Cherry Blossom Procession 4 2 16

[23:00] <Yanmei> The door to Yanmei's office had been slightly ajar all day. The morning had been filled with quite a few routine meetings, and a not-so-routine one with Jeanne Simon. The afternoon, however, had been quiet and calm. Perhaps suspiciously quiet and calm? -
[23:02] <Yanmei> Indeed, when she emerged at the end of the day, Chancellor Zhang was holding her blazer scrunched up awkwardly in her hands. She paused by the desk belonging to her illustrious secretary, and cleared her throat.
[11:29] <Minaplo> [The ever-capable Lucille looked up at Yanmei questioningly. "Is there anything you need before you leave, Chancellor?"]
[11:32] <Yanmei> "There is one thing." Yanmei used on hand to pull the blazer away with a flourish - in her other hand was a very nice bottle of wine. It was obviously French, and the label on it was all gold and fancy. "I need you to enjoy this for me~"
[11:34] <Minaplo> [Lucille eyed it curiously for a moment, then looked up at Yanmei with a smile. "What's this about? You're not trying to intoxicate me so you can skive off work, are you?"]
[11:39] <Yanmei> "If I was going to do that, I'd have timed it so that I'd have given it to you when you were just getting in this morning." Yanmei waggled the bottle slightly. "Come on~ It's still cold?"
[11:40] <Minaplo> [With a slight, amused shake of the head, Lucille took the bottle. "Then what is it about?"]
[11:42] <Yanmei> "Ah, nothing really? Just thought you've been especially hard working for a long time now. Nothing like a token of appreciation, right?"
[11:43] <Minaplo> ["Hm. Thank you very much, then."]
[11:44] * Yanmei beamed. -
[11:45] <Yanmei> "Also, if you're ever stressed and you need a vacation, just let me know? The UEF doesn't have a lot of choice vacation spots to choose from, but you could always take a few weeks in Russia or the States."
[11:45] <Minaplo> ["There will be better times to take vacations." Said Lucille.]
[11:46] <Yanmei> "You're sure?"
[11:46] <Minaplo> ["Yes."]
[11:48] <Yanmei> "All right, then. But then… how have you been doing, stress-wise?"
[11:50] <Minaplo> ["Quite well, thank you. Yourself?"]
[11:51] <Yanmei> "I'm ok? Things have been a little crazy, but that's normal."
[11:52] <Minaplo> ["Good to hear." Said Lucille. "It's quite strange, really. I've known you since you were an awkward 15-year old girl. You had no power of your own, and you fumbled about in power circles you barely understood. Now you're married and in charge of a world organisation."]
[11:53] <Yanmei> "W-was I really that awkward back then?"
[11:57] <Minaplo> ["Yes." Said Lucille. "Emotionally, mentally and physically. Fortunately you seem to have mostly grown into your own."]
[12:00] <Yanmei> "Well… thank you. I feel like I had a lot of help? If it wasn't for you, certain Presidents, Marianne and a lot of other people, I don't think I'd be holding it together as well as I am."
[12:02] <Minaplo> ["Of course. Nonetheless you've surrounded yourself with capable people, and that's good."-
[12:04] <Minaplo> [Lucille looked away for a moment thoughtfully. "It's a strange world we live in, is it not? As de Orleans' servant, I grew used to a world ruled by old men. But now, the young- very young- are taking control. In Britain, the United States, here… It is unusual. I feel as though it means something, some sort of paradigm shift, but I cannot quite comprehend what it might be."]
[12:09] <Yanmei> "That's just how it is, isn't it? When the old fall, someone has to take their place?" Yanmei hesitated, thinking of Linden. "Or forcefully overthrow them. As the case may be."
[12:09] <Minaplo> ["True, but most of the time, it's the old replaced by the old."]
[12:13] <Yanmei> "Hmm." Yanmei folded her arms thoughtfully. "That's true. Well. This new wave could just be coincidence, you know?"
[12:13] <Minaplo> ["Do you really believe that?"]
