"What if we run into Bailey?" Poppy pondered.
"If he's so hellbent on being my second spouse then I'll give him a list of demands that will be nearly impossible to achieve!"
Poppy chuckled, "alright, like what?"
"Firstly," Oribella pulled Poppy into the nest, "a bathtub large enough for you and me to soak together," she wiggled her way into Poppy's arms, "but it must be carved out of PINK stone!"
After taking a moment to fantasize about sharing a bath with Oribella poppy said, "that is certainly difficult... But not impossible." Poppy was worried that maybe the demands would be too easy. Males have done much more in order to win over a female.
Oribella pointed to one of the small plates from breakfast that had mixed steamed greens, "what are these called again?"
"wild vegetables. I've also heard the term 'soft grasses' before."
"Then Secondly: I want a large garden at my disposal. Filled with every fruit baring plant and wild vegetable imaginable!"
Poppy began to get less nervous about Bailey's ability to complete Oribella's tasks. "Now that one sounds much more difficult!"
Oribella thought of what her final demand of the brutish Bailey might be... she couldn't very well ask for a sewing machine or an electric iron without having to explain both...
"Poppy," she had one more idea though, "are you interested in becoming the next Bear King?"
"Not particularly. I'm a strong fighter but being a King means being a leader too. Plus most of the females in the Kingdom distrust me... In turn their spouses don't trust me either... But I would still try to become the Bear King if YOU want me to."
"No!" Oribella insisted, "if you become a King you'd become too busy to spend time with me! Jospeh and Starlight only get to spend their sleeping hours together." Oribella rubbed her face against Poppy's chest. "I want you to be with me as much as possible!"
"You're too adorable." Poppy hugged Oribella firmly, "you make me feel like my heart is going to explode! But in a good way?"
Oribella giggled and smiled, melting into Poppy's arms.
The two stayed there fo a long while. Just holding and being held. Taking in each other's essences.
At some point Oribella dozed off and began to have another sexy dream about her and Poppy. Then in the middle of it all Bailey showed up! He was demanding a turn with Oribella and trying to fight Poppy yet again. Oribella went to speak but no sound came out of her throat. She couldn't speak? She couldn't BREATHE!
Oribella awoke with a jump and gasped for air.
"Oh! Are you alright!?" Poppy was still holding Oribella in the bed nest. "You were sleeping so peacefully..." his embrace tightened, "did you have a bad dream?"
"Yes." Oribella's heart settled down. "Nothing super scary. Just unpleasant."
"Do you want to talk about it?" Poppy asked.
"I don't!" Poppy didn't need to know about her ridiculous libido yet!
After a few drinks of water and being shown the 'restroom' which was simply a stone chamber pot, Oribella Insisted once again that Poppy take her on a tour of Bear Castle!
"Please? I want to explore so badly!"
"It's cold. so only if you allow me to carry you most of the way." Poppy was getting braver with his flirtation now that he had spent a night with his female, and besides the more he did to please her the sooner they would probably become 'official.'
"Of course." Poppy lifted Oribella into his arms and her playful giggles made Poppy smile. Poppy wrapped a thick heavy furr around Oribella, exited their room, and made their way down the hall.
Bear Castle was built as a hexagonal structure, like the wells in a honey comb. The main stone building encircled the three in the center courtyard, also known by the name 'Ancient One' by the citezens of Bear Kingdom.
The 6 wings of the Castle each had 4 floors with rooftop access too! from the roof of the Castle, proper, you could take rope bridges to the branches of Ancient One. There were also rope ladders that allowed you to climb up the trunk and into the branches from the ground.
Poppy explained that Bear Castle was once a mere treehouse. But generation after generation of the Bear Tribe had kept improving the structure and tending to Ancient One until it became what she saw before her.
From the branches of Ancient One Oribella could see a large portion of the Kingdom. She couldn't see River's house, as it was blocked by the stone structure of the Castle. But it was a clear day and Oribella could map the route Poppy had taken her on yesterday. Far far away, but still visible, she could see the gateway that Poppy had carried her through!
The rolling horizon of mountains and hills blended into the mixture of naked trees and evergreens.
Ancient One was an evergreen, too. Oribella only knew things about plants that you can eat and plants you can make dye with, but she felt for this tree to be the size it is, it HAD to be a Redwood.
Oribella was a City Girl that had always longed to move to th middle of the woods. In all her years she had DREAMED to be so deep in nature. It was why she'd chosen to freeze in the forest instead of the city.
