115 Recent Deviations
Featured: Commission Art : Sam Rassmusen
Free Ratigan and GMD Requests/SuggestionsHi everyone! I want to draw some Professor Ratigan fanart and I'm looking for scene suggestions. I'm open to drawing other Great Mouse Detective characters so long as the prompt is Ratigan focused This is my girl Lilly (a very old reference image ). Naturally I'm inclined to feature her in romantic scenes but I'm open to other OC requests as well. Give me your ideas and I'll see what I can do! Thanks everyone!...
Return of the Great Cat and Mouse Chapter 30
Chapter 30 Their Own Bubble Basil and Dawson silently walked down the hallways of the castle as Dawson gave Basil a dubious look."What happens now, Basil?"Basil spared a glance towards Dawson before looking straight ahead again."There is nothing much we can do until more information is gathered... but that may be in vain considering how the prince didn't even know of the existence of the Opal of the Hund."Dawson grimaced."I know... but... I'm glad things are okay for now. Haru is certainly happy despite our situation."Basil sighed."She is indeed.""Hey guys," a voice from above spoke.Basil and Dawson looked to their sides as they saw Crisp swoop down and land next to them."You think we've given Haru and those guys enough time alone, now?""I suppose. Basil and I were heading there now actually. We're anxious to talk about our current situation."Dawson and Crisp’s conversation became distant echoes to Basil as he recalled the events that took place what seemed like ages ago but was merely a few hours ago.Watching in amazement, Basil stared as the stone statue slowly began to appear lifelike as the cold color of gray began to slowly shift into a darker and darker shade until it became coal-black.Fascinating."Toto?!" Haru's squeak and Muta's gruff voice clashing as they cried in unison. By now the stone statue was no longer a statue and the blackbird started to slowly shift, a groan erupting from him."Wha… Wh-?" he blinked before glancing around at everyone in confusion, "What’s going on?""Oh my gosh! It worked!" Haru cheered looking up at Muta who looked almost sick as if he was close to fainting and then at Baron who wore a stoic expression.What happened next was just rambled voices to Basil, all he heard was buzzing chatter and delighted voices as he stared straight through the group."B-Basil?"Turning to his side, he glanced at Dawson who wore a tentative smile."It's over then?"Basil watched him closely before he turned away and looked back at the group."... Not yet." he murmured before staring intently at the dog prince. "There's still one thing left to be done."Watching the group, Basil's eyes traveled to Haru talking excitedly to the confused and dazed raven with everyone gathered around them. “H-How do you feel?” Haru asked the raven hesitantly.“Okay...? If you’re asking if I’m still sick, then no, I’m more than fine.” Toto frowned. “I guess all I needed was a nap I suppose.”“A nap?! You birdbrain, you were dead!” Muta cried out incredulously.Toto’s eyes widened.“W-What?! Dead?! I was sleeping!”“Toto,” Baron said staring directly at Toto causing the raven to be a bit startled by the seriousness of his voice. “You were quite possibly dead. We couldn’t wake you, I did not sense you while you were in your dormant form, you only appeared as stone… Even to me.”Toto eyed Baron warily, his beak opening and closing a few times before he finally managed a sentence out.“I seemed dead to you?” Toto asked Baron, “But… I just feel like I was sleeping. I even think I dreamed too! Are you sure I died?!”“Perhaps you didn’t die as we think?” Hound interjected. “Perhaps you were in a coma-like state and the reason the water helped you was because you weren’t dead after all and you were therefore curable.”Vilhelm’s eyes lit up a bit.“That makes more sense than it bringing him back from the dead. After all, the water may be powerful but as far as I’m concerned not that powerful.”“But that still doesn’t explain how Baron couldn’t sense birdbrain,” Muta frowned in confusion. “Isn’t that a trait that you guys naturally have?”“Perhaps it’s not as reliable as I once thought,” Baron said placing a hand under his chin in thought. Once again the conversation became muffled to Basil as everyone began shooting theories and questions at once. Basil glanced away from the speakers and noticed Haru glance away from the conversation as well as she looked towards him and Dawson. Her perplexed look slowly disappearing on her face. Locking eyes with him for a few moments, she sighed and nodded.She turned away and looked at her friends for a moment before hesitantly speaking up."I-If it's not too much trouble everyone…” she spoke suddenly, causing the current conversation to halt. “I would like to speak to my friends... alone... before anything else happens," she said looking towards Baron, Toto, and Muta.Basil cleared his throat gaining everyone else's attention."While you do that, if your highness will consent, I have business I must speak with you about."Vilhelm looked to Archibald who looked back at him urgingly."Business?" Vilhelm said slowly, hiding a cringe. "... I'll see what I can do, I guess..."While leaving Haru alone with the Cat Bureau inside the room, Basil, Dawson, and Crisp parted with the others in order to speak with the prince alone."I must admit. I'm very curious as to why there are three mice, two birds, and two cats in the royal palace without proper authorization." the prince said wrinkling his nose."Something we humbly apologize for your highness," Dawson said bowing his head in apology."But this is a grave matter," Basil interjected.Vilhelm gave a mournful smile."Grave, huh?" Vilhelm ruffled his head fur. "Can't be any more grave than things already are... Besides... Kunz is already in chains.""I fear this is beyond what has happened, even beyond ourselves and this kingdom. For if we don't seek your help, the whole world may even be doomed," Basil pressed.Alarm arose in Vilhelm's eyes and he looked at the smaller critters in front of him, nervousness edging his voice."