In The Plaza Of Saint Louis

[14:03] <GM> [Three days later- the date, 16th of February, 2015. The location: Saint Louis Private High School.-
[14:04] <GM> [A large, well-regarded school, Saint Louis sat gleaming and new in the morning sun. Built in the 5e Arrondissement, around a cluster of other education-themed buildings such as universities and colleges, the school fit in well as a place of solid learning- and home to France's educational elite of the future.-
[14:06] <GM> [The place had escaped most damage, due to being a Geofront Building- it had simply recessed into the ground during combat. It was here that Yanmei had been called, to lead a group of new students around the grounds. First, she would have to visit the school office, where things would be explained…-
[14:06] <GM> [… Her school uniform was mandatory for this.]
[14:11] * Yanmei walked slowly down the hallways toward the school office. She was, of course, wearing her uniform, with the skirt at standard length, much to her displeasure. Couldn't influence the new kiddies when it came to messing around with the strict dress code. Her tights were black, and she wore her new Mary Janes. A little butterfly clip sparkled at the base of each neatly combed pigtail.-
[14:12] <Yanmei> She paused in front of the door to the office and smoothed down he blazer. In no time at all, these corridors would be full of yelling, chattering students. It was almost a shame… she prefered it this way. So peaceful. She knocked.
[14:16] <GM> ["Come in!" Came the voice.]
[14:17] <Yanmei> So Yanmei entered, full of all sorts of pleasantries. "Good morning! Let's work hard today, shall we?"
[14:20] <GM> ["Er…"-
[14:21] <GM> [The office was fairly spacious, with a reception desk at the front and a doorway leading off into the teacher's offices. The receptionist was clearly expecting someone- clearly expecting Zhang!- but seemed to falter a little at coming face-to-face with a Famous Person.-
[14:23] <GM> ["Er, er, right! Right. Miss Zhang. Yes." She smoothed down the front of her shirt. "For the student ambassador thing, right? Ah… Your partner can explain what you're supposed to do. He's just coming back from the bathroom.-
[14:23] <GM> ]
[14:25] <Yanmei> "All right, then." She gave the receptionist a sweet smile, and then took a seat. That was… a little weird. Not everyone was going to react that way, were they? She seemed kinda nervous. What would her teachers think? The other kids? If only the press had delayed stories about the conference for a few more weeks!
[14:26] <GM> [A few moments later, an individual would emerge from the men's room.-
[14:27] <GM> ["Your partner's arrived." Said the receptionist. "Oh yeah? Who is-"-
[14:27] * GM is now known as Alexandre‘Fontaine
[14:27] <Alexandre`Fontaine> "Ah." Alexandre stared at Yanmei, blanching slightly. He did, at least, look rather handsome in his fresh new uniform.
[14:31] <Yanmei> Yanmei’s smile froze on her face for a few seconds and she went perfectly still. No. Oh no, no… "Ah." she managed at last. "Mr. Fontaine." If only Dorian could be there. She would have liked to grab him by the shirt collar and to shake him violently. Well… actually, it was bit hard to imagine herself actually doing that to a superior officer. Which was a shame.
[14:33] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> "Ms. Zhang." Said Alexandre archly. "I… I see." He folds his arms behind his back. "I suppose you would care to hear the plan for today?"
[14:35] <Yanmei> "If you don’t mind?" She tried to keep that pleasant smile up. "I suppose we'll be taking separate groups for their tours, right?" Please say 'yes'.
[14:37] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> "I’m afraid not." Said Alexandre, trying to match her smile. "School policy recommends that there be at least two student ambassadors present for any one function- a male and a female one. It's all very progressive and modern. Either way." Alexandre crossed over to the door of the office and held it open.-
[14:38] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> "It is a fairly typical scenario. We will lead a group of new students around the school grounds and buildings, explain the purposes of the places we attend, talk about our experiences, and answer questions."
[14:44] <Yanmei> "Hm, it’s hardly rocket science?" Yanmei remarks, standing. A hint of smugness drifts around her. Just a hint. "Although it's rather odd to see you here when they could have just anyone who looks good in a uniform volunteer for the job. Surely, there *must* be a story behind this."
[14:45] * Alexandre‘Fontaine ’s face reddened slightly. "Indeed there is. I volunteered for this task. I am running for Student Council this year, so it is best to cultivate a good reputation amongst my peers. Eyes on the prize after all." He waved a hand outside. "After you."
[14:47] <Yanmei> "Thank you." She took the lead through the doors. "Student Council, you say? Quite ambitious. I hope you get a lot of votes, Mr. Fontaine." Smile.
