Cherry Blossom Procession 4 1 33

[13:16] <Minaplo> [Another day at the office. A line said around the world, but most people saying it weren't leading one of the factions waging a world war.-
[13:17] <Minaplo> [Marianne entered, her uniform tidy and neat, her hair pulled up into a cinnamon-roll style today. "Good morning, Yanmei."]
[13:22] <Yanmei> "Marianne~" Yanmei was also in uniform. Sort of. Some weeks ago, she had started experimenting with it during occassions when she was not expected to run into world leaders or to otherwise make a grand impression. Today, she was wearing a short white skirt and dark thigh-high stockings in addition to the usual neat shirt and military blazer. At her side was her trusty data tablet.
[13:25] <Minaplo> ["I brought you these." Said Marianne, dropping a paper bag on Yanmei's desk; within were two cream buns. "Real cream's getting scarce, so treasure it."]
[13:27] <Yanmei> "Ooo," Yanmei pulled one out eagerly. "What's the occassion?"
[13:30] <Minaplo> ["It's from the citizen's fair in the promenade."]
[13:33] <Yanmei> "The…?" she trailed off, confused.
[13:40] <Minaplo> ["The citizen's fair. In the promenade?" Said Marianne helpfully. "We opened the doors to civilians from the ground to come on and hawk wares and all that. There's other fairs happening on the ground too."]
[13:42] <Yanmei> "What." There was suddenly a tight, low reverb to her voice. "I didn't sign off on that! Who authorized it?!"
[13:43] <Minaplo> ["You…" Marianne took a sudden step back. "Rustami did, but he said he'd taken care of all the authorisation…?"]
[13:44] <Yanmei> "He most certainly did not. We have to shut it down right now!" She stood up.
[13:44] <Minaplo> ["Oh dear."-
[13:44] <Minaplo> ["… Can I have one of those buns anyway?"]
[13:45] * Yanmei sighed and pushed the bag toward her. "I'm not sure this is the time to eat. Who knows how many spies have wandered onboard by now?"
[13:48] <Yanmei> They were soon on their way, however, Yanmei muttering and ranting under her breath the whole time, using words like 'fired' and 'compromised'. They took the elevator to the appropriate floor and stepped off, hurrying toward the illegal fair.
[13:56] <Minaplo> [The fair was a colourful collection of stalls and even pavillions. Most of them operated in the open space of the promenade, but a few had managed to set up in empty shopfronts. There were confectionaries- chocolates from Brussels, cream buns from Paris and toffees from Orleans and liquor chocolates from Aquitaine; foodstalls of all types, offering fresh breads, spiced meats, Norman fish, sweet ripe fruit and colourful vegetables; wines from Champagne and the Rhone valley; clothing from Liege and Picardie…-
[13:56] <Minaplo> [The prices were high, but the fair was doing brisk business nonetheless as soldiers eagerly paid their wages out for delights from the world below.]
[13:58] * Yanmei stormed through, in a huff, frowning this way and that way, utterly lost in the crowd. "Where is he?" she complained to Marianne. "This is his mess. He has to be here somewhere!"
[14:03] <Minaplo> [Marianne, however, did not respond; Yanmei would soon realise this was because she had been sidetracked. Marianne now sat in front of a stall decorated with colourful red and green cloths, dipping vegetables into a kind of dip held in a large terracotta pot; she spoke with the cheery stall owner in rapid Italian.]
[14:07] * Yanmei stamped back to retrieve her, raising her voice to its sternest pitch. "Adeptus Marshal Amatore-DeForest!"
[14:07] <Minaplo> [Marianne turned toward Yanmei, a stick of carrot already in her mouth. "Mmf?"-
[14:09] <Minaplo> [The pot itself contained a rich thick creamy dip; it was hot, and smelt of hot butter and garlic and oil.]
[14:10] <Yanmei> "Please stop sampling and stay focused! We have a job to do!"
[14:12] <Minaplo> ["But-" Marianne grabbed a stick of celery, dipped it into the pot, and held it out to Yanmei. "Just try it!"]
[14:13] * Yanmei stubbornly turned her head away, scowling. "No way."
[14:24] <Minaplo> ["I used to have this all the time growing up." Said Marianne. "C'mon… Please?"]
[14:26] <Yanmei> "Nope," she said firmly, head still turned. "No distracting food until after we've punched Rustami and put an end to all this."
[14:27] <Minaplo> ["It'll put curves on you~"]
[14:28] <Yanmei> She turned back to her in astonishment. "I have curves!"
[14:29] <Minaplo> ["Not Italian curves. Just try it! Please?"]
[14:30] <Yanmei> "If I do, will you hurry up and come along?"