Oribella and Poppy sat in the branches of Ancient One, talking about what to do once the snow melts.
"Is there a village or kingdom with a lot of sheep?"
"There's Ram Village near by." Poppy answered. "About one days journey. If we left at sunrise we would arrive before sunset."
"I want to go there with you! I want to get a lot of wool and make you new clothes with it! Is that the same village where this dress was woven?" Oribella patted her lap and grasped the fabric.
"I believe it is."
"Then we can trade for cotton too!?" Oribella felt she was far too excited over wool and cotton. As a seamstresses she had always wanted to grow and spin her own yarn and thread, but living in a big city growing up wasn't conducive to rearing sheep and growing cotton.
"If that's what you want I'll be sure it happens." Poppy nuzzled his head into Oribella's neck and held her tightly. She turned her head towards his and kissed him. Just a peck. Poppy blushed and burried his red face into Oribella's shoulder. Oribella laughed and took a minute to appreciate how happy she felt. How lucky she was.
She kept talking with Poppy and learning more about him. Finding his favorite colors and foods so she could surprise him in the future.
Then Bailey found them. He climbed Ancient One and announced his presence.
"Here you are Oribella! I've been look-"
"You may not call her that!!!" Poppy snapped.
"It's alright, Poppy!" Poppy really was like her knight, she his queen. "He never properly learned my name yesterday due to his RUDE behavior."
Bailey sank into himself. He deeply regretted everything he did yesterday. Oribella seemed to hate him, but were it not for her mercy... he would have died. He had to become her spouse! Not to repay her kindness but because he was head over heels for her! Bailey and every spectator present felt Oribella was too kind and generous to a male who so horribly lost in sparring. Oribella, who was just trying to show decency, had accidentally created a cupid's arrow. And she'd hit Bailey right in the heart!
"I am extremely sorry for my behavior yesterday." Bailey slowly got down on his knees, and then bowed his body. Begging, "please, can you find it in your heart to forgive me? You taught me my lesson but I still need to apologize. Will you accept my apology?"
Poppy was stunned by Bailey's change in behavior! In all the years they knew eachother Bailey had never asked for forgiveness after doing something rude or selfish.
Oribella felt conflicted. She didn't want to forgive him for his behavior yesterday, and she certainly didn't want him to think words were enough to make things right. She thought of a way to kill two birds with one stone.
"I will only accept your apology if you do something for me."
Poppy held tightly to Oribella as she spoke. She leaned into him and gently caressed his arms, wanting to be a bit of a bully and make Bailey jealous.
Bailey's body shot up "Yes! Anything! Oribe-"
"Ah ah ah! Only fellow females and my mates" Oribella booped Poppy's nose, "may call me by that part of my name." She turned a serious face to Bailey. "My full name is 'Oribella Rossi' so YOU, and all other males who are below my beloved Poppy, may call me 'Rossi.' Do you understand?"
"Yes, Rossi. I'll do any task for your forgiveness," Bailey bent back into a bow, "please say the word and I'll achieve it as quickly as possible!" Bailey was eager to please, and Oribella felt she may as well take advantage of it.
"Because of the cold weather I'll be unable to venture to Ram Village for some time. But I want a large amount of wool and cotton as soon as possible for crafting purposes." Poppy couldn't help but feel a little bad for Bailey, but he had more or less dug his own grave when he made Oribella cry. So all in all, Poppy thought this was what Bailey deserved. "Take two trips to Ram village." Oribella continued, "Bring me as much wool as you can on your first trip, and as much cotton as you can on your second!"
"Yes, Rossi!" Bailey didn't hesitate and began climbing down Ancient One and fast as he could.
Poppy and Oribella watched Bailey as he ran through the courtyard, and into the stone castle.
"Did I ask too much of him?" Seeing Bailey running so desprately, Oribella felt like she had overstepped a boundary.
Poppy reasured her "no, if anything you should have asked for MORE! Make him plant a cotton field just for you!"
The couple laughed and enjoyed the sight of the colors in the sky as the sun began it's decent. After a few minutes Poppy drew Oribella's attention to a figure sprinting through the Kingdom, it was Bailey!
"Oh no!" Oribella's maternal side was getting the best of her now, "now I feel like I was being to harsh on him." Oribella watched Bailey run through the streets, transforming into a black bear as soon as he passed the gate. Running into the night.