows her lid. She's like a steaming teapot with long blue hair." chuckled Colby, though his comment hardly humored Dijon.
"Yeah... well, let's make this a good bout, shall we?" the freckled male shook hands with the spiky-haired boy.
"Dude, I'm about having good bouts. But before we start, I got a couple things I wanna ask."
"Has anyone ever tried to connect your freckles?" Colby asked as Dijon gave him a tired stare, implying that several people must have done so in the past. "Would you mind if I do that when we're done?"
"Yes... I would mind... a lot."
"In that case, the Meal Melee between Colby and Dijon will now begin! Food fighters, call out your signature dishes!" Mr. Snugglepuss, playing the role of referee, yelped as the two boys stood a few feet away from each other.
"As sick as my cheese curry is, I think I'm gonna let my beef curry shine in this match!" the food-fighting novice announced.
"And for me, my signature dish will be salmon meuniere!" the half-Japanese teen exclaimed.
"Okay, dumb question, but what exactly is meuniere?" Sage asked the former human.
"It can refer to one of two things: how the fish is prepared and the sauce served with the fish. The fish is coated in flour and then fried with butter." explained Mr. Snugglepuss.
"Oh, that sounds good."
"It is, but the real question is how strong can this boy be to use a dish like meuniere. He claims he's an accomplished cook, let's see if he's that accomplished as a food fighter."
"Hmph... so, you picked curry as your dish of choice. I should expect no less from a country bumpkin." Dijon scoffed as he folded his arms.
"A what, bumpkin? Is that some kind of a cross between a butternut squash and a pumpkin?" Colby scratched his head.
"It's an insult, you dork!" the rosy-cheeked girl spat from the sidelines.
"Oh... well, at least, it's better than being called a hobo."
"Actually, bumpkin is another word for hobo." the feline butted in.
"Oh, come on! Why does everyone have to call me that?!" the blond whined and threw his hands in the air.
"Ahem! Can you stop being distracted? We're about to start our food fight, remember?" Dijon reminded with a hint of irritation in his voice.
"My bad, Deej."
"Exactly what I said."
"Fighters, take your positions," Mr. Snugglepuss hollered as the boys assumed their fighting stances. "Get ready... and fight!"
The brown tabby then tapped a kitchen bell three times to signal the start of the food fight, shortly shocked to see Sage snacking from a bag of popcorn that appeared in her arms.
"What's with that kitchen bell and why does it keep appearing out of nowhere?" the bluenette shoved another handful of popcorn into her mouth.
"A better question is how did you get that bag of popcorn out of nowhere?" the cat countered.
Back to the fighters, Colby strafed before the freckled teen with his arms out like a grappler. He took the first few moments to size up Dijon, to get a little taste of his fighting style. From the way the half-French teen had his fists up, the rookie could tell right away he was a boxer, perhaps the farthest thing from his mind. Colby decided to make the first move; covering his eyes with his arm, he swiped at the air as he threw out a streak of light blue projectiles. Learning from his past battles, it seemed better to hang back and test his opponent's defense rather than rush in without a care.
"Burning Onion's Tears!"
Dijon simply ducked under the projectiles with his fists still cocked. Pulling back his left fist, he struck at the blond's jaw.
Squinting a bit from the blow, Colby fought back with his own punches. He delivered a jab from both of his fists, aiming for Dijon's head.
"One-Two Potato Mash!"
Again, the long-haired male ducked and swept the boy's ankles.
Colby stumbled, but quickly got to his feet before he cupped his hands together and prepared to perform a shoulder tackle.
The headband-clad boy rammed the left side of his body at Dijon's chest, making him fall backwards, and the freckled male kicked himself back up, awaiting Colby's next move.
A back kick with his heel facing the teen's suddenly clashed with his own; Dijon lifted his knee and straightened it in time to counter the kick.
"Fouetté de Farine!"
Stepping away with a dash, the half-Japanese male cocked back his right fist and attempted a hook to Colby's upper body.
"Crochet de Citron!"
And that's when the spiky-haired boy pulled the same tactic of clashing with his opponent's move. Colliding fists for a moment due to the knock-back, the male teens leaped away from each other to determine their next move.
"Huh, this bumpkin's more troublesome than I thought. ...so much for this being an easy victory." Dijon grumbled to himself.
"This dude's pretty strong for a model. I can already tell this is gonna be a really good fight." Colby smirked to his opponent's dismay.
"Well, this is starting to get interesting. These two seem evenly matched skill-wise." remarked Sage.
"I've noticed that as well. Both of them are decent fighters, we'll just have to see who wants victory more. Colby's going to need to get serious if he wants to come out on top." Mr. Snugglepuss stated.
"Yo, Dig, enough with the stink-eye. Smile! You're in a food fight, relax!" the master-in-training cried.
"I'll relax when I've beaten you. Winning is the only thing that matters to me in everything I do. A habitual loser like you wouldn't understand. Food-fighting is serious. If you want people to take you seriously, then prove it." the model spoke as he maintained his frown.
"But being serious all the time is boring... I just wanna cut loose and have fun. That's what life's all about."
"Life is about being the best. Unless, you want to suffer a humiliating defeat, you'll get that through your thick skull! Better yet, let me bash it into you!"
Without hesitating, Dijon shot his fist at Colby, who darted away from the half-French teen. The first few minutes into their battle and the blond already noticed a change in the male's demeanor, like his charm and smooth-talking calmness had been replaced with a cold, unwavering nature often found in soldiers. He wasn't alarmed by it, but astonished. Astonished how one's personality can shift into something different when doing something they're passionate about.
