Rivals Lunch

[21:24] * Yanmei lingered, keeping her face calmly neutral… until she spotted Isaiah again, and broke into a smile.
[21:34] <AdEvaGM> [Isaiah looked over and returned her smile. His hair was longer than she remembered, but… He stood up and started to head towards her…-
[21:34] <AdEvaGM> [… Only to be interrupted by a red-headed girl in a black overcoat with a red trim. "Hey you!"-
[21:34] <AdEvaGM> ["… M-Me?"-
[21:34] <AdEvaGM> ["Why haven't you answered my duelling challenge yet?!"-
[21:34] <AdEvaGM> ["… You sent me a challenge?"-
[21:34] <AdEvaGM> ["…! Why you-!"-
[21:44] * Yanmei happily moved toward Isaiah, interception or not! This would be a good time to mess with Asuka too. "Wow. Another invite ignored, huh~? I never have that problem myself."
[21:46] <AdEvaGM> ["-?!"-
[21:47] <AdEvaGM> [Asuka turned to glower at Yanmei. "That's because you never send out invites, stupid!"-
[21:54] <Yanmei> "That's because I don't need to send out invitations?" Yanmei tossed her hair and caught Isaiah's arm, pulling herself closer to him. "Everyone flocks to me instead!"
[21:59] <AdEvaGM> [Isaiah beamed. Might as well play along. "Yeah, I heard the others say that if you want a real challenge, you just go straight to Zhang Yanmei…"-
[21:59] <AdEvaGM> ["… That's a lie!" Snapped Asuka. "That's-"-
[22:00] <AdEvaGM> ["Asuka, don't kill her just yet." Came a drawl from the doorway. Alexandre appeared, yawning and stretching, an infuriatingly casual look on his face.-
[22:06] <Yanmei> "Ah, Jerkface. It's been a while!" Yanmei waved casually to Alex. "I knew all the pilots and OD's would be here, but I'm surprised you dropped by too?"
[22:08] <AdEvaGM> ["Of course. I wouldn't want to miss Asuka's triumphant victory."]
[22:09] <Yanmei> "Eh? What do you mean -her- victory?"
[22:18] <AdEvaGM> [Alex ignored the question. He sauntered into the room. "I heard you went to Skald Island."-
[22:27] <Yanmei> "Yeah… for training. Team-building." Yanmei glanced away for a moment. "We weren't there as long as you guys probably were?"
[22:28] <AdEvaGM> ["Six months." Said Alex.-
[22:28] <AdEvaGM> [Asuka frowned.]
[22:33] * Yanmei nodded somberly. "You guys built houses? They're still there."
[14:03] <AdEvaGM> ["That's not a surprise. We built them with stone, mostly." Said Alex. "Why don't we discuss this elsewhere?"]
[14:06] <Yanmei> "Right, right. Let's see if the restaurants in this place are still up to par?" She tugged Isaiah along with her, leading the way.
[14:07] <AdEvaGM> ["Maybe they'll be even better~" Said Isaiah happily. "I wonder if we can buy a big shared bowl of pasta~? <3"-
[14:07] <AdEvaGM> [Behind them, Asuka made retching gestures to Alex, who simply smirked.]
[14:14] <Yanmei> The restaurant that she led them too still had a magnificent window view of the snowy outdoors, and dressed-up waiters, and a four-star menu that did, indeed include pasta among many other wonderful meals.-
[14:16] <Yanmei> Yanmei peered at the window thoughtfully and sighed. "God, all the things that happened since we were last back here… this place is already making me a little nostalgic?"
[14:17] <AdEvaGM> ["Yeah." Said Isaiah wistfully. "This is where we found Lupe, huh? And where we met-"-
[14:17] <AdEvaGM> [He coughed and looked down at his menu.]
[14:20] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei wavered for a moment, and then smiled. "You should have brought Lupe with you. I bet he would have liked to visit his old mountainside home."
[14:21] <AdEvaGM> ["Yeah, I asked some techies to bring him along when they could- I couldn't take him onto the VTOL with me, sadly."-
[14:21] <AdEvaGM> [Asuka frowned. "Wait… I thought you met at school in Paris-2?"-
[14:21] <AdEvaGM> ["Clearly they mean this is where they knew each other." Said Alex silkily.-
[14:22] <AdEvaGM> ["Knew-?"-
[14:22] <AdEvaGM> ["In the biblical sense."]
