Cherry Blossom Procession 4 2 1

(13:07) * Yanmei pressed the little buzzer next to the door of one of the Eva pilots' quarters. It was a quiet evening, without much foot traffic passing by. She couldn't guess if everyone just happened to be quietly relaxing at home or out somewhere partying, but this was perfect. -
(13:08) <Yanmei> If her visit resulted in a ton of yelling and crying, there would be no one around to hear it.
(13:20) <Minaplo> [("Enter.") Came the voice from the intercom.]
(13:23) <Yanmei> And so Yanmei entered. "Lexie~~"
(13:36) <Minaplo> [Lexie was sitting on her chair, fastening a light blue dress around Anita-Margaret's squat form. "Good morning, Chancellor."]
(13:38) <Yanmei> "You're looking well, today. And, er… hello to you too, Anita-Margaret."
(13:43) <Minaplo> [The Mini-Annihilator stared at her blankly.-
(13:43) <Minaplo> ["Thanks. You're looking quite fine yourself. Is there anything I can do to make yourself comfortable?"]
(13:52) <Yanmei> "No thank you, I'm fine? Just… are you okay yourself?"
(13:52) <Minaplo> ["Ah. You're not meaning that in the generic sense."]
(13:53) * Yanmei shook her head.
(13:57) <Minaplo> ["Have a seat."]
(14:01) * Yanmei drifted over, sinking down into a nearby cushioned settee.
(14:04) <Minaplo> ["What did you want to ask?"]
(14:05) <Yanmei> "You and your sister. I won't pry and ask about personal details, but… are you still on good terms and everything?"
(14:12) <Minaplo> [Lexie smiled, just a little. "Yes."]
(14:15) <Yanmei> "Good. What about Sidney White?"
(14:16) <Minaplo> ["… What about him?"]
(14:17) <Yanmei> "He hasn't been a jerk to you, has he?"
(14:20) <Minaplo> ["I haven't spoken to him since Stockholm." She said.-
(14:21) * ZackAFK is now known as Zack
(14:21) <Minaplo> ["… Actually, I've avoided him whenever it's come up. He scares me."]
(14:28) <Yanmei> "Yeah, he totally is?" Yanmei agreed. "If I could, I'd avoid him myself. He's making that rather difficult, though."
(14:29) <Minaplo> ["Is he? How?"]
(14:30) <Yanmei> "Well, I'm talking about his campaign against Wellesley. He hasn't contected me directly, but he's impossible to ignore now."
(14:40) <Minaplo> ["Mmm. Still, the result must be a relief for you."]
(14:42) <Yanmei> "A little. Well, a lot. If he'd won, we'd be in major trouble?" She grinned faintly.
(14:56) <Minaplo> ["That much is true."]
(14:56) <Yanmei> "Are you happy with the way things turned out?"
(14:57) <Minaplo> ["Of course." She said with a small smile. "I heard about you coming to an agreement with my sister."]
(15:09) <Yanmei> "Well, yeah. For some reason, she decided to be generous with us even though she didn't have to be."
(15:10) <Minaplo> ["Oh?"]
(15:21) <Yanmei> "Think about it. She's way more popular than our power couple, even with their very best efforts these last few weeks. It wouldn't take much for her to sour their public image… just a few disparaging words would do the trick? And yet she hasn't tried to."
(22:37) <Minaplo> ["Catherine's a born idealist, but she's also aware of how to adapt to make the best of any situation." Said Lexie. "She knows that her cooperation is the price for the Federation's aid… Furthermore, in some ways, she has us right where she wants us."]
(22:41) <Yanmei> "You think so too, huh? Keep your friends close and your enemies closer…"
(22:43) <Minaplo> ["Mmm. But more than that, this entire election and her instalment has sent a strong message to our enemies: if you invade Britain, you don't have to level our cities to make us work with you, many of us are already willing to do so. In summary: she has our economic support, but she's also minimised the likelihood of Britain being damaged by invasion."]
(22:45) <Yanmei> "Very smart," she said grudgingly.
(22:47) <Minaplo> [Lexie laughed softly.]
(22:50) <Yanmei> "But, no, it's good too. She's pretty much prioritized protecting her nation, just like you."
