She Said He S He S Silas Caine

[13:11] <Isaiah> [It was about 30 minutes until they had to leave- or more accurately, until Mortimer's driver came to pick them up. Gina was still getting ready; Isaiah was sitting on the couch, holding onto a brand new pram, with a large bag fitted over the back. Elizabeth was gurgling away in the pram, and Isaiah was watching her with such cheerful glee…]
[13:15] * Yanmei was putting the finishing touches on. Last dab of lipgloss, spritz of rose-scented perfume, a combat knife sheathed against her upper thigh, hiked up -high- to avoid detection even when she twirled. She tried out a twirl now, satisfied. "Isaiah~ Are you getting back and forth with a cab tonight?"
[13:17] <Isaiah> "Yeah, that's right." He called back. "That should be ok, right?"
[13:23] <Yanmei> "Here. I'll give you some extra cash, just in case." It was another moment until she emerged in long, fitted black dress. A slit ran up one side, and it was lacking sleeves, the top of the bodice ending in a see-through mesh with a glimmery effect that extended from the most minimal of cleavage to a choker-like decoration at her throat.-
[13:27] <Yanmei> There were things sewn into it that glittered like flashing raindrops, tastefully sparse except for a more obvious starbust or them on the unslitted side of her skirt. She had pulled her bangs back with flower-shaped hairclips forged from either glass or crystal, the rest of her hair falling freely, slightly curled. Her makeup was heavier than usual, given the time of day, applied with a sure and practiced hand.-
[13:27] <Yanmei> "You're taking extra food for her, right?"
[13:32] <Isaiah> "Uh-" He blushed, taking in her elaborate appearance. "Wow, you look -really- beautiful. Now I'm even more jealous I can't go~" He murmured appreciatively. "And yeah, I have everything."
[13:35] * Yanmei found her purse, resting on the couch, as well as a pair of long black gloves and some sparkling bracelets that looked enough like diamond. Matching dangly earrings as well. "Ok. Here's a few more francs. You'll call if anything happens?"
[13:38] * Isaiah chuckled. "I'll be fine, sweetheart. You just have a good time, ok?" He hopped up off the couch to give her a kiss.
[13:40] * Yanmei kissed him back. Leaned over to give Elizabeth a little peck on the forehead too, a bit awkwardly done. Her mouth left a pink-colored mark behind. "…"
[13:40] <Isaiah> "D'awwwwww." Isaiah beamed. "Oh, oh, oh, let me get a picture~" He rushed off to grab a camera~-
[13:45] <Isaiah> ["Ta-da-dah~" Gine emerged from her bedroom, wearing a very attractive backless red dress with colourful gold and blue patterned flowers across the skirt and bodice. The overall effect contrasted intriguingly with her nigh-albino pale skin. Her long hair was washed; long, glossy and straight, looking shiny and silvery in the light. She did a twirl…-
[13:45] <Isaiah> [… And her face promptly fell when she saw who was watching. "Drat. Where'd he go?"]
[13:46] <Yanmei> "He's getting the camera. Again." Yanmei smirked, a little cruelly. "For what it's worth, I think you look very attractive."
[13:50] <Isaiah> [Gina huffed. "Well thank you. You don't look so bad yourself." She walked in high heels over to the pram, gently pulling Elizabeth out and into her arms. "Aww, did the silly Yanyan get some lipstick on you~? Aww…" She snuggled the baby close, wearing the sweetest little smile~]
[13:52] * Yanmei huffed herself now. "Who's silly?" she complained. She knew what she was up to, too. Come on, Elizabeth, spit up on her or something!
[13:52] <Isaiah> [The baby giggled~-
[13:53] * Isaiah returned with the camera now, stopping in the doorway at the changed scene. He blushed again and fiddled with the camera. "Aww, that's just adorable~"
[13:55] <Yanmei> "Isn't it time for you and Elizabeth to start heading off?" Yanmei seemed even huffier now. Stupid Gina…
[13:57] <Isaiah> "Huh? Huh. I guess it is almost that time-" He took a picture! Then hung the camera away. He'd be using it, he knew~ "You both look really nice, though."-
[13:58] <Isaiah> ["Which one looks better?" Asked Gina with a smirk, putting Elizabeth down.-
[13:58] <Isaiah> "Yanmei, naturally~"-
[13:58] <Isaiah> ["Hmph. Puppet."]
[13:58] * Yanmei tossed her hair, smugly. "He's just telling the truth, you know~"
[13:59] <Isaiah> "Now, now." Said Isaiah airily. He gave Yanmei a little kiss before taking control of the pram. "The two of you be safe too, ok? Keep your phone on, Yanyan."
[14:00] <Yanmei> "Don't I always? You guys have fun, okay?"
[14:00] <Isaiah> "We will, won't we, Lizzie?"-
[14:00] <Isaiah> ["Daadaa~"-
[14:01] <Isaiah> Isaiah ~glowed~. He pushed the pram over to the door, opening. "See you both later. I love you, Yanyan."
[14:01] <Yanmei> "You too. Stay safe!" She waved him off, cheerfully.
[14:02] * Isaiah left~-
[14:02] <Isaiah> ["He really is attached to that baby, huh?" Asked Gina.]
[14:03] <Yanmei> "…yeah." Did a little hint of worry flash across her face just now? It was gone again in an instant. "He's always wanted to have kids, so I guess it's natural?"
[14:06] <Isaiah> ["…" Gina scratches her chin. "Ah, well." She offers Yanmei her arm. "Don't worry so much. And don't say you're not worrying, I can tell."]
[14:08] <Yanmei> "I'm not worrying." She paused. "Whatever. This is going to be a fun night, so let's just think about that!"
