Prompt Assistance

Go not to the Sylph for counsel, for they will make things weird.

Mac Anu - Main Square

The door to the inn room bursts open, and in rushes a frantic Uta.

"We have an emergency!", she exclaims. "And by 'we' I actually mean 'me' at the moment, but if you will oblige me and listen to my plight, my hope is that I will confince you to have an emergency as well."

She shakes her head. "But I digress! Where was I?" She punches her fist, beaming at her train of thought getting back on track. "Right! Panicking!"

She panics. "FUKA! I HAVE A DATE!", she says, whipping out a neatly handwritten piece of parchment with a seal at the bottom, turned away from her, to be shown. "I thought the Charity Auction made it pretty obvious that the, I quote and unquote, 'date', was supposed to be mostly, you know, a token reward for donating ridiculous amount of money, spend an evening together and chat about stuff, possibly with me thanking 'em a lot and rambling on about all good his donation will do to help the needy, but-" She flips the parchment and reads from it, her finger following a specific line. "-his official invitation letter is full of well-meaning but inexperienced attempts at poetic praise, and explicitly mentions this being a 'romantic Rendez-vous'!" Uta flips the letter again, and jabs at the bottom-right corner. "See? He even drew a couple little hearts at the bottom!"

Uta, now hyperventilating, squeezes her red stress ball in the other hand. "WHAT DO I DO FUKA?!"

The tiny little old Lander lady sitting Seiza-style in front of her adjusts her glasses. "Who is Fuka?" She asks. "And who are you, dear?"

"...Oh, my bad," says Uta, quieting down and, with a few swipes of her fingers, pulling up her menu and placing everything back into her inventory. "I must have entered the wrong room. I am truly sorry for the inconvenience."

"Do not worry, dear!", the little old lady says with the sweetest of voices. "We've all done that."

And so, off Uta goes to slam open the door of the room right next to the previous one, this time hopefully nailing Fuka's quarters, repeating exactly the same scene.

Well, up to but not including the part with the old lady.
Mac Anu - Main Square

    Perhaps surprisingly, Fuka is adorned in warm and fuzzy pyjamas. Or perhaps not quite so surprisingly given she's also in bed curled up quite small. Smaller even than normal, which is saying something. Or at least she was. Sitting upright, groggily wondering what's going on and whether someone's burst into her room to ravage her, she's almost disappointed to learn it's Uta. Well, that is to say disappointed that she's not about to be ravished. She would never be disappointed to have Uta barge in.

    It may take a bit for Fuka to wake up enough to catch on and fully understand what's got her friend upset, but no matter. Uta clearly needs help, and Fuka is there for her. Or here, as the case may be! So, taking what little she can currently grasp, the little Sylph stretches and sits up, looking over to try to figure out what the parchment is and what it represents. Sage advice requires wisdom and understanding! Fuka will have to settle for at least something of that nature however.

    "It's true." Fuka states. "The date's just an evening, or a couple of hours, to do something fun together." she claims, only offering mild suggestiveness with her eyebrows and gestures. Maybe not even enough for the distraught Uta to recognize as such, but Fuka's gotta do what Fuka's gotta do. And Uta getting romanced? That's wonderful! Fuka isn't entirely sure why this is a problem, but then... a small part of her remembers this scene reversed somehow. Ah well. "I don't think it matters that he wants it to be romantic or poetic or whatever. Not if you don't want that. But that's not important! No, what's important is that he is clearly rich!" she states in all seriousness.

    "If you don't want to date him, then maybe you should let me do so. And you can watch if you like." Fuka offers. Perhaps she's just being playful and teasing her friend. But then, perhaps she's actually serious! She certainly wishes for Uta to find happiness and enjoy herself in any given situation. She's just not sure how much Uta wants to take things like romance seriously. "Maybe you seeing him having fun with me would make you more interested in him. Women always find a man more interesting when they learn another woman approves of him." she adds, sage-nodding. "But of course, you have to date him don't you? Well, maybe you'd rather I watch you instead? You know, help make sure the date stays all appropriate and above-the-belt and that sort of thing?"
Mac Anu - Main Square

'The Suggestiveness of the Eyebrows' sounds like the title of a book, the kind to make innocent souls blush.

Uta does exactly that.

"R-rich?", Uta stutters when Fuka brings this up. Whether or not that was intentional, jolting the discussion out of the expected track manages to yank Uta from her state of obsessive worry, and focus her to come back to Earth and think about this unexpected turn of events. "Uh, uhm... he -did- donate quite the amount of money to the Red Chain, yes...", Uta concedes.

"What? NO!", Uta exclaims, with the kind of determination one would expect from, say, a woman whose date's desirability index has suddenly skyrocketed due to endorsement from a fellow woman.

"/I/ am the goods and services that have been exchanged for fungible currency!", Uta states, straightening up and pointing at herself, with a sense of pride. "It befalls me to go through this! No one else!"

Emboldened by Fuka's encouragement, or possibly due to her having put things into perspective, Uta exclaims, "And this -is- going to stay above-the-belt, or Mr.Date is going to learn why my belt is -black-!", underlined by a flawless karate chop through the air.

Uta's expression of sheer determination softens into one of mild concern as realization dawns, "...we have to go visit Gwen now, don't we?"
Mac Anu - Main Square

    Of course, Fuka fully agrees that Uta's the one obliged to go on the date. Her offer... Fuka's interest in rich guys is... well, it's a thing she *says* she's interested in, but she's never one to practice what she preaches. Possibly even Uta knows she's really only interested in friends and having fun. And having fun with friends. Mmmm, fun with friends. But that's a side-track. Fuka needs to support her friend now that she's managed to shake her out of her worry.

    The sylph sagenods at Uta. "We should get you a suitable belt." she suggests agreeably. Also a nice outfit for a date! Fuka doesn't particularly care about the guy in question who purchased a date with Uta, but she'll be absolutely 100% certain to be sure Uta gets a proper experience and has the best possible chance at having fun! Besides, she can attest to it being quite fun to date someone who is spending lavishly. If, that is, they're otherwise interesting and share a desire to have fun and share values

    This of course makes Fuka curious about Mr. Date. "So, you need to tell me all about this guy." Fuka insists. Never mind that Uta's sum total of knowledge about him is that he won her date at an auction, plus the contents of the letter. Upon learning this, Fuka sagenods once more. "There is only one solution then. I join you on the date." she states. Then upon protest, "On chims, that is! I can learn what he's really after, and advise you. Women like us have to be constantly wary of the hungers of weird men!" she explains, without bothering to explain what exactly 'women like us' are, or what 'weird men' refers to in context and whether that is good or bad, ignoring the statements if pressed. "I know you hardly need my help to protect yourself from just one person, but I'd be honoured to help you make your date memorable and fun! And isn't that really what counts?"
Mac Anu - Main Square

That is really what counts. Uta has to agree.

Fast forward to the big night.

The last remnants of twilight still linger around, still providing a few straws for people who claim that 'it is not dark yet' to grasp at. Truth is, while there still is blue in the sky, lanterns have already been lit, and the kind of businesses that are still open at this time of day, mostly inns, restaurants, theaters, or similar, flood the streets with light that comes from their inside.

This is a bit of an upscale part of Mac Anu, and thanks to the magic of Gwen Pendragon's patented Fashion-O-Matic technology (which is basically Gwen being Gwen), Uta doesn't look out of place as she sits alone at the table of a refined dining establishment in her elegant red dress. Also, it looks like she took Fuka's advice to heart, and made sure to prominently display her black belt. Around her neck, in the form of a black ribbon looping around her neck, and tied at the top of her back, in a bow that leaves its end fall along her back, a more upscale version of her usual black collar.