(22:53) <Minaplo> ["Yes, you're quite correct." Said Lexie. "Although needless to say, our approaches are different, we are both bitter fighters."-
(22:53) <Minaplo> ["… Although she and I differ in another aspect as well."]
(22:54) <Yanmei> "Oh?"
(22:56) <Minaplo> ["I did it out of a sense of duty. Because I was groomed from birth to do exactly that. But where I have duty, Catherine has… Drive."]
(22:57) <Yanmei> "Like, she does it because she wants to?"
(22:58) <Minaplo> ["Yes. Or rather, she was groomed just like I was, but if we hadn't been, I would never have bothered in the first place, but Catherine would have."]
(23:03) <Yanmei> "Hmm. If you hadn't been royals, she probably would have signed on to be a soldier," Yanmei guessed.
(23:04) <Minaplo> ["No, I don't think that's correct. She's not violent, just driven…"]
(23:06) <Yanmei> "Then… a diplomat, maybe? She's charming enough to pull it off."
(23:10) <Minaplo> ["Entirely possible. Or a politician, but a good one, more Linden than Mazarin."]
(23:15) <Yanmei> "He's not a bad politician," Yanmei muttered. "He's just one that gets his hands dirty a lot."
(23:16) <Minaplo> ["That's what a bad politician is."]
(23:19) <Yanmei> "That's what most politicians are."
(23:21) <Minaplo> ["Including Linden?"]
(23:24) <Yanmei> "Why? Do you look up to her?"
(23:24) <Minaplo> ["Not particularly." Said Lexie.]
(23:26) <Yanmei> "Really good politicians are the ones who get their hands dirty but are able to hide it. Linden's probably like that."
(23:27) <Minaplo> ["I mean good as in decent! Like Wellesley!"]
(23:29) <Yanmei> "Oh. I believe Wellesley is a rare unicorn in that respect, then."
(23:33) <Minaplo> ["A rare unicorn! That's a pretty description."]
(23:35) <Yanmei> "Just like Wellesley himself, right~~?"
(23:36) <Minaplo> ["I, ahem. Suppose so, yes." She said, a faint tinge of pink coming to her cheeks.]
(23:47) * Yanmei giggled. "He's coming back in a few days to help out with some military stuff, you know?"
(23:48) <Minaplo> ["Is he now?" Said Lexie neutrally.]
(23:52) <Yanmei> "So, um… how is Holmstrom doing these days? I haven't seen him for a while."
(23:52) <Minaplo> ["He's doing quite fine, thank you, although perhaps you should ask him yourself."]
(23:53) <Yanmei> "I would if I could ever seem to run into him. Has he met Catherine yet?"
(23:53) <Minaplo> ["No, not yet."]
(23:58) <Yanmei> "What about Anita-Margaret?"
(23:59) <Minaplo> [Alexandrina peered down at the Mini-Annihilator, who had at some point meekly flopped onto her back.-
(23:59) <Minaplo> ["I suppose she's fine as usual. She's developed a curious habit though."]
(00:01) <Yanmei> "Oh?"
(00:02) <Minaplo> ["Sometimes she will stare out the window for hours. Even when I take her for her nightly walk, she will sometimes become distracted by a window."]
(00:07) * Yanmei scrunched her brow. "That's odd. I mean, it might be nothing? But I'm reminded of that big thing that was with that colony of Shadowmen. There are still Angelic things scattered around. So maybe she's seeing or hearing something we can't?"
(00:09) <Minaplo> ["That might be true. There is another explanation, though. And it's rather obvious now that I think about it." Said Lexie, placing a pale hand on her chin.]
(00:13) <Yanmei> "Yeah?"
(00:14) <Minaplo> ["Yes. It seems to me that this all began around the time I introduced human flesh into her diet."]
(00:14) <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei stared blankly at her.
(00:15) <Minaplo> ["…" Alexandrina stared back.]
(00:16) <Yanmei> "Why would you… Where would you even get the flesh from?"
(00:16) <Minaplo> ["From people. Don't be dense."]
(00:18) <Yanmei> "But… but…"
(00:19) <Minaplo> ["You have been my ally thus far, Chancellor." Said Lexie solemnly. "But now you are our dinner."]
(00:20) <Yanmei> "That is not funny," Yanmei spluttered.