[14:48] * Alexandre‘Fontaine narrows his gaze slightly. He doesn’t trust that smile. "Thank you, Ms. Zhang. I will need many votes, this year. I have the feeling I might be running against stiff competition." He followed Yanmei outside.-
[14:49] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> [There’s a paved walkway leading from the office to a small plaza that sits to welcome newcomers- where they're supposed to wait for the newbies, presumably. The unpaved areas are home to very neat grassy fields.]
[14:50] <Yanmei> There will be competition all right… But for now Yanmei contemplates her plans in silence, waiting for the new kids to arrive, perhaps a little impatiently.
[14:52] * Alexandre‘Fontaine also waits, standing next to (but a bit apart) from Yanmei. He gives her a sidelong glance, but says nothing.
[14:54] <Yanmei> "If you’re curious?" she said, catching the last bit of that glance. "Captain Lachapelle insisted that I be here today. So here I am? Simple, no?"
[14:57] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> "I see." He says again, looking straight ahead. "No, I couldn’t see you volunteering for something like this. Nevertheless, it is good to see you decided to be presentable. Once again, you scrub up nicely, despite expectations to the contrary."
[15:03] * Yanmei flipped her hair. "If your expectations are proven wrong each and every time, maybe you should try getting a new set of them? Like me, for example? I used to believe that a gentleman was someone who was polite and who held open doors for ladies. I was sadly mistaken."
[15:07] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> "I believe I have met both of those criteria today already." Said Alexandre haughtily. "I kept that door open for you, and I’m being far politer than you frankly deserve."
[15:12] <Yanmei> "-I- believe that you're just proving my point further," she said sweetly. "Are you certain that doing this won't do more harm than good for your election chances? If use such harsh words toward a -dear- classmate, then I shudder think of how you'll treat the strangers about to arrive here." She lowered her voice. "You know, if you leave right now, I can cover for you. It would be my pleasure~"
[15:15] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> "No. Despite the temptation of such an offer, I must suffer your company for now." Said Alexandre, turning to look at her sternly.-
[15:15] <Alexandre`Fontaine> [It was at this point that the new students started arriving. They were a varied lot- the youngest looked to be around 10 or 11 years old, whilst the eldest was probably older than the ’Ambassadors'. In fact…-
[15:16] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> ["Oh, hi Yanmei!" Said Freya Solheim, smiling warmly as she waved. The girl was warming remarkably well to her new situation- she’d arrived decked out in her new uniform and everything.]
[15:19] <Yanmei> "You'll excuse me." She stepped away from Alexandre and toward the girl that she recognised at Sept's older, more adaptable shadow. "Miss Freya! It looks like you got here without much trouble? Although…" she blinked, glancing beyond the girl, and then briefly around the crowd, half-expecting to see someone else with her. "…"
[15:22] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> ["Sept didn’t come." Said Freya, grinning. "He would prefer a more private tour instead of a public one. Crowds and all that."-
[15:22] * Alexandre‘Fontaine fingered the cuff of his blazer idly, as if wanting to say something.
[15:25] <Yanmei> "That guy…" Yanmei sighed. "I’ll nab him one the first day of school, then? It wouldn't be good for him to get lost all the time if he's going to star coming here." She ignored Alexandre for now. Life was easier when she could pretend that he didn't exist.
[15:26] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> ["That would be a lovely idea." Said Freya. "I can show him around a bit too, but I think I’m in a different class, so I can't do it all the time…"-
[15:27] * Alexandre‘Fontaine stepped forward now. "Are we ready to start, Miss Zhang?" He said curtly.
[15:28] <Yanmei> "Absolutely we are," she replied, all outward smiles despite the inward groans. "I’ll start things off, then?"
[15:44] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> "Good morning, everyone. On behalf of the teachers and students here, I welcome you all to Saint Louis Private High School. My name is Alexandre Fontaine, and the girl here with the aubergine-coloured hair is, as you all doubt know, Zhang "1.3 billion" Yanmei." He turns to her and smiles -sweetly-.
[15:44] <Alexandre`Fontaine> [Indeed, a lot of the students are staring at Yanmei with wide eyes.]
[15:49] * Yanmei gives a poisonous glare at that, but switches on a charming smile for the other students. "Hello everyone. It’s my pleasure to welcome you to St. Louis High School. I hope that we can all get to know each other by the end of the tour, so please ask me and my assistant any questions related to the school. We're here to help, after all."
[15:53] * Alexandre‘Fontaine shoots Yanmei a dirty look before turning back to the students. "Let’s begin, shall we?" He says, turning on his heel and starting to head into the middle of the plaza. "This is the welcome plaza. It serves as a foyer of sorts- to your left is the faculty office. The right leads off to the elementary rooms."
[15:56] <Yanmei> "This plaza is where students gather before the doors open for class at seven-thirty. It's important to make it to your classrooms by seven-forty five, or you'll risk being counted late! Although I do believe the elementary school teachers are more lax about that sort of thing," Yanmei interrupts.