Uta is sitting at a table, nervously waiting for Mr.Date, or, as the letter proclaims, a Lander by the name of 'Croesus Rollindough', to arrive.

"Flanfiction Writer testing open chimlink channel," she mutters, conscious that she must keep her voice low lest people at the nearby tables hear her. "Uh... I... I really hope Mr.Rollindough is footing the tab, because I'm afraid even -sitting- here would bankrupt me," she mutters, as her fingers twine and untwine in nervousness.

And as if on cue, shortly after she finishes talking, in walks Croesus Rollingdough in all his glory (or at least, whatever comes closest to it): a felin Cait Sith, about the age of Uta's avatar, a little bit on the roundish side without being overweight, kind of like a maneki neko still in training. He also looks rarther nerdy, as his round glasses seem to indicate.

He appears to have done his homework in researching Adventurer fashion, but to have done so by asking fellow Landers who had only a vague understanding of it; case in point, he shows to have learned that ties and breast pocket handkerchiefs are a thing; what he seems unaware of is that they are supposed to be two separate items, so his silk tie with white polkadots is bending sideways to dive into the small side pocket, the pointed part re-emerging to peek out. His hair as well clearly shows a serious attempt at being greased to strive for a modern, snazzy hairstyle, except that the result accidentally ends up being encroaching into the 'mad scientist' territory.

As he's directed towards the table, he starts out, "Ah, Miss Uta Furore." He says, smiling in recognition. "Just as... as beautiful as the day I first saw you at the auction," he adds, and bows. Much like his hair, he is -trying- to be smooth, but he just hasn't what it takes, and ends up giving away just how dorky he actually is.

He seems to mean well so far, tho'.
Mac Anu - Main Square

    "This is Cupid's Fireball, Flanfiction, I hear you loud and clear." comes Fuka's voice, crisp and efficient. You can almost hear her saluting on the other end of the channel. "I expect he'll want to impress you with his generosity, or possibly make you feel you owe him something since he paid, but don't worry!" Fuka states. A phrase that should make reasonable people worry. "If you're facing any sort of obligation you don't want to do, including paying for anything, I'll make something explode and you can use the distraction to make a break for it!" she continues blithely. Of course she'll have to be careful to do it in a way that won't summon Mac Anu's guards, because not even Fuka's crazy enough to attempt suicide by guardian.

    "So, what does he look like?" Fuka asks, despite having volunteered herself to be on overwatch. "Is he like, tastefully rich or tastelessly rich? Is he hot? Is he a he? Not that that's really all that important but some people care about such things I suppose."

    Back at the actual date, a slight look of worry crosses Rollingdough's features. Finding out more about how adventurers think is important, both for profits and for curiousity! But Uta seems to be a little distracted or possibly bored. "I hope you weren't waiting long?" he asks, a few cracks appearing in his more or less confident attempts to flirt.
Mac Anu - Main Square

Uta's expression grows into one of mounting terror as Fuka elaborates on her plans.

When the questions come, Uta glances in the distance, and starts speaking in a voice low enough to keep the conversation private. "He's clean, and he is trying to be tasteful, but-" Uta hurries to chim in a low voice as she sees Croesus approach. "He looks like someone who hasn't read the textbook on how to properly attire or comb, but had a report due tonight, so he crammed something overnight and handed over whatever resulted!" After a moment of silence, a hurrierd, even more whispered, "I'm still not sure how I feel about him, but I do like his style," is delivered, before her voice, at a normal volume, becomes more controlled and conversational.

"Oh, no, don't worry, I haven't been waiting for long,", Uta reassures her date, bowing in greeting as well. "That is correct. Uta Furore, Adventurer, Aerialist, Musical Kung-Fu Nurse, Slime Scholar, Head Librarian at the Library of Eas, Busker, Lore Hunter and Possibly Rather Boring when Listing Titles." Her part of the conversation will have reached Fuka by now, the change in tone notifying the Sylph that freedom of talking is now gone.

"And you would be... Mr. Croesus Rollindough, right?" she states, confident in her having studied the name on the letter despite wording it as a question.

"It is a pleasure to finally meet you!", Uta begins, and segues into the beginning of an awkward silence. A cue for Fuka that it is time to offer suggestions.
Mac Anu - Main Square

    Clean and tasteful is all well and good and to be encouraged, but Fuka subtracts a few points mentally. "One just doesn't rush fashion!" she observes loftily. Crafting a look should be done with deliberation and intent, not just blindly following fashion. This is of course one of the reasons she gets on so well with Gwen. Well okay, it's Uta's date. It's not really Fuka's place to disapprove. Not that that'll stop her!

    The felin gets a curious expression. "Titles are important to adventurers." he states, a little dubiously, as if testing out the phrase. Much like Uta stating hats are important, perhaps. "And no my sweet, definitely not boring! Never boring!" he assures her. "I haven't really any official titles, but I suppose I could make up, er buy, er..." he frowns. "ACQUIRE a few if it's important?"

    Fuka can hear only part of the conversation. Since the Felin isn't part of the chim itself, she can only guess as to what he's doing. Observation from a distance isn't really helping, and chims aren't wiretaps. "Flanfiction, this is Bondage. Jane Bondage. I hope he's telling you about his accomplishments or wealth. Some boys like that sort of thing. If he's not, you should ask him! Or maybe ask why he bid on you. Hn, hn, that's it! Not that I can blame him, you were super cute. And you still are, naturally! But you should make this about *him*, surely!"
Mac Anu - Main Square

Fukaziroh may not see it, but Uta blushes and her wings stiffens as she clenches her fists when her friend refers to herself as 'Bondage'. Apart from that, the discussion is soaked up, and with new tactical advice under her belt (which, as we have establshed earlier, is black and wrapped around her neck), Uta moves to the offensive.

"Oh, they matter in some circumstances but not in others. Not having them right now is perfectly fine, but if you still really want them, I am cool with you making them up, provided they fit." Uta assures Rollingdough. "I mean, technically most of the ones I've listed have been made up. But are still accurate! They're just, you know, self-bestowed." Uta shifts in her chair, and starts to get lost in her discussion. " Take the part about being head librarian. I went and built the library myself. Having to run it means that, well, I'm head librarian, even if nobody else told me I was. But I still was. Am. Unless I've delegated the role to June. Which I might have, I don't really remember. Note to self, check if June is head librarian."

A blink. "Where was I? Oh, right. Accomplishments." Uta leans over slightly, thus signaling interest. "That is actually a good line of conversation you bring up. If you could make up titles you deserved for yourself, which I am sure you can, what would they be?"
Mac Anu - Main Square

    Fukaziroh is indeed missing half the conversation, perhaps more. She's not close enough to see expressions or overhear anything, though she can pick up whatever Uta's saying so long as the chimlink remains open. Which will largely depend on just how long Fuka can refrain from saying anything incredibly embarrassing. Which she will, of course. She's just planning on doing *that* later so she can remain on-channel as long as possible!

    In the meantime, she's missing Rollingdough's expression. Which is a shame, as he looks rather startled. A shame he's not canin that is, because that expression on a canin would be exceptional. Still pretty funny when the felin goes wide-eyed however. "Adventurers can just ... pick their titles?" he asks in wonder. This isn't what he'd been told in the past! Though of course that's why Rollingdough sought out this occasion with Uta.To learn first-hand, as it were. "I thought it went something like having to do a quest, or perform some kind of duty, then you're awarded a title... from the Goddesses?" he half states, half questions. Not that he doubts Uta! He's just seeking clarification and enlightenment from someone who is reportedly exceptional among Adventurers for being particularly scholarly, social, and helpful. And available for purchase for an evening, in a manner of speaking.