[14:09] <Isaiah> ["A fun night." Gina nods happily. "Let's go wait for our chouffeur~"]
[14:11] <Yanmei> "Heh, I wonder who will be there?" Yanmei flicked off a few lights before heading to the door. The one in the living room stayed on. "Let's pester Mr President about the guest list. Provided he's riding with us and hasn't gone ahead, of course~"
[14:15] <Isaiah> ["Most certainly~"-
[14:15] <Isaiah> [Before long, they're waiting in the foyer of the apartment block as a sleek black car pulls up- Yanmei would recognise it…]
[14:17] <Yanmei> "Here he is!" Yanmei started forward happily. "Here, I'll introduce you two."
[14:20] <Isaiah> ["Such a socialite." Muttered Gina.-
[14:20] <Isaiah> [They approached the car, the driver hopping out to open the back door. "Ladies. Fine evening." He says. "Miss Mazarin is waiting in the back for you."-
[14:21] <Isaiah> [… And indeed, there was no Mortimer. Only a Henriette, dressed in a very lovely long white dress and wearing a faintly self-satisfied expression.]
[14:24] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei tried to ditch her surprise. Peered harder into the shadows of back seat, half-hoping that her father had merely camaflogued himself somehow, before giving up and climbing in. "Henriette? You're looking well! Ah… I didn't realize that your father was bringing you as his guest."
[14:26] <Isaiah> ["Well now you do." Said the girl primly. "Aren't you going to be a proper lady and introduce us?"]
[14:30] <Yanmei> "I was just about to?" Yanmei cleared her throat. "Eugenia Ranvier, allow me to present Henriette Mazarin, the president's daughter. Henriette, this in Eugenia, my classmate."
[14:31] <Isaiah> [Eugenia smiled.-
[14:32] <Isaiah> ["Why, aren't you just the -cutest-." Eugenia swept into the car and bundled Henriette up, giving her a tight undignified squeeze. "You can call me Gina~"-
[14:32] <Isaiah> ["Urk! Unhand me!"]
[14:33] * Yanmei relaxed. For once, she wasn't on the recieving end of her antics. And.. watching this indignity was pretty damned hilarious. She snickered into a fist.
[14:36] <Isaiah> [They departed, Henriette extricating herself from Gina and folding her arms. "Hmph. And to think I had a surprise for you and everything."]
[14:37] <Yanmei> "Hehe, she's sulking. It really is adorable, isn't it~?"
[14:37] <Isaiah> ["It is~ But what were you going to give us?"-
[14:37] <Isaiah> ["Shant tell."]
[14:40] <Yanmei> "Aw, fine. What can Gina do to make it up to you?"
[14:41] <Isaiah> ["Humiliate you in the same manner."-
[14:41] <Isaiah> [Gina's eyes lit up.]
[14:43] * Yanmei scowled back at her. "I see negotiations have hit a sour note already."
[14:43] <Isaiah> [Gina pounced, grabbing Yanmei around the waist and snuggling up to her. "Eeeee~ What's the matter, Yanyan~?" She went for the tickle!]
[14:47] <Yanmei> "Eeek! N-no! You'll wrinkle my- ahahaaha- Stop it!!" There was flailing, as she tried to fend her off.
[14:50] <Isaiah> [… And so the rest of the journey proceeded essentially smoothly.-
[14:54] <Isaiah> [Eventually they came to the Palais de l'Etoile- once again shining and grandiose. The last time Yanmei had been here for a ball… Well…-
[14:54] <Isaiah> ["Wow. It's pretty, isn't it?" Asked Gina wondrously.]
[14:59] <Yanmei> "You should see the inside" Yanmei was grinning and leading the way once the car doors were open. She bid the driver a cheerful farewell and wave, feeling, well, graceful and in control. "Let's go!"
[15:00] <Isaiah> ["Alright, alright~"-
[15:01] <Isaiah> [The sound of perfectly orchestrated music reached their ears, along with half a thousand well-dressed, powerful people dancing, nibbling food, and talking. Henriette went with them, and pointed at the distinct figure of Mortimer Mazarin. "Look, it's father."]
[15:03] <Yanmei> "Shall we say hello?" Yanmei grinned and started toward him. "A thank you or two is probably in order? Be polite, Gina."
[15:04] <Isaiah> ["Pfft. What do you take me for?" Gina followed on~]
[15:12] <Yanmei> "I see you're enjoying your favorite of favorite things again?" Yanmei stepped up next to him with a little grin, eying the his choice in food. "Do you mind if we interrupt to say hello?"
[15:14] <Isaiah> ["Ah!" He politely put aside his slice of pizza, smiling. "Good evening, Yanmei. And of course not, I don't mind at all. Hello, sweetheart." He added to Henriette, giving her a very fond look.-
[15:14] <Isaiah> ["Father, this loutish woman -cuddled- me. She cuddled me, father." Said Henriette with a pout, pointing at Gina.-
[15:14] <Isaiah> ["Oh? Who is this, Yanmei?"]
[15:17] <Yanmei> "The lovely Eugenia Ranvier, a classmate of mine who did, yes, remorselessly cuddle Henriette," she announced, clearly enjoying herself.
[15:20] <Isaiah> ["I see. How nefarious." Said Mortimer with a smile, offering a hand to shake. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Mademoiselle Ranvier."-
[15:21] <Isaiah> ["The pleasure is mine. Yanmei has been telling me all about you."-
[15:21] <Isaiah> ["Oh…?"]
[15:21] <Yanmei> "Oh?" Yanmei echoed. "You mean about how charming and generous he is~?"
[15:22] <Isaiah> ["About just how sexy you find his matured form~"-
[15:22] <Isaiah> ["Indeed?" Mazarin quirked a dry eyebrow.]
[15:27] <Yanmei> "…" Why did she bring her again? She made herself break into laughter. "She's totally kidding? Not that you aren't mature or lacking swarms of ladies that swoon over you. But enough about that. Have we missed anything exciting?"
