For The Love Of Life 1 3 4

[13:19] <Yanmei> The chair and the parially-eaten entree sitting across the table from Yanmei had been temporarily abandoned. Her dining partner had just left for the restroom, leaving her to her own devices, and she was spending her first bit of alone time in hours furtively sneaking tastes from said abandoned plate and glancing around in a rather self -satisfied way. -
[13:19] <Yanmei> ^partially-eaten
[13:22] <Yanmei> She had looked over the plans for the next operation, seen to it that the Lance of Cassius had been bestowed with pants, and had spoken to their newest enemy/ally. Now there was nothing to do but relax until it was time for the briefing~
[13:33] <Minaplo> [It was at this point that someone would catch the sneaky Yanmei's eye. Walking past Yanmei's booth was Ayanami Go, face downcast, eyes flicking furtively around…]
[13:35] * Yanmei blinked, and then cheerfully waved her over. "Go~~"
[13:40] <Minaplo> ["Uh?" Go looked up, her expression almost one of alarm… Then she quickly scurried over. "Y-yes?"]
[13:42] <Yanmei> "Just checking in with you, that's all? Are you feeling better now?" She gestured for her to take a seat.
[13:43] <Minaplo> [Go paused, eyeing the seat hesitantly, before sitting down. "Um. I suppose so."]
[13:48] <Yanmei> Leave it to Isaiah to calm a person down~ -
[13:49] <Yanmei> "I'm glad! Want to eat with us? It's just me and Colonel Amatore-DeForest… whenever she gets back, that is."
[14:04] <Minaplo> ["Oh, I see. Um… Alright."]
[14:10] <Yanmei> "So!" she began conversationally. "Have you been reading anything good these days?"
[14:16] <Minaplo> [Go was still staring down at the table. Her eyes flicked up towards Yanmei, then back down, her cheeks flaring red. "I've been reading, yes…"]
[14:17] <Yanmei> "That's great, really. I've been reading more too these days."
[14:23] <Minaplo> ["Oh?"]
[14:27] <Yanmei> "This biography on George Patton. That old military General?"
[14:28] <Minaplo> ["Oh. I don't know who that is."]
[14:30] <Yanmei> "He revolutionized the American armies during World War II. He was kind of an awful person, though." Yanmei sighed. "Honestly, I'd rather be reading something more fun?"
[14:32] <Minaplo> ["Why don't you?"]
[14:34] <Yanmei> "Because this is supposed to be character-building? And educational!"
[14:34] <Minaplo> ["Oh."]
[14:36] <Yanmei> "What things do you like to learn about, Go?"
[14:40] <Minaplo> ["Interesting things." She said hesitantly. "Stories, mostly…"]
[14:41] <Yanmei> "Yeah?"
[14:46] <Minaplo> ["Yeah."]
[14:49] <Yanmei> "What's your favorite story?"
[14:53] <Minaplo> [She shook her head. "I-It's silly."]
[14:58] <Yanmei> "Come on. I bet you have great taste~"
[14:58] <Minaplo> [She shifted uncomfortably. "I-It's called Anne of Green Gables."]
[15:01] <Yanmei> "What's it about?"
[15:11] <Minaplo> ["It's about an orphan girl, and she… She gets adopted by these two people, but they were expecting a boy…"]
[15:12] * Yanmei frowned a little. "Sounds all too familiar," she muttered.
[15:13] <Minaplo> ["Huh?"]
[15:14] <Yanmei> "Nevermind. But I bet it's kind of rough on her, right?"
[15:14] <Minaplo> ["Kind of. They grow to love her, and she's accepted, and she's really spirited, and she's sort of the odd one out because she's assertive and red-haired, and there's this boy that she hits with a writing slate because he's annoying, but she falls in love with him…"]
[15:23] <Yanmei> "Huh. Like Asuka and Fontaine?"
[15:23] <Minaplo> ["N-No! Not like Asuka!" Said Go, her voice rising suddenly.]
[15:25] * Yanmei blinked, pulling back slightly, clearly a little puzzled.
[15:25] <Minaplo> [Go went deep red, and shrank down, looking shamedly at the table. "A-Anne isn't like that…"]
[15:31] * Yanmei cracked a small smile. "If she was, you'd be reading about a villain instead of a heroine. Sorry about that?"