[14:23] <Yanmei> "What?!" Yanmei scowled at him, and tossed her hair. "Clearly, you have no idea what you're talking about. I was still badly injured, for god's sake!"
[14:24] <AdEvaGM> ["Ah, so it was a nurse seduction story…" Said Alex just as smoothly.-
[14:24] <AdEvaGM> ["N-Now hold on just a minute…" Began Isaiah.]
[14:27] <Yanmei> "Yeah, way to let your perverted fantasies get the better of you." She frowned at Asuka too, as if she was somehow in on this line of thought as well. "Honestly, what's with you people?"
[14:40] <AdEvaGM> ["It's a holiday period!" Said Asuka, looking up at Yanmei with a scowl. "A cold hideaway… Hot springs… It's basically a giant lover's nest, isn't it?"]
[14:41] <Yanmei> "Oh~? So that explains why Mr. Fontaine is actually joining you here instead of working hard like all the other scientists at the German branch."
[14:42] <AdEvaGM> ["Are you implying that I don't work hard?"]
[14:45] <Yanmei> "Not when you could be spending time smooching your girlfriend instead."
[14:47] <AdEvaGM> [Asuka turned to look at him questioningly.-
[14:47] <AdEvaGM> ["… -Speaking- of which, I heard something interesting earlier."]
[14:47] <Yanmei> "Oh?" Her eyes narrowed warily.
[14:48] <AdEvaGM> ["Oh yes." He leaned forward, his glasses glinting dangerously. "I heard Rei and Wellesley murmuring to each other earlier. It looks like they might be going to a hot springs later… Together."]
[14:49] <Yanmei> "Oho. That -is- interesting. I bet those two are always doing things like that."
[14:49] <AdEvaGM> ["Oh?" Asuka's eyebrows rose.]
[14:52] <Yanmei> "Absolutely. Rei if from Japan, and they have public baths and hot springs all over the place. I've read about it." Yanmei nodded. "So she invites him over when he has leave, and they visit those sorts of places together. It makes perfect sense!"
[14:53] <Yanmei> ^is from
[14:55] <AdEvaGM> ["I'm not sure that's true." Said Alex with a frown.]
[14:56] <Yanmei> "It could be~"
[14:56] <AdEvaGM> ["No, it can't be. They were too excited and nervous."]
[14:58] <Yanmei> "Aw." Yanmei leaned back in her seat again. "I see…"
[14:59] <AdEvaGM> [Asuka turned to Isaiah. "I don't get it. Wouldn't you prefer Rei as a girlfriend to this thing anyway?"-
[14:59] <AdEvaGM> ["I- wha?"]
[15:02] <Yanmei> "What's that supposed to mean?" Yanmei huffed. "What 'thing' are you talking about?"
[15:06] <AdEvaGM> [Asuka reached out to ruffle Yanmei's hair. "I bet Rei's a far nicer girlfriend than stupid Zhang Yanmei~"]
[15:09] <Yanmei> "Then she's probably far far far nicer than violent, uncute Asuka Langly-Soryu." Yanmei tried to bat her hand away and straighten her hair again.
[15:10] <AdEvaGM> ["Hmph!" Asuka glowered darkly. "I bet Rei would do -anything- you wanted, you know."-
[15:11] <AdEvaGM> ["I- uh." Isaiah looked desperately at Yanmei.]
[15:16] <Yanmei> "She would not! And he's already taken, so stop saying weird things like that!" Yanmei was, of course, scooting closer to Isaiah, with a not-so-subtle ferocity that Misato might have recognized if she as around.
[15:18] <Yanmei> ^was around
[15:19] <AdEvaGM> [Asuka leaned forward yet more to make another taunt…-
[15:19] <AdEvaGM> [When Alex jabbed her in the ribs. "Act your age. The waiter's coming."]
[15:25] * Yanmei bristled a little at that remark coming from him, no matter who it was actually directed toward. Still, she smoothed her hair one last time and adopted a more posed smile and posture.
[15:26] <AdEvaGM> [The waiter floated over. He looked familiar… "May I take your orders~?"]
[15:29] <Yanmei> "A large bowl of tortellini with pesto, please~. And red wine."