After swaying away from Dijon's furious fists, Colby pivoted his body and performed a roundhouse kick to be blocked by the teen's arms. The freckled male attempted another sweep, only to see the rookie hop over his leg and swing his calf at his head, sending him flying across the other side of the field.
"Geez... that should give me some time to-"
An uppercut straight to the master-in-training's jaw silenced him before he could finish. The blow managed to knock him about five feet into the air and sent him landing flat on his face. Groaning a bit, Colby pushed him off the grass and took his stance.
"You're not the only one who knows how to be stealthy. While I haven't been a food fighter for as long I've been cooking or modeling, I would say I'm quite adept at this. I can't lose to an amateur like you. Désolé." Dijon flipped his hair with his hand, his black polished fingernails glimmered in the sunlight.
"Ya might wanna do better than that if you wanna talk smack to me. If I'm an amateur, then how am I keeping up with you? Hmm? You're not going easy on me, are ya, Deej?" the headband-clad boy teased with another grin.
"For the last time, it's Dijon! If I was toying with you, I would've put a little less effort into mauling you."
"Whatever ya say, bro. Just a head's up, I'm sorta new to this, but that doesn't mean you gotta patronize me. Let's just have ourselves a good ol' food fight."
"...you really are a careless little kid. Try to give me more of a challenge and I'll consider taking you more seriously."
"Now, we're talking! You want me to give it my all, you got it!"
Following their small talk, Colby sprinted towards Dijon and lunged at him, throwing out a flurry of jabs.
This left the model to parry every last one of the hits with the back of his hand, while sporting a smug expression. Narrowing his almond eyes again, the half-Japanese teen decided to attack with a flurry of punches of his own.
Instead of being fancy with his defending, Colby guarded himself with his arms barely hiding his face.
"Heh, heh, not bad. Now, let's see you handle this!" the blond jumped over Dijon's head and cupped his hands again, about to ram them onto his skull. "Allspice Swing!"
With a scoff, Dijon socked the fists away and landed a spinning hook kick at Colby's side.
The spiky-haired boy slid back on his heels and took another stance as he panted. Out of the few food fights he participated in, he would say that this one appeared to be his closest yet. Chester and Cane were both worthy opponents themselves, but Dijon seemed to be on a higher skill than them. Taking a breather, the blond had seconds to think over his strategy. Would whatever he came up with be enough to defeat the teen model?
"Oh, yeah, this guy's really giving me a run for my money. Thinking of a game plan against him is gonna be tough. I remember dad told me he faced a few kickboxing food fighters in his time, I wonder what advice he'd have for me..." mused Colby.
At that moment, Jack happened to be watching his son's match from his widescreen television in heaven.
"You want my advice? Don't get your tail whooped by a sissy! Come on, can't you make him break a nail or pull his hair or something? Geez, it's times like these where I wonder how I got such an idiot for a son..." the cheddar-haired man rolled his eyes, clasping a hand over his forehead. Even if he was still alive, he couldn't offer his son any useful information.
"I just hope he's not too disappointed with me... but he can't be with this close fight we got here. Back to coming up with a strategy, his offense is on-point. He's got great defense, his mobility's incredible. ...I got nothing for this guy, he's a real pro in the ring."
"Here we go, Colby contemplating his fighting again. Why can't he pick one plan and stick with it?" Sage sighed.
"Because that's a surefire way to lose. Learning to adapt and studying your opponent is a key part of being successful. Be it in or outside of food-fighting. The fact that Colby is doing this shows his great potential. Most people his age wouldn't even think to do the same if they were starting out." Mr. Snugglepuss explained to the violet-clad girl.
"Hmm... you're right. I never thought of it like that."
"You should try doing it yourself. You could probably beat Honey in another match if you did."
"Huh, I should... wait, what I am doing thinking about Honey? There's a match going on!"
"Hey, you were the one who asked." argued the human-turned-cat.
"Shut it, Mr. Snugglepuss." grumbled Sage with a pout.
Back to the battle, Dijon and Colby stood a few feet away from each other. Stifling a yawn, the freckled teen stretched out his back and cracked his knuckles. Unlike his carefree opponent, the food fight seemed like child's play for him. He didn't want to admit it, but he was slightly impressed with his persistence. No secret the spiky-haired boy's moves weren't all that polished, but nothing an amateur could help.
"Qu'est-ce qui ne va pas? Tired already? Not used to sparring with a seasoned fighter, aren't you?" taunted Dijon.
"Heh, apparently not. But it's all good. As long as I learn from this and apply it to my future fights, I'll be right up there with the pros." Colby boasted, letting the half-Japanese's mocking roll off like water off a duck's back.
"Your confidence is admirable, but it'll take more than that to defeat me. You see, bumpkin, it's one thing to be confident, but it's another to be skilled and it's not hard to see you lack that skill. Face it... you're not cut out to be a food fighter."
"Yeah, you keep talking like that. I've been told time and time again that becoming a food fighter's pointless and it just makes me wanna try even harder. When I'm strong enough, I can show everyone who looked down on me that they were the idiots in the end! And that's exactly what I'm gonna do to you!"
"Heh, heh... so be it then!"
Charging at each other with their fists at the ready, the two teens let out the fiercest battle cries they could muster before trading blows at the center of the field.
Seems as though the heated battle had only begun...
Bien sûr: Of course
Comme c'est mignon: How cute
Je voudrais vous défier à une bagarre alimentaire: I would like to challenge you to a food fight.
Monsieur chat: Mr. Cat
Qu'est-ce qui ne va pas: What's wrong?
Shouyu: Soy sauce