She Said So Much Work For This Superheavy Regiment

[13:55] * Yanmei was in the best of moods today as she drove into a parking space and beamed that the passenger next to her. It was a warm, bright day. The streets, as usual, had been fairly empty thanks to the population drop, making the trip to this cafe an easy one. Best of all was the person who had decided to accompany her today. "Ready?"
[13:57] <Ariadne> [Marianne Amatore-DeForest was wearing thick sunglasses today, trying to hide a faintly tired expression (and her eyes from the burning rays of the daystar). "Yeah~ It's been way too long."]
[14:01] * Yanmei threw open her door and stepped out with a grin. "Hey. Order anything you want, ok? I'll treat you." She could have stayed in and slept, after all. But instead she decided to come without her even asking! It made her feel warm and floaty inside, actually.
[14:02] <Ariadne> ["… Yeah?" Marianne beamed. "If you say so~" The woman stepped out of the other side.-
[14:05] * Ariadne was sitting at a table, as expected, sipping something foamy from a coffee cup. She looked quite radiant, dressed in a bright blue blouse and white skirt. One leg was folded over the other, and she waved as they emerged.
[14:09] * Yanmei waved back. "Ariadne~ Good morning!" she chirped as they drew closer. "It feels like it's been a while? But Hamburg was only about a week or so ago, wasn't it?"
[14:43] <Ariadne> "That's right. I suppose you've been spending the past week enjoying the spoils, huh…~?"
[14:44] <Yanmei> "Hey! I've been busy with other things too. We have a new person staying with us for a while, right Marianne?"
[14:45] <Ariadne> ["That's right. A friend of Yanmei's from school. A fairly energetic young lady, too."-
[14:45] <Ariadne> "Oh…?"
[14:48] <Yanmei> "Her name's Eugenia Ranvier. She had a tough time in the tunnels during the last Angel invasion, and she lives all alone, so…" Yanmei sat down and picked up a menu. "It seemed wrong to leave her by herself in that state."
[14:50] <Ariadne> "Heh. That's pretty kind of you." Said Ariadne. "But it's the sort of thing that's needed, yeah?" She sipped her coffee. "A hell of a lot of people are suffering here…"-
[14:50] <Ariadne> [A waiter hovered over. "Can I get you ladies anything…?"]
[14:51] <Yanmei> "A bowl of fruit and some toast for me. And black tea?"
[14:53] <Ariadne> ["A plate of bacon and eggs, please. And some sausages. And fried bananas. And a cup of coffee." Said Marianne.-
[14:53] <Ariadne> ["Certainly. It will be with you shortly."-
[14:53] * Ariadne giggled.
[14:54] <Yanmei> "Hm? What's so funny?"
[14:56] <Ariadne> "You're both…" She shook her head. "You eat so -healthy-, Yanyan."
[14:58] <Yanmei> "Well, it's important to keep healthy, right?" Yanmei grinned back. "But if it's Marianne cooking it, I don't mind the greasy stuff."
[15:00] <Ariadne> "Oh yeah." She peered at Marianne.-
[15:00] <Ariadne> ["What?"-
[15:00] <Ariadne> "Quite the breakfast today. Trying to fix that hangover~?" Ariadne grinned.-
[15:00] <Ariadne> ["Shhhh."]
[15:03] <Yanmei> "Hehe. It's pretty obvious, you know?" Yanmei reached out and gently tapped the corner of Marianne's sunglasses frame.
[15:03] <Ariadne> ["Humph. I'm surprised you're not the same…"]
[15:04] <Yanmei> "I was perfectly sober when I got home, thank you," she said smugly. "And so was Isaiah."
[15:06] <Ariadne> [Marianne mumbled something about "Not what -I- saw" before Ariadne cut in.-
[15:06] <Ariadne> "How -is- he, anyway? He's probably glad as hell about the hearing."
[15:07] <Yanmei> "He's been the happiest I've seen him in a long while! Everything about him is cheerful. You should drop by his office and say hello sometime."
[15:08] <Ariadne> "I'll have to keep that in mind." Said Ariadne cheerfully. "I'm glad it turned out, you know? I remember you being really down about it…"
[15:09] <Yanmei> "W-well, you know." She laughed it off merrily. "It all worked out somehow? So I'm fine now."
[15:10] <Ariadne> "Yeah? Well I'm glad." Said Ariadne with a grin.-
[15:11] <Ariadne> ["She's been floating on air." Chirped Marianne, reaching around to ruffle Yanmei's hair. "You should see her, it's just -so- adorable…"]
[15:14] <Yanmei> "Nnn," Yanmei tried to smooth her hair back down, with partial success. "Well, it's been a good couple of days in general too? But… how have you two been? Pretty busy, I guess."
[15:14] <Ariadne> ["-So- much work for this Superheavy Regiment…"]
[15:17] * Yanmei nodded, a sympathetic look plastered on her face. "How are you liking Raphael Guillory? He's your latest subordinate, isn't he?"
