Will A Set of Groucho Glasses Do The Trick?
Uta was informed that Yamato adventurers need to infiltrate the Palace Lands. She therefore heads over to the best place to acquire appropriate disguises for herself and some friends, Gwen's Chain Mail Bikini +1. And while she's at it, she might as well get some care packages for Baroness Wake, who seems to be in a Strange Mood...
"GWEN! WE HAVE A FASHION EMERGENCY!", exclaims the Spriggan, with a gripping sense of urgency, before staring, and then suddenly relaxing, the lights and sound dying along with her tension. "Well, not really, but -dang- was that a cool entrance. Wasn't it?"
A snap of the Spriggan's fingers, and the lightshow ceases (along with the blaring, of course). "Isn't it cool?"
"Anyway, no, I came here because I've heard we Yamatoans are going to infiltrate the Palace Lands. Somehow. Still fuzzy on the details. And we're going to need costumes for the mission. So-" At this point Uta would likely leave a little hesitation anyway, for the words to sink in. But if Gwen wants to cut Uta off, this is also a perfect opportunity.
Shortly after Uta's second demonstration, the door is slammed open again and Asuna leaps in, blade drawn.
"Who's in trouble? Is it a surprise attack! Where are they?"
She then looks at Uta and Gwen, who show nothing resembling distress (expect perhaps at her entrace) and falls out of her battle stance. Her blade is put away and she just stands there for a moment, feeling awkward.
" A fashion one, to be sure but no lives are in danger....what Can I do for you Haru?" She looks to Asuna and grins
"Did you enjoy the Lady Croft Costume? What can I do for you as well." Somewhere Morri has come in the back door and caught wind to this...
"Nobody died, Brother. And we're trying to keep it that way as we infiltrate the Palace Lands," Uta explains to Haru.
"I... am not sure," Uta admits to Gwen, hands going to her mouth in doubt. "Fake crowns, I would say, no. I have no certain intel on the matter, but I would guess that it would be pretty easy for the Crowned Palace Landers to call our bluff. And then we would be in -massive- trouble. That said -- definitely Adventurers. Landers can instinctively tell Adventurers from Landers, and Monsters from either. They just... do. And of course, Adventurers can inspect us. So, Palace Land Adventurers it will have to be, for our disguise. But I'd expect 'Uncrowned'."
Asuna tilts her head at Uta's little hiss. She smiles and waves at her.
"That wasn't at all weird. The hiss was pretty cute, though!"
She turns her attention to Gwen at the mention of the cosplay. A close look at Gwen. Not /that/ kind of a look! There's a lack of recognition in the context, and then Morri comes into view.
"Oh! Well, yes, I did. I wasn't sure when I would want to do cosplay, exactly, but it was a big hit during my last quest. Hm. I wonder what else I could try? Tasteful, you know. Not quite as..."
She looks at Gwen's outfit.
"Yeah not quite so much. I mean, maybe later, you know, for special situations. I was thinking another game character, maybe. Someone tough, though. I'm not some damsel in distress."
She's not much of a gamer, so she's got a rather limited range to draw on. She puts herself in Gwen and Morri's hands. Somewhere in the distance, there's the sound of a fruit card getting tipped over. It probably isn't related to Asuna's mount.
A deep breath. Smile Haru, the world only cares about happy people, even if its a lie. He looks to Gwen, who is pretty happy to see him judging from the look of things. "I was seeing what stock you wanted moved to the Shibuya branch. It has been getting a lot of traction down there. Yumi lets me know that a few of your accessories even outsell mine. You have your own aesthetic that does wonders for fashion." A thought. A tap of the chin. "False Crowns do work. Not because it holds up under scrutiny, but because it keeps surface level sus at bay. Crowns." A cough. "Gwen, when you want to learn Crown Breaking let me know. The whole experience has been akin to bile and rancor. Now that we have the statue up, its a somewhat strategic talent."
"Oh, if they work then, fine," she says. "I mean, not fine that the plan should have been enacted months ago," she mumbles, looking down. "But!" There we go. Look up again. Silence. "But... but... uh..." Frown. "...I forget." Scratch that head, then, snap those fingers. "Oh, right! Disguise!" She turns to Gwen. "I'll need to travel to the Palace Lands shortly. Routine work, a shipment of stuff. People are worried about possible attacks, but honestly, I have a great feeling about this. I'm sure it'll be a walk in the park. Except it's the sea. A swim in the park. The park's fountain." Big inhale, to cut this increasingly derailed train of thought. "Besides!", she continues. "I'll need some disguises fit for an Elf, and- oh, right. Baroness Wake's gone Strange Mood again. She's going to need help. -Proper- food, but cleverly disguised as menu food. As we all know, menu food not only doesn't have any flavor, but is inferior to real food in all other regards except ease of preparation. Clothing! Also clothing. Moral support."