[14:30] <Minaplo> ["Yes, of course!"]
[14:34] <Yanmei> So Yanmei the celery and bit into it. It was delicious, all salty, buttery and creamy… She chewed for perhaps longer than was necessary, savoring the taste, and then swallowed. "Th-there. I did it."
[14:36] <Minaplo> [Marianne beamed.-
[14:36] <Minaplo> ["Now, the sooner we find your Prime Malingerer, the sooner we can come back here…"]
[14:38] <Yanmei> "This is ridiculous. We should just head to wherever they're making local PA announcements from and call him to us."
[14:39] <Minaplo> ["Good idea."]
[14:41] <Yanmei> So Yanmei looked around, searching for speakers, or a stage or something marked off with official-looking banners.
[14:43] <Minaplo> [And indeed, there was one… Right outside Blue's.]
[14:45] <Yanmei> So Yanmei hustled over there! Was anyone in charge of this outfit, or was there simply an unguarded microphone left there?
[14:50] <Minaplo> [Maya Ibuki had been left in charge. She looked buoyant and had ditched her uniform in exchange for a yellow sundress with blue flower patterns across it.]
[14:54] * Yanmei wasted no time. "Oh Dr. Ibuki~ Do you know where the Prime Minister is? And if not, could we make an announcement to locate him?"
[14:55] <Minaplo> ["The Prime Minister?" Said Maya. "I think he's in the games area."]
[15:03] <Yanmei> "So he is here. Is there any way we can call him over?"
[15:04] <Minaplo> ["We could try." Said Maya. "But you could always go to him. Maybe you could play one of the shooting games!" Her eyes lit up. "You could win Lizzie a plush toy~"]
[15:07] <Yanmei> "That will not be happening," said Yanmei flatly. "This is official UEF business. Let's try calling him first, and if he doesn't respond in 10 minutes, we'll go over."
[15:08] <Minaplo> ["Okay. Ahem." She leaned over the microphone.-
[15:08] <Minaplo> ["Prime Minister Rustami to the PA area~ I repeat~"-
[15:08] <Minaplo> [… But he never showed.]
[15:16] <Yanmei> Yanmei's impatience took over, and after getting directions from Maya, she prompted headed off toward the games section.
[15:19] <Minaplo> [The games section! A riot of colour and noise. There was horseshoe throwing, ten-pin bowling, goldfish ponds, and of course…-
[15:20] <Minaplo> [Kourosh was in the thick of it, his face taut with concentration; in his hands was an air rifle. He was trying to shoot ten cans off a shelf. So far he had managed the incredible feat of hitting anything but the cans.]
[15:26] * Yanmei made sure that his attention was elsewhere… before looming up behind him in an ominous manner that would have made Mazarin himself proud. "Enjoying yourself?" she hissed.
[15:27] <Minaplo> [He started so sharply that his shot actually struck one of the cans.-
[15:27] <Minaplo> [Kourosh whirled about and stared up at Yanmei. "Oh! It's you."-
[15:27] <Minaplo> ["Yes, actually, I'm having a blast. You?"]
[15:28] <Yanmei> "Less so. What the hell is the meaning of this fair, Kourosh?!"
[15:29] <Minaplo> [Kourosh turned his rifle over to the one next in line (Suzie, in fact) and then began to walk back toward the main area. "Well, it's the citizen's fair, Lady Zhang. Citizens come onto the ship and sell their wares, boosting the local economy, whilst the crew of the ship enjoy a boost in morale."]
[15:30] <Yanmei> "You should have approved it with me first. There's a reason we've never invited civilians onto the ship en masse before!"
[15:30] <Minaplo> ["Sorry, Lady Zhang. My role of Prime Minister does empower me to make such decisions."]
[15:33] * Yanmei fumed. "Then tell me why would you make such a risky one!"
[15:33] <Minaplo> ["How is it risky?"]
[15:38] <Yanmei> "We are at war. Our enemies have already proven themselves very skilled at slipping spies and saboteurs among our numbers. There only has to be one person willing to blend in with this crowd and plant bombs on the ship to spell another disaster for us?"
[15:38] <Minaplo> ["Oh, you're worried about spies?" Kourosh laughed.-
[15:40] <Minaplo> ["My lady, you shouldn't concern yourself with spies. The only worry we have is that not enough spies will show up." He said. "We might need more fairs to attract the proper number…"]
[15:41] <Yanmei> "Explain to me why you're giving them an open invitation!"
[15:42] <Minaplo> ["Well, it's the best way to get spies on board."]
[15:42] <Yanmei> "Why do we want them on board?"
[15:42] <Minaplo> ["Because there's not enough spies on the ship." Said Kourosh. "It really is a hindrance."]