[15:27] <Isaiah> [Henriette coloured. What a shameful display? Gina was five seconds away from going 'ohohohoho'.-
[15:29] <Isaiah> ["Well, I don't know about that, but on the topic of swooning ladies, you missed the arrival of the dear Mr. Joshua Laroche, who has been steadily charming every young lady he's met since he arrived…"]
[15:31] <Yanmei> "Joshua Laroche…?" She tried to recall the name.
[15:32] <Isaiah> ["That young man over there." He nodded in the distance towards a giggling debutante and her partner- a dazzlingly handsome boy with long blonde hair.]
[15:35] <Yanmei> "Hm…" She squinted at him as if trying to puzzle something out, and then shrugged mentally. "Comes from a powerful family, I take it?"
[15:42] <Isaiah> ["A wealthy Swiss family, yes." Said Mortimer.-
[15:43] <Isaiah> [… Meanwhile, something else would catch Yanmei's eye. A certain young man and woman, one of them with light brown hair and glasses, the other with fiery red hair and an eyepatch. He was wearing a tuxedo; she was wearing a shining red dress. They were smirking at each other and, Yanmei could tell just by looking, that they were making fun of the other guests.]
[15:47] * Yanmei drew attention to this by lifting an arm and waving across the room at them. "Ah, I think I spotted a few people I know! Before I head over, I just wanted to say Thank You, Mr. President." She beamed at him. "It'll be a really fun night!"
[15:53] <Isaiah> ["I'm sure it will be. Come on, Henriette, let's get you something to eat."]
[15:58] * Yanmei trotted off cheerfully - paused to look over her shoulder to see if Gina was following or had decided on other targets.
[15:58] <Isaiah> [Gina was following, beaming happily.]
[16:01] <Yanmei> A vaguely suspicious shadow crossed her face for a fraction of a second… but she went on. "You two look like you're in a good mood? I take it you've spent this entire week smooching. Or fighting. Or both?"
[16:02] <Isaiah> ["Oh hey, look who it is. It's Yanmei." Said Alexandre, turning to look at her smoothly. "Nice to see you could make it."-
[16:02] <Isaiah> [Asuka grinned. "I haven't let him out of my sight~"-
[16:02] <Isaiah> ["It's been miserable."-
[16:02] <Isaiah> ["Eh? What do you mean, miserable? It's been the best week ever…"-
[16:02] <Isaiah> ["For you, maybe. You keep hitting me for no reason!"-
[16:02] <Isaiah> ["Well maybe if you weren't so…"]
[16:05] <Yanmei> "You know? It's not too late to ditch out and get a room," Yanmei smirked. "Oh. Gina's here. Alex, you know her. What about you, Asuka?"
[16:06] <Isaiah> ["-Please- don't encourage her, Yanmei. I've already told her no."-
[16:07] <Isaiah> ["Well-" Asuka was distracted by the new person. She peered at Gina curiously. "… Huh, no. Well, you can introduce us, Yanmei~"-
[16:07] <Isaiah> ["Yes. Introduce us, Yanmei~" Said Gina, mimicking Asuka perfectly.]
[16:09] <Yanmei> "Tch," Yanmei had to kick the urge to elbow her in the ribs. That would have been childish. Instead, she discreetly stepped on her foot. "This is the thorn in my side for this evening. In other words, Eugenia Ranvier, a classmate of mine."
[16:11] <Isaiah> ["Ow." Gina shot her a dark look. "It's a pleasure. Yanmei has told me all about how much she wishes she were as beautiful and as great as you are~"-
[16:11] <Isaiah> ["Hah! I knew she admitted my superiority out of earshot." Said Asuka with a triumphant grin.-
[16:12] <Isaiah> ["Oh God, really…" Murmured Alex.]
[16:15] <Yanmei> A second carefully-placed and dainty stomp. "Like I would?" She tossed her hair smugly, her hairclips catching the light. "Everyone knows I have more fans worldwide~ And let's face it, I'm a total match for you in a fight."
[16:18] <Isaiah> ["That's not what the footage says. I kicked your ass, fair and square. You should've seen it, Alex~ She was on the ground, going, 'Stop hitting me, stop it, stop iiiiiit', it was so great."-
[16:19] <Isaiah> [Gina was ready this time and shifted her foot out of the way. "Oh, do you still have that footage? Post it on the internet!"-
[16:19] <Isaiah> ["That's a good idea!"]
[16:21] <Yanmei> "What?! You wouldn't dare! Don't listen to her, Fontaine, she's just making things up to impress you or something."
[16:22] <Isaiah> ["Actually, I've seen the footage." Said Alex.]
[16:24] <Yanmei> "W-what? Impossible! Who would spread-" The answer caught her in mid-sentence, and she broke off, seething. "-Katsuragi-"
[16:24] <Isaiah> ["No. Don't be silly. I had to watch it for work."]
[16:26] <Yanmei> "Uh, well, of course, naturally." Another hair-toss, and an attempt to recapture some composure. "Not that I care? It's just data."
[16:27] <Isaiah> ["Could've gone either way." Said Alex diplomatically.-
[16:27] <Isaiah> ["Jerk." Muttered Asuka. "Anyway. You and I should ditch these losers, Yanmei, and go do what real ladies do."]
[16:28] <Yanmei> "What, you're not going to let him out of your sight so soon, are you?" Yanmei smirked.
[16:29] <Isaiah> ["Hmph." Asuka folded her arms and tossed her head- then glanced over at Alex. "We won't be -that- far…"]
[16:33] * Yanmei shrugged, and trotted back a few steps, waiting to see if Asuka would make good on her words and come with. "If you say so~ Be back in a little while, Gina. Don't do anything that will get you beaten up by and angry german EVA pilot later?"