[15:20] <Ariadne> ["Yeah. He's a good guy. Reliable as heck. And he's a real softie under that mask of his~"]
[15:21] <Yanmei> "I know, right? Put a little kid in front on him, and he suddenly gets all motherly and protective~"
[15:22] <Ariadne> [Marianne giggled. "He dotes on that poor Suzanne girl like nothing else. It's so cute~"]
[15:25] <Yanmei> "The President's the same way, actually? Totally focused at work, but bring his daughter into things, and he becomes a different person." Yanmei folded her arms and nodded to herself. "I bet they exchanged parenting tips."
[15:26] <Ariadne> "Huh, really?" Ariadne blinked. "When did you see the president…?"
[15:29] <Yanmei> "A few days after the last attack. Group Captain Guillory was still in pretty bad shape, and President Mazarin was also hospitalized. It was a meeting of the injured!"
[15:29] <Ariadne> "Wait, the President was hurt?"
[15:32] <Yanmei> "You didn't know?" Yanmei blinked. Maybe he had been keeping that quiet. He probably had a lot of enemies that would have taken advantage of that news. "He led the charge against some of those demons who were attacking the Palace, and got pretty torn up. Ah… but keep it hush-hush, okay?"
[15:32] <Ariadne> "What?!" Said Ariadne, completely unsubtly. "he -what-?!"
[15:33] <Yanmei> "-Hush-hushhhh-," Yanmei stressed again, with a slight hand-wave.
[15:34] <Ariadne> "He -what-?" Said Ariadne, quietly. "Is he an idiot?!"
[15:37] <Yanmei> "Well, he made it out okay? So that means he had plenty of skill. Enough to be confident in~"
[15:37] * Ariadne muttered. "Who does he think he is?"-
[15:38] <Ariadne> ["I'm surprised he didn't run and hide."]
[15:39] <Yanmei> "Me too." Yanmei gave a helpless little shrug. "But if he wanted to look tough, mission accomplished."
[15:39] <Ariadne> ["I suppose he'll get to look like a hero whilst NERV looks like a pack of jerks…"]
[15:41] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei looked a little troubled by that.. but she wiped the expression off her face after a moment. "There's really nothing we can do about that, though."
[15:43] <Ariadne> ["… Yeah, I guess." Said Marianne with a sigh.]
[15:45] <Yanmei> "Hey, hey! Cheer up!" She reached over to pat her on the shoulder. "We're still doing our jobs okay, so that's what really matters."
[15:48] <Ariadne> [Marianne frowned. "Yeah…" She tried to smile. "It'll get better."-
[15:49] <Ariadne> [The waiter returned, bearing a big laden plate for Marianne, a bowl of fresh fruit and a plate of toast for Yanmei, and two cups. He placed them down. "Enjoy."]
[15:50] <Yanmei> "Thank you~" Yanmei offered her brightest smile for him, and picked up a fork.
[15:51] <Ariadne> [The waiter hovered away.-
[15:52] <Ariadne> "God. I've been waiting for this for such a loooong time. A day off~" Ariadne stretched. "No paperwork, no NERV…
[15:52] <Ariadne> "
[15:53] <Yanmei> "Hm? That's funny. I thought you'd be spending a day like this with a certain someone~"
[15:53] <Ariadne> "Oh…?"
[15:54] <Yanmei> "Come to think of it, I haven't seen too much of the Colonel lately either. I hope he's doing okay."
[15:55] * Ariadne eyed Yanmei.-
[15:55] <Ariadne> ["He's doing ok." Said Marianne, digging into her eggs. "I think. He's been a little less grouchier than usual."]
[15:57] <Yanmei> "That's good!" Yanmei beamed back, radiating as much innocence and cheer at this news as she could. Success! Operation: Kissy Shades must have gone well.
[16:00] * Ariadne eyed Yanmei even closer. "… -You-."
[16:02] <Yanmei> "M-me…?" Yanmei stared back. Wait… how could she…? "What do you mean, Ariadne?"
[16:02] <Ariadne> "You're the one who set us up for that couples therapy, aren't you?"
[16:04] <Yanmei> "Couples…? You know, someone set me and Isaiah up too! A certain Operations Director from Tokyo-2. I bet it was the same sinister culprit!"
[16:06] <Ariadne> ["Ooh, really~?" Said Marianne. "How'd that go, Yanyan?"]
[16:08] <Yanmei> "F-fine. But we were talking about whatever happened between Ariadne and Dorian, so…"
[16:08] <Ariadne> "Yes. do tell us." Said Ariadne grinning. "Give me the juicy, and maybe I'll return the favour~"
[16:13] * Yanmei glanced back and forth between the two. She felt like she was being ganged up on somehow here… "We just talked about the thing. Libido Effect? Have you two heard about it?"
[16:15] <Ariadne> "I've heard of Libido~"
[16:19] <Yanmei> "That's -not- what it means,' Yanmei looked pouty, and lowered her voice to a near-whisper. "It's an AT Field thing. When two people can feel each others emotions. I'm no good at explaining it, but when we both woke up from that last coma, we were like this. Anyway, the doctor made us do some mind exercises to reduce the negative effect of it."