[15:47] <Yanmei> "This is a shitty time for playing games? You're endangering the lives of every single person on this ship, and if there's no point to it, then I'll shut this affair down right this minute."
[15:48] <Minaplo> ["My lady, have you ever heard of a World War 2 operation called the Double Cross System?"]
[16:00] <Yanmei> "I don't remember? Please enlighten me and also get to the point."
[16:02] <Minaplo> ["British military intelligence operated it to counter German agents. By picking up on their mistakes and decoding their encryption they were able to capture or subvert every German spy in Britain."-
[16:04] <Minaplo> ["Then they turned them double agent, and used those double agents to locate more spies… So a spy would land, report in with another spy, only that spy was a double agent. Brilliant, right? Through this, they were able to send a lot of misinformation through to the Nazis. Imagine being able to trick the enemy into thinking you're attacking here, but you're actually attacking a thousand miles away?"-
[16:05] <Minaplo> ["FISF is way too good at catching spies, and furthermore My Lady has put in policies that prevent them from arriving at all… That cuts off a big resource for us. I trust FISF and Tsubaki to catch whatever spies we find. Then we make some of them go double agent, send bad info back…"]
[16:06] <Yanmei> "Suppose you do manage to catch some. Why are so sure that we'll be able to convert them?"
[16:18] <Minaplo> ["We don't need to convert all of them, just some."]
[16:19] <Yanmei> "What if we don't convert any?"
[16:24] <Minaplo> ["That won't happen."]
[16:25] <Yanmei> "Why not?"
[16:25] <Minaplo> ["Probability."]
[16:28] <Yanmei> "I don't like this plan. The more spies there are in here, the higher the chance of something going horribly wrong for us."
[16:29] <Minaplo> ["Like what?"]
[16:30] <Yanmei> "Like explosions, murder, the kidnapping of our VIPs, petty rumors being spread to the civilians already gathered here…"
[16:31] <Minaplo> ["Tsubaki can solve… Three of those. The last one isn't really a threat."]
[12:43] <Yanmei> [23:15] <Yanmei> "I beg to differ? Think of the bad press we'd get if it spreads to the media!"
[12:43] <Yanmei> [23:16] <Minaplo> ["Meh, wartime media. Don't care."]
[12:46] <Yanmei> "You'd be singing a different tune if you had to shoulder all the diplomacy for this faction? It's easier to get help and make friends if everyone doesn't consider your group to be a bunch of jerks!"
[12:48] <Minaplo> ["The point I'm making is that when it comes to war, media outlets pick a side. If they like you, they'll ignore most bad publicity. If they don't then they'll say bad things anyway."]
[12:49] <Yanmei> "Well, I don't want to make it easier for them to fall on the negative side, that's all."
[12:50] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, but it's not something that'll really become a problem because of a bunch of spies on the ship. They can contact the bad media already, you know."]
[12:55] <Yanmei> "Mmph. They probably already have," Yanmei grumbled.
[12:56] <Minaplo> ["Of course."]
[13:00] <Yanmei> "That aside, I still have reservations. Spies are unpredictable, and if they're working for the UN they'll already have suspected things about our security system and taken measures against it."
[13:01] <Minaplo> ["Then we put our faith in Jeanne Simon."]
[13:02] * Yanmei frowned deeplly at that, but held her tongue.
[13:03] <Minaplo> [Kourosh remained silent.]
[13:08] * Yanmei sighed loudly. "How much did you and Simon talk before you executed this? Is she 100% on board?"
[13:10] <Minaplo> ["We talked enough for me to gather that she can handle it."]
[13:12] <Yanmei> "And yet neither of you thought to give me at least a heads up as a courtesy."
[13:13] <Minaplo> ["I did think about it."]
[13:13] <Yanmei> "But…?"
[13:14] <Minaplo> ["I'm still thinking about it." Said Kourosh. "I wanted to see if the actual fair idea would work first, then come to you about it… See, the spies aren't likely to infiltrate the first ever fair because it was a surprise."-
[13:14] <Minaplo> ["I'll give you a heads up after the fair is done." He added.-
[13:14] <Minaplo> [Marianne's expression twisted into one of dubious shock.]
[13:17] <Yanmei> "You're planning to do more of these," said Yanmei slowly.
[13:19] <Minaplo> ["… That was the idea. This fair was never going to attract many spies, because it was announced suddenly without them having the chance to prep for it." Said Kourosh. "They have to keep occurring, over and over, for the plan to actually… Work."]
[13:23] <Yanmei> "If it was just this once I could almost deal with it, but making it a reoccuring thing! It's not a very good idea. Am I wrong?" She glanced to Marianne.
