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Jousting Festival 2019 Writing Contest: The Big Blue One

The Big Blue One
By: MsLupinetti

The light hot breeze blew against the vixen's fur as Aria sat against the hard wooden back of the wagon bed. With her tail curled around her form she focused on several dishes in front of her. Despite her arms aching she kept them up acting as a barrier to protect them. Not too far from her sat a caribou, Fjolvarr, who sat as tense as she only instead he watched a large terracotta pot with overflowing blossoms.

In the front at the driver's seat of the wagon sat the ivory lupine, Elska, who in her claws held the reins to the hauling uni propelling them forward, and to the side of the working beast strolled a kirin tethered to the wagon. Eyeing the open pastures of wildflowers and tall plush grass they would soon arrive the fair. The image of a coveted blue ribbon formed in her head, and her tail wagged with giddy. Glancing over her shoulder she smiled, "Aria, if tis' not much of a bother, what is it that you brought?"

"Hm?" Glancing down to her assortment of foods Aria slid them closer towards herself. She spent the entire day before standing in front of a fire with spoon in her paws. Brushing the side of one of the containers, "Well that one is my take on a traditional Olde Foxbury cheesecake." She started with the dessert before the entrèe and appetizer to let it cool longer. Sliding her paw against another container, "And this is an overnight slow cooked soup,"

"Soup, but is it not a bit err, underwhelming I suppose." Elska nodded to assure herself on her word choice.

"Okay that's fair. Kinda. Still it's pretty well known that they love soup. Bonkers for soup. Remember the whole soup thing? Remember? I think they called it Soupvilla, couldn't​ walk around without someone handing you a bowl of soup. Anyways, I'm just trying to work their soup bias is all." Proud of herself the vixen held her head high. She still put a lot of effort into the soup nonetheless because she did want to win after all. Besides she woke up several times throughout the night to check up on the soup. Tapping the last container, "And this is a new recipe for me, you know how cow bell peppers are making a huge splash everywhere?"

"Mmm yes,"

"Yeah, I went with stuffed cow bell peppers." She practiced with a few different variants, and taste tested them all before committing to the current peppers. Trying not to show her nerves over the peppers she opted to mentally praise herself.

"Um, speaking of cow bell peppers, did you know that um they're going to have a seminar on them?" Fjolvarr looked to Aria before averting his gaze.


"At the fair, uh they had um, advertised a seminar, and uh it's going to be about cow bell peppers, and um corn of ears."

"Oh yeah?" Aria urged him to continue.

"Um yeah, it's going to be uh like you know. I mean I thought maybe we could check it out, I think it seems like fun." Fjolvarr eyed his flowers, and took a deep steady breath. "About what kind of soils they prefer, like clay or sandy or loamy. What kind of fertilizer would be best. To mulch or not." His reservations slipped away from him, and he straighten himself up. "Or, or if they're prone to root rot, and what to do for the very best harvest. If they like full sun, or partial shade."

Aria grabbed her tail from thumping against the wood. She would never get over how adorable he became when talking about plants. Anyone could see the glint in his big chocolate eyes. Letting out a chuckle she pointed to the flower pot, "Well checking that out wouldn't be a bad idea, but what about that bad boy right there?"

"They're petunias." He brought one of his many trumpet shaped blossoms closer to sniff the sweet delicate floral scent. White stripes ran down the middle of the gradient magenta petals in a star like pattern. Short dark purple veining emerged from the center. He dedicated entire flowerbeds to the different colored and patterned petunias, and he kept a strict watering regimen. "Oh, I mean that there's a flower show. Or shows really,"

"Hoping to win?" Aria grinned at him.

"Uhh what about Elska? She brought two contestants. Sorta looks like she really really wants to win." Fjolvarr pointed to the uni and kirin in front of the wagon.

"Hmm verily, you are not wrong. I am indeed hoping to win." She hoped her uni would take the grand prize. She spent hours training with the beast. Some days she'd finish by letting out sighs of relief knowing their success, and on other days frustration bubbled in her belly. Motioning towards the kirin, "Ah but 'tis her first showing. However I think she has the temperament for competition. Let us see how she does."

Spotting a hanging banner in the distance she pointed her snout in the air taking a few sniffs causing her tail to swish. "Ah." The closer they got to the fairgrounds something new kept catching their eyes. The well trodden paths were wide enough for at least two wagons side by side, yet a large range of villagers roamed every part. Her ears twitched in all directions from the chaotic chatter. Different tents and stalls were pitched on either side of the pathways. Scanning around, for some form of map she found a labeled post. Reading each pointed wooden directional sign she glanced back to her companions. "Who will be the first one off?"

"Um-" Fjolvarr raised his arm. "-me maybe,"

Aria shook her head. "No way, cheesecake might be find cold, everything else not so much."