[16:20] <Ariadne> [Marianne mumbled something that hinted that perhaps she didn't quite agree.-
[16:22] <Ariadne> "An AT Field thing, huh?" Ariadne scratched her chin. "… Hee. So you can feel what he's feeling -right now-?"
[16:25] <Yanmei> "He's happy and sleepy right now. Probably because he got to sleep in instead of going to school or work?"
[16:26] <Ariadne> ["Uh-huh…"-
[16:26] <Ariadne> "Huh. -Wow-." Ariadne looked genuinely impressed. "That's pretty amazing! I bet it comes in handy~"
[16:29] <Yanmei> "Well, if I wanted to keep an eye on him, it would be a good way to do it. Like if he was in danger, and scared for his life, I'd instantly know."
[16:29] <Ariadne> "Or if he's looking at another girl, right?"
[16:30] <Yanmei> "Oh please~ I'm not that petty." Yanmei gave a little hair toss. "I don't care who he looks at."
[16:33] <Ariadne> "Heh. I suppose you don't really have any reason not to trust him. He's a pretty loyal young man…"-
[16:33] <Ariadne> ["Ahem." Marianne crossed one leg over the other. "You know, you should see what it's like whenever he speaks to Eugenia…"]
[16:34] <Yanmei> "I don't know what you mean," Yanmei huffed. "Eugenia's a fine friend and classmate to him and nothing else."
[16:35] <Ariadne> ["Yanmei totally watches them~" Said Marianne. "And if Eugenia gets a little too flirty she makes some hilarious excuse to butt in~"]
[16:36] <Yanmei> "Those aren't excuses, they're legitimate reasons. And… and it's not like it even happens that often!]
[16:36] <Yanmei> ^"
[16:37] <Ariadne> "She's got a right to be protective." Said Ariadne, nodding. "… Eugenia Ranvier was her name, right?"
[16:40] <Yanmei> "That's right," Yanmei nodded.
[16:41] <Ariadne> "I get the feeling I've heard that name before." Murmured Ariadne. "Ah, well. So~ You wanted to hear a story?"
[16:42] <Yanmei> "But of course!" Yanmei grinned. "And you know… she said that she worked with NERV before, so you probably did hear it."
[16:44] <Ariadne> "Ahh. Hmm." Ariadne rubbed her chin. "But~ So we walk into the office- or roll in- and Dorian goes, 'Wait, what is this nonsense' like a real child."
[16:44] * Yanmei snickered a little, and nodded, bidding her to go on.
[16:48] <Ariadne> "I, of course, was all for it. No doubt you were too, right? A chance to get everything sorted out?"
[16:50] <Yanmei> "I didn't even know it was happening, you know?" Nice try~ "If you mean Isaiah and me… well, he was the enthusiastic one."
[16:51] <Ariadne> "Yeah? What, you didn't want to do it?"
[16:51] <Yanmei> "I didn't think we needed it. After all, we have a healthy and mature relationship!"
[16:53] <Ariadne> ["Certainly healthy…"]
[16:54] <Yanmei> "Dr. Castillo-Delgado was totally amazed by how healthy it was!" Yanmei beamed. "And mature," she added.
[16:54] <Ariadne> "Well, lucky you. Dr. Castillo-Delgado had his work cut out with us…"
[16:55] <Yanmei> "I can only imagine. Hey… what happened next? Did it help?"
[16:57] <Ariadne> "Mm…" Ariadne rubbed her chin. "We talked about a lot of things. I think Dorian was actually really receptive…"
[16:58] <Yanmei> "Yay! That's great news!" Yanmei clapped her hands together. "So after that, you two'll live happily ever after, right~?"
[16:58] <Ariadne> "Well hold on now." Ariadne stared at her. "It's still early days yet. It wasn't all smooth sailing."
[17:02] <Yanmei> "Eh? Well, I guess that would be too easy, huh? But it's a start, at least?" Yanmei speared a little fruit and lifted it from her bowl. "Plus it improved his mood a little. You said so yourself."
[17:03] <Ariadne> "A little. Anyway. It was enough that we decided to do regular couples therapy." She blushed a little, preening. "He admitted he still had feelings for me, you see."
[17:05] <Yanmei> "No surprise there~" Yanmei chewed. "Congratulations!"
[17:05] <Ariadne> "Hehehe. Thanks, Yanmei. I guess I should thank you? You've been a big supporter…"
[17:08] <Yanmei> "Well, I'm just glad to help! And it makes it a little easier on us when he's less stressed out too." She winked.
[17:09] <Ariadne> "Hehehehe. No doubt~" Ariadne grinned.-
[17:10] <Ariadne> "How will I repay you?"
[17:13] <Yanmei> "Oh, I didn't really do much. Maybe the next time I'm in a pinch, you could cheer me on too? That would be fine with me."