[13:30] <Minaplo> ["… Well, he is right that we'd need fairs to continue for the plan to actually work. It's a long-term thing." Said Marianne. "But the risk-"-
[13:31] <Minaplo> ["Can be managed." Said Kourosh, his tone becoming a little tight.-
[13:32] <Minaplo> ["Listen. I understand that you don't want to take risks, my lady. You want to play it by the book. That's understandable. Admirable. But we are at war." Said Kourosh. "Can you match the UN, Stormtrooper to stormtrooper? Tank to tank? Warship to warship? What about Superheavy to Superheavy? Eva to Eva? Deva to Deva?"-
[13:33] <Minaplo> ["Fighting by the book is fine when winning normally is possible." Said Kourosh. "But we are outgunned and outnumbered. Right now we are relying entirely on trickery, unorthodoxy and heroic efforts to win our battles. That momentum is easy to disrupt. We need every advantage we can find and we are not going to find them by playing it safe."]
[13:46] <Yanmei> "I know that? But they've burned us from the inside before. They've targeted civilians before too. You finish what you planned today. I'm paying Simon a visit to get every minute detail of what she plans to do if there's an actual attack in here during one of these events."
[13:52] <Minaplo> ["Very well, my lady. But may I make one suggestion?"]
[13:53] <Yanmei> "Of course?"
[13:54] <Minaplo> ["Go, participate in the fair. Enjoy yourself for a little while."]
[13:57] * Yanmei hesitated, caught off guard. "How do you know I haven't already been doing that?"
[00:00] <LERNplo> ["Gut."]
[00:06] <Yanmei> "H-hmph. Well, I suppose I could stay a bit longer?"
[00:07] <LERNplo> [He placed a hand over his chest and bowed slightly. "Have a good day, my lady, Marianne."-
[00:08] <LERNplo> [With that, he returned to the shooting booth, picked up the gun, and continued where he'd left off: constantly missing the targets.-
[00:08] <LERNplo> ["Little brat." Said Marianne darkly.]
[00:12] <Yanmei> "He's right about one thing. We can't win this fight without gambling. I wouldn't have sought him out if I believed otherwise? But this is… This is more crazy than what I'm comfortable with."
[00:12] <LERNplo> ["What, you mean the part where he sets fire to the border and has you go solo with a Deva and two harpies wasn't crazy?"]
[00:16] <Yanmei> "No. That part I was okay with? Except the fire, between you and me. With our luck, environmentalists will start gathering at our door to protest how we burned down a bunch of ancient 10,000-year-old trees or or an endangered species' habitat or something."
[00:17] <LERNplo> ["Actually, they did that weeks ago." Said Marianne. "Kourosh just handled all the, er, paperwork."-
[00:17] <LERNplo> [But Marianne had grasped Yanmei's arm and was already tugging her back toward the heart of the fair.-
[00:20] <LERNplo> [Maya was cheerfully chatting with someone. Two someones, now; Isaiah was standing on the far side of the desk, whilst sitting on Maya's lap was a bubbly little Lizzie. Lizzie was clutching a new plush toy (of course…): a black-haired cat wearing an oddly familiar black miniskirt and red leather jacket.]
[00:23] <Yanmei> "I-Isaiah!" There was a faint note of panic in her voice. What if there actually were kidnappers and spies about?! "What are you guys doing here?!"
[00:34] <LERNplo> ["Hm?" Isaiah turned- and grinned. "Hi, sweetie~ Didn't know you were here too!"-
[00:35] <LERNplo> ["Maamaa~" Said Lizzie excitedly, waving her new toy. "Daadaa big strong, win toy, maamaa!"]
[00:40] <Yanmei> Yanmei found herself caught off guard once again. The smile on Lizzie's face~ And the ridiculous toy was dressed just like… "Th-that's wonderful! Did you two eat anything yummy yet too?"
[00:55] <LERNplo> ["Not yet. Lizzie wanted to play the games first." Said Isaiah with a grin. "Say hello to Admiral Mewsato Catsuragi."-
[00:55] <LERNplo> [Marianne groaned. "Uuuugh."]
[00:56] * Yanmei snickered. "I'm sure the real Admiral will be thrilled? Props to whoever's giving them away~"
[00:56] <LERNplo> ["There were others too." Said Maya. "Look over there, she has Zhang Nyanmei…"-
[00:57] <LERNplo> [Maya nodded in the distance, where Suzanne Sartre and Caitlin Guillory were moving along, the latter clutching a purple-furred cat toy dressed in a military uniform.]
[00:57] <Yanmei> "Wh-what… That's way undignified?" Yanmei complained.