[15:30] <AdEvaGM> ["I'll have the same." Said Isaiah with a smile.-
[15:30] <AdEvaGM> ["I'll have the… Pheasant in garlic sauce." Said Alex.-
[15:31] <AdEvaGM> ["And you can get me the butter chicken with extra rice." Said Asuka. "And red wine. The most expensive you have~"-
[15:31] <AdEvaGM> [Alex frowned.]
[15:32] * Yanmei smirked. It was clear who was taking care of the bill between them today.
[15:34] <AdEvaGM> ["Very well! I will return with your drink order very soon." the waiter floated off…-
[15:34] <AdEvaGM> ["By the way, Yanmei? I wanted to say thank you." Said Alex.]
[15:36] <Yanmei> "Hm? What do you mean?" She could sense some sort of trap, and it reflected in a slightly wary tone.
[15:36] <AdEvaGM> ["For shouting."]
[15:37] <Yanmei> "I-" She adjusted her voice, making it considerable quieter and more demure, and glancing around. "I did not shout."
[15:37] <Yanmei> ^considerably
[15:38] <AdEvaGM> ["Yes you did."]
[15:39] <Yanmei> "Didn't. And why would you thank me for that even if I hypothetically were to do such a thing. Which I didn't."
[15:40] <AdEvaGM> ["He means in the sense of 'paying for the bill'." Said Isaiah awkwardly.]
[15:40] <Yanmei> "…"
[15:40] <AdEvaGM> ["So yes, I must say, thank you." Said Alex brightly.]
[15:41] <Yanmei> "I don't recall agreeing to do that either." Yanmei scowled.
[15:41] <AdEvaGM> ["I do. Didn't you hear it, Asuka my dear?"-
[15:42] <AdEvaGM> ["Totally. She said, quite clearly, "I'll pay for everyone's meals!"]
[15:45] <Yanmei> "You…" Yanmei was trying not to show how much she was fuming. It was hard. Perhaps the hardest thing she had done all week. "You'll both regret this."
[15:45] <AdEvaGM> [Alex beamed.-
[15:46] <AdEvaGM> [Beep. Beep. Yanmei's phone had received a text.]
[15:46] * Yanmei blinked, and pulled it out for a quick examination.
[15:47] * Yanmei then slowly turned her gaze upward, toward the second floor window.
[15:48] <AdEvaGM> [A -huge- man- way taller than anyone else, easily 7 or 8 feet tall- built like a battletank, with bronzed skin and red hair like a mane, wearing what was essentially a robe- waved at her calmly and smiled.]
[15:52] * Yanmei beamed at him, and waved cheerfully back as if she'd known him her entire life. "Who the heck…?"
[15:53] <AdEvaGM> [Beep. Beep.]
[15:53] * Yanmei looked down again.
[15:56] <Yanmei> Another glance up, and a nod. She waved him over. "I don't know who this guy is. But he has my personal phone number, so I doubt he's just a fan?" she relayed to the rest of the table. "He's going to say hello."
[15:56] <AdEvaGM> [Asuka eyed him critically. "He looks like he gets stuck in doorways."]
[15:57] <Yanmei> "I know, right? Maybe he's a new member of those Dreadnought guys. They're a pretty weird bunch?"
[16:00] <AdEvaGM> [The man stood up and in a few minutes, he was towering over their table. He grabbed a chair and sat down, the chair creaking a little. "We meet again, Souslieutenant Zhang."]
[16:02] <Yanmei> N-no way… she stared a moment, her eyes round. That voice… "Captain Savage?"
[16:03] <AdEvaGM> ["Who?" Asked Asuka.-
[16:04] <AdEvaGM> ["I was afraid you wouldn't recognise me." Said Terence, smiling.]
[16:06] <Yanmei> "Well, today you do look a lot less… metal?" She chuckled. "Ah. This if Captain Terence Savage. We met him on the way back from the island. I'm suprised to see you here, actually…"
[16:07] <AdEvaGM> ["I thought the island was deserted?" Said Alex skeptically.]
[16:09] <Yanmei> "It was. Mostly. But this guy happened to be hanging out there at that same time?"