    He blinks, then startles, ear twitching. "Ah but my manners. You asked about my titles if I could make one up for myself. Hm. Well..." he pauses to consider. The Wealthy? Well, that kind of goes without saying and he's no Alicia Rue. He can't compete with her wealth or covetousness, not yet, so it's not a title he could claim uniquely. The Obsessed? Well... hm, no. "The Singleminded, I think." he finally states. "Or the Focussed perhaps? I always pursue my objective."

    SUCH a shame Fuka can't hear that. "Flan-dere-r, what's he saying now?" she asks, managing to make it clear she's not calling Uta a single-word philanderer, but it's still pretty wrong. "This is ... ah, this is Laughing Fukaburra! You've been quiet. I hope he's telling you about how long and thick and mighty his titles are! It was a good question though, keep it up! That's what she said!"
Mac Anu - Main Square

Uta blushes depeply at Fuka's barrage of potential misunderstandings. Not that Croesus can tell, and how he reads that it's entierely up to him.

"Oh, -those- thitles!", Uta hurries to add, likely mostly to distract herself from Fuka's shenanigans.

"Strange mood titles. No, no, those are special, and we have to earn them, yes. I myself am a Novasphere Pioneer of Monster Handling, a Sage of Song, and a Moonlight Doctor," she rattles out, counting on her fingers. "I have been thrice blessed by the goddesses. But it's not just an Adventurer thing! It's far rarer, but according to my research, Landers can undergo Strange Moods as well! It's quite fascinating."

"So, your title is Croesus The Singleminded, hm? Because you always persue your objective?", Uta helpfully repeats, stating it so Fuka can hear. "Intriguing. Can you elaborate on that? Like, with an example?", she asks.
Mac Anu - Main Square

    Hmmm, so there are special titles and ... basic titles? And some are important and others less so? Fascinating, and the wealthy merchant takes note of this. Learning what people want is the first step in selling to them after all! He notes the blush of course. Being able to observe moods is fundamental to being a good merchant, but that's no guarantee of understanding why a person feels what they do. And it's not like the wealthy Rollingdough knows all that much about making people blush. "Fascinating." the cait sith observes. "How would one go about doing this? To gain a sage or pioneer title in my profession would help my business a great deal!" he observes, a glint in his eye.

    Croesus has to consider Uta's question attentively and seriously though, which gives Fuka the chance to butt in on the chim. "The Singleminded? I bet he's singleminded in chasing dat tail!" she exclaims. "On account of him being Cait Sith of course. I don't think I've ever seen a dog or cat that wouldn't try to catch their own tail. It's like part of the job description or something." she blathers. "Best be careful he doesn't try to catch YOU, Flan-derriere!"

    Fortunately Croesus the Singleminded can't hear Fuka, or he might get offended by the crude suggestion of immoral intent. Or perhaps not, who knows! In any event he needs to come up with an answer, and after some time does just that. "An example of pursuing my objective? Well, my dear, I *did* win your ... auction, did I not?"
Mac Anu - Main Square

"To be honest, I wouldn't know for sure how one can kickstart a Strange Mood. It's a thing that just... happens, I guess. You are seized by a purpose, and bam! You forsake evrything else in order to pursue your goal. It's a state of, uh, utter singlemindedness, I would say, so I suppose you're a good ways there." She looks up and away, and taps her lips, slowly, repeatedly. "That was one of the things I have been meaning to do at some point, but I keep getting sidetracked from: seek a Lander who is undergoing a Strange Mood. Perhaps if you... we... could find one, that would help things tremendously?"

And there goes Fuka, making Uta blush again, right when Croesus mentions winning the auction. Given the timing, Uta glancing down briefly in embarassment in what could be construed a demure response to a compliment, and her successful attempt to keep a smiling face throughout the whole ordeal, it is entierely possible for Croesus to interpret the whole thing as his flirting being successful.

"That is right, Mr. Rollindough. You did win my... auction!", Uta repeats, word-for-word, pause-for-pause, to relay to Fuka what the Cait Sith is telling her.

Make it about him, make it about him! That's the tip Fuka gave earlier, and Uta is going to roll with it. "So, uh, this is interesting," Uta reprises, trying to steer the conversation back on track. "It seems like you are pursuing... two obectives at the moment, then?", she starts, amiably. "Grow your business and... well, enjoy this date, I suppose?" She places one hand on the table, and props up her chin with the other. "Anything else you like to do in your free time besides still thinking about work and courting the ladies?"
Mac Anu - Main Square

Rollingdough's shifty expression might suggest to Uta that she missed something significant; that he is not in fact pursuing more than one goal. Much like the pursuit of power and money is not in fact two different things, as one leads to the other inexolerably. He's not about to admit that he's not particularly interested in courting though, since his singleminded focus is really elsewhere. You just don't deliberately offend your suppliers, not when there's nothing to gain from it!

    Unless you're Fuka, of course. "I bet that's not all he wants to win of yours!" she crows, doubtless getting some looks from people around her. She's in public after all, and nearby. And loud. Not loud enough to be heard from the date itself, unless of course you're hearing her over a chim...

    The idea of having a strange mood has seemed to strike some sort of resonance with the Lander however. To bring his game to a new level, as it were. A way to exploit something he'd considered infamously exclusive to Adventurers to allow him to pursue his real passion. "If you could learn about how to, ah, kickstart a strange mood with a Lander, I would of course be extremely interested." he says, licking his lips in a way some might consider unseemly. He pauses, considering deeply. If singlemindedness is what is required, well...

    Deep in thought, he only surfaces at Uta's last question. One that brings a quandary to its head, so to speak. "I uh... I ... well, not really, no." he says uncertainly, still working through the thoughts. "Actually no, not even two objectives! It sounds like you're saying if I want to truly reach my goal, I have to keep my singleminded focus! That... that means THIS is the wrong thing to be doing!" he says.

    Abruptly the cait sith rises. "Thank you, thank you miss!" he says eagerly, cheerfully. "I need to get back to my business, I suppose! Please enjoy your evening at my expense." he adds, reaching down to secure a pouch of coin, detach it, and toss it lightly to the table. "And if you have any further ideas about how one such as myself can improve my business, well, I'm sure someone as resourceful as yourself will know how to reach me! I can be quite generous when it comes to getting what I want!" he states proudly.

    And then, without further fuss or diversion, he departs. Singleminded indeed!
Mac Anu - Main Square

Uta manages to maintain her countenance through Fuka's crowing. Barely.

Uta listens through Rollindough's reasoning, and when he gets up and leaves, she... remains still, hands still on the table, in confused shock.

"...Fuka, he... he left. He just... up and... left..." she says, as if she was struggling to piece together the last couple of minutes.

Which, let's be frank, is something Uta does a lot.

"I... I... I..." Uta's voice is quiet, slow, soft, but kind of deadpan. "...I have absolutely no idea of what just happened. Something about him needing to focus completely on his career and therefore not being ready for a relationship?" A frown. "As in, he apparently just wanted to know how to start a Strange Mood to further his business."