[15:34] <Minaplo> ["It's fine…"]
[15:41] <Yanmei> "She sounds pretty fun though, huh?"
[15:42] <Minaplo> ["She is, yeah…"-
[15:43] <Minaplo> ["I'm back!" Said Marianne, returning. "Oh, it's Go! Hi~"-
[15:43] <Minaplo> ["H-hello…"]
[15:47] <Yanmei> "Marianne~ We were just talking about literature? And… oops. We need to get you some of your own food too, don't we Go?" If she kept chattering cheerfully, Marianne would surely overlook the missing portions from her plate.
[15:48] <Minaplo> ["Hey- my plate!" Marianne scowled. "You helped yourself to my food?!"]
[15:50] <Yanmei> Yaanmei peered over at it with much surprise! "Hey! How did that happen? So strange…"
[15:56] <Minaplo> ["Damnit, Yanmei…"]
[15:58] <Yanmei> "Dammit Felix, you mean. I think I saw him wandering around without Eevi. Clearly he's the culprit?"
[16:01] <Minaplo> ["Did you see Felix, Go?"-
[16:01] <Minaplo> [Go looked horrified at the question. She looked, panicked, from Marianne to Yanmei and back, before slightly shaking her head.]
[16:10] * Yanmei‘ pouted, but she hardly looked upset about it. Slighly worried, perhaps, eying the vengeful Marianne…
[23:01] <Mibbit`Haplo> [Marianne sternly grabbed Yanmei’s bowl, pouring half of it out onto the empty spots of Marianne's plate.]
01[23:03] <Yanmei> "H-hey!" Yanmei reached defensively for the bowl - but of course, it was now well out of reach. "Unfair!"
[23:06] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["Deal with it."]
06[23:15] * Yanmei pouted. Still, she had to maintain an air of sophistication so long as Go was around, so she tried to shrug it off. "Of course, I totally don’t mind? I was starting to feel full anyway."
[23:20] <Mibinaplo> ["Full off -my- food!"]
01[23:25] <Yanmei> "You know, that was a grueling mission. And technically, I haven't eaten in over 36 hours before now?" Yanmei gazed at her with large, bright eyes. "Shouldn't you be a little more sensitive?"
[23:26] <Mibinaplo> [Marianne gave her a flat look. "Maybe you should've bought more, then?"-
[23:26] <Mibinaplo> ["S-Stop…" Mumbled Go.]
01[23:27] <Yanmei> "Hm? What's wrong?" She blinked at Go.
[23:28] <Mibinaplo> ["Y-You're fighting…"]
01[23:31] <Yanmei> "No… well, yes. But it's not serious fighting? Right Marianne?"
[23:32] <Mibinaplo> [Marianne seemed a little put-off by Go's discomfort. "N-No. I was just playing around…"]
01[23:35] <Yanmei> "Yeah, see! It's okay."
[23:35] <Mibinaplo> [Go just looked uncomfortable. "I don't… Maybe I should go."]
01[23:39] <Yanmei> "You… sure?" Yanmei looked disappointed.
[23:40] <Mibinaplo> ["I-I… I didn't mean- you two were busy, I- intrude- sorry-"-
[23:41] <Mibinaplo> [She pushed her chair back and began to quickly walk away.]
06[23:44] * Yanmei watched her stand, trying to hold back a frown. "Well… we're around if you ever feel like talking?" she called after her.
[23:45] <Mibinaplo> [Go nodded at her quickly before skittering away.-
[23:45] <Mibinaplo> ["Well, that was…" Marianne rubbed the back of her neck. "Now I feel weird."]
01[23:48] <Yanmei> "I know what you mean?" Yanmei muttered, folding her arms. "We totally scared her away…"
[23:48] <Mibinaplo> ["She's probably super-sensitive to fighting." Said Marianne. "Consider her piloting team?"]
01[23:49] <Yanmei> "Wouldn't that make her used to fighting through constant unrelenting exposure?"
[23:51] <Mibinaplo> ["Nah. I imagine that a lot of these conversations end up starting ok, and then the fighting begins." Marianne nodded sagely. "So she's actually grown super-sensitive, waiting, watching for the 'peace' to be broken, which scares her."]
01[23:53] <Yanmei> "In other words, it's dumb Asuka's fault."