[16:09] <AdEvaGM> ["Hiding is more accurate." Terry chuckled; his voice was deep and low. "I'm an Iron Guard."-
[16:09] <AdEvaGM> [The effect was immediate. Alex shot to his feet; Asuka did the same, except she was now suddenly wielding a pair of knives. "W-What the hell?! Who let this freak in?!"]
[16:10] <AdEvaGM> [Isaiah was in no position to do either, so he simply stared at him cautiously, edging a little closer to Yanmei.]
[16:12] <Yanmei> "I'm assuming that NERV did, since we aren't being swarmed with S2 agents at the moment." Yanmei gave a little pout. "Honestly. How impolite!"
[16:14] <AdEvaGM> ["On the contrary. I commend them on their reactions." Said Terence sagely. "But you can sit down. I'm not an enemy." He reached into his robe and pulled out what was clearly a NERV ID card. It read: 'S2 Counterterrorism Division'.-
[16:14] <AdEvaGM> ["… But how?" Asked Asuka irritably. "Explain, Zhang!"]
[16:19] <Yanmei> "Well… we had a close call when it came to surviving long enough to get picked up from the beach. Captain Savage, here, was in a bind of his own, since he didn't have any transportation. So… we called a truce. He helped us to fight off some attacking Angelspawn, and when the escape VTOL showed up, we gave him a lift. But…" She frowned a little. "The last time I saw him, he was being taken into custody?"
[16:21] <AdEvaGM> ["I managed to convince your Colonel and your bosses that I have no interest in fighting the UN. Quite the opposite, actually." He scratched his bearded chin. "It's complex, but for reasons of my own I want to defeat as many Iron Guard as possible."]
[16:24] <Yanmei> "Hm, so that's it. Did the Colonel give you my phone number too? I wish she would have mentioned it." Yanmei sighed.
[16:25] <AdEvaGM> ["She told me to introduce myself personally." He turned a big brown eye to Isaiah. "And you must be Zhang Yanmei's famous beau."-
[16:25] <AdEvaGM> ["… Yes, that's right. Isaiah." He said awkwardly.-
[16:26] <AdEvaGM> [Asuka and Alex cautiously sat down. Asuka didn't drop her knives.]
[16:28] <Yanmei> …it was almost worth it to see the two of them on edge after the stunt they were pulling with the bill. Yanmei smiled to herself, a glint in her eye. "You guys should introduce yourselves too~"
[16:30] <AdEvaGM> ["Alexandre Fontaine, Berlin-2 Tech." Said Alex warily.-
[16:31] <AdEvaGM> ["Asuka Langley-Soryu, pilot of EVA-02." Asuka said haughtily, tossing her hair.-
[16:32] <AdEvaGM> ["Nice to meet you both." Said Terence, giving them a genteel nod of the head.]
[16:34] <Yanmei> "So they've sent you as part of the security crew for this Thunderdome event?" Yanmei guessed.
[16:35] <AdEvaGM> ["Indeed."]
[16:40] <Yanmei> "Nice! You'll totally get to see everyone in action. The Parisian Pilots are probably favored to win, you know."
[16:41] <AdEvaGM> ["They- totally are not!" Said Asuka hotly. "Berlin all the way?"-
[16:41] <AdEvaGM> [Alex cleared his throat.-
[16:41] <AdEvaGM> ["A-All the way!" Said Asuka, fuming.-
[16:42] <AdEvaGM> ["Sorry." Said Terence, smiling benignly. He patted Isaiah on the back. "I'm already obliged to support Team Boston."]
[16:42] <Yanmei> "W-what? Why?!"
[16:43] <AdEvaGM> ["I was asked very politely by a very nice girl with blue hair."]
[16:47] <Yanmei> "That girl's shrewder at politics than she lets on," Yanmei murmured. "Well… that's fine this time, since it's Isaiah's team. <3"
[16:48] <AdEvaGM> [Isaiah beamed. "We'll win for sure~"]
[16:49] <Yanmei> "We'll see." Yanmei folded her arms. "I'm just hoping they're disabling that annoying AI for this thing. It's going to be distracting enough without it?"
[16:51] <AdEvaGM> ["You'll need all the help you can get~" Said Asuka sweetly.-
[16:51] <AdEvaGM> ["So why do you think the Paris team is favoured to win?" Asked Terence.]