With calm and poise that befalls the fine establishment our heroines find themselves in (and their Etiquette level), she swipes her menu open with a flourish, materializes her red squishy stress ball, and begins to give it a few polite squeezes. "...I think I need some fresh air and a walk to clear my mind. Care to join me?", she asks Fuka, starting to sound a little defeated.
Mac Anu - Main Square

    Fuka's response is slightly delayed as she tries to process what happened, somewhat like Uta herself. It's hard for Fuka to imagine someone just abandoning Uta. Rejecting her. Not really unthinkable; this sort of thing happens. Just not a situation Fuka herself can easily picture. Then too, she has to decide how to respond. What Uta needs to hear right now.

    Fortunately that latter part isn't too hard to do. Fuka's brain and mouth on autopilot can handle the delicate art of distraction. "Do you need me to blow something up?" the explosion sylph asks carefully, speaking of a distraction. She gets up and begins to move, coming towards where Uta is waiting. Aww, poor Uta. "This sort of thing happens, I suppose. You go on a date then suddenly bam, it's all over and you split up." she claims. Just like a bunch of her own dates. "What matters isn't how many times you fall off the horse, or the peko I suppose, or maybe the cait sith. What matters is how many times you climb back on top!" She pauses, considers. "Or not on top, depending on what you're into. What matters is not giving up!" Fuka exclaims heartily.

    "Really, I've had dates go just like this." Fuka continues to blather up a stream of distraction as she approaches. Probably not thinking too hard of the actual details of her words, just thinking enough to throw in the occasional bit of spice to keep it light if not entirely tasteful. "A guy just wants one thing, which can be fun too, and then he just finishes early and leaves you hanging, which is a bit of a disappointment. But it doesn't mean you can't have fun too! Just means you're not having fun with that guy, right? Doesn't mean you give up on guys. Or maybe you should, and you should try dating girls instead! I won't judge you for it!" the sylph claims earnestly. "In any event I'm here for you. Both literally and literally! Need a walk? Need a hug? Need something blown up?" she asks as she arrives on-scene, waving cheerfully as she catches sight of her friend.
Mac Anu - Main Square

Uta keeps squeezing and releasing her stress ball. The rate at which she does so, though, decreases, as does the strength she puts into each squeeze.

She finally lets out a resigned sigh, and still sitting at her table, she rubs her eyes. "I suppose we can go on a walk... as for blowing things up, I don't know, I haven't decided yet. Maybe later. When we're outside town. You know, guardians and stuff."

She places the hand that's holding the stress ball on teh table, and rubs her forehead with the other. "I... I don't understand... I didn't -want- the date to go well. I was already making contingency plans on how to politely decline any advances that might have come my way... so, -technically-, I got exactly what I wanted!" She leans over and spreads her arms. "Then -why- am I so annoy- well, I suppose it's because it was not me the one letting him down, it went the other way around," she says, tapping her lips as she looks away. "Which brings up a conundrum. I did not really want to race on this peko, but now the peko has unhorsed me. Unpeko'd?" She looks up and away once more, while tapping her lips. After a second or so she shakes her head again. "In any case, I shouldn't be feeling so- FUKA!", she exclaims, slamming her hands on the table as quietly as possible (this is, after all, a fine dining establishment) as soon as she realizes the innuendo. Of course there is blushing!
Mac Anu - Main Square

    It's obvious to Fuka that her friend is upset. The situation is unpleasant. Fuka's been there, knows the doubt and pain of rejection. But really, saying she understands is one thing. Actually *helping*, that's another thing entirely!

    The little sylph reaches out, putting her hand on Uta's, giving that hand (and the stress ball) one gentle squeeze. She understands the stress and the need to get a grip, as it were. But then she withdraws her hand, bringing her arm back to cross it over the other, in a gesture that'd be stern if it weren't for the warmth of her gaze and the playful grin on her face. "You got rejected and now you're feeling Fuka? Well!" she states in mock annoyance. "That's just rude. You're damn lucky I like you, you know?"she insists.

    "That said." Fuka notes, relaxing her stern posture and leaving the more playful expression. "You can make it up to me by sharing whatever it is you got there." she says, gesturing. "And by whatever it is, I mean dessert, or some sort of treat at least! Come on, WE deserve it!" she claims. "Or we can share having a walk if you prefer, I'm pretty openminded when it comes to ... sharing things." she says, eyebrows moving suggestively.

    Yeah, Fuka's way of making things better? Shocking Uta out of whatever place she's currently in.
Mac Anu - Main Square

As her hand is is squeezed, Uta's eyes begin a search for the source of the action. A good starting point is the hand being squeezed itself. Then it's just a matter of following the arm all the way to the person- wait, why is her neck feeling funny? Oh! Wrong arm. Back down to the hand. Follow up the other arm.

It doesn't take long for Uta to climb up the shoulders, and after a moment of hesitation, make brief eye contact with Fuka, before lowering her eyes a bit again. Head still canted down, her pupils dart left and right.

In response to Fuka's 'You're damn lucky I like you, you know?', Uta admits, "I... I kinda knew, but I had kinda forgotten in the heat of the moment." And without a hint of sarcasm, she adds a quiet yet warm, "Thanks for the reminder."

After Fuka finishes her speech, Uta looks at her. Looks down at the table, where Croesus' 'donated funds' lie. Up (but not much) at Fuka's face. Further up and sideways at the standing waiter who appeared between the two Adventurers somewhere in the very recent past.

Uta raises her hand, to loom over the table. She vocalizes a crystalline melody solo, a cappella, one the stone in her ring reacts to by glowing with Earth magic. Tendrils of light and color flow down from it, and trace helixes in the air; soon, plants begin to grow between Uta's fingers, following the melody, and expand into eventually forming into the shape of a croupier stick as the song ends.

Uta uses the newly summoned structure to push the money towards the waiter, as if he had just won everything at a round of roulette. "Bring us all the dessert we can buy with this." When the man leans down to collect the payment, she adds, "Oh, and make sure there is ice cream, if your establishment has it available."

* * *

Cut to later, when the table is littered by plates and plates of nothing but desserts, some of them stacked on top of each other.

Uta is stuffing her face already. "WE deserve it, heck yeah!", she exclaims. "We may not have gotten a date tonight, but DANG IT if we aren't we going to party like it's 499 After The Scrapped Princess War!"
Mac Anu - Main Square

    Fuka didn't mean anything in particular in saying she likes Uta, though of course she does. She's not trying to pick up the rebound or anything, just to be a good friend. And as a good friend she even shows restraint when it comes to delicious desserts! Only occasionally lapsing and eating more than she should; more often encouraging Uta to eat something in particular, and sharing and enhancing the experience.

    In fact Fuka's been quite the model of friendship, including making neat little noises of appreciation at Uta's magical melody that match some of the same noises made later during the actual eating. Hey, treats for the ears should not be discouraged just because treats for the palate are in offering! Besides it's also about being supportive and appreciative, and Fuka's always both of those!

    She's also distracting, of course. "What do you mean we haven't had a date tonight?" she asks, mock-annoyed, gesturing pointedly to the table of sweets. "Maybe it's not one of those romantic dates which I had no idea you were actually seeking and that'd be cool too, but it's totally a date! Why, back in Hokkaido I had those sorts of dates all the time. I called them Kohi dates!" Fuka claims with big dramatic gestures that probably have little to do with anything she's actually saying. Kohi dates, in this case, is both something that sounds like 'coffee dates' and a pun on her friend's name, so it's dear to Fuka's joke-addled brain. "You know, ice cream sundaes, karaoke, that sort of thing! Totally a date!" she insists. "Now, if you want a romantic date, you should get a romantic date. You deserve one! Not that there's anything wrong with having a fun date with friends, but you deserve what you want! Stupid moneybags jerk. At least he left money for you to have fun with!"
Mac Anu - Main Square

Fuka's enthusiasm and verbal shenanigans bring laughter to Uta's stuffed face, to the point that the Spriggan has to put a hand in front of her mouth to prevent her sudden burst of laughter from causing a spray of dessert all over the place. That would be uncouth.