... W-What does this have to do with me?" "We have come from our kingdoms to ask of the whereabouts of the Opal of the Hund."The silence in the room was tense, Basil could have sworn he heard the moment everyone's heart stopped in anticipation."The Opal of the Hund?""Yes," Basil nodded. "Have you heard of it?""I- ..." Vilhelm began but stopped before looking down intently at the ground in though.Dawson and Crisp glanced nervously at each other and at Basil, who waited on bated breath for the prince to eventually speak up again."I ..." Vilhelm spoke again. "... I don't know."The group's shoulders fell."B-But what exactly is the Opal of the Hund?""It's a stone that has been passed down by your ancestors. It possesses great power and according to our sources, it’s still in existence and very dangerous." Dawson said."...If fallen into the wrong hands," Basil added."Which is going to be inevitable if we don't find it," Crisp frowned.Playing with his paws, the prince looked around."I... don't remember... hearing of this stone before?" his face scrunched up in thought. Looking at the three again for a moment, his eyes saddened. "But... if what you say is true and it was passed down by my family, then... my parents... must have known of it.""What we feared," Basil said as he began to pace."B-But you know. I could speak to Archibald about it and if he doesn't know of it, I could see about having him do a bit of research to find it?""How long would this take?"Vilhelm bit his lip."M-Maybe half a week at most? If I get a couple of historians to help too, maybe a day or two?"Stopping his pacing, Basil sighed irritably."That may not be enough time... Ratigan may even be ahead of us now."Vilhelm stepped forward urgently."But I'll make sure to begin the search immediately. After all, you all saved me and if this matter is really a life or death matter, then it is of utmost importance.""Do you really think this all is a good idea?" Crisp asked, breaking Basil out of his trance."Well... what would we do without the prince's help? We have no leads to the location of the stone ourselves. Originally, even coming here was a shot in the dark," Dawson said."Be that as it may, we have no other choice at the moment." Basil frowned and walked ahead of Dawson and Crisp.OOOWith widened eyes, Toto stared at his friends in astonishment."Is all that you said really true?"With a small smile, Haru nodded. "Yes. But with the prince's help, you were able to come back."Muta scratched the back of his head."I'm-I'm glad I was proven wrong..."Toto gave Muta a sly smirk."Why Muta... you do care. Here I thought you’d be dancing on my grave."Muta immediately looked away while swatting his paw in the raven's direction. Rolling his eyes, Toto looked towards the quiet half cat."Are you okay, Baron?"As if snapping out of a trance, Baron simply waved his gloved hand."Yes. I am. I'm more concerned about you Toto. Are you positive you’re...well?" Baron scanned the raven.With a nervous smile, Toto raised his left wing so he could examine it and did the same to his other wing and shrugged."I'm in perfect shape? I don't know. I feel normal that is.""If that means you feel like your normal birdbrained self, then good." Muta nodded, which earned a half-hearted glare from Toto. Looking down towards Haru, Muta raised a brow. "Now... are you going to explain to us why you're here and why you're a... squeaker?"Baron immediately perked at the question and looked towards the shuffling mouse. Toto also looked abruptly towards her."That's right, you promised me an explanation if I got better, now that I'm better, I'd like to know too."Biting her lip, Haru stopped shuffling from her nerves and instead played with her hands."Well... you guys already know how I ended up in England, so while I was there, I wound up getting involved in saving my friends from getting run over by a bus-"Haru looked up at hearing a sigh, chuckle, and groan all at once, and blushed at the contrasting knowing expressions the Cat Bureau shot at her."S-Shut up! I know alright! A-Anyway! The friends I ended up saving were Basil, Dawson, and Clive-” Haru stopped speaking and the others turned to look towards the room's door as it opened and revealed Basil, Dawson, and Crisp entering through it."Speak of the devil," Haru grinned at the new arrivals. "I was just in the middle of telling them about how we met.""Are you now?" Dawson grinned before looking towards the Cat Bureau. "Ms. Haru here is our savior. I’ve never been that close to death...erm... besides a few times in the war and a dramatic mouse trap once. This time though, I actually had the chance to have my life flash before my eyes the moment I saw that bus coming towards us." he chuckled nervously."You sure have a track record for putting yourself in dangerous situations, dontcha?" Crisp said flying to Haru's side, raising a brow at her."She does," Baron said humorlessly, causing Haru to flinch and avoid looking him in the eye."A-Anyway I saved them, but we weren't really introduced at the time, in fact, Clive kind of startled me by flailing and...""Oh yes, you were pretty cold with us when you saved us," Dawson recalled. "Why was that?"Giggling nervously, Haru gently scratched her cheek."Well... to tell you the truth... I've never really liked mice or ... any type of rodent before this..."Basil and Dawson immediately stared at Haru with raised brows, while Crisp frowned."That's speciesist."Blushing immediately, Haru shook her head frantically."I-It's not like that!""Oh yeah, now that I think about it, I remember you told us about the mice that the Cat Kingdom gave you for as a gift after you saved Lune." Toto grinned at Haru making her smile bitterly."I was not pleased..."Muta shrugged."I mean can you blame her? Most humans don't like mice or rats, personally, I love them… smothered in butter."Dawson squeaked in alarm, while Muta earned a glare from the rest of the occupants in the room, except Basil who just