[00:58] <LERNplo> ["I wonder…" Said Marianne quietly.-
[00:58] <LERNplo> ["It's cute." Said Isaiah happily.-
[00:58] <LERNplo> [Yanmei would also spy a familiar red tail swaying from beneath the table-cloth.-
[00:58] <LERNplo> ["Have you spoken to Caitlin yet?" Asked Maya.]
[01:01] <Yanmei> "Yes, but that was a while ago and only briefly. She was pretty quiet at the time?"
[01:01] <LERNplo> ["She's had some time to settle in now, I think." Said Maya.]
[01:05] <Yanmei> "Maybe I'll visit the Guillorys again later, then." She stooped down, suspiciously, and lifted the corner of the tablecloth.
[01:12] <LERNplo> ["Yip."-
[01:12] <LERNplo> [Daji sat, curled up around Maya's ankles.]
[01:13] <Yanmei> "Huh. I'm surprised this one hasn't eaten twice her weight in samples by now."
[01:14] <LERNplo> ["She's made a good go of it." Said Isaiah with a grin. "Pretty foxes always gets lots of treats, especially when they're with little girls."]
[01:17] * Yanmei let the tablecloth drop back down. "We could try to get some ourselves. I know Marianne has some suggestions…"
[01:18] <LERNplo> ["I didn't realise how much I missed real Italian until now." Said Marianne with a sigh.]
[01:26] <Yanmei> "Ibuki, do you want us to grab anything for you?"
[01:29] <LERNplo> ["Oh, I saw a stall selling these sinful chicken parmigiana tortillas…"]
[01:33] <Yanmei> "Point out which direction it was in, and we shall deliver."
[01:34] <LERNplo> [And so Maya did, pointing toward a spot past the Guillory Girls.]
[01:35] <Yanmei> "Let's go~ Back soon. Come on, Lizzie."
[12:56] <Minaplo> ["Byebye Maymay." Said Lizzie, turning around to grab Yanmei's hand.-
[13:07] <Minaplo> [The stall was rather busy, and Yanmei could guess why. The stallkeeper- a rotund bald man with a short beard- was making a type of tortilla. First, he took the freshly-baked tortillas out of his portable oven, and spread it open. Then he took a ladleful of melted parmesan cheese out of a large metal pot; this he poured all over the tortilla. After that, he covered the cheese in a pasta sauce. Then finally onto that he placed two large crumbed chicken schnitzels, each wrapped in bands of bacon. After that he folded the tortilla up, placed it in a paper foil and sold it.-
[13:08] <Minaplo> [Within the small lineup was a familiar face- James!]
[13:15] <Yanmei> "Hey! You're here too, huh?" she called over to him as they approached.
[13:16] <Minaplo> ["Oh hey, Yanmei." Said James, giving her a wave. "Hey, Isaiah, little Lizzie… Marianne. How are we all today?"]
[13:17] <Yanmei> "We're all… being very careful. As you should too?"
[13:17] <Minaplo> ["Eh?"]
[13:20] <Yanmei> "With all these civilians flooding in, you never know who will show up along with them…"
[13:22] <Minaplo> ["Look out for all the spies and such." Said Marianne wryly.-
[13:22] <Minaplo> ["Huh? Oh." James glanced over his shoulder. "I'll, uh. Be careful. You getting one of these tortillas?"]
[13:24] <Yanmei> "For Ibuki, yes." She scrutinized the old stallkeeper from a distance. It would be so easy for someone to drug one of the tortillas without anyone looking…
[13:27] <Minaplo> ["Ibuki, eh?" He leaned to one side, his eyes on the perky announcer. "She's lookin' mighty fine in that sundress today, isn't she~?"]
[13:30] <Yanmei> "So you've also fallen for her charms?"
[13:32] <Minaplo> ["Hard not to when she has such lovely charms… 'Also'?"-
[13:32] <Minaplo> [Marianne rolled her eyes.]
[13:33] <Yanmei> "Lizzie and her fox are also quite taken with her. Also, stop being pervy."
[13:33] <Minaplo> ["Pervy, pervy!" Cried Lizzie.-
[13:33] <Minaplo> ["Lizzie, nooo." Said Isaiah, shushing her quickly.-
[13:35] <Minaplo> ["I'm not being pervy." Said James with a huff. "You're just repressed."]
(13:37) <Yanmei> "Pfft. Everyone's repressed compared to you. Except maybe that Pope…"
(13:39) <Minaplo> ["Whaddya mean?"]
(13:41) * Yanmei tossed her hair distainfully. "We had a conversation the other day, and he was practically boasting about all the nude art models he hung out with when he was younger?"