When she recovers from the moment (and swallows), she shakes her head and leans back. Gone is all the worry and disappointment, Uta is back to her usual self. "You're a good friend Fuka, indeed...", she says.

And then she turns pensive. She tilts slightly forward, pupils rolled upwards, elbows resting on the table, and taps her lips with her joined index fingers. Lost in thought for a bit. Deep thought though. As if she was considering something.

"I have been taking hot baths," she finally declares, looking straight at Fuka. Serious. Solemn.
Mac Anu - Main Square

    "I am!" Fuka agrees cheerfully, with either irony or with a complete lack of modesty. She wouldn't mind if Uta was uncouth either. It'd be a high compliment in fact, if Uta laughed so much she sprayed dessert. Wasteful, sure, but this is about mutual enjoyment rather than thriftiness.

    When her friend gets thoughtful and serious, Fuka has absolutely no clue what's on Uta's mind. Not that that's anything unusual! She does mark the lack of worry and disappointment though, and that itself is of far more value to Fuka than trying to figure out what's really on her mind. It'll come out eventually, or maybe it won't if it's not particularly relevant. They can worry about such things later, and live in the moment for now.

    Without any particular qualms or concerns, Fuka nods agreement. "Hot baths are important for health and beauty!" she claims, most likely repeating something she's said in the past, though again she has no particular idea if there's anything significant about the declaration. Uta's not just leaving things to the menu though, and Fuka considers that itself a good thing indeed! There's nothing inherently wrong with menu cleaning or menu-based clothing, but Fuka considers it important to pay personal attention to one's presentation. The effort of self-care is the point, because it reinforces your self worth! Besides, hot baths feel wonderful! "Not that women like us need to improve either, but that's no excuse for slacking!"
Mac Anu - Main Square

"Hot baths are important. Like hats.", Uta confirms with a nod. "A little sylph once said that to me, and... that is why I've been taking them ever since. Well, a little later since ever since. But close enough to ever since! Very close!"

She intertwines her hands in front of her face, and leans over a smidgen. She chuckles at Fuka's compliment; her first reaction is a little amused shake of her head with her eyes closed, followed by a moment of equally amused thought, before she continues, with a chuckle. "Improvement is always possible. -Especially- for women like us. Face it, Fuka. We're rolling disasters that leave behind a wake of chaos and upheaval."

She reaches for the stem of the the glass of white wine standing in front of her. She raises it above her head, and looks up at it, a fisheye lens reflection of herself and Fuka looking back from the curved bottom. While holding the vessel against the light, Uta absent-midnedly sloshes it, while reaching for another bit of dessert. She places the piece of dessert she's reached for in her mouth, and chews in silence, looking up at the glass with a bittersweet smile.

Then, she swallows.

"I've decided to join you," she finally says, matter-of-factly, and washes down the last morsel by chugging down the wine.

As she places the glass back on the table, she exhales suddenly. It's hard to tell if it's a sigh or just a reaction to the alcohol. "I can't keep on living two lives at once," Uta reprises, looking down and away while the glass is till held up in the same place. "You and Elly took this step long ago, and have been encouraging me to follow. It's either in or out of the door. Pick one. No lollygagging on the threshold."

A sigh, and then she looks up at Fuka, straight in the eyes, serious. "I'm joining you. Regardless of a lack of a definitive proof, I'm taking what I believe to be the most likely scenario right now, and moving on. I'm picking the life of Uta Furore. Leaving the old world behind, living as if we'll never get back. It may be a losing bet, but I -have- to bet one way or the other."
Mac Anu - Main Square

    "And just what's wrong with that?" Fuka asks with an impish grin, at the description of them being agents of disaster, chaos and upheaval. She doesn't disagree though. They may not need to improve, but it's always a good idea to seek to. The difference, she supposes, is between 'need' and 'want'. She's pretty big on 'want', not so much on 'need'.

    Fuka doesn't press though. Not when her friend is so thoughtful and solemn. Her reward for her patience is Uta's declaration that she'll... live. As Uta, without regrets. That may not be exactly what Uta intends to pursue, but it's what Fuka gathers out of the declaration. She smiles, nodding her head. "That's the idea! No regrets! Live life to the fullest!" she insists, raising her own glass in a toast, then downing it with enthusiasm and a barely stifled gasp before bringing the glass back down as if it were a tankard of ale. This is not good for the glass, but Fuka doesn't notice.

    "Mind you, if we DO get out of this and return to our old world..." Fuka says after recovering from her tiny binge. She doesn't think it's likely, or even possible, that they could return. Either there's nothing to return to, or the 'them' that remains in the other world is continuing on with their own life and the ETO characters are copies with no place set out for them. But that's just Fuka's theory, and she's willing to accept it might be entirely wrong. "Well, IF it happens, you can come find me and tell me how wrong I was!" she insists cheerfully. "And then I'll scream 'Who the hell are you and what are you doing in my apartment?' because neither of us look like our game characters I.R.L. and I have no way of recognizing or expecting you, and I'll be terrified that I'm about to be taken advantage of by a stranger. And then you'll explain who you are and I won't be terrified any more. Just hopeful that maybe I'll be taken advantage of by a friend instead!" she fantasizes. Really, Fuka's got way too fertile and perverted of an imagination. It's a wonder she's actually Uta's friend.
Mac Anu - Main Square

When Fuka asks what's wrong with being an agent of chaos and upheaval, Uta gives the question some consideration.

"We should address that question with scientific rigor," she finally declares. "I am thinking that we could be the test group, creating chaos and upheaval." She starts rearranging plates of dessert on the table to further illustrate her point. "We then would have a control group, which does not create chaos and upheaval. We define some sort of metric of 'goodness' we compare both groups against. Maybe we can even set up some sort of placebo chaos and upheaval, for a proper clinical trial-"

Uta blinks, shakes her head, and gives up on the laying out of her impromptu silverware-and-china battle plan. "Sorry, sorry, I got carried again once again!"

Fuka begins talking about the old world again, and of course, Uta grows nervous towards the end at the implication that she could take advantage of Fuka. "FUKA! No! I- That's not- it-", she stammers, getting all red in the face and flailing her arms (and wings) in protest.

But then she sighs and rubs the back of her head. "Yeah, though... not gonna lie. I also fear that the probabilities that we, Uta and Fukaziroh the Adventurers, are somehow still connected to our players are pretty slim. Main reason for me to leave some of that baggage behind," she mumbles, looking down and sideways before glancing up to Fuka again. "But... you know... in the case we -still- are somehow connected to our players... and... and if you promise you can keep a secret... or two..." She intertwines her hands, and twiddles her thumbs, glancing up tentatively at Fuka. "My player would like to say a few last words to yours before being shoved away in a box and stuffed up into the attic for the foreseeable future. Possibly forever."
Mac Anu - Main Square

    A grin once again crosses Fuka's face as Uta starts going on about sciencing chaos and upheaval. It's silly but it's also endearing, and she'd always be willing to support such nonsense even if she doesn't accept the premise seriously. Besides, who knows? Uta might be onto something. Fuka'd be not at all surprised if her friend came up with some deep and significant insight from something others consider nonsense.