(00:21) <Minaplo> ["…"-
(00:21) <Minaplo> [Lexie let out a giggle, covering her mouth. "I beg to differ!"]
(00:22) * Yanmei glared at her! She folded her arms and huffed loudly. "W-whatever. Was that revenge for those Wellesley remarks?"
(00:27) <Minaplo> ["Of course." Said Lexie warmly. "Did you not know? My personal crest is of a unicorn crowned with thistles. There's even a motto: nemo me impune lacessit. It means… All who injure me shall be injured in kind."]
(00:32) * Yanmei pouted more. "That's fine and all, but I've never threatened to have, like, Isaiah's pet wolf eat you or anything. This was disproportionate.'
(00:33) <Yanmei> ^"
(00:33) <Minaplo> ["If someone injures you, then the only way to make sure they don't do it again is to destroy them."-
(00:33) <Minaplo> ["… But what I actually meant was that it might be reacting to Zeruel."]
(00:34) <Yanmei> "Oh. Yes, that's right. Maybe the two of them should meet one of these days up close."
(00:35) <Minaplo> ["Is that wise?"]
(00:36) <Yanmei> "What dangers could there possibly be?"
(00:36) <Minaplo> ["Zeruel could eat her."]
(00:43) <Yanmei> "I guess… If they're anything like Evas, he might attack her. Would it be worth it, though? She so tiny…"
(00:43) <Minaplo> ["It would not be the first time."]
(00:49) <Yanmei> "Huh." She regarded the mini-annihilator curiously. "I don't suppose she's learned to speak any words yet? Or how to write them down? I'd be nice to just ask her what she wants to do."
(00:49) <Yanmei> ^It'd be
(00:49) <Minaplo> ["I haven't really been trying too hard. I was thinking of seeking a tutor…"]
(00:51) <Yanmei> "You know who's really good at teaching? Sophie."
(00:52) <Minaplo> ["Sophie?"]
(00:58) <Yanmei> "Yeah. She taught me basic French in just a few months. And she knows a bunch of other languages too? A regular linguist."
(00:59) <Minaplo> ["I see. I was going to ask Mr. Ayanami…"]
(01:01) <Yanmei> "That might be another good choice, honestly. He's pretty brilliant."
(01:01) <Minaplo> ["Indeed. And of course Ms. Gagnier is very busy."]
(01:03) <Yanmei> "Yeah, with the baby and everything…"
(01:04) <Minaplo> ["Have you had much to do with him?"]
(01:07) <Yanmei> "The baby? I'm afraid not. Sometimes Isaiah and Lizzie will visit him."
(01:08) <Minaplo> ["Hm. You haven't babysat or anything? I figured that baby-mad husband of yours would have been hard at work enshrining you as Aunt Yanmei by now."]
(01:10) * Yanmei snickered. "Don't count him out just yet? And he does babysit all the time during the day, but I'm usually at the office then, so…"
(01:13) <Minaplo> ["Of course you are. Considering the stress you must be under, bringing other peoples' children home would be terribly inconsiderate!"]
(01:18) <Yanmei> "I'd agree with you, but… we've watched Henriette Mazarin overnight before. Just never an actual baby."
(01:21) <Mianplo> ["Oh, well. That's entirely different, considering how mature she is." Said Lexie brightly. "I'm sure she actually helps with Elizabeth."]
(01:22) <Yanmei> "A-actually, she does," Yanmei admitted. "For some reason she's really good with little kids."
(01:25) <Mianplo> ["It's not that surprising. She was school president at her primary school, and she also helped organise some scheme there… Something where you partner older students and younger ones. So she has experience, at least."]
(13:55) <Yanmei> "Is that so?" She folded her arms. "Wonder where she got that from…"
(13:57) <Minaplo> ["You think it has to do with her father, hm…?"]
(13:59) <Yanmei> "Not exactly. We had a program like that at my own school."
(13:59) <Minaplo> ["Oh?"]
(14:02) <Yanmei> "Yes. High school students helped to mentor and guide much younger children. A few of the little ones from back then are on this ship or with the civilians we're protecting?"
(14:08) <Minaplo> ["I see. Were you part of this programme?"]
(14:09) <Yanmei> "Of course? I'm a model student, after all~"
(14:11) <Minaplo> ["Indeed you are, always in the process of learning." Said Lexie politely. "How did you find the programme?"]