[12:22] <Yanmei> "It's not something I've given a lot of thought to?" she admitted. "But I can't imagine what it means…? I mean, some of us were groomed into these positions from a young age, like the Princesses and Linden and even that Promised Land group. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time."
[12:23] <Minaplo> ["Perhaps." Said Lucille. "Perhaps humanity itself is changing…"]
[12:27] <Yanmei> "For the better?" Yanmei smiled hopefully.
[12:27] <Minaplo> ["One can only hope." Said Lucille.]
[12:36] <Yanmei> "Have you spoken with the old guard much lately? Like… de Orleans?"
[12:36] <Minaplo> ["No.']
[12:37] <Yanmei> "Do you want to?"
[12:40] <Minaplo> ["No."]
[12:46] <Yanmei> "Oh." She exhaled ever so slightly. "And you'll stay on as my secretary, right?"
[12:49] <Minaplo> ["Of course."]
[12:52] <Yanmei> "I'm glad. Incredibly glad!"
[12:53] <Minaplo> ["Oh? Oh, I see. You were afraid I'd desert you now that he's back?"]
[12:54] <Yanmei> "N-no way. Don't be silly?"
[12:54] <Minaplo> [Lucille folded her arms and gave Yanmei her best penetrating stare.]
[12:55] * Yanmei expertly averted her own eyes. "Say, about Miss Padma…"
[12:57] <Minaplo> ["Mmm?"]
[12:59] <Yanmei> "What advice would you give about her situation? Her father's returned, but you two have gotten pretty close, right?"
[13:09] <Minaplo> ["Not particularly." Said Lucille. "My advice is to keep looking for an adopter."]
[13:12] <Yanmei> "Oh. Um. I thought de Orleans would take her. You don't think he will?"
[13:13] <Minaplo> ["I don't really care what his stance is. Look for someone else."]
[13:21] <Yanmei> "…I see…" she said simply.
[13:21] <Minaplo> ["Mmm."]
[13:23] <Yanmei> "You think he'll probably be a bad influence," she guessed.
[13:25] <Minaplo> ["I think it's complicated." Said Lucille. "He's also old, and will probably die soon."]
[13:28] * Yanmei stiffened slightly, and peered at her a little more closely at that. "Maybe. Maybe you're right."
[13:30] <Minaplo> ["Of course. Padma can be very energetic sometimes; she needs someone young and spry to look after her, not an old man."]
[13:33] <Yanmei> "Padma? Energetic? She always seems so meek…"
[15:30] <Minaplo> ["She becomes quite active around people she's comfortable with." Said Lucille.]
[15:34] <Yanmei> "How do you make her more comfortable…? Just talking to her? Or is it a thing that just happens over time?"
[15:36] <Minaplo> ["Over time, I suppose. If she thinks you're able to listen to her and you won't mock or tease her for the way she is, she opens up to you."]
[15:37] <Yanmei> "So her guardian should be patient and dependable and not the sort to tease." Yanmei was taking mental notes. "And also young enough to keep up with her."
[15:38] <Minaplo> ["Yes." Said Lucille. "Meaning you're only 25% qualified."]
[15:40] <Yanmei> "I don't tease that much!"
[15:42] <Minaplo> ["Yes you do."]
[15:46] <Yanmei> "Only when it's called for? Like when there are dumb Asukas and pesky Presidents' daughters around."
[15:46] * Tao is now known as Eli
[15:47] <Minaplo> ["At best, that makes you 50% qualified."]
[15:48] <Yanmei> "A harsh critic," Yanmei grumbled. "I bet Isaiah would get your approval."
[15:51] <Minaplo> [Lucille laughed. "Isaiah has everyone's approval."]
[15:55] <Yanmei> "Oh yeah? Maybe I'll tell you some of his embarrassing and shocking secrets."
[15:57] <Minaplo> ["Oh…?"]
[15:59] <Yanmei> "Last week he was late reporting to duty twice. And last night we had to rush out and pick up food from the cafeteria because we both forgot to make a proper dinner."
[15:59] <Minaplo> ["Quelle horreur." Said Lucille, her eyes widening slightly. "At least that's the worst of it…"]
[13:26] <Yanmei> "It's not, though? He's also refused to give Lizzie a pet giraffe of her very own, despite her pleading. This calls his parenting into question in her eyes, you see."