[16:33] <Yanmei> ^an angry
[16:34] <Isaiah> ["I won't~"-
[16:34] <Isaiah> ["Have fun, you two."-
[16:34] <Isaiah> [Asuka smirked and followed Yanmei over. "So~"]
[16:35] <Yanmei> "So? What's with that know-it-all expression all of a sudden?"
[16:38] <Isaiah> ["Oh, nothing. I just was curious. I don't see that fluffy boy of yours around? I'm kind of surprised…" She smirked wider. "Did you two have a fiiiiight?"]
[16:40] * Yanmei snorted. "The truth of the matter? Is that he's totally preoccupied with another woman."
[16:43] <Isaiah> ["Eh?" Asuka stared, and blinked in clear shock. "What?!"]
[16:45] <Yanmei> "Yeah, she's blonde, has big green eyes… Oh, and she's teething, too."
[16:48] <Isaiah> ["…" Asuka tilted her head. "… Wait, what?" She scratched her head. "… I don't get it. A baby? Did you guys adopt or something?"]
[16:49] <Yanmei> "You heard how Bellamy turned out, right? Well…" She flourished a hand, "she needed someone to look after her daughter for a while. The two of us got the job."
[16:54] <Isaiah> ["… You two?" Asuka seemed even more surprised by that. "Well, I guess you could handle that… That's a shame. It would've been fun to have him around. Alex thinks we should go on some kinda double date."]
[16:55] <Yanmei> "Wait, what? -He- suggested -that-?"
[16:57] <Isaiah> [Asuka nodded. "Said it'd be good to see us all together." She looked back over at him, to where he was having a happy chat with Gina, who was smirking. "He's actually kinda romantic sometimes."]
[17:03] * Yanmei stared back at him too, dubiously. "If you say so?" She frowned. "He's changed a lot. He's still a jerkface, though."
[17:05] <Isaiah> ["He's my jerkface, though." Said Asuka proudly. "Of course, it's not like that was ever a doubt. He's mine and he will be forever, and no stupid anything is gonna keep us apart." She muttered, the memories of Eden fresh on her mind.]
[17:12] <Yanmei> "…" Her obviouly remembering was making her remember now, too. Things she didn't want to. "Back then, I had a vision about Isaiah dying. It was something I felt rather than saw." She panned the room, looking for anyone else she recognised… untrustworthy faces and not. "Look after that stuid moron Jerkface, okay? Not that I need to tell you?"
[17:16] <Isaiah> ["…" Asuka gace Yanmei an odd glance. Or perhaps… It was just worried. Hard to tell. "Yeah, I will." She folded her arms. "He needs a responsible adult to mind him anyway, hmph."-
[17:16] <Isaiah> ["Excuse me…"]
[17:17] * Yanmei put on her brightest smile and spun at the newest voice. "Yes~?"
[17:18] <Isaiah> [The pleasant face of Mr. Joshua Laroche. He gave Yanmei a charming smile. "Hello. You're Zhang Yanmei, yes?"]
[17:19] <Yanmei> "In the flesh!" she winked. "What can I do for you, Mr Laroche?"
[17:20] <Isaiah> ["I couldn't help but notice that you came in with that lovely silver-haired young lady over there. I was hoping you might be able to introduce us?"-
[17:20] <Isaiah> [Asuka frowned.]
[17:25] * Yanmei caught the expression, but held her own frowns to herself for now. Hell, this might actually be entertaining. "Let me see what I can do." She tried to wave Gina over.
[17:27] <Isaiah> [Gina peered in surprise, and headed over. "Oh, hello~"]
[17:29] <Yanmei> "It seems like you have an admirer. This is Joshua Laroche, of…?"
[17:33] <Isaiah> ["Of the Laroche family." He took Gina's hand and kissed it elegantly. "You are?"-
[17:34] <Isaiah> ["Eu… Eugenia." She blinked, and reddened slightly. She glanced at Yanmei.]
[17:42] <Yanmei> Ugh. What was with this shy act all of a sudden? He was probably just going to ask her to dance or something. "Eugenia's a huge fan of classical music," she threw out.
[17:45] <Isaiah> ["Indeed? Perhaps we can have a discussion after a dance?" He asked with a smile.-
[17:45] <Isaiah> ["Ah- ah. Sure, that's… Fine. I'll be back in a minute, Yanmei."-
[17:45] <Isaiah> ["Thank you, Mademoiselle Zhang. You have a good night now." Said Joshua, before leading his partner away.-
[17:46] <Isaiah> ["…" Asuka glanced at Yanmei, and rubbed her arms. "Urgh. Times like this make me glad I'm not single. Creepy…"]
[17:48] <Yanmei> "Guy's been all over everyone like that tonight, apparently." Yanmei rolled her eyes. "… he… didn't look familiar to you, did he?"
[17:48] <Isaiah> [She folded her arms. "He actually kind of did, yeah. Think he's an actor or something?"]
[17:51] <Yanmei> "Who knows." Yanmei sighed. "The only thing I've dug up about him is his powerful Swiss family. I was hoping he might elaborate on his profession or whatever, but…"
[17:53] <Isaiah> ["Maybe he doesn't have one. He could be a trust fund kid."]
[17:55] <Yanmei> "But that wouldn't explain his fame, would it? Who the heck would care about a trust fund kid unless their wealth came from something extrodinary?" She followed the couple with her eyes, and then sighed. "Whatever. Maybe I should find someone else to dance with too."
[17:59] <Isaiah> ["Eurgh. Everyone here is kinda old though." She nudged her head towards an older man in the distance, near a woman in a fine blue dress…-
[17:59] <Isaiah> [… Wait, wasn't that de Orleans?]