(14:14) <Yanmei> "Enlightening, in a lot of ways. Some of those kids really need someone to look out for and encourage them. But…"
(14:14) <Minaplo> ["But?"]
(14:15) <Yanmei> "We failed a lot of them. Most of them, really."
(14:16) <Minaplo> ["Failed?"]
(14:18) * Yanmei looked somewhat uncomfortable now. "Yeah. But, um. Did you ever think about becoming a mentor yourself?"
(14:18) <Minaplo> ["Hm. A curious question."]
(14:19) <Yanmei> "So you haven't? You're probably busy enough already, so it would make sense if you hadn't?"
(14:22) <Minaplo> ["What would I even teach?"]
(14:23) <Yanmei> "Um… politics?"
(14:23) <Minaplo> ["Not something I care to teach."]
(14:25) <Yanmei> "What about etiquette? Good posture? Ballroom dancing?"
(14:25) <Minaplo> ["So you suggest I should run a finishing school." Said Lexie drily.]
(14:26) <Yanmei> "Only part-time," said Yanmei graciously.
(14:26) <Minaplo> ["Who would come?"]
(14:27) <Yanmei> "All the little kids on the ship. Maybe some adults, but you could charge them extra."
(14:37) <Minaplo> ["Charge?" Said Lexie disastefully.]
(14:39) <Yanmei> "I mean… charge them with extra homework."
(14:44) <Minaplo> ["Homework?" Said Lexie doubtfully.]
(14:45) <Yanmei> "Of course? You're teaching them things, aren't you? So you should give them exercises to try at home. Like balancing books on their heads or girly makeovers and stuff."
(14:49) <Minaplo> ["Hmph. I'm not convinced people will actually be interested. That said, I am not particularly busy these days, so perhaps I will rent some space in the Promenade."]
(14:58) <Yanmei> "Oho~ So you'll do it after all? In that case, would you mind teaching Lizzie some table manners for me?"
(14:59) <Minaplo> ["I refuse."]
(14:59) <Yanmei> "H-huh? Why?"
(15:01) <Minaplo> ["It is a finishing school, not a beginning school." Said Lexie loftily. "Teaching her table manners should be the parent's task, not mine."]
(15:05) <Yanmei> "We tried," she complained. "It's that darn fox's fault."
(15:05) <Minaplo> ["How sad! Two grown adults defeated by a fox."]
(15:07) <Yanmei> "Grrr… it's not like she's won commpletely!"
(15:08) <Minaplo> ["Oh?"]
(15:15) <Yanmei> "Yes. Maybe we're planning to lock the fox up in a different room during meals. That way it will be impossible to feed her at the table!"
(15:16) <Minaplo> ["I see. Curious." Said Lexie. "Tell me how that works out."]
(15:16) <Yanmei> "I will do just that!"
(15:19) <Minaplo> [Lexie smiled.]
[13:30] <Yanmei> "Now I want to know what you'd do if you were in the same position."
[13:31] <Minaplo> ["I would probably take away her food."]
[13:33] * Yanmei looked shocked. "But then she'd starve!"
[13:35] <Minaplo> ["Or she'd learn to behave." Said Lexie with a slight shrug. "It's how I was raised."]
[13:40] <Yanmei> "Hmm." She frowned. "Strict parents…"
[13:41] <Minaplo> [She smiled thinly. "Of course."]
[13:45] <Yanmei> "You and your sister turned out exceptionally, though, so their methods must have worked?"
[13:50] <Minaplo> ["Hm. Exceptionally?"]
[13:52] <Yanmei> "Like super elegant and dignified?"
[13:54] <Minaplo> ["I don't know how much of that was their doing, however…"]
[13:54] <Yanmei> "Oh?"
[13:57] <Minaplo> ["We had tutors."]
[14:00] <Yanmei> "O-oh." Yanmei cleared her throat. "Of course."
[14:05] <Minaplo> ["We were not coddled. The King put us in spartan rooms that grew very cold in the winter." Said Lexie. "And the staff had power to punish us if they liked."]
[14:10] <Yanmei> "I guess it was important to toughen you up a bit."
[14:11] <Minaplo> ["Yes." Said Lexie coolly. "I suppose he thought so."]
[14:14] <Yanmei> "May I ask you a personal question?"