    Her grin fades as Uta continues the train of thought into what happens should they discover they could go back. Would Fuka go back if it were possible? She might. Leaving the game and her game friends would be terrible, but so would willingly abandoning her family and friends like Karen. Ideally she'd prefer an option to do both, but that's all speculation and worry for Future Fuka. "No need to be hasty." the sylph claims easily, not stressed over the idea. "Forever is a long time, and I try to avoid pinning myself down considering the future when there's so much now to do now." she says. "I mean, a lot can change? If somehow we found a way to return, maybe we'd want to. And maybe not. The whole point of living your life now is because it's kind of silly *not* living for what you have here and now when we have no idea what's possible in the future. For me anyways." she says with a shrug.

    "One thing you can count on though, I wouldn't betray you. Any secrets you tell me, I'll take to my grave and beyond! Maybe several graves! I might play with your mind, maybe even your body, but I'll never play with your heart!" Fuka states grandly. And well... she might be teasing. But she's being as honest as she knows how.
Mac Anu - Main Square

Uta fidgets with her fingers while looking for the next thing to say. Fuka, being Fuka, makes it werd with the mention of playing with her friend's body which doesn't help the latter's agitation.

When she finally manages to recover from the incoherent stuttering of protest (it's incredible what a few squeezes of a stress ball can achieve!), Uta clears her voice and begins.

"That's... that's more or less the point, we don't really know what the future will bring. We only have the present. A present where we are friends, trust each other, and go on a new amazing adventure slaying monsters and exploring new Lands every passing day. Discovering new Lore, crafting new magic, winning new battles. Together. And if it's going to be like that until my last day, well," At this point she laughs, a honest, genuine laugh, "I can think of much worse ways to spend the rest of my life." Quieter, she adds, "You're weird, but you're a good friend, and one I'm glad I have. And the two of us, Fuka and Uta, the mighty battle fairy and the musical kung-fu nurse, remaining friends for as long as we live? That's the best case scenario I can envision..."

Uta goes serious, then taps her lips. "I thought there was another detail I was going to bring up?" Ponder, ponder, ponder.

"Oh, right!", she exclaims, punching her fist. She scratches the back of her head, "I'll be frank here, and I don't mean your sword. I am not sure if you've been flirting with me or not, but in case you have, I think it's probably time for another of those 'let's establish things before we move on' moments. Be honest and put any false hopes to rest." Uta inhales. "I fear I can't be more than friends with you, Fuka. Likely ever. As I've told you -- the thing about me being utterly unable to pull off same-sex relationships, it is very much a thing."

Uta will look down. At this point, one would likely expect a dutifully somber pause -- and would be right.

And then, Uta continues, "That will hopefully put all the Uta/Fuka shipping to rest, unless your name is Morri, in which case it's just pointless to try. Now... uhm... if... -Miyu- is going to still be single when... if... we get out, and she was serious about... uh... being interested in a date with an idiot whose chargen approach was, after establishing the Adventurer's first name, pushing the 'random' button for every other field without even looking at the prompts or results, and it taking him -days- after the Apocalypse to find out that there were no restrictions against randomizing a female avatar, well..."

At this point Uta has blushed the reddest she's ever has, her eyes staring as far down as she can, with her hands disappearing in the fold of her dress, sandwiched between her knees.

"...the name of that idiot is Utamaro 'Uta' Kawashima. He's on the phone directory for Osaka."
Mac Anu - Main Square

    In this particular case, it's indeed Fuka playing with Uta's mind. There's a liberating freedom, teasing someone who trusts you enough to know you do it for fun, with no fear of malice or pushing things too far. She smiles at mention of the musical kung-fu nurse and the battle fairy. In truth, a friendship like that is what she wants too. She can envision nothing better. Were they to expand that friendship in other ways, well, she's perfectly okay with that too. But she's made it clear before that she doesn't *need* that sort of thing to fully enjoy her time with someone. That everything, in fact, is fun and fulfilling. It was no idle claim either. That's something Fuka's come to realize is weird about her; different from what she assumes is the vast majority of others, driven by the need for a girlfriend or boyfriend. That's okay though, she doesn't mind being different.

    As to if she's been flirting, Fuka doesn't seem uncomfortable. She doesn't seem to be taking Uta's words harshly, and doesn't flinch. That revelation, she already knew. It didn't stop her being flirty because, well, she wouldn't mind anything Uta was comfortable with. And it's fun to tease her besides. No, she's fully engaged in the conversation now, keenly interested. Curious, surprised, but definitely intrigued.

    She decides not to ask why Uta is unable to pull off a same-sex relationship. It's not like her relationship with Karen was ever ambiguous. People are who they are, and Fuka accepts them for it. Trying to change someone else to satisfy yourself, well... that's just selfishness incarnate. Fuka is only willing to help someone achieve a change they seek for themselves! But well... teasing about it is another matter entirely, right? "I'm afraid it won't put to rest the shipping." Fuka says with a weary sigh. "Not unless you tell literally everyone. You'll just have to put up with it, and with me being suggestive!" the little blonde claims happily. "If it ever happens, well, I'll be open to the possibility. I do like hot guys, you may remember. They make my heart go doki doki doki! But I seem to have terrible luck with guys. Maybe we're better off if you remain as you are!" she says with a playful grin.

    And yes, Miyu would definitely look up Utamaro Kawashima. If only because she would want to meet ... him. If it moved into the possibility of something else? Well, that's a worry for future Fuka. Or future Miyu, as the case may be. She lets out another weary-sounding sigh. "Of course if you're really hung up on things, you might want to quest for the legendary potion of sex change." Fuka observes. Not that there's any certainty such a thing exists, only rumours. That's why it's the legendary potion. "I'm not sure I could see myself as a man, but I'd be willing to try if you went through that kind of effort for me! Or you could use it if you preferred, I guess. That might be fun too! Or we could try to find TWO and... wait no that wouldn't work would it? Kyaaah~"
Mac Anu - Main Square

A good push is exactly what Uta needs when she begins to slow down and curl up into a little ball of embarrassment. Fuka's suggestive shenanigans quickly push Uta out of her discomfort zone. The part about the shipping not being likely to stop any time soon gets a liberatory laughter out of the Spriggan, whose complexion returns to a more natural color. Apparently, a big deal of her nervousness was being afraid of rejection. And given that rejection didn't technically happen... can trust Fuka to be an expert at making things -weird-. Funny weird to release the tension, and then weird -weird- because, hey, otherwise she wouldn't be Fuka, would she?

As Fuka's discussion meanders from the option of dating guys, to the suggestion of leaving Uta as she is, Uta's signature "Wait!" and wingflailing is back on the menu. The more reasonable of a sex change potion seems to soothe the Spriggan, at lest until Fuka proceeds further and further into describing her intentions. Which causes increasinly more and more blushing and wingflailing from Uta.

"...Okay, the shipping is not called off on a technicality," Uta concedes. "TWO technicalities, to be precise. AND NO, TWO POTIONS WOULDN'T WORK." She then frowns, thinks, taps her chin, and looks up and away. "Now, if we were to acquire THREE sex change potions, one of us could drink two and the other only one. Or the same person could drink three. Hmmm. In fact, I think any odd number of sex change potions would work... hmm... I need a napkin here...", she says, and looking around on the table, she materializes a fountain pen from her menu, finds a cloth napkin on the table, and-

", no, that's too fancy a napkin. I need something more writable on-"

Uta slaps herself. "NO! Focus! Focus on... uh... what again? Oh, yes!", she exclaims, snapping her fingers.