[18:03] <Yanmei> So it was! "Huh. Or I guess I could talk to more people?" She wasn't sure if she could imagine him dancing. "I'll see you later, Asuka."
[18:03] <Isaiah> ["Huh? Wait? You're ditching me?"]
[18:04] <Yanmei> "Yeah, whatever. You're dying to dance with a certain someone too, aren't you?"
[18:05] <Isaiah> ["Hmph. It's -something- I'm -allowed- to do at least, the stupid…" She muttered furiously.]
[18:09] * Yanmei snickered. "'Allowed'? Looks like someone's got you on a leash all of a sudden. Better do something about that~" She waved over her shoulder. "Later, Langley-Soryu~"
[18:10] <Isaiah> ["No one has me on a leash-?!" She stormed off. That damned Alex…!]
[13:16] <Yanmei> Whistling a little, Yanmei continued her trek across the room to her mentor, dodging clusters of people engaged in conversation and throwing out smiles.
[13:19] <Isaiah> [Yanmei would see, idly, the President talking to a clump of people, some of them laughing in a weirdly sycophantic manner- she could just smell Mazarin's contempt even from here…-
[13:20] <Isaiah> [That weird Mayor was around too, speaking to an old man in a very conservative outfit that reminded Yanmei of a priest…-
[13:20] <Isaiah> [Joshua and Gina were dancing flawlessly, Joshua smiling and Gina being swept up in it all…-
[13:21] <Isaiah> [… And finally she'd reach de Orleans, who was sipping a glass of wine, Lucille at his side. The maid-bodyguard turned to look at Yanmei before she arrived and smiled. "Mademoiselle Zhang."-
[13:21] <Isaiah> ["Oh, Yanmei, you were able to make it!"]
[13:27] <Yanmei> "I couldn't miss this!" A surprised eye lingered on the ninja-maid, whose simple dress was actually quite a bit finer than her usual clothes. "You look great, Lucille! You too, Monsieur de Orleans. Are you both having fun?"-
[13:28] <Yanmei> A part of her felt glad that chattering politicians weren't orbiting around them… unlike a certain unlike president. She had a feeling that de Orleans would find something like that tiresome.
[13:33] <Isaiah> ["I am. It's interesting to see how everyone operates at these things. You can learn a lot by observing."]
[13:35] <Yanmei> "Oh?" She looked back over the people she had passed, trying to find new things that jumped out at her. "What have you learned tonight, then?"
[13:41] <Isaiah> ["Well. Do you see the politicians by the President?"]
[13:42] * Yanmei nodded attentively.
[13:43] <Isaiah> ["Do you notice how they're all grouped together, and they're hanging off his words?"]
[13:44] * Yanmei nodded again. "Like groupies?"
[13:46] <Isaiah> ["In a sense, but it's more than that. You might not realise, but do you see the balding man and the one with the paunch?"-
[13:46] <Isaiah> [There was, indeed, a balding man, who was mopping at his shiny head with a handkerchief- and a man with a paunch.]
[13:47] <Yanmei> "Yes?" She kept her eyes on said balding man for the moment.
[13:47] <Isaiah> ["Does he look like a groupie to you? Is that a man in the aura of his idol?"-
[13:47] <Isaiah> [The man kept throwing furtive looks away from the group, as if he was looking for an excuse to break off.]
[13:49] <Yanmei> "No? He's nervous about something." She turned her eyes to the rest of the cluster, trying to discern if they were acting similarly.
[13:51] <Isaiah> [Now that she was paying attention, there were an assortment of other little tics the group were indulging in- and Baldy wasn't alone in glancing away. And they were keeping their distance a little from the President…]
[13:55] <Yanmei> "…" She wondered if they were trying to convince him of something. In any case, it was an awkward, almost painful thing to watch. "Who are those people, anyway?"
[13:58] <Isaiah> ["They're members of the Second Socialist Party." Said de Orleans. "The same party Mazarin comes from, in fact. These are the people Mazarin leads, essentially."]
[14:04] <Yanmei> "So maybe this is just an effect that a powerful boss has on his subordinates?" She smiled wryly. "Or more likely, they're either not doing the best job of currying favor with him or it doesn't look like things are going their way. Mazarin has a solid standing in his party, doesn't he? Not a lot of vocal dissenters?"
[14:07] <Isaiah> ["He has a lot of support, yes." Said de Orleans. "And their relationship with Mazarin has been as healthy as it can on the progress front. Things are going well for the Second Socialists."-
[14:07] <Isaiah> ["Nevertheless, they're here in his home, acting like groupies because they're all scared of him."]
[14:10] <Yanmei> So her first guess had been right, half-joking or not. Yanmei nodded a little. "There's a lot you can tell from body language, isn't there?"
[14:13] <Isaiah> ["Body language counts for a good deal of communication, much of it subconscious." Said Lucille. She looked over at Yanmei. "By telling how a person stands and moves you can predict their intent before they act."-
[14:13] <Isaiah> ["Lucille's job is to read body language for threats. Mine is to read what people say along with their actions to discern how they truly feel." Said de Orleans.]
[14:17] <Yanmei> "Hm… I've done that myself, a little. But it seems like I've missed details now and then? Or misinterpreted them?" she glanced at the pair, splitting a very long look between them. Perhaps attempting to deliberately read them on her own?
[14:23] <Isaiah> [They were both fairly impassive, not giving anything away, keeping controlled…-
[14:23] <Isaiah> ["This Joshua is an odd sort, isn't he?" Asked de Orleans.]
[14:27] <Yanmei> "I know, right?" Yanmei was secretly disappointed, but of course it wouldn't be that easy. One was a ninja, and the other a kindly old man with probably well over half a century of dealing with cutthroats like the rest of the Human Instrumentality Committee. "I swear that I've seen him somewhere before, but…" She gazed at him and Gina, carefully.