rolled his eyes."There's no helping if Haru didn't like mice in the past," Basil dismissed. "What matters is now." Basil said gesturing to Haru, who slowly nodded shooting him a grateful smile."Okay so, after I saved these guys, long story short, Clive ended up telling his boss, Ratigan, about me, which for some reason prompted him to kidnap me and-""What?!" cried the members of the Cat Bureau, making Muta shake his head in amusement. "Once again, deja vu.""And with Ratigan? Isn’t this the same guy we confronted in England?" Toto eyed the group."London? Large rat? Very full of himself? A crazed being driven by a lust for power? If so, then yes, I'm pretty sure the Ratigan you've encountered is the same one we are trying to stop." Dawson shrugged.Studying the brown mouse, a twinge of fear consumed Baron suddenly."Haru... do you know why he wants you?"Laughing nervously once again, Haru shrugged, "Uhh...""He wants Haru to be his partner. His life long partner much as he wants to be our life long ruler," Basil decided to abruptly answer, his arms crossed.The Cat Bureau stared at Basil before looking at Haru for confirmation, who only shied away."Another deja vu... " Toto grimaced."So like, a more intense version of the Ex Cat King? Got it." Muta rolled his eyes.Laughing to himself, Crisp grinned down at Haru."You sure attract some eccentric types, not to mention ones way out of your age group, much less species." Crisp raised his wings with a laugh as Dawson shot him a glare.Baron shook his head as he almost spoke in a low tone."That still doesn't answer my question, why exactly does he want Haru?"Everyone in the room turned to focus on Haru, who looked even more nervous than she did earlier."Well... to be honest, I have no clue...""How do you not know?" Muta frowned."Is he... in love with you?" Toto nervously smiled.Haru frowned."I-I don't think so... if he is, he offered no indication of the emotion while I was being held against my will by him... "Basil sighed."Ratigan is a puzzle... the fact you aren't able to determine how he feels comes as no surprise."Baron's eyes narrowed."But Haru, have you... met him before? From how you explained your situation, his henchman, Clive, was the one who saw you first, not him.""So a 'love at first sight' idea is out of the question then," Crisp asked his voice dripping with sarcasm as he rolled his eyes."That must mean that he knew of you before this all started. The question is, how?" Haru stared down at her feet."I... don't think I've met him before," she spoke before looking up at everyone with a frown. "I think I would remember encountering a homicidal rat." she scoffed."Then how the heck would he know about you before even meeting you?" Muta argued.Crisp tsked."Maybe this Ratigan fellow is more of a romantic than you guys realize and he used one of those stones you guys keep going on about to find out who his ‘soulmate’ was and found Haru."Haru blushed heavily."What?! Impossible-!"The room's door swung open and there stood a grinning black canine standing in the doorway."What are you guys still doing up here for?" Paquito nearly cried. "The prince is back, we caught the murderer, it's time to celebrate! Bring your hinterteile (A/N: Translates close to: backside) down here!""C-Celebrate? Now?" Dawson said incredulously."You're the head of the guard, shouldn't your own ‘hinterteile’ be doing something important?" Crisp nearly hissed at the grinning lab and pit mix."What's the use in doing all that? The prince is back, isn't that something worth celebrating after all the hard work everyone did?" Paquito grinned. "Everyone is already downstairs at our own little private party, come on, you guys should celebrate your success!"Crisp eyed the canine for a moment."You just want an excuse to party, don't you... ?"With the grin still, almost stuck, on his face, Paquito awkwardly edged his way out of the doorway, as he slowly closed the door behind him without another word.Muta rolled his eyes."I'll take that as a yes...""But- isn't that a bit inappropriate?" Toto tilted his head as a sweatdrop appeared on his head."You would think... for many reasons," Basil said, glancing back at Haru who shrugged."W-Well... they're waiting for us, aren't they? We should go then?" Haru nearly insisted, a little bit of desperation edging her voice.Staring at her oddly, Basil slowly nodded."At least to speak with the prince."Giving Haru one more perplexed glance, Baron turned to Toto."You're sure you’re okay?"Waving a wing, Toto grinned."Absolutely," he said as he moved out of the bed and stood on his feet firmly. "Better than ever." Helping Haru climb onto Crisp, Basil cast a glance at the cat figurine, who was staring intently at the she-mouse.Rolling his eyes he hopped aboard Crisp as well.'You'd think he wants to eat her... 'OOO"This is highly unorthodox," Lady Divine said with her arms crossed."Well maybe... " Stuart laughed nervously, "But can't let all this food go to waste I suppose."Beto shot Lenore a quizzical look."How on earth did you even manage to get the kitchen staff to prepare all this food without question?"Giggling to herself she spun her floppy ear with her paw flirtatiously, causing the wolf to give the shepherd a frown."Well... I may have told the head chief that the royals requested a feast for a group of orphans, and then afterward I told him I lied and it was just a prank because the royals aren’t even back from their trip yet. Then he got super ticked off and locked himself in his room… he may still be in there actually… someone should probably check on him?"Rudy barged into the ballroom with an armful of musical instruments."I brought the last of the goods to make this an actual celebration!"Rolling her eyes, Divine shook her head."I still think this is very inappropriate...""Chill babe," Paquito said putting an arm around Lady Divine causing her to cringe away. “Chill and catch the vibe.”Nodding softly, Delmira smiled at the group."The prince is back safe and sound, that should be something worth celebrating."Watching