[13:27] <Minaplo> ["No pet giraffe? I see, so he's not the perfect parent, merely the perfect partner…"]
[13:32] <Yanmei> "W-well. That's rather difficult to dispute," Yanmei admitted.
[13:34] <Minaplo> ["Hm, he really is perfect?"]
[13:35] <Yanmei> "Pretty close to it~ He's so considerate and warm…"
[13:37] <Minaplo> [Lucille snorted.]
[13:38] <Yanmei> "What?"
[13:39] <Minaplo> ["I'm laughing at your adoring expression."]
[13:46] <Yanmei> "Tch. Now you're the one who's teasing!"
[13:48] <Minaplo> ["How can I help it?" Said Lucille, smirking. "The mighty Chancellor of the United Earth Federation, cooing giddily over her husband. If you didn't laugh, you'd cry."]
[13:52] <Yanmei> "I'm not cooing? I'm stating an undeniable fact! There's nothing weird about it, anyway. Surely lots of world leaders talk about their significant others like that."
[13:54] <Minaplo> ["I don't know about that." Said Lucille.-
[13:54] <Minaplo> ["… I suppose Wellesley's a world leader now, so at least you're not alone."]
[14:01] <Yanmei> "Like I'm anywhere near close to Wellesley and Rei's level," Yanmei muttered.
[14:03] <Minaplo> ["Trust me, it comes through." Said Lucille; she rose to her feet, wine bottle in hand.]
[14:11] <Yanmei> "Hey. Ah…"
[14:13] <Minaplo> ["Hm?"]
[14:22] <Yanmei> "About de Orleans… Um. With the way things have gone lately, it's very likely he might be harmed or worse by our opposition. Or even by someone on the ship who's really suspicious of him."
[14:24] <Minaplo> ["That's not a surprise." Said Lucille. "He's made enemies. And considering his position as a member of Seele, there will be people on this ship who want him dead on principle."]
[14:31] <Yanmei> "Right. And he seems to have accepted this. Or just doesn't care. It's hard to say which? It's odd."
[14:33] <Minaplo> ["Not surprising either."]
[14:36] <Yanmei> "It's not?"
[14:37] <Minaplo> ["Consider Seele, a group who advanced several rather apocalyptic plans. Doesn't seem like a big leap to me."-
[14:38] <Minaplo> ["Besides, he's old." Said Lucille. "And probably lonely."]
[14:43] <Yanmei> "But he has Padma now. And Freya Solheim. Apparently they're quite close? I guess that still doesn't solve those deeper issue though."
[14:43] <Yanmei> ^issues
[14:45] <Minaplo> ["So you are giving Padma back to him?"]
[14:56] <Yanmei> "I honestly don't know yet, but he and she still have some sort of connection regardless if I do. She's his heir and family."
[15:00] <Minaplo> ["I see."]
[15:02] <Yanmei> "It's not naive of me to think that, is it?"
[15:09] <Minaplo> ["It's true that they have a connection…" Said Lucille slowly.]
[15:11] <Yanmei> "But…?" Yanmei prompted her.
[15:12] <Minaplo> ["If people might attempt to harm him, then perhaps putting a young child nearby is unwise."]
[15:13] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei sighed. "Yeah. I could see how that'd be a problem."
[15:14] <Minaplo> ["We should just throw Padma to Wellesley and Rei."]
[15:15] <Yanmei> "Oh. Because of Rei's history? She's pretty good at making people feel at ease even when they're troubled."
[15:21] <Minaplo> ["Yes." Said Lucille. "Furthermore, Padma and Eevi are friends, and since Eevi's now living with the Wellesley-Ayanamis…"]
[15:22] <Yanmei> "I'll ask them. And of course I'll have to check with the girl herself. And also de Orleans."
[15:25] <Minaplo> ["Good."]
[15:34] <Yanmei> "And of course, you can interview them to make sure they'd be good caretakers."
[15:39] <Minaplo> ["You do it."]
