The Pirate and the Princess
Crossing his forelegs in front of him, Bartral, a pirate Eyrie, let out a sigh and rested his chin on top of them. From where he lay in the grass, he could see the towering coliseum where the Fourth Annual Altador Cup was taking place. Though it wouldn't be long before his favorite team, Krawk Island (naturally) would be taking the field, the forlorn Eyrie had been tasked "not to move from that spot."
His owner, Alhan, was off gathering up his siblings and despite Bartral's insistence that he could get them good seats if he was allowed in early, Alhan had been firm. The other three had scattered as soon as they'd arrived in Altador and only Bartral's eagerness to watch the matches had been what kept him from straying.
"We're going to end up way in the back, I just know it," he grumbled.
His eyes trailed to the line of pets filtering in, a few owners walking with them, but most were there on their own. One such pet caught his eye. It was a royal Uni, who, by the way she was prancing, was obviously nervous to be there by herself. Maybe Alhan wouldn't mind if he...
No. He'd been told to stay put. And though he didn't like it, he wasn't going to worry his owner by disappearing. Maybe he'd just have to look for her in the stands when they finally got inside.
Or maybe she could drop the scarf off her hat and not realize that it was missing. Bartral picked his head up as he saw the pink fabric flutter down to the ground. The Uni continued on, oblivious to her loss, while the other pets in line paid it no heed, some even stepping on it as they hurried inside.
Picking himself up, he raced over to where it lay, hastily calling back apologies to those he bumped in his hurry, and snatched it up with his beak, twisting it around his neck with a deft toss of his head. Now all he had to do was find the owner before she got too far into the throng of fans.
Of course, hurrying and not being rude didn't go hand in hand. He couldn't very well cut the line, but at the same time, he was annoying those around him by his constant hops and flaps to try and spot her. So intent was he on his task, he didn't realize the angry shouting nearby was directed at him until he heard "Thieving pirate!"
"Son, please come with us." A couple of the officials that had been manning the gate stepped up on either side of him, urging him to step out of the line.
Looking up at the Grarrl on his one side and the Lupe on the other, he swallowed. "I'm sorry, Sirs, I was just trying to--"
"That's my scarf!" A Chia in a pink dress pointed at his shoulder. "He bumped into me and must have snatched it when he did!"
"What? No! I didn't! Y'see, there was a Uni and--"
"Thief!" the Chia shrieked, interrupting him. She tried to snatch the scarf away but the official stopped her.
"We need to get to the bottom of this, first, miss." The Grarrl was trying to talk to her and calm her down while the Lupe led Bartral away.
"Why don't you tell me your side of it, son?"
"I didn't steal it," he stated. "I saw it fall off of the hat of a Uni who I think went inside already and I wanted to give it back to her." He looked past the Lupe and saw the Chia in front of the Grarrl, eyes filled with tears. She caught sight of him looking at her, though, and made a face at him. Sheepishly, he looked back up at the official. "I might have bumped her when I was hurrying over to pick it up, but I didn't steal it."
"Well, if you didn't take it, then you won't mind me putting it in our lost and found then?" The Lupe arched a brow at him.
Bartral knew a trick question when he heard it. No matter what his answer was, he was going to lose the scarf. It was all a matter of whether or not the Lupe believed he was innocent afterward.
"No, Sir." He worked it loose and held it out to him.
"Thank you. We'll see this matter sorted out, don't worry. You go on now. And keep yourself out of trouble."
"Yes, Sir." Wings drooping, he shuffled his way back to the tree he'd been under before. As if getting in trouble with the Altadorians wasn't enough, he got back to find Alhan waiting for him he returned.
"Changed your mind about sneaking in early?" Though it was meant as a joke, the smile faded when Bartral let out a sigh. "What's wrong, Bart?"
The Eyrie managed to mumble out his 'adventure,' concluding the story with "and on top of that, I disobeyed you, too."
Alhan crouched down. "Hey, it's okay. You were trying to do something good for someone. I'm not saying you should make a habit out of it, but I think I can let you slide this one time." He gave Bartral a hug around the neck.
"Thanks. So, does this mean I can still go see the tournament?" Bartral really didn't want to push his luck, but seeing Dasher in action was worth the risk.
"Yeah. Your brother and sisters are already in line. Let's go find them."
The two walked toward the entrance, the Eyrie casting glances at the two officials as they got closer.
"What wasss that all about?" asked his Hissi sister, Tamriban, as the Grarrl informed him that the scarf was securely tucked away.
"Nothing!" He hurried ahead, not wanting to have to tell his siblings about his misadventure, too.
The group of them soon found seats together and not as high up as Bartral had feared. They were near the middle, too, so they had a great view of the whole field. And the stands below. And a certain pink Uni who looked very sad to have a scarfless hat sitting on the bench next to her.
"I'll be right back!" Practically scrambling out of the row and into the aisle, he would have flown down if he hadn't wanted to cause even more of a stir.
"Hey, um. Hi!"
The Uni let out a surprised noise as he finally spoke to her. "Um, hi." Her eyes were red, looking like she'd been crying.
"I found your scarf. I, uh, don't have it anymore, but if you ask them at the gate, they have it." He gave her a smile.
"You did! Oh, thank you! Thank you! This is the first time I've come here on my own and I didn't want any trouble and then I went and lost--Thank you!" she bubbled again. Suddenly, she seemed to remember her manners. "I'm Wysterli."
She smiled. "Would you like to sit and watch the match with me?"
"Um..." He glanced up to the other seats and smiled when he saw Alhan give him an "okay" gesture. "Sure! But, uh, only if you're rooting for Krawk Island," he added with a laugh.
"Are you kidding, they're my favorite!" She moved her hat so he could take the spot beside her.
Guess some times it is worth getting in trouble, he chuckled to himself. Especially if you make a new friend!