She turns to Asuna. "You might remember the Baroness. Didn't you fight a battle at Eas, once?"
She looks to Asuna for a moment.
"Sadly Samus is out of the running and still couldn't make either her armor or undersuit so humm, not Peach...Oh Aleria Windrunner... could work humm." Gwen seems to be thinking then she looks over to Haru and says "Wonderful I have a lot to get moved over there if your willing to help. Hopefully, we can team up for some profit and fun..."
She thinks for a moment. "With that in mind yeah it makes it so it doesn't trip people to be suspicious in the first place.
"I will learn as soon as you are willing if you want to trust me with how too."
"With that in mind Haru I need to give the team the best chance they have to succeed on this right?"
She looks back to Uta now and Morri pipes up.
"We'll have to chian Wake down if it comes to it to feed her. The problem is your asking for Zentradi rations I'm not sure I could make such a thing. Humm may need to talk to Hifumi on this but clothes I can do might be menu made but given what happens...." She's looking at Uta she recalls those two high end dresses that were lost.
"We'll figure out something."
Meanwhile Morri starts thinking and gets an idea, the Sprigan starts to creep over to whisper something in Gwen's ear.
Uta's... words flow like a flood. Asuna listens carefully, because she's used to this. Sure, most of it just goes by. Palace Lands, elf, swimming... yeah she's lost.
"I have never been to Eas, actualy. I live in Mac Anu, though, so obviously I've heard about it. I was off playing rough with gnolls during that particular fight, though."
Asuna turns her attention to Haru, but just offers a polite nod. She has avoided the Palace Lands thus far, and really, she's got enough trouble just in the tower and fighting whatever monsters decide to cause issues in her backyard. And then Gwen starts saying a bunch of... things.
"Okay, okay. I... don't know what most of those are. Peach? Wait! I know that one. She's a princess, right? Samus is a cool name, though. Is she strong? Agile? You know, quick on the feet, no nonsense. That's what I like about the Lara outfit, really. I've heard nothing but positive stuff about her from the ner.. gamers."
This time it's Uta's turn to stare blankly at a list of names that do not seem to ring a bell at all. Not a gamer. Except...
"Oh. OH! Peach! That's... Princess Peach, right? From Super Mario Bros.?" Uta got that reference!
Uta shifts her weight on one leg, crosses her arms, rubs her chin, and, brow knitted in concentration, gives Asuna a long, studying look. She even begins circling her.
"Nah," she eventually declares. "Too much pink for you, I can see that." She then looks up and away, and distractedly, she trails off, "...Tomoe though..."
The Artificer heads to the back of the store to get supplies, noting, "You look far too busy to have fun, Gwen. Doubly so for me. It'll have to wait." In a short order of time he returns with a box. A very small box, because of his noodle arms. "I don't care if you learn it," he says as he looks to Gwen, "part of it is dependant on the Goddesses granting you Moonlight Goldsmith status. Without that, the technique doesnt work. After that, Tian or myself can show you how. The more people that know, the less I have people dragging me along to adventures to oppress the mentally assaulted for personal gain." Its a sensitive topic, as he glances to Uta on that one. Then over to Asuna who has a whole world of other things going on. "Tend to your clients, Gwen. Fashion waits for no one," he says, but neither does Haru. He isn't one to linger in the background when there are things to do.
She looks to Morri for a moment.
"My mother has a wonderful suggestion Bayonette a powerful gun toating witch with quite the sense of style."
"Now for you and your elf friend I'm thinking a pair of Quipos...simple maybe expected but it should work. It seems it's something for me to consider presuing yes... Talk to Uther he'll help you load up what needs to be transported."
"So if Asuna is down two Quipos, two fake crowns and one Bayonetta outfit..."
"If I'm.. down?"
Asuna looks over herself slowly, then registers something Uta said. Something important. What was it again?
"OH MY GOD TOMOE!! Sorry, one moment! One moment!! Umm, Bayonetta sounds great! I don't need a crown, or umm. A quipos? One moment!"
The Flash darts outside, living up to her namesake. There's a brief pause. Silence. She's probably looking.