[15:41] <Yanmei> "Okay. I'll make sure to negotiate so that you can visit her and give her hugs anytime~"
[15:47] <Minaplo> ["What are you doing?"]
[15:50] <Yanmei> "It's okay." She winked. "You've been together for a while now, so you must be a little attached?"
[15:53] <Minaplo> ["I suppose." Said Lucille without enthusiasm.]
[15:58] * Yanmei patted her lightly on the shoulder. "I know it's another complicated situation, but I'm here if you want to talk about it?"
[16:01] <Minaplo> [Lucille sighed. "Stop that."]
[16:08] <Yanmei> "Hm~?"
[16:13] <Minaplo> ["You're ascribing feelings to me that I just don't have." Said Lucille. "Of course I want the best for Padma, and at the moment I feel responsible for her, but- let me be clear- I don't love her."]
[16:14] <Yanmei> "Oh." Yanmei withdrew her hand somewhat sheepishly.
[13:46] <Minaplo> ["Now, should we get going?"]
[13:47] <Yanmei> "Oh? Oh right. It's time to go home, huh?"
[13:54] <Minaplo> ["Isn't that why you're out here?" Said Lucille. "Care to share this wine with me? One of my admirers left it for me."]
[14:00] <Yanmei> "Well, I suppose I could~" Yanmei preened. "What a thoughtful admirer."
[14:01] <Minaplo> ["Hm~"-
[14:01] <Minaplo> ["Where shall we go?"]
[14:04] <Yanmei> "Promenade? Maybe the deck?"
[14:12] <Minaplo> ["Sounds good. Lead the way."]
[14:17] <Yanmei> Yanmei did just that, pausing when Lucille began to lock up. "By the way, have you heard any juicy news floating around these days?"
[14:19] <Minaplo> ["Why, have you?"]
[14:20] <Yanmei> "Rumor is these days that Ibuki Maya also has a secret admirer~ I wonder who that is?"
[14:21] <Minaplo> ["Isn't it Michael?" said Lucille absently, pocketing the office keys.]
[14:21] <Yanmei> "W-what? Seriously?!"
[14:21] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[14:21] <Minaplo> ["Oops?" Said Lucille awkwardly. "I thought you knew."]
[14:22] * Yanmei grinned. She started to giggle a little too. "I can't wait to talk to him about this."
[14:23] <Minaplo> ["Oh no, don't…"]
[14:27] <Yanmei> "He deserves it, though? He's turning into a regular playboy…"
[14:29] <Minaplo> ["He isn't that bad."]
[14:30] <Yanmei> "He is," said Yanmei firmly. "And to think, he's practically a priest. What sort of things are they teaching in that church of his?"
[14:31] <Minaplo> ["He's not a priest. And how bad is he, really?"]
[14:38] <Yanmei> "He's had his heart broken and broken a few in turn. Also I thought he was dating an idol these days, but I guess not. Did he dump her?"
[14:38] <Minaplo> ["I don't… Idol? Do you mean Lune La Pucelle? That was an official mission, wasn't it?"]
[14:40] <Yanmei> "Yeah, but you know how things turn out. They probably came pretty close to kissing in the wings of her stage."
[14:41] <Minaplo> ["I…"-
[14:42] <Minaplo> ["A pilot, a mercenary, a famous idol and a scientist. At least he has wide-ranging tastes? … Ravenous ones at that." Said Lucille with a sigh.]
[14:46] <Yanmei> "Better watch yourself Miss Lucille. Who knows who he'll target next?"
[14:48] <Minaplo> ["I'm sure I'm too old for him." Said Lucille drily.]
[14:49] <Yanmei> "I wouldn't underestimate him."
[14:53] <Minaplo> ["I can take care of myself!"]
[15:05] <Yanmei> "I don't doubt that. Maybe don't beat him up too badly, though, because we need him to pilot stuff."
[15:06] <Minaplo> ["Of course."]
[15:25] <Yanmei> They had reached the end of the hallway now, and were stepping into an elevator together. Quietly, the doors folded shut behind them, and they began their ascent to the deck of the Dorian.

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