[17:14] <Ariadne> "Hehehe. Sure." Ariadne plucked a strawberry from Yanmei's bowl.-
[17:14] <Ariadne> ["So Yanmei… Jeanne told me a fun story."]
[17:15] <Yanmei> "Oh?" she said serenely.
[17:15] <Ariadne> [Marianne beamed.]
[17:17] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei stared. This was most definately a trap of some sort.
[17:17] <Ariadne> ["Am I going to be looking for a dress soon?"]
[17:18] <Yanmei> "Dress? For what?"
[17:19] <Ariadne> ["For the wedding~"-
[17:19] <Ariadne> "Wedding?"
[17:20] <Yanmei> "W-what?! What did she tell you?!"
[17:22] <Ariadne> ["She told me you and Isaiah were engaged~"-
[17:22] <Ariadne> "Wait, really?!"
[17:23] <Yanmei> "We just mentioned a few things about marriage," she muttered. "It's not a big deal."
[17:23] <Ariadne> "Eeee. Make me a bridesmaid~" She winked. "I'll return the favour, promise <3"-
[17:24] <Ariadne> [Marianne was grinning a mean little smirk. It is the natural habit of people in hangovers to pass their misfortune on.]
[17:27] <Yanmei> "Oho~ So you and Dorian have discussed it too?" Yanmei giggled. "That's seriously great! I'll congratulate him the next time I see him. I know I have a synch test coming up, so if I use the public comms from the entry plug…"
[17:28] <Ariadne> "L-let's not get too hasty, you could scare him away…"
[17:29] <Yanmei> "Like anything could scare our fearless Operations Director~" Revenge for teasing and accusations, perhaps? She was enjoying herself, certainly.
[17:30] <Ariadne> "And think. If our dear Marianne here can shack up with Guillory, we'll all be set~"
[17:31] <Yanmei> "You're chasing the good Group Captain? Interesting…" Yanmei briefly steepled her hands.
[17:32] <Ariadne> ["H-Hey, that's just speculation." Marianne blushed.]
[13:11] <Yanmei> "You're blushing~" Yanmei pointed out. "You think he's haaaandsome, don't you~?"
[13:17] <@AdEvaGM> ["I- well." Marianne reddened even further. "I… Might have done something stupid last night? He wrote on my mirror in lipstick.."]
[13:19] <Yanmei> "Huh? Why would he do that? Did he have a little too much to drink?"
[13:20] <@AdEvaGM> ["I-I think so. He told me… He really enjoyed himself, and he thanked me." Mumbled Marianne.]
[13:23] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei dropped her hands, struggling to keep a surprsed look off her face. "Er… did he really?" She glabced to Ariadne.
[13:29] <@AdEvaGM> ["Yeah. I… Er, think he was just trying to be polite, in a dumb way."]
[13:30] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei smiled. "Maybe he thought it was better to leave a message instead of leaving without one?"
[13:30] <@AdEvaGM> ["Yeah! That's what I thought. … After a moment of panic, that is."]
[13:34] <Yanmei> "Heh. Well, I think it's sweet! Will you be going out again with him soon?"
[13:34] <@AdEvaGM> ["I-" Marianne blushed. "I did not go out with him. And no. I'm his CO and we must keep our relationship proper and professional." Said Marianne primly.]
[13:38] <Yanmei> "Did you kiss~?"
[13:39] <@AdEvaGM> ["No!" Marianne muttered. "It was strictly platonic."-
[13:39] <@AdEvaGM> ["Oh man. We all know what that means!" Said Ariadne, grinning at Yanmei.]
[13:41] <Yanmei> "I-!" She frowned a bit. "I was serious about that! Was. And… you should be careful, Marianne. Looks like Captain Katsuragi has her sights set on him as well. You should do something about it? Maybe beat her up?"
[13:42] <@AdEvaGM> ["Yeah, sure." Snickered Ariadne. "Not so platonic now~"-
[13:42] <@AdEvaGM> ["… What do you mean?" Asked Marianne, giving Yanmei a sidelong glance.]
[13:44] * Yanmei suddenly looked regretful. It was probably not the way to hear about it, the morning after, surrounded by gossips. And herself. She smoothed down her skirt primly. "You should ask him."
[13:44] <@AdEvaGM> ["Tell meeeee."]
[13:45] <Yanmei> "You're sure you want to know? It wasn't good…"
[13:45] <@AdEvaGM> [Marianne nodded firmly.]
[13:47] <Yanmei> "They were kissing. A full-on-the-mouth French smooch with tongue. And then afterward they 'went for a walk' with each other."
[13:48] <@AdEvaGM> ["…" Marianne stared. "… -No-. But…" She frowned. "I'm sure there's a perfectly reasonable explanation."]
[13:49] <Yanmei> Another sharp pang of regret. That damned stoic playboy… "I'm sorry, Marianne."
[13:49] <@AdEvaGM> ["It had to be the alcohol…"]
[13:51] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei glanced at Ariadne again, unhappily.