the group chatter amongst themselves, Watson shook his head and looked up at Hound from where they leaned against the wall."I'm frankly surprised the prince was okay with this, but do you really think he's okay about this?"Smiling softly, Hound turned to Watson."I would hope so. I'm just hoping the lad wasn't pressured to do this.""I wasn't."Hound and Watson turned to see Vilhelm enter the ballroom with a solemn look."If that's so, are you okay?" Watson stared at the pup with concern.Giving a half-hearted shrug, Vilhelm smiled bitterly."Well... my parents were murdered, I nearly was murdered, and now because I wasn't, this large kingdom is now in the hands of an evil and spoiled preteen..."Hound and Watson gave each other a nervous glance before turning back to the prince."But that isn't the case, you're not evil or even spoiled..." Watson trailed off."Maybe, but the kingdom believes so anyway," Vilhelm shrugged.Hound sighed."Perhaps... but you have to opportunity to prove those who believe that, wrong. You're starting already," he said darting a glance at the rousing group ahead of them.Vilhelm sighed tiredly."I mean... it's nice of them to want to do this... " Vilhelm fidgeted. "And I figured it would be nice to do this after all... before things get nuts around here... "Watson cringed."I know. Who knows how the kingdom will react about the king and queen... I keep forgetting that the whole kingdom is oblivious to the situation, save for us and a handful of the palace staff.""There may even be a panic..." Archibald said entering the room with a frown, which caused Vilhelm to stare at him with a startled look."Archibald? Weren't you helping out in the library to find out about that stone?""I was... " he sighed. "So far nothing..."Vilhelm's eyes saddened."I was afraid of that...""Squirt!"The group looked up to see Paquito run up to them."What are you still doing all the way over here?! This party is for you!" he said suddenly shooting his arm around the startled prince's shoulders."S-Squirt?! I'm not a squirt! Plus this is no way to address me- Hey!?" Vilhelm cried as he was suddenly dragged to the middle of the ballroom."P-Paquito you mustn’t handle the prince in such a way!" Archibald cried chasing after them leaving Hound and Watson smiling amongst themselves."They’re actually having a party then?" Baron asked as he was followed by the Cat Bureau and the Baker Street group inside the room."It appears so," Hound smiled. "Apparently the prince is fine with it despite the circumstances..."Music suddenly filled the air as Rudy blasted his saxophone. Lady Divine placed herself in front of a piano and Stuart picked up a mandolin, while Delmira studied a frame drum, hornpipe, accordion, and flute and chose the latter.Haru watched the group open-mouthed."Wow, a lot of these guys can play a lot of instruments, huh?""Multiple," Hound answered. "One of the advantages of living within or near an animal kingdom you gain an extended lifespan, especially the royals and their staff. You pick up a few hobbies along the way and excel in them because of time."Watson grimace."With the exception of some," Watson said staring at Paquito as he picked up a triangle and started pounding on it loudly and rapidly.Most of the attendees in the room threw their hands over their ears and multiple cried out at once."GOSH DARN IT PAQUITO!" "SHUT UP!""QUIT IT!""I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!""MAAAKE ITT STOOOOPP!!"Paquito stopped only to frown at the group."Okay fine, geez. You guys are just jealous... " he said pouting and dropping the triangle and picking up a cowbell instead."Oookay, I think that's my cue to finally get some well deserved air," Haru said speed walking to the ballroom's balcony before Paquito could produce another grating tune.Sighing, she walked to the end of the balcony only to be disappointed that the ledge was high above her."Ah... I keep getting reminded of my height..." Haru growled under her breathe, but squeaked loudly when she felt herself being raised up onto the ledge. She turned around to see Baron smiling down at her, somewhat sheepishly."Thought you might've needed a hand." he said gently placing her down.Grinning up at the cat creation, Haru nodded with a laugh."You always know just the right thing to do, don’t you Baron?"Baron froze, catching Haru off guard, before offering an almost weak smile to her and looking away toward the view.For a while, the two stood in comfortable silence as they watched from above at the vast expanse of the Dog Kingdom, the land stretching for what seemed like forever. Baron turned his gaze to stare at Haru.'And to think... Ms. Haru has been involved this whole time with this stone and Ratigan mess.' Baron firmly shook his head. 'No. She not just involved, she's in the center of it all.'"At some point, I honestly was wondering if we were going to meet up eventually during this adventure... A part of me hoped so," Haru spoke, interrupting Baron’s thoughts. "The night Ratigan used the Cat Eye of Miw, Basil and Dawson told me they met you, Toto, and Muta."Baron nodded slowly."Yes, we met them that night. If it weren't for your new friends, Yuki and Lune's kittens probably wouldn't have made it back home safely.""They're wonderful aren't they?" Haru smiled to herself, staring out at the canyon, while Baron eyed her silently."Ms. Haru... what happened that night... did... it really transpire?"At Haru's questioning glance, Baron continued."Ratigan used the Cat Eye of Miw and made a wish for immortality for himself... and for a ‘Haru’."Haru stiffened as Baron met her eyes."Are you truly immortal, Haru?""I-I think so?" Haru frowned. "I have no reason to doubt so since the same type of stone managed to turn me into a mouse. The night Ratigan used the Cat Eye of Miw, I was transformed again in another way and even now... I don't feel like... myself..."Baron's eyes saddened."As much as the life of an immortal is sought after, it's not as ideal as people think,” his voice trailing.Haru's eyes