[14:29] <Isaiah> [Joshua was whispering something, and Gina was responding, blushing- which looked awkward on the pale girl. They were discreetly moving away from the dance floor and towards a balcony.-
[14:30] <Isaiah> ["I don't think his heart's really in any of it."]
[14:35] <Yanmei> Was that an embarrassed blush or a giddy bush? "-She- might be." Yanmei suddenly felt a pang of anxiety. "She never got over her first boyfriend."
[14:36] <Isaiah> ["Ah." de Orleans frowned. "Is that a friend of yours?"]
[14:37] <Yanmei> "Yes. My guest for the evening. I could introduce you two…"
[14:38] <Isaiah> ["Ah, let her alone. She seems to be enjoying herself for now." Said de Orleans. "Actually, I'm still a little surprised…"]
[14:39] <Yanmei> "Oh?"
[14:41] <Isaiah> ["Your partner wasn't able to make it?"]
[14:43] <Yanmei> "He's not very good with large crowds." She smiled almost apologetically. "And he had another engagement today. A smaller get-together that he'd be more comfortable with."
[14:45] <Isaiah> ["Ah. A pity." Said de Orleans. "Nevertheless, I'm glad it doesn't hinder your capacity to enjoy yourself. I saw you bantering with the Second Child a moment ago."]
[14:50] <Yanmei> "She's really pushy, but I'm glad to see her looking okay. She just finished a trying mission alongside me and the other Parisian pilots, and by the end, she wasn't looking so great." She glanced at de Orleans, not at all ashamed to stoop to highschool levels of gossiping. "You know, she and Mr. Fontaine over there…"
[14:50] <Isaiah> [de Orleans smirked. "Yes, I can tell."]
[14:52] <Yanmei> "I thought you might." She shifted her gaze back to them, grinning, but after a moment or two, some less festive thoughts encroached.
[14:53] <Isaiah> ["It's good to see them so comfortable considering recent events…"]
[14:57] * Yanmei smiled pleasantly at him. "Yeah, it is." …like a mind-reader. Was her body language giving her away? "About that… may I ask you something?"
[14:57] <Isaiah> ["What is it?"]
[14:58] <Yanmei> "What sort of a man was Alexandre Fontaine's grandfather? You knew him, didn't you?"
[15:04] <Isaiah> [de Orleans paused. "Yes, I did. Jeremiah Caine. He was… An interesting fellow."]
[15:05] <Yanmei> "Interesting?"
[15:08] <Isaiah> ["He lived for a very long time and did many things. I knew him for much of that time and I'm still not sure as to what sort of a person he really, truly was."]
[15:14] <Yanmei> "Sounds complex." Yanmei frowned a little. "Then… I suppose he never made his motivations clear either?"
[15:15] <Isaiah> ["Perhaps he didn't. But to me he seemed as though he was dedicated to improving humanity's lot."]
[15:18] <Yanmei> "I see. Well," she flashed a little smile at him. "I just thought I would ask? We saw a lot of things during recent events that we didn't understand, but he would have been in charge of the Instrumentality Committee at that time, correct?"
[15:19] <Isaiah> ["That is correct."]
[15:23] <Yanmei> "…he did die of natural causes, didn't he?"
[15:25] <Isaiah> ["A massive stroke." Said de Orleans. "After battling with severe illness ever since 2001."]
[15:28] <Yanmei> "A shame," she said calmly. "It makes it a little hard to figure out what he was like? But thank you for humoring my questions."
[15:30] <Isaiah> ["Let me ask you a question in return."]
[15:30] <Yanmei> "Certainly!"
[15:33] <Isaiah> ["What do you think of Jeremiah Caine, considering your entire view of him is through that crooked lens of Eden Base?"]
[15:37] <Yanmei> "Let's just say that that crooked lens has cast him in a very very unflattering light." She found herself staring in the direction of the two resident NeoSpartans, only catching quick glimpses of them now, with all the moving bodies between her and them.
[15:42] <Isaiah> ["That's understandable." Said de Orleans. "Nevertheless, this is an odd topic to discuss, considering the day."]
[15:45] <Yanmei> "I agree. This is supposed to be a happy celebration, right?" A somewhat sheepish smile. "Sorry. Bringing it up wasn't in the best taste."
[15:47] <Isaiah> ["Oh, no. That isn't what I meant. Today is a special day in the history of the Caine family."]
[15:48] <Yanmei> "…is it?" Yanmei blinked. "I wasn't aware."
[15:50] <Isaiah> ["Oh yes. Victory in Europe day. Of course, I told you about the history of that before, but…" He smiled as he looked over at Alexandre, who was looking rather nonplussed trying to keep Asuka's hands to herself, "For the Caines it was one of the great events that let them become so powerful."]
[15:51] <Yanmei> "Did they have something to do with the end of the war?"
[15:56] <Isaiah> ["The Caines suffered poorly during the Second World War. Being a powerful German family with Jewish roots, this isn't too surprising." Said de Orleans. "Restrictions, weakening of their influence, loss of a good deal of their wealth- but simply put, when the war ended and their homeland needed rebuilding, they were the ones with the know-how, the know-whos and the money to fund a lot of it. Simply put, they filled in the gaps. Similar things happened elsewhere, of course…"]
[15:59] <Yanmei> "But their power never exactly declined, did it?"
[15:59] <Isaiah> ["No. It grew stronger. Especially after Second Impact."]
[16:04] <Yanmei> "Yes. They were able to create NERV and its predecessor, after all."
[16:07] <Isaiah> [de Orleans nodded. "Indeed. Although not without help, of course."]
[16:12] <Yanmei> "Of course." Yanmei nodded and smiled. "Like yours, Monsieur de Orleans? It seems like you've worked with the Caines for a long time in some capacity. You must be really committed to the well-being of the world."