(13:45) <Minaplo> ["… Oh yeah?" Said James, suddenly grinning.-
(13:45) <Minaplo> [Marianne was staring at Yanmei, eyes wide, mouth slightly open.]
(13:48) <Yanmei> "What? It's true? He was even able to guess that we'd removed a lot of questionable artwork based on the interior design of this ship."
(13:52) <Minaplo> ["Damn, dude's got a good eye." Said James.-
(13:52) <Minaplo> ["Yanmei…" Said Marianne warningly, having recovered.]
(13:53) <Yanmei> "What?" she grumped. "Fine… I'm shutting up now, okay?"
(13:54) <Minaplo> ["You should've done that ten seconds ago." Said Marianne, folding her arms.]
(13:57) <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei went back to grumpily watching the stallkeeper.
(13:58) <Minaplo> ["Maybe I should get into art. Proper art." Said James idly.]
(14:02) <Yanmei> "I know I shouldn't have to say this? But please don't ask your co-workers to be models." She spared a worried glance back in Maya's direction.
(14:03) <Minaplo> [Maya was now busily chatting with Michael and Medea.-
(14:03) <Minaplo> ["Why not?" Muttered James. "Not that I was gonna."]
(14:06) <Yanmei> "Because that's precisely the sort of thing that leads to misunderstandings, lawsuits, and multiple legal and budgeting teams yelling at me for giving you the idea to begin with."
(14:06) <Minaplo> ["Hmph."-
(14:09) <Minaplo> ["It's a hard life, James." Said Isaiah brightly. "I wouldn't have any idea as to what it's like to be surrounded by uninterested women."-
(14:10) <Minaplo> [James gave him the blackest of looks; a few seconds later he took his tortilla and waved it rather threateningly at the two of them.-
(14:10) <Minaplo> ["Just so you two know… I still control the MAGI on this ship. Pair o' jerks."-
(14:11) <Minaplo> [With that he walked away huffily, only to (eventually) make a pretense of looking at some stalls in a circuitous route that led him toward Maya.]
(14:15) * Yanmei stepped up quickly and ordered one of the tortillas. Surely they would make it back to Maya's table before things spiraled out of control between those two. Instead of watching the table, however, she kept her eyes glued on the order, determined to catch any slight of hand.
(14:20) <Minaplo> [It didn't seem like there were any problems…]
(14:21) * Yanmei accepted it, paid, and then looked around. "Anything else you guys want to get…?"
(14:21) <Minaplo> ["Me want one." Said Lizzie.]
(14:23) * Yanmei looked down at her worriedly. "You sure? It's awfully big."
(14:25) <Minaplo> ["Me share it Jiji, not too big then!"]
(14:27) <Yanmei> "I'll share it with you. If you feed Daji much more, she's going to explode." She turned to the stallkeeper. "One more, please?" She was determined to watch him this time as well.
(14:57) <Minaplo> [But this time… Wait, didn't he seem to take a little too long taking the schnitzels out of the oven? especially since no one could see the oven except him!]
(14:59) <Yanmei> Indeed! This called for an inspection! She stared hard at the schnitzels. Then she stared hard at him.
(15:00) <Minaplo> [He stared back, smiling uncertainly. Was he sweating a little?]
(15:01) * Yanmei stared harder. "I'll order One. More. Please."
(15:01) <Minaplo> ["… Uh, honey?" Murmured Isaiah.-
(15:04) <Minaplo> [Sweating even harder now, the shady fellow, hands slightly atremble, went back to his work.-
(15:05) <Minaplo> [But… Wait, yes! He was definitely spending way too long down there in the oven!]
(15:06) <Yanmei> "Excuse me, sir." She was actively craning her neck now. "You're not putting anything extra on our food, are you?"
(15:07) <Minaplo> ["N-No!" He said quickly.-
(15:07) <Minaplo> ["Yanmei, what's going on?" Said Marianne.]
(15:08) <Yanmei> "Honestly? Didn't you see it?" she gestured toward the oven.
(15:08) <Minaplo> ["See what?"]
(15:08) <Yanmei> "Well, I don't know what exactly? But it was something!"
(15:10) <Minaplo> ["'But it was something'." Came a cool, amused voice.-
(15:11) <Minaplo> [Standing a little behind Yanmei, in front of a crowd of increasingly impatient fair-goers, were two people… Alexandre Fontaine and Henriette Mazarin, both with little satisfied smiles on their faces.-
(15:11) <Minaplo> ["You may as well just say it for all to hear…" Said Henriette cheerfully.]
(15:14) <Yanmei> "Y-you two! Smirking at other people's misfortunes? How gauche…"
(15:15) <Minaplo> ["Hardly." Said Alexandre. "We're smirking at a bully making this poor fellow's life miserable."]