also saddened. "Especially with the company you keep."Baron flinched at her statement and stared again at Haru, before a look of determination appeared on his face. Baron then suddenly sat on one knee, his head bowed with his hat off and a gloved hand over his heart, facing Haru."B-Baron what are you-?" Haru blushed immediately."I promise you Haru," Baron spoke without looking up from his bow, making Haru stop. "I will do everything within my power to right this wrong that has befallen you. Not only will I prevent Ratigan from gaining his next wish, but I will also prevent any further harm he may place on you. From now on, you are my priority."Haru stared down at Baron, scarcely believing this scene. Here she was standing on the ledge of a ballroom balcony, now looking down at Baron, even in her size, as he is bowed on one knee like he is proposing to her with the darkening sky around them. Like a scene out of a fairy tale. Haru found her blush growing as she stared down at her feet."T-Thanks Baron…” she whispered and shuffled a bit. “I-I think I'm ready to head back inside..."Baron looked up from his bow and smiled up at her, before standing."I'm just very pleased you're well. Considering what you've been through to this point." Baron said reaching out for Haru, only for her to abruptly grab one of his fingers and hold it close to herself."... Haru?"Haru continued to hold onto his finger, as if it were a lifeline, embracing it almost possessively as she muttered out into his gloved hand."... Thank you, Baron."Baron watched Haru hug his finger and smiled fondly down at her. Haru has always been an affectionate girl. After meeting her and coming to know her back in Japan, the Cat Bureau has come to notice how fond Haru was to hug them, especially if one of the members did or said anything that tended to touch Haru. Holding his finger as a mouse, this was the next best thing for her. Haru truly hasn't changed a bit. He felt a twinge in his chest, but brushed the feeling aside and gently urged her, with his other hand, to stand on his palm."Be it day or night, you have nothing to fear."Haru smiled at the familiarity of the quote and nodded as she was lifted from the ledge and gently placed on the floor next to him.A blush still on her face, she looked up at Baron now towering over her."I'll meet up with you inside in a bit, I still would like some more air actually.""Then I'll leave you to it," Baron said with a bow before turning to leave and going into the ballroom. Once Haru knew Baron was gone, Haru slowly placed her hands over her face, her blush growing even past her furred hands."Ohmygosh!"Haru nearly squealed as she spun around on her feet, throwing herself to the floor of the balcony, looking skyward as her hands were still firmly placed over her face.'It was like... he was proposing to me!'Haru muffled a scream into her hand.'For a second there, I almost thought he'd... but no way! No way!'Now giggling, moving her hand away from her eyes and down over her mouth, she felt herself roll a bit in happiness while flailing her legs above her.'I nearly forgot how charming he can be. But seriously, he needs to stop! When he does stuff like this it only just makes me want to-'"You know... I've heard the term 'fangirl' before, especially in today's pop culture, but to actually witness it happen… I must say... it's just as foolish looking as I imagined it to be."Haru's eyes flew open as she hastily sat up and saw Basil wearing a slight smirk on his face."B-BASIL?!" Haru yelped as she jumped to her feet, laughing in embarrassment. "Y-You saw...?""I almost wish I didn't.""Y-You're... You're not going to tell anyone... are you?"Basil's smirk was replaced with a pondering look."Hmm, I don't know... I think I really should inform Baron that he's got a ‘fangirl’ in his midst.""Don't you dare!" Haru blushed madly as she brought her fist up to pound onto his chest, only for it to be blocked by him as he chuckled."But I get it, Baron is a charming gentleman. Probably a known heartthrob to almost anyone he comes in contact with. Especially with you, considering how much he's done for your sake," his tone changing. "I don't blame you."At hearing the strangeness of Basil's sudden tone, Haru stopped her attempts at pounding him and looked up at Basil, not being able to pinpoint his intent."Wait… You're... not crushing on him are you?"Basil grinned down at Haru."Why do you ask? Are you feeling threatened?"Haru shoved him."N-No!"Basil laughed, shaking his head."Don't worry, you're precious Baron isn't what I would vie for. If anything, his friend in there... Hound was it? Would probably be more of my type. An excellent detective and clearly has a great head on his shoulders, a very intelligent being. Now that's admirable. You're Baron is mediocre in comparison."Haru glared at Basil."For your information, Baron doesn't classify himself as a detective as you and Hound do, he's much more down to earth and takes cases whether small or large, whether simple or hard, whether a mystery needs to be solved or a clear issue needs to be resolved. Baron's different, so don't you go comparing him to anyone, just because you're jealous-""Jealous?" Basil repeated looking down at Haru abruptly, "And what exactly am I so jealous about, Haru?" Basil glared, looking her in the eyes as if daring her for an answer.Haru stared back at Basil with the same intensity as she struggled with her own anger, her fists shaking to her sides."B-Beats me."Basil scoffed, before turning away."Typical," Basil said pulling out his matchbook and lighting his pipe, bringing it to his lips for a smoke as he earned a disapproving glare from Haru."You really shouldn't smoke you know. You're going to ruin your lungs and one day you'll be needing CPR yourself."Basil nearly choked on the smoke he had just inhaled and gasped, sputtering."W-What?!"Haru shrugged."What, what?""W-What are you suggesting?!"Haru frowned at him."I know you were the one who gave me CPR earlier, Basil."Basil watched the dark brown mouse