[23:54] <Mibinaplo> ["In a word…"-
[23:54] <Mibinaplo> ["Oh, she's also probably still shaken up by that nonsense in the hangar, too."]
01[23:55] <Yanmei> "A-ah… you guys were watching that, were you?"
[23:56] <Mibinaplo> ["Of course we were! A foreign Eva had just entered our hangar."]
01[23:57] <Yanmei> "Right. Well… It was such a complete mess."
Session Time: Tue Jun 24 00:00:00 2014
[00:00] <Mibinaplo> ["You don't say! I've never seen him flip out like that!"]
01[00:04] <Yanmei> "He was acting strangely during the whole mission. Almost like he was frustrated by something?"
[00:05] <Mibinaplo> ["Really?"]
01[00:05] <Yanmei> "Yeah. Although he didn't openly flip out until that stuff in the hangar."
[00:07] <Mibinaplo> ["What brought it on?"]
01[00:16] <Yanmei> "Hmph. It's not like we spent the whole time messing around? But we did make a lot of mistakes. Got distracted. It might have dragged things out. He said himself that something really weird showed up at the end when we were finished."
[00:21] <Mibinaplo> ["Hmm… Maybe you should have a word with him about it."]
01[00:24] <Yanmei> "You don't think he needs some space after all that?"
[00:26] <Mibinaplo> ["Maybe. Maybe we need to find that out, too. At the least, he should apologise to Go."]
01[00:27] <Yanmei> "Well, I agree with you there. He's probably, what, hanging around his quarters about now?"
[00:30] <Mibinaplo> ["Yeah."]
06[00:33] * Yanmei checked her watch, and then sighed, reaching for her wallet. "Never a moment's rest, huh? Here, I'll leave my share of the bill with you."
[00:34] <Mibinaplo> ["Nope."]
01[00:35] <Yanmei> "You're treating me, then~? Aww, that's sweet <3"
[00:37] <Mibinaplo> ["You pay for your share -and- mine, since you helped yourself to both."]
01[00:43] <Yanmei> "Heh heh… You're teasing again, right?" Yanmei chuckled hopefully.
[00:45] <Mibinaplo> [Marianne folded her arms.]
01[00:45] <Yanmei> "…" -
01[00:48] <Yanmei> Eventually, with much sullenness, Yanmei laid a few more bills on the table next to Marianne. "Mr. Ezekiel's tyrannical mood is apparently spreading," she grumbled.
[00:48] <Mibinaplo> [Marianne smirked.]
01[00:53] <Yanmei> With one last frown, Yanmei said her goodbye and pointed herself in the direction of the room that Ezekiel lived in by himself. It was not a long walk, and was actually speeded up quite a lot by Yanmei's fast pace. The next briefing would be coming up quickly, after all… -
01[00:53] <Yanmei> Before long, she found herself pressing the little button by the door.
[00:54] <Mibinaplo> [The door's lock-light went green, and the door slid open.-
[00:55] <Mibinaplo> [Ezekiel was sitting on a plush armchair, facing an electric fireplace, a book on his lap.]
06[01:01] * Yanmei paused, taking in the atmosphere, and then took a few steps into the room, trying to look cheerful. "Hi~ Do you have a minute?"
[01:02] <Mibinaplo> ["There is still time until the operation."]
01[01:09] <Yanmei> "Yeah, well. This isn't about that? I'm here to check on you."
[01:11] <Mibinaplo> ["Sit down, then."]
06[01:12] * Yanmei did, finding an ornate gold and blue ottoman that was already relatively close to the fire. She scrutinized him carefully.
[01:14] <Mibinaplo> ["Here I am." He said, slowly turning his hand over in a subdued unveiling gesture.]
01[01:17] <Yanmei> "I can see that?" she said with a little half-grin. "But how are you feeling? Relieved?"
[01:19] <Mibinaplo> ["Relieved? In a sense. I am primarily feeling melancholy."]
01[01:20] <Yanmei> "Ah?"
[01:25] <Mibinaplo> ["You don't remember the…" He paused, frowning, for a second, murmuring soundlessly to himself. "The Path-Makers, do you?"]
01[01:29] <Yanmei> "Um… That's not another name for those manifestations, right? The potato, or the extra-large Katsuragi…?"
[01:30] <Mibinaplo> ["No. Those are just manifestations. The Path-Makers were a people, 700 billion strong, once."]