(15:18) * Yanmei glared at them, fuming. Then, with a rather loud 'hrumph', she set her money down on the counter of the stall, spun on her heel and turned to go, flourishing that final movement with a tremendous hair-toss and flounce.
(15:19) <Minaplo> ["Look at her go." Said Alexandre happily. "Nice talking to you, Chancellor!"-
(15:19) <Minaplo> ["Goodbye~" Said Henriette. "Hello, Lizzie! Isaiah~"-
(15:21) <Minaplo> [Marianne was holding a hand over her eyes as she followed; Isaiah was shaking his head, whist Lizzie was giggling. "Chancerer~"-
(15:21) <Minaplo> ["Gimme that." Said Marianne, taking the third tortilla.]
(15:22) <Yanmei> "W-what are you…? It might not be safe!" she blurted out.
(15:23) <Minaplo> [Marianne bit into it rebelliously.]
(15:24) <Yanmei> "!!!" Yanmei stared at her in horror. What would come next? Fever? Paleness? Vomiting?
(15:25) <Minaplo> [Marianne chewed. She swallowed; her eyebrows rose for a moment, apparently impressed, before she took another bite…-
(15:25) <Minaplo> [… Then she suddenly froze. Marianne took a staggering step backwards and clutched at her chest.]
(15:26) <Yanmei> "N-no!" Yanmei flailed. "I knew it! Marianne! Isaiah, help me fix her!"
(15:27) <Minaplo> [Isaiah took a step forwards-
(15:27) <Minaplo> [But Marianne suddenly grinned. "Got you."]
(15:28) * Yanmei simply stared blankly at her, seemingly slow to comprehend.
(15:29) <Minaplo> ["I'm okay! I was playing." Said Marianne, giving Yanmei a gentle nudge.]
(15:29) <Yanmei> That nudge seemed to snap her out of it. She had to refrain from swatting her back… mainly because both of her hands were full. "W-what the hell! That was mean!"
(15:31) <Minaplo> ["Aw, I'm sorry." Said Marianne warmly. "But it was just so easy…"-
(15:31) <Minaplo> ["It was a little mean-spirited." Said Isaiah with a small smile.]
(13:37) <Yanmei> "More than a little! See if I save you if you really are drugged by spies one day…"
(13:41) <Minaplo> ["You wouldn't save me…?" Said Marianne, her eyes widening.]
(13:42) <Yanmei> "M-maybe not. It's like the girl who cried 'wolf'? How will I know it's serious next time?"
(13:43) <Minaplo> ["Wolf!" Said Lizzie cheerfully.-
(13:44) <Minaplo> <Retcon*>
(13:44) <Minaplo> ["Woof!" Said Lizzie cheerfully.-
(13:44) <Minaplo> <Much better>
(13:44) <Minaplo> ["You just have to assume it's always serious." Said Marianne.]
(13:45) <Yanmei> "Why? So that you can keep tricking me?" She shook a tortilla warningly at her. "I'm on to you!"
(13:47) <Minaplo> ["Fine, fine. I won't pretend to be poisoned anymore. Okay?"]
(13:52) * Suzune (~ten.tropyaw.cilbup.88-781-431-46-pi|enuzuS#ten.tropyaw.cilbup.88-781-431-46-pi|enuzuS) Quit (Quit: )
(13:53) <Yanmei> "Good!" She tossed her hair. "Let's hurry forward? Isaiah, pick out something you want to eat too. Something safe…"
(13:54) <Minaplo> [Isaiah wordlessly hugged Yanmei firmly around the shoulders.-
(13:54) <Minaplo> ["Woof!" Said Lizzie cheerfully.]
(14:01) * Yanmei was taken aback. She did seem to visibly settle down though, nuzzling him a little back. "Thanks."
(14:02) <Minaplo> ["Oh, hon…" He said, fondly.-
(14:02) <Minaplo> [But Yanmei would feel Lizzie tugging insisently on her skirt. "Woof, mama!"]
(14:08) * Yanmei snickered quietly down at her. "Stop wolfing, Lizzie. I should tell you how the whole story goes…"
(14:09) <Minaplo> ["But woof, mama!" Said Lizzie loudly, pointing toward Maya's table.-
(14:10) <Yanmei> "Huh?" She followed to where she was pointing…
(14:10) <Minaplo> [And indeed, now that they looked, they could see poor Maya bundled up on the chair, white as a sheet; sniffing around the edge of the table was Lupe, being held by…-
(14:13) <Minaplo> ["Big dog!" Cried Peter of the Platypus-clan joyfully. As he did so everyone nearby started tremendously, suddenly staring at him; James tumbled over, cursing, dropping his tortilla; Maya shrieked, her chair toppling backward; Viviane, stepping out of Blue's, instantly kicked the door open and rolled back inside, apparently on pure reflex.]