in front of him, unable to figure out what to say."But you thanked Dawson-""I mean, I knew he also played a part in saving me too but based on how flustered you looked at the time, I only figured it was you that did the dirty work," Haru grinned. "So I thanked only Dawson to save you the embarrassment."Basil glared at Haru smiling cheekily at him as she held her hand out towards him."By the way, I want my first kiss back. Give it back."Basil scoffed before playfully slapping her hand away."Don't be silly, it's not the same thing."'Says the guy who is all flustered,' Haru thought rolling her eyes. "Of course not."The two stood next to each other in silence before Haru broke it."Thank you for saving me."Basil turned and looked at Haru, having heard the soft words, barely registering the fact that Haru had just now wrapped him in a warm embrace."I-It was no issue..." Basil spoke awkwardly, as he stiffly patted her head.Haru smiled before releasing him from the hug and then stared at the sky, which was now completely dark with the stars glittering in the night sky above them. It was silent once more between them for a minute."So... are you planning to go with them?"Haru glanced at Basil who was also staring up at the sky."What?""Your Cat Bureau is now here... Do you not wish to go with them to help you now?"A puzzled look appeared on Haru's face."What are you saying? I'm sticking with you guys."Basil eyed her."Besides we all have the same goal to find the Opal of the Hund, we're all headed in the same direction, there is no reason to split."Basil smiled wanly."I see..."Haru placed her hands to her hips."But as much as I prefer that the two groups stay together if for some reason we had to split, I'll still stick with you guys."Basil's eyes widened slightly."It started with you, Dawson, and Crisp, it needs to end with you guys. It would feel weird otherwise," Haru sighed. "I love my friends from the Cat Bureau and they mean the world to me. But coming to know you, Dawson and even Crisp, you guys have come to be trusted friends of mine too."Haru looked up at Basil."You all mean the world to me now."Basil's widened eyes softened."... Haru...""You two!"The mice turned and saw Dawson stumbling to them with a wide grin on his face."You're still out here? You should come inside and see what's going on!" waving them towards him, as he rushed back inside.Watching him leave, Basil chuckled."Well, it looks like we should join this 'party' now," Basil raised his arm for Haru. "Shall we?"Startled by Basil's sudden gentlemanly manner, she hesitantly took his arm feeling slightly weird."S-Sure."Escorting Haru into the now bright ballroom, the two stared in awe at how much it had changed in their absence. The once quiet and echoing room was now filled with the sound of an upbeat tune the canines played away on their instruments. Lady Divine playing with ease on the piano, Rudy swinging around as he played the saxophone, Stuart playing the mandolin with a calm smile, and Delmira happily playing the flute. Haru was a bit started to see Muta next to them playing a frame drum with one paw dispassionately, while the other held a large half-eaten slice of bienenstich (a German honey-almond vanilla custard cake called: bee sting cake). Meanwhile, in front of the quintet, Lenore and Paquito dance wildly with glasses of (what Haru hoped) was juice in their hands, while Watson, Archibald, and Vilhelm with Archibald's urging, danced happily together. On the other side of the room was a long buffet table laid out with many familiar foods along with many others Haru couldn't name. Standing next to the table was a grinning Toto watching the group as he bobbed his head rhythmically to the music. Next to him was Crisp and now Dawson enjoying a plate of food. On the opposite side of the room was Baron and Hound leaning against the wall together wearing content smiles, as they both held their own mugs filled with a hot liquid.Haru grinned before taking her arm from Basil's in order to drag him towards the dancers."H-Haru?""Come on, that looks like fun, we look dumb just standing here like idiots.""I'd rather not...""It's been a while since I've gotten the chance to practice my dancing, although I'm not a pro, I still want to try." Haru grinned. When she first started visiting the Cat Bureau, Baron had given her a few dancing lessons, even going beyond waltzing sometimes. But after taking up the violin, violin lessons took over, leaving Haru to dance on her own time. Things like this made her miss it. She had no doubt if she asked, Baron would dance with her if she requested... yet with her current size, that would prove difficult. The only one not occupied and suitably matched her size to dance was Basil. She just hoped she could convince the inscrutable detective."Please, Basil."Basil resisted the urge to groan and nodded tiredly."... Very well."Basil almost didn't manage to get his reply out as Haru giddily dragged him towards the other dancers. Seeing Haru position them with her hand in his, at arm's length, Basil immediately recognized the position for a type of reel, as he and Haru bowed slightly to each other and spun together before reversing the movement. Deciding to start with something familiar, Haru started the same dance she did back in school when she awkwardly danced with her classmates, hoping to get a good grade and not for any other reason. She was thankful Basil knew what she was going for, as she more confidently led Basil to the next move. She moved in front of Basil, linking their hands as she urged him to follow her as she took a few steps backward which Basil countered as he then urged her towards him as he took a few steps back. Watching their movements Basil instantly recognized it as a Latin dance style.Finding herself smiling realizing she and Basil were starting to grow more in sync, Haru flashed Basil a cheeky grin before suddenly speeding up the movements, startling Basil a bit, before he also grinned down at her, as if accepting her challenge. The two