[15:58] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> "Nevertheless, one should not take that as an invitation to be lax yourself! Punctuality is a lifelong skill, one that you will find very useful in life." Counter-interrupts Alexandre.
[16:02] <Yanmei> "Getting to know your teachers is also important for success! Please be a aware of which homeroom is yours before the first day of class. There will be plenty of time for you to seek them out after the tour. For now, we can advance to administrative offices on the first floor!" She steps toward the doors that she and Alexandre had used earlier.
[16:04] * Alexandre`Fontaine rushes ahead. "We can’t go through these in detail, but we can show you the front. The teachers' offices are here in this building, along with their break rooms and the like. If you have problems or issues, coming here and speaking to reception is a good first step."
[16:05] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> [The students follow along. Most of them are still staring at Yanmei- to Alexandre’s potential irritation. Freya is smirking a little.]
[16:06] <Yanmei> "The nurse's office is further down the hall. She is fully certified to handle lots of emergencies, so don't hesitate to go there if you're not feeling well." Sensing this little victory, she continues smiling sweetly at the students.
[16:09] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> "Well, let’s keep moving!" Says Alexandre quickly, heading back into the middle of the plaza. Facing the office, he points to the right- ie, straight ahead if you were at the entrance. "See that building there?"
[16:12] <Yanmei> "For those of you who are wondering, the cafeteria is housed in the same building as the high-school classrooms? Some of you, at least, won't have to worry about going to another building to eat. Let's head there now, so we can show you!" She starts off in a different direction than the one Alexandre is trying to get them to focus their attention on.
[16:14] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> "—Is the LIBRARY." Cuts in Alexandre, shooting her a truly dirty look. "We should inspect it, yes?"
[16:15] <Alexandre`Fontaine> [A lot of the students are looking confused. Freya is giggling to herself silently.]
[16:15] <Yanmei> "They say you can’t study on an empty stomach!" Yanmei giggles. "So obviously the cafeteria comes first?"
[16:17] * Alexandre‘Fontaine stares at Yanmei hotly. "F-fine. But then we will look at the library, everyone!"
[16:21] * Yanmei starts away! "As I was saying, the lunch period of each school level is staggered, but the cafeteria could easily accomodate all the students in the school."
[16:23] <Alexandre`Fontaine> "… Especially since a good deal of the student population has left for other cities," Cut in Alexandre, his eyes glittering madly, "Because of the devastation wrought when Miss Zhang here caused the Angel to explode."
[16:32] <Yanmei> "Made possible, of course, only by an organization under the command of Mr. Fontaine’s own mother." She added silkily. "Not that this school is in danger. There are measures in place to protect it from damage."
[16:35] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> Alexandre flinched a little at that. "Indeed. The school, in times of danger, recesses into the ground- essentially becoming a bunker. Such measures will naturally be required, if the pilots’ first performance was anything to go by." He says, just as silkily as Yanmei. He turns to her. "What sort of food do they serve at the cafeteria, Miss Zhang?"
[16:40] <Yanmei> "The menu rotates weekly," she said through clenched teeth, "but certain foods are almost always available for sale, like milk, fruit, and cookies. There are a number of vending machines scattered throughout the school as well. All of these things, naturally, are less expensive than hot meals, which is a blessing for those of us who have to work instead of making unfounded criticisms for a living."
[16:43] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> "… Not that Miss Zhang has to worry about that, as I’m sure people will gladly give her free meals because of her dedication to the noble cause of ensuring job security for construction workers." Said Alexandre acidly.
[16:44] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> [This went over most of the students’ heads, but one of them put their hand up- a boy of around 11. "Excuse me, Miss Zhang?"]
[16:45] <Yanmei> "Yes? A question?" She managed to tear her glare away from Alexandre and to soften it up for the boy who was speaking.
[16:45] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> ["W-what’s your favourite food?" He asked with big, reverent eyes.]
[16:46] <Yanmei> "Ah… well…" She blinked back, caught off-guard. "Chicken curry is pretty good?"
[16:47] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> "Chicken curry -is- pretty good." Said Alexandre absently.
[16:47] <Alexandre`Fontaine> [The boy nodded, stepping back and letting the Ambassadors continue.]
[16:57] <Yanmei> [And continue they did, in much the same manner as before, whether it confused the new arrivals or not. By the time they returned to the plaza, a little surprise was waiting for them all, courtesy of the ladies in the school office - a few foldable tables, with plates of cookies and vegetables spread out for the taking, along with many many canned soft drinks.-
[16:57] <Yanmei> With food and plenty of space to mill around, the students begin to talk among themselves cheerfully.]