[16:16] <Isaiah> ["Oh, I can't say I've had that much to actually do with him. I guess you could say they treat me as the man too dangerous to have as an enemy, so they keep me in their good graces at a safe distance."]
[16:19] * Yanmei stared a moment, trying to see a dangerous man beneath the kindly exterior. She wasn't stupid or naive, but… was he really powerful enough to be a threat to those guys on his own even now? Her glance flickered to President Mazarin and his nervous 'groupies' for a fraction of an instant as she drew some silent conclusion.
[16:27] <Isaiah> [de Orleans smiled indulgently. "To be fair, I can't claim to be any greater than the Caines."]
[16:28] <Yanmei> "But you're a match for them? You were able to deflect Mary Caine, as I recall."
[16:29] <Isaiah> ["A match is a good way to put it. In more ways than one."]
[16:30] * Yanmei shot him a curious glance, but broke off, a little distracted by something seemingly internal.
[16:33] <Isaiah> ["Hm? Is everything alright, Yanmei?"]
[16:36] <Yanmei> "It's nothing." She recovered quickly, and glanced to where she had last seen Lucille, noting her longstanding silence during this conversation.
[16:38] <Isaiah> [Lucille was looking elsewhere- over towards the orchestra, in fact. But as if she could sense Yanmei's look, turned back to face the conversation. "I should warn you."]
[16:39] <Yanmei> "Hm? About what?"
[16:39] <Isaiah> ["Master de Orleans can get a little carried away in such a lighthearted setting."-
[16:39] <Isaiah> ["Hm? I do not."-
[16:39] <Isaiah> ["As you say, sir." Lucille smiled.]
[16:43] <Yanmei> "I can take a hint?" Yanmei grinned. "That's my cue to leave you two to dance, isn't it?"
[16:44] <Isaiah> ["Hm? Dancing?" de Orleans quirked an eyebrow. "How am I supposed to dance with this woman, I ask you? I can't hear her footsteps when she moves!"-
[16:45] <Isaiah> ["I'm not that bad, sir!"]
[16:46] <Yanmei> "Well," Yanmei coughed, "it -is- pretty hard to hear…"
[16:52] <Isaiah> [Lucille opened her mouth to speak…-
[16:54] <Isaiah> [… But before she could get the words out, something happened. There was an immense sound and the sudden sensation of extreme force around Yanmei's legs, enough to knock her prone. A second later, all hell broke loose- A part of the roof seemed to cave in, and the sound of sudden screams of horror was drowned out by a wave of sheer momentum that blew the air away in waves.]
[17:01] <Yanmei> "Hnngh?!" Yanmei tried lift her arms protectively, her head buzzing. What…? de Orleans! She opened her eyes, trying to see what was going on, squinting painfully through the rush of air and dust.
[17:02] <Isaiah> [The lights had gone out as well, and all Yanmei could see in the gloom and chaos was de Orleans, looking utterly confused, and Lucille, looking alert.-
[17:03] <Isaiah> [… In a split second, a little red dot appeared and disappeared on de Orleans's chest- Lucille reacted immediately, pushing de Orleans to the floor- a gunshot rang out…!]
[17:13] <Yanmei> "No!!" She didn't scrabble to her feet. The risk of getting singled out and shot at too was too great, a mix of combat training and past terrorist incidents scrambling her impulses. She tried to crawl toward the pair instead. "Lucille! Gilles!"
[17:16] <Isaiah> [Lucille stumbled a little, clutching a hand to her chest- a hand that came back bloody. She shook her head, turning to Yanmei. "Look after him!" She yelled- before she began ripping away part of her dress. She was wearing clothes underneath- a bodysuit, in fact, similar to Yanmei's own plugsuit- although Yanmei usually didn't wear a pistol and a set of knives on hers. Lucille stared up at something in the dust, before running off as fast as she could.-
[17:16] <Isaiah> [… Someone was crying her name, she thought…]
[17:21] <Yanmei> Look after him? How was she…? But she was moving closer regardless. It took a moment to register that she was being called, but by that time she had reached him, and sliding a hand under her dress to find the knife she had brought with her… so puny and ineffective now. Choking a little, she tried to place herself in front of the man, rising slightly, weapon held defensively as she searched the gloom. "M-Monsieur, are yo
[17:21] <Yanmei> - are you okay?"
[17:23] <Isaiah> ["Ugh." de Orleans sat up, putting a hand on Yanmei's shoulder. "I'm fine. Just a little winded. Where's Lucille?"]
[17:25] <Yanmei> "She ran off, armed to the teeth." She paused. Strained her ears for that call again. If seeing was no use, she would have to use her ears! Where were Asuka, and Jerkface, and the Mazarins, and Gina?
[17:26] <Isaiah> ["-anmei!" Asuka's voice, distorted oddly in the chaos.-
[17:26] <Isaiah> [… There was a vibration from her purse and the sound of a ringtone.]
[17:28] * Yanmei hissed through her teeth. "Asuka! Over here!" she yelled. She reached for her purse and phone, by extention. "Isaiah!"
[17:29] <Isaiah> [Asuka emerged from the dust, looking incandescent, Alex tailing.]
[17:33] <Yanmei> "Yes. Well, sort of? The roof fell in and there was a sniper." It was hard to hear, in the din. Asuka and Fontaine coming in close. She nodded to them, something resembling a grim sort of composure taking hold.
[17:34] <Isaiah> ["We need to evac, Yanmei." Said Alex. "Where's Gina?"]
[17:35] <Yanmei> "I don't know! I lost sight of her. She was over by the balconies with that sleazy guy." She hesistated. "Look, she's my guest. I'll go find her, okay?"
[17:37] <Yanmei> "…Listen, Isaiah," she was talking into the phone again now. "It's okay. There's someone fighting him, I think? In any case, we're going to be fine."