"But, but my flowers could get smashed up,"

"Three dishes means three times the danger,"

Slumping his shoulders the caribou relented. "Fine,"
Nodding her head they started down the path ahead of them. Licking her lips to stop the dribble threatening to fall, but the scent of cooking and treats became stronger the closer they got to the food grounds. Elska eyed the vendors and the stalls. Street foods, and taste tests and village specialties. Passing by a pie eating contest she could only imagine the flavors based on the color of the filling smeared across all the blurring faces.

"Oh look." Aria pointed off to the side towards a clearing with a mass of chairs set up in front of a table and a podium. "That's probably the preservation method thing."

"Um you mean like the cow bell peppers?"

"Yeah, but on preservation methods, seminar I guess. Something with honey preserves."

Elska gulped down. Honeyed fruit and nuts were her favorite. The sweet thick golden honey. The sweet bursting fruits. The hard crunch or buttery nutty variety. "That sounds good,"

"There's also pickling, smoking, salting, ehh there's a lot." The fox waved her paws excusing herself from continuing the list.

Still they continued passing by the cooking courses, and competitions for barbeque and grilling to baking before reaching the general three course meal competition. Taking her arm, and wiping the corners of her lips a speckle of shame hit the wolf. She was supposed to keep a proper image. "Let me help you." She sighed leaping to the ground to assist her friend.

"Cool, were should I meet up with you guys?"

Elska looked to Fjolvarr who shrugged shaking his head. "Err-well I did see a bit of seating by the stalls at the front of here,"

"Sounds good, catch up with you later." Aria waved them off.

Climbing back onto the wagon she glanced over her shoulder, "To the plants now?"

"Um yeah, but I think I guess I probably might have gone with horticulture,"

Locking eyes with him she grinned and broke out into laugher. "Oh but of course, yes my apologies. Yes, on towards the horticulture grounds." Scanning the stalls on her their way out, which one should she try afterwards? Something on a stick? Something deep fried? Shaking her head she could think of that later.

With the help of several signs the focus of stalls changed from mouth-watering temptations to botanical. Smiling at the series of gasps she heard. She tried sneaking a glance behind her only to find the caribou unable to fixate on any one thing. His head bounced from side to side with wide eyes.

"Ooohh look, look." He pointed to a corral filled with flowering beasts. "Those must be the in season plantimals,"

"Perhaps we shall pick up some seeds."


"But of course, I do not think I would be able to resist either,"

Nearby an enclosed nursery advertised​ their saplings and sprouts. The young flowers sitting at the edges hit them with a concoction of scents. The deeper they went the attractions grew specific. A group of giant chomper plants sat in a row as a judge walked by assessing each plant before placing them on a scale. "Giant giant chompers." On the other side instead of judging size the mandrakes were judged on their abnormal shapes. Then petals covered the path little by little until overtaking the ground in a flurry of vibrant colors leading them toward Fjolvarr's choice of flower show.

Wiggling himself off of the wagon he slid his flowers into his arms, and held the pot to his chest.

"I bid you good luck,"


Waving him off Elska started off towards​ her preferred grounds of the fair. Navigating the way she scrunched her face at the all too familiar whiff of manure and laughed. The faithful unavoidable tell tale sign meant she drew closer. Off to the side where unique stable design samples. Nearby were bedding comparisons. In an entire row hung tack and equipment for handling. In the next were vitamins disguised as treats. Reaching the end the show pens came into view, and she gulped before going in.

The sun hung in the west showering illuminating rays across the still bustling fair. Elska sat at an empty table her tail drooping behind her. In one paw she gripped several kebobs, and in the other a fork. In front of her were various plates from different vendors. She scarfed down her food in audible gulps paying no attention to the oncoming figure.

"So, you're not going to share?"

"Hmng?" The wolf looked up with her jaws full. Her eyes widening at the sight of Aria. Giving a few grunts she tried to chew everything down. "Err-" She shook her head. "-no?"

"Well that's probably, for the better. Might get something bitten off by the way you're shoveling it all in there,"

Averting her gaze, "Ha yes, I suppose you are not wrong. So, how did it go?"

Letting out a mixture of a grumble and a sigh Aria slapped down a white ribbon. "Fourth place. I was so close,"

"That is not so bad." Emptying her paws Elska dug around her cloak, and pulled out a pair of ribbons holding them both up. "Green is fifth place, and purple honorable mention,"

"That's still pretty good,"

"I suppose it is,"

"Oh look whose coming." The fox pointed towards Fjolvarr.

He nestled himself at the table with them. Looking over their ribbons, "Oh you guys got in the top ten, that's great,"

Exchanging glances with each other before staring him down and asking in unison, "Well?"

He smiled showing them a big vibrant blue ribbon.


"Yeah, that's amazing,"

"Aww thanks, so um maybe we could check out the uhh nursery?" He pointed behind him.

"But of course, but I think I saw cake. Celebratory cake first,"

Laughing he nodded in agreement. They still had the rest of the day to enjoy the fair.