[17:00] * Alexandre`Fontaine approaches Yanmei- none of the other students seemed willing to do so, except for Freya, who was at this point just milling about. He’s holding in his hands two cans of soft drink- one of which he tucks away into his blazer with a bit of a frown when he sees Yanmei is already carrying one. "Well then. That went acceptably, didn't it?" He asked coolly.
[17:04] <Yanmei> "It could have been worse?" she said, trying to sound cool. She eyed the rest of the students, let her thoughts skip ahead briefly to the worse case scenario first day of school, and shook her head. "I'm glad to have a break, at least."
[17:05] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> "Indeed." He said, popping the tab on his drink and taking small, gentlemanly sips. After a few of these he turns to Yanmei. "Do you -really- like chicken curry?"
[17:06] <Yanmei> "Uh, yeah?" She takes a sip of her own. "You too, huh?"
[17:07] <Alexandre`Fontaine> "Mm." Said Alex, staring ahead. "I used to eat it all the time when I was a child."
[17:09] <Yanmei> "The Commander made it for you, I suppose?" That was… hard to imagine. Commander Fontaine, cooking?
[17:11] <Alexandre`Fontaine> "That’s right." Said Alexandre, his voice carefully neutral. "Along with my father. She stopped making it all that often after he died. Dunno why." He shrugged a little. "It hardly matters of course." He said quickly. "She stopped doing a lot of things after he died, so it doesn't matter."
[17:18] <Yanmei> "Hm." She's not quite sure how to respond to this. "You're kind of lucky? I had to learn to make it myself from the beginning." She shrugged lightly. "If you're -nice- to me, I'd consider giving you the recipe someday."
[17:21] * Alexandre‘Fontaine laughs coolly at that. It looks as though he’s about to retort cruelly- you can tell by the way his mouth moves- but he apparently thinks better of it. Instead, he takes a few more sips. "… Why do you pilot the Evangelion?" He asks suddenly.
[17:27] <Yanmei> "To ensure the survival of mankind and to protect the country from destruction at the hands of the Angels." She said it without thinking, too smoothly for it to be anything but rehersed. "I believe I said something like that at the press conference? I'm surprised you didn't hear it."
[17:31] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> "You were speaking a lot of rubbish." Says Alexandre sourly. "And- that isn’t enough, anyway. Want to protect this country? Ensure the survival of mankind?" He glowers. "I should be the one to pilot the Evangelion. I have more of a solid reason than you- so why are -you- the pilot?"
[17:41] <Yanmei> "Well, now. You could try asking someone at NERV that?" She smiled pleasantly. "I was selected because I have a knack for it, just like everyone else. And while I sympathize with your oh-so-important need to impress her? You shouldn't blame me just because you didn't make the cut." She paused to take a drink. "If anything, blame your lack of talent."
[17:47] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> Smack! Yanmei would find her hand rather empty as Alexandre furiously knocks it from her hand. "Don’t you -dare- accuse me of lack of talent!" He says, his voice heated and his eyes dangerously angry. The pair are starting to attract the attention of others now. "I -know- I can do it. That ridiculous Sera boy gets in it and can make it move first time, so it's not a case of 'talent' or 'training'.-
[17:48] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> "My name is on that list! I -know- it is, I’ve seen it, and three times it gets given to unworthies like you and your stupid friends…!"
[17:49] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> [Freya, idly, quirks a dangerous eyebrow. No bastard calls -her- Sera ridiculous. Or stupid.]
[17:55] * Yanmei flexes her now-empty hand a few times. "My, my," she said placidly. Her face and fingers burned, but she ignored the sensation. "I don’t understand why you think I know about it? I'm just a grunt, after all. Maybe you should take as a sign that Mummy wants to keep you safe and sound, away from battle. That's what mothers do, after all." The bitterness in that last statement is unmistakable. "Any, it's not really my problem, now is it?"
[17:58] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> "…" He glowers at her for a long few moments- whether he’s calming down or just quieting down is yet to be seen. "I don't need looking after. I don't need to be kept away from battle. I'm not a child. If she can risk your life, or de Ptere's life, or Blanc's life, then there's no reason she can't risk mine, relation be damned."
[18:10] * Yanmei kept up her pleasant smile and voice routine. "Mr. Fontaine… you really are a hopeless idiot." She was done here. And she showed it by turning her back to the boy. "Take it up with NERV if you want in so badly. Maybe she's a cold enough woman to comply? I'm a little surprised she hasn't already." She started off, back toward the drink table, ready to retrieve another can.
[18:13] <Alexandre‘Fontaine> "…" Alexandre stares at Yanmei’s back for a moment, before taking a step forward. "Wait."
[18:16] <Yanmei> Ignored! Yanmei keeps walking.
[18:18] <Alexandre`Fontaine> "… Tch." Mutters Alexandre, looking a little hurt before a mask of cold anger covers up his face. He stares down at his drink and tries very hard not to crush the can out of general resentment.

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