then danced with a newfound energy that caught the attention of most occupants in the room.Sipping his tea, Hound watched the pair with a smile."Fine couple they make, don't they?"Baron, who was watching the pair intently with a stare that Hound didn't dare want to directly address, almost jumped nearly spilling his own tea at Hound's voice breaking him out of his trance."What was that?"Hound shrugged."Just those two, they sure are stealing the show."Dragging his green eyes to the two mice in the middle of the dance floor, surrounded by the bigger occupants dancing, he eyed the teasing dangerous distance between them and the larger beings. Baron only hoped Basil was noting their proximity to avoid being trampled.Once again today, Baron found himself cursing his height. How he had a longing to be her size. To be the one to dance with her and also lead her around safely. For now, he had to trust Basil to do so.Baron firmly closed his eyes and raised his mug of tea for a sip.He needed to stop this. Haru was enjoying herself, what did it matter who she was enjoying it with? Baron's eyes then went back to Haru, as she was now laughing as Basil led her in an abrupt dance move that caught her off guard which she quickly countered.Baron smiled at the scene. Yes, he needed to control this selfishness.Plopping a berry into his mouth, Toto turned to the green parrot and round mouse to his side."Aren't you two going to dance as well?"Dawson blushed and shook his head."Oh no! I wouldn't know what to do," he laughed. "Besides, resting is just fine with me after today.""Couldn't agree more," Crisp said eyeing Toto. "What about you?""My near death experience kind of has me just wanting to relax and observer," Toto said watching everyone. "I know others would say otherwise, but for me, to observe and appreciate what I've been given is what I most want to do, you know?"Smiling softly, Dawson nodded."I understand..."Despite himself, Crisp also smiled."But you know, this is quite the group you have here."Toto and Dawson watched their friends, smiling fondly, content with the scene in front of them."Ugh. I'm starved."The group turned to see the young dog prince that was now next to them, reaching for a pastry on the table and nibbling it as he watched the group with them.Toto smiled at the prince."Prince Vilhelm, how are you liking your party?"Finishing his pastry with a gulp, the prince nonchalantly shrugged."I suppose it'll do... " he said eyeing his subjects with a soft smile on his face. "... I'm surprised they're even celebrating this for me... It's nice...""They're all pleased by your safe return," Dawson said looking up at the prince. "And happy that your parent's legacy will live on with you, I imagine."His soft smile saddening, Vilhelm looked at his feet."I guess.""Ah, that was enjoyable." Watson sighed, as he joined them at the table and grabbed a cup of something to drink, before glancing at Vilhelm. "Done dancing?""Maybe... just wanted this break." Vilhelm shrugged.Watson laughed."Yes, I understand," he said taking a sip from his cup. "Talented group you have here, though. I didn't think I was going to dance, but the music was just too infectious, I found myself in the middle of the dancefloor before I knew it.""Yeah, to be honest, if I wasn't so exhausted I'd be tempted to dance too," Crisp grinned.Vilhelm laughed slightly."Yeah, makes me envious, wish I could play as well as them.""You play then?" Toto asked."I guess. I learned a bit of violin, but I'm not too good at it. It was a skill pushed on me, to be honest. I ended up hating it."Dawson and Watson frowned."That's too bad," Dawson said. "My friend Basil plays wonderfully, enough to make anyone fall in love with the instrument."Watson's eyes widen."Hound too! He has a gift."Toto eyed the two with a surprised smile."Ah, make that two more. Baron and Haru are also very talented players. I became a lover of the violin after hearing them play.""Really?" Vilhelm stared at the group before eyeing the violin players in the room, with narrowed eyes. "I wonder then..."Without another word, Vilhelm moved away from the table and headed towards Archibald, who was nervously in the middle of a dance with a red-faced Lenore.Looking at a particular member of the quintet playing a frame drum, Haru grinned and urged Basil in a new direction, as they got closer."I'm surprised you're playing for everyone, Muta!" Haru called up to Muta, over the music, while she continued to dance with Basil.Startled, Muta looked down at them."Oh hey," he said with a frown. "They kept going on about needing some percussion in this." Muta then shot a glare at the large raven at the other side of the room, who looked away innocently."Then before I knew it, I was forced into this."Haru laughed, with a shake of her head, as she and Basil danced away from the band again. Haru frowned, however, noticing Basil's movements becoming more halfhearted and lazy. She looked up at him and saw he was in a daze."Basil?"Basil snapped out of it."Yes? What?""Are you okay?"Not answering her for a bit as their dance slowed, he sighed."Just anxious is all," Basil's brow furrowing. "I just keep imagining Ratigan being out there, holding the opal as we speak, and us being here. His last wish Haru, will doom us all." Basil said gravely.Anxiety now entering her own heart, Haru bit her lip nervously."I know what you mean... but we're going to have to trust Vilhelm and his assistants on helping us find out about the stone, it's our closest lead." Basil shook his head."Yes, but what if they don't find anything? We need to consider the possibility they might not turn up anything!" Basil said pushing Haru from their dance, in order to pace. "I almost just want to leave to do my own research and investigating!"Haru eyed Basil, his sudden change of mood catching her off guard."B-But our best chance at finding the stone is here-""Yes, yes! But what if it isn't?! We should leave and find it ourselves and if we should not find anything soon, we can come back to see if