[13:52] <@AdEvaGM> [Ariadne reached out to pat Marianne's hand. "It's probably Misato's fault. You know what she's like."]
[13:53] <Yanmei> "Maybe you should talk to them both?" Yanmei chimed in.
[13:53] <@AdEvaGM> ["Maybe…"-
[13:54] <@AdEvaGM> [… There was the sound of a phone. Marianne reached for it, holding it to her ear. "Marianne speaking. Oh, Colonel! … But-… I see. … Alright."]
[13:55] <Yanmei> Yanmei's ears perked up, and she stared on, anxiously.
[13:55] <@AdEvaGM> ["… I have to go into work."]
[13:55] <Yanmei> "Wh-what? Why?!"
[13:56] <@AdEvaGM> ["Something's gone wrong." Muttered Marianne. "We've lost contact with one of NERV's branches… Um, Yanmei, would you be able to take me in?"]
[13:58] <Yanmei> "…" she succeeded in smiling. "Yeah, of course. Let's get the rest of your breakfast to go, okay?"
[14:01] <@AdEvaGM> ["Sure."-
[14:01] <@AdEvaGM> ["Hey, why don't you take Yanmei's car, and I'll drive her home for you, Marianne?"-
[14:01] <@AdEvaGM> ["Ah, that's a good idea. You ok with that, sweetheart?"]
[14:02] * Yanmei fished out her keys obediently. "Well, that sounds fine. Thank you, Ariadne!"
[14:04] <@AdEvaGM> ["Not a worry."-
[14:04] <@AdEvaGM> [Marianne took the keys, holding out her arms to Yanmei. "Sorry…"]
[14:05] <Yanmei> "It's okay. Work is important, right?" Yanmei moved in for a little hug. "Don't let him make you work too hard."
[14:06] <@AdEvaGM> [Little hug, bah. Marianne pulled her into a great big bonecrushing cuddle, kissing her on the top of the head. "I won't. Hey, sometime this week we'll get together and just do whatever we want, ok?" She winked.]
[14:09] <Yanmei> Her expression shifted, a bit of hope now bleeding through it. "That would be really great! Another breakfast and some shopping?"
[14:11] <@AdEvaGM> ["Yeah! Just you and me."]
[14:12] <Yanmei> Her smile grew broader and warmer. "In that case~ I'll be looking forward to it!"
[14:13] <@AdEvaGM> ["Goodo. Say hi to Isaiah and Gina for me when you get back, ok?" She smiled and headed off to the car, a waiter bringing her her breakfast to go. "Seeya, Ariadne! Bye, Yanyan!"]
[14:14] * Yanmei waved her off. "Goodbye, Marianne! See you later!"
[14:15] <@AdEvaGM> ["Tata!" And… Off.-
[14:15] <@AdEvaGM> [Ariadne sighed. "I hope it's not serious. Otherwise I'll be called in too. I guess in case anyone needs some emergency attacheing to be done."]
[14:16] <Yanmei> "It sounds pretty serious. When was the last time we lost contact with another branch?"
[14:19] <@AdEvaGM> ["Malchediel's attack, I guess, since we couldn't contact anyone. Otherwise… Never. Branches don't usually have power outages or communications failures.']
[14:22] <Yanmei> "So it could be under attack." Yanmei's shoulders sagged a little too, now. "Which means I might have to go in too."
[14:22] <@AdEvaGM> ["Not until you get the call, though, and they would've called you first if they did. They'll probably take a day to send out a plane or something."]
[14:24] <Yanmei> "Well, we'll see, I suppose." Yanmei pushed her bowl away, as it was now mostly empty, and stared thoughtfully into it. "There was something I was hoping to do before I had to face another one of those things, though. Someone I wanted to visit."
[14:31] <@AdEvaGM> ["Oh?" Ariadne moved to make some teasing remark, before remembering that Yanmei actually had a boyfriend. Took the fun out of -everything-. "Whosat?"]
[14:33] <Yanmei> "A certain older gentleman. I believe you know him?" She began to stand with a grin. "Could I ask you to give me a lift to his place? I'll give directions, of course."
[14:33] <@AdEvaGM> ["Ahh. Your dear mr. de Orleans. Of course~" She led Yanmei off towards the car!]
[14:35] * Yanmei followed cheerfully!
[14:39] <@AdEvaGM> [Before long they were in the car, Ariadne heading off- she seemed to know the directions even without Yanmei's assistance. Before long they were pulling up at the gates…]
[14:42] <Yanmei> "Looks like you've been making visits yourself!" Yanmei started to climb out. "Thanks again. If you need to head off somewhere? I can grab a cab later to get home."
[14:42] <@AdEvaGM> ["Actually, I might come in and say hi to the maid."]
[14:47] <Yanmei> "Miss Lucille?" What secrets would they share with each other? Would Lucille teach her the art of sneaking and manning incredibly deadly stationary guns? Or would they just have tea together? "What do you think of her?"