01[01:37] <Yanmei> "Is that so?" She looked vaguely uncomfortable. "Are they still around?"
[01:39] <Mibinaplo> [His fingers drummed against the right armrest.-
[01:40] <Mibinaplo> ["This was a very long time ago. Epochs before the great reincarnation." Said Ezekiel. "And no one remembers the Path-Makers. No one but those born in the sea of thought, like me. I remember them."-
[01:40] <Mibinaplo> ["Do you want to hear about the Path-Makers?"]
01[01:41] <Yanmei> "Certainly."
[01:46] <Mibinaplo> ["They were a hospitable people. They treated me with respect, when I was sent to talk with them. We called them the Path-Makers because they were always they travelled. Whenever we found a place, the Path-Makers had been there first. And we called them the Path-Makers because wherever they went, they smoothed space, creating fast paths in reality."-
[01:47] <Mibinaplo> ["They used these paths to stay connected to each other, a great network of families and tribes. Some were settled, but many travelled, finding homes amongst other friends who were not Path-Makers. Some lived on one of our moons, never intrusive, always friendly and accomodating."-
[01:48] <Mibinaplo> ["And they were beloved. Many counted themselves as their friends. One hundred and sixty-nine."-
[01:51] <Mibinaplo> ["Their forms were not settled. Sometimes, they looked like us, and sometimes they looked like others. Always they looked like those they dealt with. Accomodating. 700 billion of them, spread across at least 170 forms, their own plus their one-hundred and sixty-nine friends."-
[01:52] <Mibinaplo> ["And when their paths took them far into hidden places, their paths were deeper than they thought they would be. And they made paths unwittingly through the realm of thought, and so these paths led them to meet the Great Enemy."-
[01:54] <Mibinaplo> ["I remember that there were only four lilim hours and so between that meeting and their beloved Paths being taken, spreading this foe into every corner of the sea of stars. By the end of those four hours, every single one of those one hundred and sixty-nine friends of the Path-makers forgot that they had ever existed."-
[01:55] <Mibinaplo> ["Few of those 700 billion survived, but they, with borrowed forms, and no memory of their people or their friends or their family, forgot that they were Path-makers, and believed that they were something else."-
[01:56] <Mibinaplo> ["So no. There are no Path-makers left. Not even the memory of the Path-makers is left."-
[01:57] <Mibinaplo> [He reached up slowly with his right hand and tapped his right temple. "The Emissary remembers."]
01[02:09] <Yanmei> "You… remember things, even when they no longer exist in time and space? How?"
[02:13] <Mibinaplo> ["I was fully formed in the Sea of Thought. Unlike you, I am thought-stuff, made solid through choice, not by need. My memories are untouchable even by the Enemy."]
06[02:19] * Yanmei nodded, slowly. "So you've been thinking about those guys a lot lately, then? Like, the dangers you described just now in the hangar made it sound like we could have ended up like them. Not existing…"
[02:20] <Mibinaplo> ["Yes. But not just the Path-makers.They were the first."-
[02:23] <Mibinaplo> ["In the end, those one-hundred and sixty-nine friends forgot each other, too, as the Enemy spread. Most of them fell within lilim-days after the Path-makers. In the end, the one-hundred and seventy friends that we were became… three. One of which was the Ancestors."-
[02:24] <Mibinaplo> ["But now, there are no Ancestors left. Everything they made with their sacrifice, their gains, all the little new friends that must populate the sea of stars, now- it would all be gone by now if we had failed."]
06[00:32] * Yanmei was quiet for a while, reflecting. She'd known about the weight of circumstances resting on their survival, but now the sheer scale off it all hit home. She swallowed silently.
[00:35] <Minaplo> ["It is good that we succeeded." Said Ezekiel.-
[00:36] <Minaplo> ["But if you asked me if I would go back and do it again, I would have to refuse, even if it meant the downfall of your people."]
01[00:49] <Yanmei> "I understand," she said quietly. "Even if humans all died out, at least the Big Plan might still have a chance of working against the enemy?"
[00:50] <Minaplo> ["Yes."-
[00:51] <Minaplo> ["You are wondering why I reacted so unusually towards Ayanami Go. Why I was aggressive. She made a huge error." Said Ezekiel. "And there is no way to convey to you the level of fear I felt the moment she had made it."]