they discovered anything themselves. Sitting around idly and wasting time is not ideal!"Haru frowned before rushing to keep the pacing Basil still, with a hand on his shoulder."Neither does working yourself to death!" Haru argued firmly. "Since leaving England, we've been working tirelessly, nonstop, especially with this case. There is nothing wrong with being stumped and relying on help from others. There is nothing wrong with a small break.""She's right you know."Basil and Haru abruptly looked up to see Vilhelm looking down at them with his hands on his hips with a pouty frown on his face."You all worked very hard to help find me and while I am more or less aware of your overall dilemma, it's obvious you have worked yourselves tirelessly for that opal as well." Vilhelm crossed his arms. "I refuse to have my saviors work themselves to exhaustion on my watch. I want you and your friends to remain in the palace until my historians and I can find out anything about this opal you wish."Basil raised a brow."With all due respect your majesty, how long will that take? I must remind you that time isn't on our side. A madman could get his hands on the stone while we stay here idly."Vilhelm scoffed."I highly doubt some outsider dude, has any more information about the whereabouts of this stone as I do. I'm telling you, you have nothing to fear. In fact," Vilhelm said loudly, alerting everyone in the room, causing even the music to halt."I command you all to stay and use this time wisely to rest up until I've gotten information about your stone." Dawson and Crisp blinked at the sudden statement, as well as Toto and Muta who also gave a quick glance to Baron who just watched the scene curiously.Basil tsked."Even at your request, there is still-""Royal's orders, Basil," Haru crossed her arms, shooting him a soft smile. "We have no choice."Basil sighed tiredly, as he put a hand to his forehead.Vilhelm stared down at the mice, satisfied that his command would be heeded and looked to his side. "There is also something I wish for you to do. Including you two as well," he said glancing at Hound and Baron.Archibald then walked over to the two, giving Hound and Baron two violins.Baron looked down at the violin given to him. The size a bit large for him, but not too large for him not to play it."And what would that be, Vilhelm?" Hound smiled, eyeing the violin in his possession.Vilhelm smirked."You're friends boasted about you all being very skilled at the violin." Archibald was now making his way over to Basil and Haru."I wanted to see if their bragging had merit." Vihlem shot a glance at everyone still on the dance floor, as they wordless complied and moved to the side.Archibald leaned down and held out his hands to Haru and Basil, with each hand holding two small violins for the two mice."Luckily I was able to find some for your size," Archibald laughed nervously. "I'm very glad we decided to keep gifts from other kingdom's despite their sizes now."Haru and Basil looked at one another, before grabbing a violin.Smiling fondly at the instrument, Haru laughed softly to herself."Feels like ages ago since our violin duel."Basil found his sour mood being replaced as he smiled tiredly."Well, if it's our majesty’s order, shall we?" Hound grinned at Baron then towards the mice."Yes, but Basil and my violins might be drowned out by yours. Not to mention what we should all play." Haru frowned up at the taller violinists.Baron smiled."Then indulge us as we experiment," he said leaning his hand down for Haru, as she climbed on and squeaked when she suddenly found herself placed on top of Baron's tophat. Hound and Basil watched as the tawny cat and mouse moved to the middle of the ballroom."Shall we?" Hound repeated, following suit with Baron as he held his hand for Basil."I suppose I have no choice, do I?" Basil smiled shaking his head, as he got on Hound's hand and was lead to the middle of the ballroom as well and placed on top of Hound's hat.The others in the room crowded the four, watching with awe as the quartet did not speak and began to play.At first, the lone melodies played by each violinist did not seem to go with the other. But little by little, the melodies began to flow together into a strange single melody.Hound's calm, soothing, and confident melody.Baron's sensuous, lustrous, and mellow melody.Basil's austere, solemn, and introspective melody.Haru's merry, sweet, and unique melody.All four melodies syncing, flowing and dancing naturally with each other as if they were their own symphony. The occupants in the room found themselves marveling at the music being played. A sense of belonging, as if in their own bubble, filled the group as they all enjoyed the music and closed themselves off from the rest of the world. Unbeknownst to the group, they were not the only ones enjoying the music. The ballroom's door was open only a sliver as someone peered at all of them silently."Should we report this?"The figure slowly dragged his gaze away from the ballroom occupants to look at the dark garbed figure next to him."Yes," he said simply, before turning back to peer in the ballroom again."Is it really necessary?" another darkly garbed figure asked."Yes," he said again, not removing his gaze to look at his companions. With a sigh, one of the dark clothed figures nearly groaned in frustration."Really, Clive? Must you be so vague? Are you sure Ratigan will be fine with this?"Not turning to his other mice companions, Clive sighed."Of course. Ratigan at most just wants us to check on Haru... I'll meet you two in the back." Clive dismissed them.The two mice looked at one another and then pulled up their dark hoods over their faces and disappeared into the shadows of the hallway.Clive watched the two leave and turned again to the violin players, his eyes set particularly on the two mice.Shaking his head, Clive's stern look melted into a small smile, as he put his dark hood over his head as he then retreated into the shadows....
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