And then arm-and-wingflails, "FUKA! YOU'RE MAKING THIS WEIRD!" She grabs a few plates of dessert and shoves them towards her friend. "HERE! EAT THESE!"
Mac Anu - Main Square

    Fuka's not about to reject Uta, no. And as for being okay with just being friends potentially forever, well, Fuka's said she was okay with that before. Still is, in fact. She's never conditioned her friendships on what she does or does not get out of it. Of course she cares about generosity, both of time and effort, but that's never been a problem and she can't see any real chance of that changing.

    Still, Fuka wouldn't be Fuka without some playfulness. "Hey! What do you mean *I'm* making this weird? You're the one trying to shove things in my mouth!" she 'complains'. Not that she objects to good things in her mouth, a fact she demonstrates by eating at least some of what's shoved before her eagerly enough. It silences her for a bit, but certainly not forever. "It's a shame you're from Osaka. Literally other side of the country!" she eventually continues in mock annoyance. "We'll have to be long-distance friends! And meet up regularly in VR! So you can't take advantage of mai baadii!" she claims. Though the question of who might take advantage of whom is really up in the air. It's not that Fuka doesn't think it'd be fun, especially should Uta be the sort to approach things with her accustomed care and enthusiasm. She expects Uta to be rather shy of that sort of thing though. Of wanting to be sure it's the right thing. And ... well, that could be a lot of fun too!

    "That's a long time off though, and really we should be more concerned with the present!" Fuka says, giving Uta a break. Not much of one however. "You got really into the thought about such a potion though. Maybe I should work on improving my alchemy! We can gather super-rare ingredients together!" the little sylph offers cheerfully. That too could be fun! And even if the 'legendary potion' is complete nonsense, well, the point isn't to win. The point is to have fun while trying to win!
Mac Anu - Main Square

After the obligatory wingflailing at the mention of taking advantage of Fuka's 'baadii', Uta calms down and ventures, "...Moving cities is a thing, you know?"

"Honestly, given how long we've been stuck in here, I'm pretty sure that by the time we get out I'll have lost my job. I'll have to search somewhere else, and... why not where you live? I'm sure there'll be an opening for an experienced waiter over there. True, it might take some time. We'll probably all necessitate of a period of rehabilitation from hypotonia after such a long period of decubitus, but in the meantime, as you point out, meeting remotely is definitely an option!" A short pause. "...provided that, you know, they work out the problematic bit that doesn't let you log out."

At the mention of the potion, Uta drums her fingers the table. "That would be an interesting item to pursue, even if only for the quest value and bragging rights."

Uta steeples her finger and buries the lower part of her face in her hands. She remains pensive for a moment. She crosses her amrs, and tilts her head left and right.

"Honestly, the question of whether I'd drink that potion does not have an easy answer. It depends on that question, 'what is the real nature of this world?'. If I'm reborn or reincarnated this way, a creature of this world? Best to rip the band aid and just be Uta Furore all the way. Drinking that potion would be an act of clinging to a past life. Like... being reincarnated as a goat and refusing to eat grass because you remember being human in your past life. If you're reborn as a goat, you eat your grass."

"Now, if this is all a huge videogame, then... I'm open to the possibility, at some point in the future, under the right conditions." She uncrosses her arms, and looks down. "But I don't think I'm ready for yet. While I believe it was dumb of me to randomize everything, I'm also convinced that whatever entity was in charge of picking random avatars, be it a goddess or an AI, cast me into this specific role for a specific reason. Or multiple specific reasons. I may never have chosen it myself, but it's been gradually dawning on me that I am needed this way. At least for now," she says cryptically.

Realizing that more information might be in order, she adds, "Like a character, I need to go through my arc. This appearance is part of that arc. And once that arc is over-"

Uta pauses. " were offering -me- the potion, right?", she asks.

This is Fuka. The assumption is not entierely obvious.

And then, Uta realizes too late that she might have opened yet another Pandora's box.

Mac Anu - Main Square

    "Hokkaido." Fuka provides without the hint of undue caution that hey, you're not supposed to provide IRL data to others inside the game. She's a hardcore gamer, unlike Uta. She knows this. But there's really no question about whether or not she trusts Uta. At this point if she hasn't shared something, that's only because it's never come up! "I don't know anything about hypertony or diabeetus, but you sound like you know a thing or two so I'll take your word on it." she says. Exaggerating, of course. She may not know the terms and may well be getting them deliberately wrong, but she understands the need for rehabilitation if they've been effectively in a coma for years now. That is, of course, assuming that's what's going on. It's not what she expects, but it's a hypothetical she's willing to banter over! "I think, if we have to rehabilitate, by the time that's done we'll probably know if moving cities is in the cards or not. It's not like my studies can't be moved either, if it comes to that!" she shrugs. Problem for Future Miyu.

    She grins though, focussing on something more immediate. "That WOULD be an interesting item to pursue. Beyond the more visceral benefits that is." Fuka notes roguishly. "As to whether I'd drink it... well, yes!" she claims. "Not that I don't like being a girl. Being a girl is pretty awesome! But it's not like I haven't wondered what it'd be like if I was a guy, swinging a big ... ah, big *sword* around." she says with a smirk. "I'm pretty sure this is a game, one way or another. I don't know if it's a computer game or if it's some group of gods playing with us, but either way it's pretty obviously a game. It's *also* real, for us at least. So yeah I get your goat." she nods. "You're not the first best friend I've had with hangups so it's cool. But I admit I did speculate at one point how we'd have gotten along if, you know, I did roll up a guy when I started playing!" Fuka teases. Or... is it a tease? It could also be quite serious! "If you said you were into it, or at least willing to consider it? Well... maybe I'd insist on us finding enough ingredients for two potions just in case we'd change our minds. But for a friend like you I'd be willing to try anything once! Maybe twice!"
Mac Anu - Main Square

* * *

Cut to Uta, alone, againt an immaculate white background. Utter emptiness.

She is looking down at a chibi Fukaziroh plushie she is holding.

The camera cuts between the points of view of Uta, with the suggestively smiling plushie held between her hands taking up a large part of her point of view, and the point of view of the plushie, looking up at a melancholic Uta.

Uta sighs. "A problem for future Uta, I suppose."

And that said, she performs a perfect baseball pitch.

She watches the plushie disappear in the distance.

Cut again to Uta's face. She stands still, pensive for a few moments, then she sighs. "I suppose it's time to go back to-"

And she gets slammed in the face by the boomerang'ing plushie, which sends her sprawling on what passes as the ground in this absolute emptiness.

"That's a problem for -YOU-, past Uta!", yells a voice impossibly far away in the direction the plushie was thrown (and it came back from). "Well, I guess that, technically, you refer to yourself as 'present Uta' from your perspective..." the voice rambless, less shouty.

"WHY DID YOU THROW HER BACK, FUTURE UTA- well, now that you mention it, I guess that you refer to yourself as 'present Uta' from your perspective...", present/past Uta replies, shaking fists at first and then lip-tapping in thought.

"Indeed. I suppose it's best if we avoid 'present' and refer to each other as 'past' and 'future' respectively'", replies Future Uta.


A pause.

"What were we saying again?", asks past Uta. "I forgot...", replies the distant voice of Future Uta.

"Oh, right!", exclaims past/present Uta, snapping her fingers. "Why did you throw Fuka back? It's a problem for future me!"

"Oh, I didn't, and it isn't. And it's Fuka who did everything".

Past/present Uta looks down at the Plushie, who has come back holding a potion bottle and, somehow, speaks, with the tinny scratchy voice one expects from talking toys: "That's right! I'm throwing myself at you! I'm quite the catch, aren't I? So, what base are we getting to next?"