[13:47] <Yanmei> "Because we're the best!" Yanmei beamed. "Our EVAs aren't the latest models? But we're practically undefeated! Clearly, it's the work of teamwork and good skill."
[13:48] <AdEvaGM> ["What do you mean, undefeated?!" Snapped Asuka.]
[13:52] <Yanmei> "You have objections~?" she said sweetly.
[13:53] <AdEvaGM> ["You lost to Sefirah, you lost to Samandiriel, you lost to Azrael, you lost to me twice…"]
[13:55] <Yanmei> "Th-those were just flukes! Especially the last two you mentioned."
[14:00] <AdEvaGM> ["Oh really? Flukes, were they? Go on, explain."]
[14:02] <Yanmei> "The outcomes of disctraction and inexperience, that's all. This event will be completely different? I know what I'm doing, and I'm totally focused."
[14:04] <AdEvaGM> ["… Didn't Azrael's battle happen literally a few weeks ago?" Asked Alex, frowning.]
[14:06] <Yanmei> "I suppose it did," Yanmei said, trying not to grit her teeth. "But that guy doesn't count. I doubt -anyone- could have handled it."
[14:08] <AdEvaGM> ["Actually, according to the combat data, you nearly managed to defeat him before you lost control of your Evangelion." Said Alex sweetly.]
[14:18] <Yanmei> "You…" Yanmei glared… and then coughed, entirely too aware of their present company, "…can be assured that losing control won't be a factor this time. The simulator can't handle something so unpredictable."
[14:18] <AdEvaGM> ["Hmm." Terence leaned forward. "May I offer some advice?"]
[14:19] <Yanmei> "Certainly?"
[14:21] <AdEvaGM> ["The true warrior does not leave anything to luck or chance, not even defeat. Own your defeats as you would your victories, and thus just as you claim your defeats are the result of your own inability, no one can claim your victories as being anything but of your own making."]
[14:30] <Yanmei> "…" Taken aback. Was he taking their side all of a sudden? How to react to this…? "Well yes," she said slowly, but how exactly could one counter that?
[14:31] <AdEvaGM> ["So if you admit that you were defeated, fair and square those five times, you can also admit, with pride and without doubt, that every other victory you have achieved is of your own ability, yes? And not due to anything else."]
[14:34] <Yanmei> "Well, naturally," she rallied and shot Asuka and Alex a smug look. "And everyone knows I've won more battles than lost them."
[14:35] <AdEvaGM> ["Those numbers'll equalise soon~" Cooed Asuka.]
[14:36] <Yanmei> "What a baseless thing to say." Yanmei tossed her hair. "Anyway? There's no way you'll contribute to a chance of that happening~"
[14:38] <AdEvaGM> ["You should both accept the possibility of defeat at each other's hands." Said Terence. "No one ever won a battle by ignoring a threat. Waiter!"-
[14:38] <AdEvaGM> [A waiter hovered over. "Yes, sir?"-
[14:38] <AdEvaGM> ["Another sundae."-
[14:38] <AdEvaGM> ["Y-Yes, sir, right away…"]
[14:41] <Yanmei> "Heh. How about it, then, Asuka? Think you'll get defeated by me the next time we face off?"
[14:42] <AdEvaGM> ["I…" Asuka frowned, then grinned. "I'll try my best to make sure it doesn't happen!"]
[14:42] <Yanmei> "Likewise~"
[14:45] <AdEvaGM> ["See? That's how you two should resolve these things." Said Isaiah happily.]
[14:52] * Yanmei resisted the urge to nestle closer to Isaiah. "You're in a pretty good mood again all of a sudden~"
[15:07] <AdEvaGM> ["Hmm~ I guess it must be the natural result of sitting next to such a mature, beautiful young lady…"]
[15:15] <Yanmei> "Heh." Yanmei gazed at him with a look that promised many kisses later. "By the way? I know Isabelle's around. Do you know if she brought a certain you-know-who with her?"
[15:19] <AdEvaGM> ["Hm. I think she did~ We should steal her and run off."]
[15:22] <Yanmei> "Hm… after lunch. Ooo, I think I see the waiter now. Happily, she settled back in her chair. At least there were some upsides to today. As she eagerly waited, the mixed feelings and tensions of her earlier announcement drifted away completely.
[15:22] <Yanmei> ^now."

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