[14:47] <@AdEvaGM> ["She's smart and she makes good tea. I dunno, I think she's just fun." Said Ariadne cheerfully, stepping out and over to the gates.-
[14:48] <@AdEvaGM> [A second later, the front doors opened as Lucille herself emerged in her everpresent blue dress, crossing the courtyard and opening the gates with a bow. "Mademoiselle Zhang. Mademoiselle Delcaour. A pleasure."]
[14:49] <Yanmei> "It's good to see you! Hopefully you're having a peaceful morning?"
[14:50] <@AdEvaGM> ["Yes." Said Lucille. "Master de Orleans awaits you inside." She started heading towards the doors.]
[14:52] <Yanmei> "Ah…awaits?" She politely kept her smile as she moved, following the blue-clad maid.
[14:53] <@AdEvaGM> [Lucille nodded, leading her into the familiar foyer. "May I bring you some tea?"]
[14:54] <Yanmei> "Certainly. If you don't mind, that is?"
[14:54] <@AdEvaGM> ["Of course not."-
[14:54] <@AdEvaGM> ["I'll come with you, Lucille. We can chat." Said Ariadne.-
[14:54] <@AdEvaGM> ["Of course. Master de Orleans is where he usually is, Mademoiselle Zhang."]
[14:56] <Yanmei> "Right. Thank you for seeing me in!" She gave a parting wave to them both and started on. She was a little more familiar with the mansion by now, and so it wasn't long before she found herself at the door of the room where he had entertained her so many times before. She knocked.
[14:57] <@AdEvaGM> ["Please, come in." Came the voice of a familiar old man.]
[15:01] * Yanmei breezed in at that cue, smiling brightly. "Monsieur de Orleans! How have you been?"
[15:02] <@AdEvaGM> [de Orleans was sitting where he usually sat, in his favourite chair, a cup of tea sitting in front of him. he smiled. "Ah! Yanmei. I have been very well, thank you. How are you?"]
[15:04] <Yanmei> "I'd say that I'm doing well too!" She found a chair and primly smoothed her skirt down. "I meant to visit you when we were still in Hamburg, but they shipped us back almost right away, and I didn't get the chance."
[15:04] <@AdEvaGM> ["Oh, trust me, I was quick in departing as well." He winked.]
[15:06] <Yanmei> "Hehe." She winked back, and settled back in her chair for a moment, thoughtfully quiet. "I want to say something like 'I'm sorry for the trouble'. But you were following your own feelings back then, weren't you? Not just doing it for my sake alone?"
[15:07] <@AdEvaGM> ["Which would please you more?" He asked with a smile.]
[15:13] <Yanmei> "Well~ There's something terrible about forcing a person to do something they don't want to in an attempt to save someone from being forced to do something he doesn't want to. Right?"
[15:14] <@AdEvaGM> ["Yes, that is true. But I can assure you that my actions were reinforced by my own will."]
[15:16] <Yanmei> "I'm glad." And she actually did look a little relieved. "I hope Mary Caine hasn't been too… overbearing about the way things turned out back then."
[15:17] <@AdEvaGM> [de Orleans chuckled. "You were scared she might try to discipline me in some way?"]
[15:18] <Yanmei> "Naturally! She's extrordinarily powerful, and the look she was giving you as the hearing came to the close could have frozen an active volcano."
[15:20] <@AdEvaGM> [de Orleans laughed, a deep hearty belly laugh. "Thank you kindly for your concern. And yes, she did in fact try to discipline me. But she forgets occasionally that I am not merely a harmless old man. I have a good deal of power of my own, and I have held this power since the days when her father still lived, God bless his errant soul. She won't be so quick to underestimate me again- I'm not her puppet."]
[15:25] <Yanmei> For a moment, her eyes shone in awe, but she grew aware of it, and gave in to a somewhat awkward chuckle. "I'm impressed. Really, really impressed! Um. May I ask you a question?"
[15:30] <@AdEvaGM> ["Of course."]
[15:33] <Yanmei> "Before the hearing I was… very very nervous. Nervous because I knew how slim my chances were. I could only protect Isaiah by talking to people who had power over the decision. I didn't have any actual power myself."-
[15:36] <Yanmei> She wasn't frowning, exactly, but her eyebrows were knitting, and her gaze was growing more intense. "Even with that work, I was at their mercy. He was only saved because some members of the committee changed their thoughts on the matter, or in at least one other case, had equally ominous plans that clashed with voting in the affirmative."-
[15:40] <Yanmei> "Is… it possible for someone to obtain power without being born into it? And… is it possible to clear the gap between relying on the influence of more powerful people and being able to protect yourself and the people you care about personally?"
[15:51] <@AdEvaGM> ["Is it possible to obtain power without being born into it? Yes, of course." Said de Orleans. "And yes, it is possible to go from relying on the power of others to protecting the ones you love with your own strength. The question all comes down to power. See, influence itself is a power. if people with power are listening and heeding your words, you must have -some- power yourself."]