01[01:03] <Yanmei> "So you weren't exaggerating at all back there in the hangar." She said it with the air of someone who had already suspected that.
[01:06] <Minaplo> ["No."]
01[01:19] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei glanced at the fireplace. "I'm sorry," she said eventually. "You shouldn't have had to go through that. No… we shouldn't have run up against the Thing that was trying to unmake us to begin with. We nearly botched everything…"
[01:19] <Minaplo> ["Yes."-
[01:20] <Minaplo> ["But I was the one who brought you into the sea of thought, so you were my responsibility. I should not have brought Go, but I did, and so I must bear some blame for her error."-
[01:20] <Minaplo> ["I should not have been so aggressive towards her." Said Ezekiel quietly. "I am the Emissary. But I was fearful and angry."]
01[01:24] <Yanmei> "If you have regrets about it, then why not send her a note or a letter?"
[01:26] <Minaplo> [He shook his head. "It would be better to apologise in person."]
01[01:32] <Yanmei> "Well sure, if you can make her listen."
[01:33] <Minaplo> ["If she will not, then I will use a letter."]
06[01:34] * Yanmei nodded. "Or a mediator. I'm sure our new friend could help if you asked him to?"
[01:35] <Minaplo> ["I am sure he would."]
06[01:37] * Yanmei nodded again, smiling faintly. "Well, I'll leave it to your judgement Mr. Emissary."
[01:39] <Minaplo> [Ezekiel nodded slowly.]
01[01:42] <Yanmei> "I guess, considering all of that, any other grievances about the operation must seem minor."
[01:46] <Minaplo> ["There is one issue I want you to resolve."]
01[01:46] <Yanmei> "Oh?"
[01:47] <Minaplo> ["You understand that I took a tremendous risk in order to help you and your people. A risk I would be justified in not taking."]
01[01:50] <Yanmei> "You've made that very clear, yes."
[01:53] <Minaplo> ["You understand that I am assisting you and your people out of a personal choice, out of free will, not out of obligation or duty. That I could just as easily give my services to the Silver Empress if I so chose."]
01[01:56] <Yanmei> Her forehead creased at that. "Yes. I guess you could…"
[02:05] <Minaplo> ["Then you will remind Sera de Pteres that I am not here at his sufferance." Said Ezekiel, his tone cold. "I am not his tool, I am not his servant, I am not his subordinate. I am an ally, a powerful, useful ally, one of the few you have, and I am here of my own free will, and it is not his place to treat me as anything but what I am. You will remind him that he is not to talk to me of
[02:05] <Minaplo> my purpose ever again, and you will remind him that I will not abide such arrogance."-
[02:05] <Minaplo> ["And neither will the Lance."]
06[02:09] * Yanmei sighed. It was a noise suggesting that, all at once, the late hours were abruptly and painfully catching up with her. "I will speak to him."
[02:16] <Minaplo> ["Good. Make it extremely clear."]
01[02:20] <Yanmei> "Of course? I was planning to speak to him about some things anyway."
[02:24] <Minaplo> [He nodded.]
01[02:31] <Yanmei> "Right, then." Yanmei stood up, stretching a little. She checked her watch again. "We have… twenty minutes until you get to see his face again. Do you want to accompany me to the briefing room?"
[02:32] <Minaplo> ["Very well." Ezekiel stood up.-
[02:32] <Minaplo> ["One last matter."]
01[02:33] <Yanmei> "Yes?"
[02:35] <Minaplo> ["The Ever-Slaying Sword, Armin, myself- we may be wielded as weapons, you may access our abilities, but do not forget that you are not our masters. You wield us because we allow you to wield us."-
[02:37] <Minaplo> ["To forget that would be a grievous hubris."]
06[02:45] * Yanmei stiffened ever so slightly. "In the past, Excalibur has been quite thorough about making that… point. There's no reason why it wouldn't apply to anyone else from the thought dimension as well?"
[02:46] <Minaplo> [He inclined his head.]
01[02:47] <Yanmei> "In any case," she said, quickly bypassing elaborations, "I will pass the message along."
[02:53] <Minaplo> ["Good."]
01[03:04] <Yanmei> "Now, then. Let's get out of here."
[03:10] <Minaplo> [He nodded, and moved to follow.]

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