And Children S Faces Looking Up Holding Wonder Like A Cup

[15:21] <Yanmei> The mall was getting more crowded around this time of the year. Abundant winter clothes hung from clearance racks, and new spring fashion lines filled the store windows next to big bright signs that said "SALE". -
[15:25] <Yanmei> There was a figure moving through the crowd with her hands full. In one hand was a shopping bag. The other was holding the hand of a cheerful toddler who was probably all too happy to be caught up in the bustling atmosphere filled with bright and shiny sights
[15:32] <@Asuka‘> [She was! She was positively vibrating with excitement, and more than a few times she pulled at her mother’s hand trying to head towards something…-
[15:38] <@Asuka‘> On Yanmei’s other side, however, was a striking redhead wearing a loose red blouse and yellow shorts. She hadn't bought anything yet. "Urgh. Is this place really so small?"
[15:45] <Yanmei> "How sad. The choicest shops Europe has to offer are right in front of you, and you're still going on about quantity over quality." Yanmei smirked and tossed her hair. It was pulled back into a single ponytail for once with a bronze sunflower-shaped clip on the side. She was also wearing pink layered t-shirts, and a short black skirt.
[15:46] <@Asuka‘> "Quantity has a quality all it’s own, you know. And besides, when it comes to shops like this, quantity -is- quality. Hmph."-
[15:46] <@Asuka‘> ["Maamaa!" Tug tug.]
[15:47] <Yanmei> "Hm? What do you see, Lizzie?" She peered down at the little girl and tried to follow her gaze.
[15:47] <@Asuka`> ["Maamaa! Look?" She was pointing at a shiny new sweet shop…]
[15:50] <Yanmei> "You’ll get cavities at this rate," Yanmei sighed. "But we'll go and look? Come on, Asuka."
[15:53] <@Asuka‘> "Why do we have to do everything -she- wants?" Whined Asuka.
[15:59] <Yanmei> "Well, if we do this, then we can do whatever you want to do next?" There was a distinctly calm tone to her voice - the voice of a mom who was settling a dispute between two squabbling kids.
[16:07] <@Asuka`> "Good." Says Asuka firmly. She tossed her hair imperiously and headed towards the sweet shop.
[16:16] * Yanmei hid a snicker at that, and followed. She hadn’t actually expected that to work…
[16:17] <@Asuka‘> ["Maamaaaa!" Lizzie let out a little squeal of excitement. Tug tug!-
[16:18] <@Asuka`> [The sweet shop was quite the little smorgasboard of delicious, if unhealthy treats. Jars full of lollipops, sherbet packets, racks full of chocolate bars both familiar and exotic, chocolate bunnies… Chocolate Evas.-
[16:19] <@Asuka`> [There were those big plastic containers with a scoop and various sweets- raspberries, jellybeans, sour snakes…-
[16:19] <@Asuka`> ["Oooh…"]
[16:22] * Yanmei let her take her time with gawking… and even did some gawking of her own. Especially over the chocolate EVAs. "This takes me back," she muttered.
[16:23] <@Asuka`> "Oh really?" She smirked. "Remembering the last time you got licked, I bet…" She picked up a chocolate EVA-04 and shook it disrespectfully.-
[16:23] <@Asuka`> ["Hey, don’t mishandle the merch unless you intend to pay!" Snapped a clerk.-
[16:24] <@Asuka‘> "Hmph. Shut up, idiot." She replied hotly.
[16:36] <Yanmei> "I can’t tell if you mean 'licked' in a gross way or 'licked' in an untrue I'm way more competant than that way. In any case, I'm not paying if you break anything."
[16:44] * @Asuka‘ leaned over Yanmei’s shoulder with an evil little smirk. "Licked as in 'that's all 04's good for' way, but it's nice to know you have perversion on the mind~"-
[16:45] <@Asuka‘> ["Maamaa." Lizzie clumsily grabbed one of the chocolate bunnies. She frowned at it, staring. "… … Kitty?"]
[16:49] * Yanmei scowled at Asuka, "You’re the one who started it!" But Lizzie's interruption made her take pause. "No, no. It's a rabbit. Bunny! We need to take you to a pet shop or something later…"
[17:07] <@Asuka‘> "A pet shop?" Asuka scowled.-
[17:07] <@Asuka`> ["Bun… Bunny?" She shook the bunny. "Kitty. Maamaa?" She held it up to Yanmei pleadingly.]
[17:16] <Yanmei> "Bunny," Yanmei said again. "Because it has long ears~" She tapped said ears through the plastic wrapping. "Ah, we’ll take one of these, Mr. Clerk?" She flashed him one of her disarming smiles. Maybe they could try for a discount.
[17:19] <@Asuka‘> ["Uuu?" Lizzie blinked at the bunny curiously.-
[17:19] <@Asuka`> "And I’ll take one of these!" Said Asuka, taking the chocolate 04. "It's a shame there's no chocolate Yanmeis." She leaned over. "For you-know-who~"-
[17:19] <@Asuka‘> ["Hey, wait." The clerk blinks. And stares. "So you -are- Zhang Yanmei?"]