[14:16] <Minaplo> ["You may."]
[14:23] <Yanmei> "I'm sure that some of your tutors were training you for a life in politics. Are you okay with being here instead of, well… being on the throne in your home country?"
[14:30] <Minaplo> ["I will answer in a moment, but since it is a personal question, I would like to ask you something in return- please answer truthfully."]
[14:31] <Yanmei> "Certainly."
[14:33] <Minaplo> ["When you were chosen to pilot, did you do so willingly?"]
[14:35] <Yanmei> "Erm." She looked a little uncomfortable. "I went along with it, and didn't fight against it, yeah. But I wasn't happy about it?"
[14:38] <Minaplo> ["Do you mind telling me why you weren't happy?"]
[14:39] <Yanmei> "Because I was suddenly cut off from my life back home for reasons I didn't fully get. It didn't seem fair."
[14:43] <Minaplo> ["I see. Did you enjoy training?"]
[14:45] <Yanmei> "No way! It was seriously hard at first. I didn't know what I was doing, but I knew that I had to do it perfectly."
[14:46] <Minaplo> ["And you didn't want to actually do it in the first place, making it harder."]
[14:46] <Yanmei> "Yeah."
[14:47] <Minaplo> ["And how long did training take?"]
[14:52] <Yanmei> "You mean how long the individual training sessions were? Or how long it took for me to reach my current awesome level~?"
[14:55] <Minaplo> ["How long it took to take you from fresh, never-seen-an-Eva to being cleared to pilot one in battle."]
[14:56] <Yanmei> "Oh. About a year, I guess…"
[14:57] <Minaplo> ["Mmm."-
[14:57] <Minaplo> ["Imagine all of that, except training took eight years and on finishing, you were told that you were actually just a backup pilot behind four others for the same unit."]
[14:58] * Yanmei winced. "That sounds like what the Neospartans went through…"
[14:59] <Minaplo> ["Yes. Except you were being watched the entire time and you could never really leave." Said Lexie.-
[14:59] <Minaplo> ["To put it simply? I never wanted the throne. Having Catherine take it is perhaps the most liberating, relieving thing I've ever felt." She said with a smile. "When I heard about it, it was like I was made new. The sooner she has a baby, the better."]
[15:12] <Yanmei> "Heh. I see! Then I guess things turned out okay after all."
[15:12] <Minaplo> ["Yes! Very much so. Now I have to answer questions like what to do with my life… Good questions."]
[15:18] <Yanmei> "Do you have any ideas so far for that?"
[15:22] <Minaplo> ["Not as of yet." She said with a smile. "I haven't been engaging with my hobbies for some time, but at this point I have plenty of skills- due to my unit being out of commission, I've spent my time studying down in Engineering with Ms. Sarasvati."]
[15:26] <Yanmei> "That's a pretty solid starting point," Yanmei nodded. "There are all sorts of things you can do with a background in that."
[15:26] <Minaplo> ["Agreed."]
[15:40] <Yanmei> "Please remember us here at the humble UEF, even if you eventually go off to become, like, a rocket scientist for another institution or something."
[15:46] <Minaplo> ["Hah. Won't the UEF run the world by then?"]
[15:56] * Yanmei tsked. "Everyone keeps saying that! But it's not like we'll control everything. We couldn't possibly hope to. There's just too much out there."
[15:58] <Minaplo> ["Not much of a one world government, then, is it?"]
[16:07] <Yanmei> "Hrmph. I'm just saying that there are probably going to be independent businesses and governments with their own space programs before long, that's all."
[16:09] <Minaplo> ["I see." She smiled. "Well, I suppose I can keep you all in my thoughts. Perhaps I'll be doing so from Io or Mars."]
[16:14] <Yanmei> "Good, then." Yanmei stood up again, grinning. "I'd better get ready to head out. I'm supposed to meet up with the twins in a few minutes. But thank you for the chat and the hospitality."
[16:15] <Minaplo> ["You're quite welcome. Good luck with your synch testing, by the way."]
[16:19] <Yanmei> "Thank you." How did she know about that? "I'm a totally impressive natural, though, so it's not like I need it? But, thank you."
[16:20] <Minaplo> ["Mmm. Good day, Yanmei."]
[16:21] <Yanmei> "See you later!"

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