[15:59] * Yanmei blinked at that, staring a moment afterward, and then shook her head with a little smile. "I'm a little worried that it won't be enough? Otherwise I wouldn't be asking these questions."
[15:59] <@AdEvaGM> ["Naturally. I agree." Said de Orleans. "Yanmei, the first rule of taking and maintaining power is to never, ever limit yourself to one method. Never put your eggs in one basket."]
[16:02] <Yanmei> "Ah? So then, a more direct form of power would also be good?"
[16:03] <@AdEvaGM> ["Forms of power, I think. Plural. Set yourself up so that if one path of power is closed to you, then you have others. let's take three men. One of them has wealth, the other has a silver tongue, and the third has wealth and a silver tongue. If the man with wealth tries to destroy the man with the silver tongue, or vice versa, whoever acts first wins, but if either of them try to take on the third man, the third man will always win."]
[16:09] <Yanmei> "Hmmm," she nodded slowly. Cultivating multiple talents. Easier said than done, but… "For something like that, a person would need to be both observant and fairly talented."
[16:10] <@AdEvaGM> ["Indeed." Said de Orleans. "More than that. Observant, talented, ambitious and even opportunistic. Tell me, Yanmei. How many forms of power do you possess?"]
[16:15] <Yanmei> "It's all relative, isn't it? I have wealth, but most of it is wrapped up in a trust fund that I won't see for at least another four years. I have some combat prowess, but it doesn't hold a candle to those with longer millitary careers. There's in influence I mentioned before? But I've also spoken of its limits. -
[16:17] <Yanmei> "The influence I have within NERV and with members of the public, but both are so wrapped up in the organization that I can't wield them freely. The latter has taken a nosedive among the people of Paris-2 anyway." She frowned. "And then there is my power as an EVA pilot, but, like nearly everything else, it is regulated by NERV who own both the EVA and can sever my ties to it at any time. Objectively speaking? I don't have
[16:18] <Yanmei> - I don't have much power at all."
[16:22] <@AdEvaGM> ["But all power has its limits, Yanmei. You say you have wealth, but you can't use it. Is it not true however that you can make promises with that wealth? Payments later for services rendered now? You have combat prowess that isn't equal to those with greater experience, but does it not also surpass that of others? Your influence is limited, yet it still exists. Your influence within NERV is indeed limited, but NERV is a powerful organisation, and the right word in the right place can cause actions elsewhere. Then finally, your power as an Evangelion pilot is indeed regulated by NERV, but that does not remove the intrinsic fact that every so often, NERV fully entrust you with full control over the world's greatest weapon of mass destruction with no limits outside of other, equal weapons."]
[16:29] <Yanmei> "But relying on those things for power would all make me more dependant on NERV, wouldn't it? Not that, I suppose, it matters given that I'm already currently dependant? But…" she shook her head. "If there was someone that I had to face off against who had more influence over the organization than I did, wouldn't it be better to seek power beyond it? Like… with this last time, with the pilot hearing."
[16:34] <@AdEvaGM> ["True. And you are, of course, right. Diversify your power base. But understand that all power has a weakness. We all have dependencies."]
[16:35] <Yanmei> "Even you?" There was a hint of teasing behind that.
[16:37] <@AdEvaGM> ["Yes, of course." He said with a smile. "For example, my wealth is dependent on currency having worth. If the Franc becomes hyperinflated tomorrow, then I might be able to rely on my US Dollars, but what happens when the world's largest economy takes a nosedive? It usually takes others with it."]
[16:40] <Yanmei> "Well, yes. But you'd have a backup plan even if you didn't have wealth to rely on, correct?"
[16:41] <@AdEvaGM> ["Of course. But even that plan would have a weakness. Ultimately, a person with enough time and power could destroy me. My mission is to have so many various sources of power with so many redundancies and insulations that I simply become not worth the effort."]
[16:45] <Yanmei> "Sounds like a good plan!" Yanmei said with another nod. "Thank you. You've given me a lot to think about!"
[16:46] <@AdEvaGM> [de Orleans chuckled. "Glad to be of service. Of course, you are aware that what you are doing right here, right now, is another form of power, yes? That of connections. You'd be surprised what this feeble old man's name can do if used on the right sort of people. of course, I suggest you not rely on that. It makes a person look… Weak."]
[16:51] <Yanmei> "I guess it would," she agreed. "But~ Under the right circumstances, a percieved weakness could be used to trap someone else. In this case, though, I'm lacking anything to trap someone else in. And more importantly, it doesn't seem right to use your name like that."
[16:52] <@AdEvaGM> [de Orleans chuckled. "You're so proper. That in itself is a power." He winked. "Anything can be a power if you use it right. Even what you might perceive as your current greatest weakness."]
[16:57] <Yanmei> "Anything, you say…" she sat there a moment, figuratively stroking her chin. "Is there anything you wanted to ask me, by the way? I've been bombarding you with questions and requests for advice since I arrived!"
[16:57] <@AdEvaGM> [He chuckled. "Yes, actually. How is Isaiah going? Is he happy to be a free man?"]