[17:38] <Isaiah> ["Eh? Be careful, Yanmei!" Said Asuka angrily- or was it just her way of being concerned. "I'm not telling Isaiah that his girlfriend got killed because she's an idiot…"-
[17:38] <Isaiah> ["We'll take de Orleans to the evac point." Said Alex.]
[17:41] <Yanmei> "I owe you two." She put a hand on de Orleans' shoulder, briefly. She couldn't blame Asuka for being worried. This was a damn stupid thing to do. "I'll be right behind you guys. And apparently Isaiah's coming here as soon as he can, so…"
[17:43] <Yanmei> She spoke into the phone once more. "I'll be out before you get here, okay?" She said it loudly, to reassure the others too.
[17:48] <Isaiah> ["What's new about that, huh?" Muttered Asuka. "You always owe me…"-
[17:48] <Isaiah> ["Come on, let's go." Muttered Alex, helping the old man off. "-Asuka-."-
[17:48] <Isaiah> ["Alright, I'm coming!"]
[17:50] <Yanmei> Left to her own devices in the chaos, Yanmei tossed her hair. There was no need to flash a winning smile if there was no one around to see it. "I love you too," she said into the phone. "And I'm always careful? I'll see you soon."
[17:52] <Isaiah> [The others were gone now, but where was Gina?]
[17:52] * Yanmei took a breath, and called for her, stumbling in the direction that she had last seen her. "Gina! Giiinaaaa!"
[17:55] <Isaiah> [No response. The dust was starting to clear, and she could see other people- dazed, some hurt or wounded… Gina had left via that balcony door, right?]
[17:57] * Yanmei made her way over to it, starting to feel a bit shakey again. Stupid, stupid Gina! Why did she have to…? She would try the handle upon reaching the door.
[17:59] <Isaiah> [The door opened… The sound of gunshots could be heard!]
[18:01] * Yanmei caught her breath! She was trying to figure out how distant they were. Could… could she make herself walk into a fire fight like that? But calling out to her was just as bad.
[18:09] <Isaiah> [Yanmei would figure out that wherever the gunshots were coming from wasn't on the balcony or the outside deck…]
[18:11] <Yanmei> Below or above, maybe? Still, she took it slow and cautious, remembering the red laser dot that had appeared on de Orleans' shirt before. She hoped Lucille was okay too. "Gina!" Not a full call, but a hiss, now, as she eased onto the balcony.
[18:11] <Isaiah> […!-
[18:12] <Isaiah> [Gina was sitting, leaning with her head against the balcony railing, a hand on her stomach.]
[18:14] <Yanmei> "Hey," she stopped and stared. And then she moved in faster, the gaps between the moments that she stopped and stared at the rest of her surroundings with her useless knife drawn stretching further and further apart. "G-Gina?"
[18:16] <Isaiah> [Gina's hand was bloody, but she was still breathing. She stared at Yanmei. "Y-Yanmei… Ugh…" She winced in pain.]
[18:18] * Yanmei stared at the blood. "You can walk, right? Tell me you can walk." She hadn't brought a medkit. She was no Isaiah, but… "What happened?"
[18:18] <Isaiah> [Gina seemed to weak to pull herself up, but… "T-That boy. Joshua, he's… Yanmei…"]
[18:25] * Yanmei hiked up her skirt high enough to reach the sheath for a moment. Once her knife was stored away, she leaned over, awkwardly putting one arm around Gina's shoulders, and the other arm beneath her legs. "Sorry. Brace yourself, okay?" She lifted her, body shaking a little with the strain until she adjusted for it.
[18:26] <Isaiah> ["Nnngh." Gina gritted her teeth in pain, putting an arm around Yanmei's neck. Once she was secured, she huddled a little, shivering and shaking. "Y-Yanmei, you don't understand…"]
[18:28] <Yanmei> "Joshua did this. That's what you're trying to say?" She didn't look down at her. Instead, she was moving back toward the balcony doors, eyes hardening into a vicious expression. "Who the hell is he?"
[18:29] <Isaiah> ["He's…" Gina winced, gasping a little. "He's not just some rich kid. Yanmei, he's…"-
[18:29] <Isaiah> ["He's… He's Silas Caine…"]
[18:32] * Yanmei stopped moving for a moment, the color draining from her face, fast. "Wh-what did you say…?"
[18:37] <Isaiah> ["He's… The real… Silas. The real Silas Caine."]
[18:38] <Yanmei> "That… th-that… but Atticus…"
[18:41] <Isaiah> ["Think, Yanmei." A hiss of pain. "NERV brought Rei Ikari back from the dead. Azariah can- nng- do the same."]
[18:46] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei swayed in place just a little bit. It was his -face-. She could remember it from the things they'd seen at Eden Base and Alexandre's photo album. Gravity snapped her back into the present, however slight, and she started forward again with a renewed grip. "…think I'm gonna be sick." She headed for the balcony doors, to the main room again.
[18:48] <Isaiah> [Much of the dust was cleared now, and Mortimer was standing in the middle of the room, a terrified Henriette at his side. Unlike his daughter, Mortimer looked utterly furious. Presidential guard were swarming into the room, helping the wounded and covering the exit.]
[18:53] * Yanmei made it far enough to reach one of the guards. "Hang in there, okay? After you get patched up, you have to tell me why they hell they did this. Although I have an idea?" She glanced at Mortimer, now a distance away.
[18:54] <Isaiah> [Gina nodded, her eyes swimming in dizziness. Behind Yanmei, Lucille slipped back into the room, sporting a fair few new injuries now.]
[18:59] * Yanmei waved to Lucille, but she didn't stop to talk just then. Instead, she pulled her phone out again, and dialed a new number, swiping her ruined hair out of her eyes. "Colonel?"

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