[17:23] <Yanmei> "That’s right! It's good to meet you!" She tossed her hair. "I'm just out for a day with my little ward and the president of my fanclub. Do you have any cat-shaped chocolates too?"
[17:24] <@Asuka‘> "I’m not the president of any stupid Yanmei fanclub." Snapped Asuka.-
[17:24] <@Asuka‘> [The clerk looks from Yanmei, to Asuka, to Lizzie. "… Uh, sure."-
[17:24] <@Asuka`> ["Maamaa?"-
[17:25] <@Asuka`> ["…" The clerk colours slightly at this sudden insight into Yanmei’s secret life, and hurries off to return with a chocolate cat.]
[17:34] <Yanmei> And so Yanmei paid for the purchases. Somehow, meeting people was easier without the baby around, but… aww, she was so happy and excited to be here! "Short ears kitty, long ears bunny. You see?" She shook each chocolate as she went over them again for Lizzie. "Where do you want to go next, Asuka?"
[14:21] <@Asuka‘> "There’s an arcade here, right? I saw it earlier." She tossed her hair. "Not that I'm really interested in most of the crap, but they had a wicked electronic shooting game there, and I just cannot get through a day without humiliating you~"
[14:24] <Yanmei> "Oh, I don't think I'm the one who'll get humiliated~?" She gave Lizzie her chocolate. "Let's go! Just a round or two, though."
[14:28] <@Asuka‘> "Way ahead of you!" She was already jogging off…-
[14:28] <@Asuka`> [Lizzie clung to her little chocolate bunny happily.]
[14:30] * Yanmei picked her up and quickly carried her along, least they both get left behind. Off to a place that was even shinier and filled with flashing lights!
[14:34] * @Asuka` was waiting for them impatiently. "Come on. The gun game’s still free."-
[14:35] <@Asuka‘> ["Oooh." Lizzie was transfixed by all the flashing lights…]
[14:41] <Yanmei> So Yanmei felt safe in putting her down and leading her, intent on leaving her by the game when she took her place. "You know? You never did mention how it went the other day. Your part of the battle?"
[14:42] <@Asuka`> "Hm? Oh, I guess you wanna hear about how Asuka the Great singlehandedly turned the tide, huh~?"
[14:45] <Yanmei> "Something like that," Yanmei smirked, standing in place for the game to begin.
[14:51] <@Asuka`> [The game itself was EVA Shooter 3. A box appeared, flashing: PICK YOUR EVA! Evas 00 through to 05 appeared…-
[14:59] <@Asuka`> "Well, the Valkyries came first, followed by the Thrusters with their jet carriers. We had to strike fast, of course, so me and Kyuu tried to head them off. We were hoping for fire support, but the Aquas hit Volkova and Hachi at the same time."
[15:02] <Yanmei> "What a pain." Yanmei selected 04, but only because she could guess which one Asuka would go for. "How’d you make out without the support? Must've been tough."
[15:05] <@Asuka‘> "I told Kyuu to break off and go for the Aquas. I then held the Valkyries off myself."
[15:06] * @Asuka` of course picked 02.
[15:10] <Yanmei> "For how long? How many were there?" She glanced over to the sidelines. "Lizzie~ Stay there and watch Mama, okay?"
[15:12] <@Asuka`> ["Okay!"-
[15:12] <@Asuka`> "About, what, 12, 15?"
[15:15] <Yanmei> "Against one? And you survived? If you weren’t standing here, it'd be too hard to swallow." She took aim with the gun attachment, her posture relaxed.
[15:17] <@Asuka‘> "Well, of course." She waved the light gun around to test its weight. "I got Go to give me covering fire, and whilst they were occupied avoiding that, I went to work~ Slash~ Smash~ Cut~ Thrust~ Heads rolled, little Yanyan~"
[15:23] <Yanmei> "Who are you calling ’Little' Yanyan." Yanmei frowned at her. "Anyway? The rest of your team make it through okay?"
[15:23] <@Asuka‘> "Yeah, we made it ok. We got a bit beat up, of course."
[15:25] * Yanmei nodded. "That’s good, then. Poor Roku keeps going down early and hard. Really sucks for her."
[15:27] <@Asuka‘> "Oh yeah. How did your battle go? I heard it was pretty insane."-
[15:27] <@Asuka`> [The game began with a loud announcer screaming. "THE TURNING WORLD FOR BATTLE! Level one!" The screens appeared- a gallery of Paris-2, with Angels popping up behind buildings.]
[15:31] <Yanmei> "…" There was an urge to smirk at the ridiculous announcer, but Yanmei just took aim, and fired. Aim fire. Aim fire… "We were up against mostly stationary guns. Mostly… In the end, the people on the landship were destroyed by their own superweapon."
[15:32] <@Asuka`> "Eh? How’s that?"