[16:59] <Yanmei> "He's the happiest he's been in a long time!" Yanmei beamed. "Would you like me to bring him by sometime so that you can say hello?"
[17:01] <@AdEvaGM> ["Yes. That might be a good idea. You know, all this time and I don't think I've ever seen the two of you together." He chuckled, mildly mischieviously. "No doubt the two of you make a lovely couple."]
[17:03] <Yanmei> "W-well…" she flushed a little, her own chuckle a touch more girlishly flustered. "I suppose we're okay? Oh, we ended up going to a party last night. The Director of NERV-Japan was there. It was quite an evening. Would you like to hear?"
[17:05] <@AdEvaGM> ["Oh my. I was afraid this might be some lurid tale of teenage zaniness, but if Ikari was there… Go ahead."]
[17:07] <Yanmei> "Well, there was a lot of wine! So the zaniness wasn't necessarily regulated to the teenagers attending. Did you know that he ended up with an entire plate of hot curry in his lap somehow? Such a surprisingly clumsy guy~"
[17:08] <@AdEvaGM> ["How did he manage that?"]
[17:11] <Yanmei> "I'm not completely sure? We had all just sat down to eat, you see, and his wife, Ikari Yui was talking about their first date and everything, and I believe either he or another guest accidentally knocked it over…"-
[17:12] <Yanmei> She went on then, about the less lurid parts of the party. Things that were appropriate for a proper older gentleman like himself, and could just as easily be told anywhere.
[17:19] <@AdEvaGM> ["So you'd call it a success, then? Everyone seems to have had a fun night."]
[17:21] <Yanmei> "Yes! It was a pretty enjoyable evening. If I ever throw a party myself, I'll invite you, okay? So that you meet everyone first hand."
[17:21] <@AdEvaGM> [de Orleans chuckled. "Are you sure? I wouldn't want to spoil the atmosphere."]
[17:23] <Yanmei> "Don't be silly! It will be a really sophisticated party, so you'd fit right in!"
[17:24] <@AdEvaGM> ["You flatter me. But if you do intend to hold such an event, I would not be averse to lending you use of my chateau. Which reminds me…"]
[17:25] <Yanmei> "Yes?" She tilted her head a little, curiously.
[17:27] <@AdEvaGM> ["The President and I have been invited to a ball. The usual thing, you know how it is." … "Well, maybe you don't. But picture little, sophisticated finger food, classical music, a shiny floor, lots of people in pretty clothes. Crystal chandeliers. Wine. He asked me if he should invite you." He smiled. "It would be a good chance for you to relax, or at least meet new people. Maybe you can turn it into a romantic outing as well?"]
[17:31] <Yanmei> "Well, I'll have to check with someone before I can turn it into something romantic, but I would be happy to come!" She practically glowed. "Thanks for the news! Can I ask what the occassion for it is?"
[17:34] <@AdEvaGM> ["I believe it is the, oh… 71st anniversary of the fall of the Nazi Regime. You might not be familiar with the occasion, but here we call it Victory in Europe Day."]
[17:38] <Yanmei> "Ah… I think I remember celebrating it last year. And the year before?" She thought back, growing more wistful. "My guardian had those days off, so she took me to the movies, and then we did some other things."
[17:40] <@AdEvaGM> ["Ah, of course." He nodded. "I hope she won't mind? I know you must get so little time…"]
[17:41] <Yanmei> "It will be okay. She has her own plans this year, so…" she smiled cheerfully. "Anyway, I hope she has fun too."
[17:43] <@AdEvaGM> ["Of course." said de Orleans.]
[17:46] <Yanmei> Another nod, and a slight glance around, just realizing that Ariadne and Lucille had gone somewhere and not returned.
[17:47] <@AdEvaGM> [There's a little cup and saucer of tea to Yanmei's side…]
[17:47] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei stared at it. "…eh?"
[17:48] <@AdEvaGM> ["Pardon me. I did not tell you that Lucille came in and placed your tea down." de Orleans smiled. "She has… Decided that it would be fun to see how many times she can do this without you noticing that she's been and gone."]
[17:51] <Yanmei> "I'll… take her up on this. The next time, I'll spot her without fail!"
[17:52] <@AdEvaGM> ["We'll see."]
[17:54] <Yanmei> "We will!" She said confidently, and picked up her cup for a sip. "It is good, though."
[17:55] <@AdEvaGM> ["Yes. It is my favourite blend."]
[18:09] <AdEvaGM> ["Is that so? Well then. Why don't you and I visit one right now?"]
[18:10] <Yanmei> "Just like that?" She looked surprised. "Are you sure?"
[18:10] <AdEvaGM> ["Why not. I'm not doing anything important…"]
[18:15] <Yanmei> "Well, all right, then!" Yanmei stood, placing her cup back down. "I know of a good one that's still open. Shall we?"
[18:16] <AdEvaGM> ["Indeed. I'll summon Lucille…"]

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