"Aaaaa....", present/past Uta whimpers, dropping the plushie, at what point the distant voice replies, "Fuka's making things weird again, isn't she?"

"YES!", exclaims present/past Uta, and then continues, "...Is she still making things weird in the future?"

After a moment of silence, from afar, comes the reply: " have no idea..."

* * * POOF * * *

Uta's little daydream disappears in a cloud of getting yanked back to reality.

She raises a finger to bring forward a counterpoint to Fukaziroh. Opens her mouth. Narrows her eyes. Gnashes her teeth. Extends her hands and shakes them.

"...what you've just said is... well, there's no beating around the bush. Dang weird, brain breaking, and sweet," Uta admits.

She looks down at the table and scratches her head. " this point I would point out a list of reasons why what you are suggesting is probably a terrible idea, but knowing you, that has never stopped you before and, in some cases, even served as encouragement."

Uta crosses her arms, cants her head left, right, and left again.

"I guess that's a problem for future us-"

"I THOUGH I HAD ESTABLISHED I DON'T WANT ANY PART IN THIS!", yells the far away voice of hypothetical-future-Uta-player-who-has-left-the-game-(if-this-is-a-game) from inside Uta's head.

The voice of present-Uta replies, still from within the privacy of Uta's head, "Look, I'm not talking about you-of-when-slash-if-we-get-out! I'm pushing to some version of us somewhere between us -- later then me, but earlier than you!"

"Passing the buck to a version of us who isn't in the room? I'm fine with that!", goes the future-Uta voice again.

"...You are? I... I wouldn't have thought you..."

"Hey, you suggested this! And you are me, so-"

* * * POOF * * *

The little banter (all inside Uta's head) is dispatched with a shake of the Spriggan's head, and she continues, "...I would say that you may want to really think your actions through, but that doesn't sound like something you do, especially if encouraged to do it." Uta crosses her arms, and sighs. "As for me, I cannot find any unassailable argument to reject your proposal a priori, except possibly that I have no idea if chemistry... alchemy? If that thing would spark between us under the conditions you suggest. It has never sparked with anyone in my life, until, well, your at least piquing my romantic interest with your implying that you might accept a date proposal of mine." Uta replies. "That's... the pinnacle of my romanticism."

"I won't lie, what you're suggesting is confusing the heck out of me," Uta reprises, "but..."

There is a pause.

"...finding a potion would take so long that I have no idea if I'll still be confused once we find it. My worldview keeps evolving. Like, if I had told shortly-post-Apocalypse past self that one day I'd finally have stopped worrying too much about the nature of this world, she'd have thought I'm not all right in the cranium." Look away, tap lips. "Which, by extension, would make her, aka my past self, not all right in the cranium."

Look down, while still tapping lips, "I mean, there's the whole thing with the combined effects of the Flash of Death and Pluto's Kiss running my brain through a blender, so -technically- my past self would have told my present self that I'm late in dropping that revelation, but then again, uh-" Frown, scratch head.

Lots, lots of scratching.

"...what were we talking about, again?"

A pause, before Uta snaps her fingers. "Right! dating!"

She looks around.

"Please remind me, who of us two was helping the other with a date, again?"
Mac Anu - Main Square

    It's a shame Fuka isn't a witness to the goings-on in Uta's head. She'd quite enjoy it, especially her contribution of baseball innuendo. No worries however; she's quite capable of adding innuendo herself and of keeping it weird. Some might even suggest, unfairly, that she lives for such things.

    She's not without her serious side though, and her eyes narrow at Uta's suggestion she thinks it through. "Don't get me wrong." Fuka says, tone shifting to be slightly more serious than is typical. "I'm not planning on changing myself. I've had guys wanting me to change before, or guys who wanted to fix me, and I cut that sort of thing right off before it's shoved down my throat!" she threatens. "Help to make myself better, I'll gladly accept. Your help with anything like that, I always appreciate. But you don't try to tell me how to change, and I always appreciate that too. This..." she says, rising up a little in her seat to slap her flank with one hand. "... This isn't who I am. I've played enough online games to accept this as a shell, and I've seen it change often enough! What's one more change, if not a way to try something new?" she grins, that typically playful note returning.

    "Maybe there won't be any actual alchemy going on, and that'd be fine too. We'd still be friends whether you're hot for me or not, and honestly I'm not sure romance and me see eye to eye either!" Fuka says with an idle shrug. Another thing they have in common. Fuka's dated before, and some would suggest she's dated plenty of people, plenty of times. Mostly unsuccessfully. Mostly her fault too. "As for more than friends? I can't see myself hating or resenting any time we spend together whatever we end up doing." she says, reprising something she said quite some time ago. "Do or do not?" Fuka adds in a raspy voice. "But doing is more fun!" she grins wickedly. "Besides, isn't it better to try something than to forever regret not trying it?"

    Finally Fuka nods. "Most of that, well, we'll just have to see what happens, won't we? Trying to figure out how I'll react to some future thing I have no idea of that might not even happen? That's not my style." the sprightly sylph claims. "Let's just have fun and adventure along the way, okay?" she grins. "And I'll happily help you devour desserts at any point along that way! If that's dating, then allow me to help you with dating! But I think these are more figs than dates, so I wonder if they actually count!"
Mac Anu - Main Square

Uta stares at Fuka with an unscrutable expression throughout the whole explanation. Curious, attentive, taking everything in, but not letting any personal opinion or judgement transpire outwards.

She holds it for a few seconds more once Fuka is done, and then, she smiles wide.

"Heck yeah!", she exclaims. "I like that. Let's just have fun for now, worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes." A decided tap on the table underlines the statement. "Or when the day after tomorrow comes. Like, worry about the day after tomorrow when the day after tomorrow comes. We shouldn't be worrying about tomorrow when the day after tomorrow comes, otherwise we're one day behind on the worrying, there'll be a quickly compounding backlog of worrying, which will add more worrying, and we'll never see the end of it unless we hire a bunch of extra people to process the-"

"...I'm doing it again, aren't I?"

"NO WORRYING ABOUT THE FUTURE!", Uta continues. "I like that part." With a chopstick technique that would make Master Miyoda proud, she snatches a portion of dessert from right in front of Fuka. "And yes, this is made with figs. And no, you can't eat my desserts," she says, playfully, as she shoves the portion in her mouth.

And after chewing and swallowing, she grins. "That's all we have for now after all, right? Friendship, adventure, and dessert. And I'm enjoying as much of each of them as I can!"
Mac Anu - Main Square

    Fuka'd be rather content if nothing changed, as long as the situation doesn't get boring. That is to say so long as they continue to adventure and have fun, is there truly a need to take things any further?

    Of course Fuka being Fuka, she'll probably push things further than they strictly need to go... because of course she will! And to be fair Uta's been relatively receptive to such pushing, if reluctantly so. So really, who knows what the future will bring? The present is what truly matters after all, and possibly preparing for the possibility of a brighter, more entertaining future.

    "You can do it any time you feel like it." Fuka suggests, grinning brightly. She's never minded Uta's quirks or signs that her brain's going off in loops. Uta is refreshingly Uta, genuine and unpredictable, and that's what Fuka prefers above pretty much anything! Though she shows outrage when Uta steals 'her' dessert, of course. "HEY!" she cries out, wounded deeply by this unprecedented betrayal. "After I offered to share my body and soul with you, you refuse me sustenance! How cruel!" she cries plaintively and not at all genuinely. "Now I can never be married! And I'll starve! And these lips will never taste sweetness again!"