(14:15) * Yanmei gaped. How did he…?! -
(14:18) * Suzune (moc.rr.ser.yabapmat.551cfh1322356|enuzuS#moc.rr.ser.yabapmat.551cfh1322356|enuzuS) has joined #nervfrance
(14:18) <Yanmei> "Watch Lizzie. And hold this." She thrust one of the extra tortillas into Isaiah's hand, and then smoothly hurried over, doing her best to look unruffled.
(14:22) <Minaplo> [Lupe squirmed in Peter's grasp, but he couldn't quite break free of the Guard's grip.-
(14:22) <Minaplo> ["Big dog~" Sang Peter, thrusting Lupe at Maya.]
(14:34) <Yanmei> "Hello Peter." Yanmei didn't step between them, but she was close enough. "That's my husband's dog, you know. Where did you find him?"
(14:35) * Reiska is now known as Cerise
(14:46) <Minaplo> ["… Dog park?" Offered Peter.]
(14:47) <Yanmei> "…? Okay, sure." Did the ship even have one of those? "How about a trade?" She offered him the tortilla.
(14:51) <Minaplo> ["…" He eyed her suspiciously. "Dog is not food."]
(14:52) <Yanmei> "I'm not going to eat him. I'm going to bring him back to my husband. …My husband isn't going to eat him either," she felt the need to clarify.
(14:54) <Minaplo> ["Hrmmm."-
(14:54) <Minaplo> [He held out one hand for the tortilla.]
(14:54) * Yanmei gave it to him.
(14:54) <Minaplo> [And he thrust Lupe into her face, the wolf bucking resentfully.]
(14:56) * Yanmei …tried her best to hold the wolf, but he was pretty big. The strain was pretty visible, and one could hear it in her voice when she spoke. "Urgh… His name is Lupe, by the way… Please enjoy your meal?"
(14:57) <Minaplo> ["Yay." Said Peter, happily walking off, petting the tortilla.-
(14:57) <Minaplo> ["Grrrrr." Lupe bristled in her grasp.]
(14:59) <Yanmei> "Shhh," she warned him, and then raised her voice to call out in the direction she'd left her family. "Isaiah?"
(15:04) <Minaplo> ["Yes?"]
(15:06) <Yanmei> "Can't see you… Are you nearby? I'm putting your fat wolf down now, so get ready to look after him…"
(15:07) <Minaplo> ["Heh heh, fat wolf." Snickered James.-
(15:07) <Minaplo> [Isaiah gave him a solid kick as he passed. "I'm here."]
(15:08) <Yanmei> "Good." She lowered Lupe to the ground carefully and, trying hard to catch her breath, let him go.
(15:13) <Minaplo> [And he promptly sat down at Isaiah's feet.-
(15:14) <Minaplo> ["W-Why is there a wolf here?!" Cried Maya, who had lifted herself up off the ground.]
(15:15) <Yanmei> "Thats a good question?" she eyed Isaiah. "You did leave him at home, didn't you…?"
(15:16) <Minaplo> ["I'm sure I did. Ah, well. Should I take him home?"]
(15:18) <Yanmei> "I think we'd better, yeah. Maya, the wolf is leaving now, okay?"
(15:18) <Minaplo> ["G-Good!"]
(15:19) <Yanmei> "Isaiah, please give her the remaining torilla. I'll just buy another one for Lizzie and I'll catch up to you."
(15:20) <Minaplo> ["Sure thing- oh Lupe, no!"-
(15:20) <Minaplo> [Lupe had seized James's dropped tortilla with gusto.-
(15:20) <Minaplo> ["H-Hey, he's fine. A gift from cyborg to cyborg, right?" Said James with a light laugh.-
(15:20) <Minaplo> [Lupe paused, balefully stared at him, then returned to the tortilla.-
(15:21) <Minaplo> ["Here you go, Maya. Sorry about that." Said Isaiah with a sigh, handing Maya the last tortilla.-
(15:21) <Minaplo> ["T-THanks." She said awkwardly.]
(15:22) * Yanmei coughed. "Let's go back to that stall, Lizzie! Marianne, are you coming too?"
(15:23) <Minaplo> ["Wouldn't miss it for the world." She said cheerfully.]
(15:25) <Yanmei> "Mrph. We'll be back for the fox," she added, peering at the tablecloth, and then she quickly whisked Lizzie away, bracing herself for round two with the evil stallkeeper.
(15:26) <Minaplo> [And that's a wrap…-
(15:26) <Minaplo> [A tortilla wrap.]

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