[15:33] <Yanmei> "It overloaded, or something. The entire ship exploded. There's a crater where it used to be, I think?"
[15:37] <@Asuka‘> "Huh. So what’d you do to make that happen?"
[15:42] <Yanmei> "We didn't do anything, really? We just blew up as many gun turrets as we could, tried to target the bridge to end it fast. They were doing weird stuff, though, and I guess it backfired?"
[15:42] <@Asuka‘> "Weird stuff?"
[15:43] <Yanmei> "The ship generated at AT Field just before it exploded."
[15:43] <Yanmei> ^an AT Field
[15:44] <@Asuka`> "Huh?!" Asuka was so distracted that she took her eyes off the screen. "What!?"
[15:48] <Yanmei> "In hindsight it’s not that surprising? They've done a lot of Frankenstein stuff with EVAs and people. This time, it was with an Angel."
[15:49] <@Asuka‘> "They used… An Angel?"
[15:51] <Yanmei> "Supposedly. "Angelic Entity" was the term that was being tossed around."
[15:51] <@Asuka`> "That… Those -idiots-." She muttered.
[15:55] <Yanmei> "Careful. You’re falling behind~ But yeah. No one clued you or your team in about it?"
[15:56] <@Asuka‘> "We were told that the main reactor plant overloaded for unknown reasons." Asuka refocused her attention on the screen.
[15:59] <Yanmei> "Well, in that case, keep it under your hat?" One could hope that the blaring noises and distractions in the arcade would be enough to interfere with surveilance. "Is there anything else you’re curious about?"
[16:02] <@Asuka‘> "Yeah. Where’s your brat gone?"
[16:02] <Yanmei> "Wh-? She looked up suddenly, searching around for Lizzie.
[16:02] <@Asuka‘> [She was gone…!]
[16:03] <Yanmei> "No… N-no! Lizzie!" game forgotten, she started step away. "Where did you go? Can you hear me?"
[16:08] <@Asuka`> [The moment Yanmei stepped away, little Lizzie emerged from behind the machine, ran out and clung to Yanmei’s leg, giggling evilly. "RAR!" Her chocolate bunny was now accompanied by a fluffy plush kitty.]
[16:12] * Yanmei jumped slightly with a gasp, and then stared down at her, shocked. Then in a flash, she was down on one knee, holding the little girl close. "Lizzie! Lizzie…"
[16:15] <@Asuka‘> ["Maamaa!" Lizzie giggled, cuddling up to Yanmei. She waved the kitty around happily. "Maamaa, look."]
[16:17] <Yanmei> "Eh…?" Yanmei blinked. Her heart was starting slow down enough so that she could actually pay attention to details like this. "Where did that come from?"
[16:17] <Yanmei> ^to slow
[16:18] <@Asuka`> ["Look!" She pointed over at the counter, where the clerk waved sheepishly. A rack of toys hung behind him.]
[16:19] * Yanmei waved back and smiled. "Did you thank the nice man?"
[16:20] <@Asuka`> [She nodded solemnly.-
[16:20] <@Asuka`> [Meanwhile, a sound floated to Yanmei’s ears. 'Player 2 wins!']
[16:21] <Yanmei> "What?!" Yanmei turned back toward the game with a pout. "Taking advantage of things, huh?"
[16:25] * @Asuka‘ smirked. "I -saw- her go, get the toy, and come back and hide. It would be criminal not to punish you~"
[16:35] <Yanmei> "I was really worried," she scowled. But the happy look on Lizzie’s face made it hard to stay that way. "I act like I'm an inattentive parent or something."
[16:35] <Yanmei> ^You act
[16:43] * @Asuka‘ snickered. "What am I punishing you for, I wonder? Not seeing the child, or for leaving the game?"
[16:48] <Yanmei> "Knowing you, it’s probably both," she huffed. "You're an unforgiving person."
[16:50] <@Asuka‘> "Only the best." She smirked. "I won, so you can treat me to lunch, slave."
[16:53] <Yanmei> "I’m not your slave! Anyway, that was never the condition for losing."
[16:55] <@Asuka‘> "Do it or I kidnap the brat."
[16:56] <Yanmei> "Oh yeah? If you do, I’ll rat you out to Jerkface and your OD."
[16:57] <@Asuka‘> "Oh really?!" She leaned forward, her expression imperious. "Well! -I- have to eat one way or another, and if I have to eat the brat, then that’s just what I have to do!"
[17:01] <Yanmei> "My, how barbaric! Lizzie, stay close okay?"
[17:02] <@Asuka‘> ["Maamaa?"-
[17:03] * @Asuka` smirked. "All’s fair in love and war. Including eating little girls!" She made to sidestep Yanmei and grab Lizzie!
[17:12] * Yanmei stepped with her, blocking the way to the innocent Lizzie! "Over my dead body." She lifted a hand to flick Asuka on the forehead. "I'll pay for you just this once. This won't become a habit."
[17:13] <@Asuka‘> "Hah!" She beamed. "Good enough for me. I’m going to order ~loads~"

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