"TOMOE PUT THAT CART DOWN THIS INSTANT! BAD! BAD RED PANDA!"
It will take her some time before she can get back. When she does, she looks a bit guilty and is a bit poorer.
"I... am now the owner of three fruit carts, it seems. Well. One broken fruit cart and two piles of splintered wood that I'm hoping someone will just kinda clean up."
A pause. Breath. Clear the mind.
"So, Bayonetta, then! It's not going to be a bunch of bare skin, I'll be covered?"
She has no idea how little modesty can potentially remain while being covered!
The glance on a sensitive topic elicits a simple, yet meaningful nod from Uta.
"...Maybe you can discuss the broken carts with Shiruba? Or Kita?", Uta offers to Asuna. Politely. Do not attract attention to the elephant in the room, which happens to be the Dire Red Panda outside the shop. "Maybe... they can fix them?" They are woodworkers, after all. "Oh, wait. There's the subject of the fruit... and possibly vegetables." Embarrassed silence. "I guess it's time to make jam... and possibly soup?", she offers with a big smile. Look on the bright side, right?
"I don't know Bayonetta," Uta admits. Before turning to the subject at hand. "I would say qipaos would work. And if you are not familiar with the Palace Lands' style... why not reach out to an Uncrowned for assistance?" She looks up and away. "Which reminds me, I should reach out to a Formerly Crowned to learn how to play the part..."
A snap of her fingers. "Oh, right. Also, if I may offer a suggestion: if it is possible at all, please make the crowns lockable in place. Through a simple mechanical lock mechanism, if possible, whereby we can hide the key in our inventory. If not, I suppose enchantments, either as sole or additional measure, would also work." A conspirational glance is cast between Gwen and Haru, the two Accessory Forgers in the room. "We don't want the fake crown to fall down if we trip, or worse, be easily removed if tugged, do we?" She sinks into thought. "Except for the mind control, the fake crowns should be the best imitation of the real deal we can manage. Even if not as powerful."
Asuna accepts the friends request quickly. She's a bit embarrassed about the whole Tomoe trashing a few vendor carts, but at the end of the day, the landers have never sold out faster! She also thinks the last vendor charged her at least two times for each of his fruit.
"Oh, and yes, I will pay, certainly. I mean, the first one wasn't paid for and I really feel like I owe you for that, too. I don't need the Palace Land outfit, though. I'm not going there. I don't like the idea of being in a ship for days on end. Besides, there's so much to do here for me."
She looks back outside, where Tomoe is now sitting quite calmly by the broken cart, basking in the warm air.
"And sure, if you want it, it is all yours. I am happy you can take it off my hands."
"...Wait a minute," she says, her brow furrowing in a concentration far deeper than earlier. "How do I even -know- all that stuff? I'm pretty sure I'm-" Her eyes pop open. "AAAAAH! IT'S THE ETIQUETTE SKILL!" She looks around in panic. "HELP ME! I'M GETTING FASHGION STUCK IN MY H-"
At this point, she realizes she had extended her hands towards Gwen.
"Wait, no, wrong person." Spin around.
"ASUNA! HELP ME! THE FASHION! IT'S GETTING STUCK IN MY HEAD!"
"I would be happy to teach you tailoring."
Morri meanwhile just looks the youngens over grinning widly.
"You all have so much energy...prehaps I could put you to work helping me with the wall...?"
Asuna looks at Uta seriously. She pulls a piece of parchment from her inventory and rolls it up carefully. When it is ready, she inspects it.
"Okay, brace yourself, Uta. Sometimes the cure... is almost as painful as the injury."
She then proceeds to gently bonk Uta on the head with the rolled-up parchment. That being done, she will look over at Morri. She seems very happy!
"You need help with a wall? I'm not the best at construction, but I will certainly do my best. I mean, that Lara Croft outfit was such a hit! I owe you one."
Uta stares at Asuna. Winces slightly when bonked. Stares. "What?"
And then... Morri happens. Uta makes wild gestures from behind Morri, where only Asuna can see her; mostly crossing her arms in the Japanese 'No!' signal, or miming the cut-across-the-throat signal, at the mention of... The Wall.
All in all it's just another ship in the wall. All in all you're just another ship in the wall.
"Hey, Morri, leave the kid alone...", Uta suggests, gently, with tact, making it sound like a jocular, familiar invitation rather than an outright order; the wide grin providing further softening. "I'm sure she is tired and... has places to be, right?"