Description: Satsuki learns about Chinese food. Honoka learns about ALIENS. Fair enough trade!
Wandering Southtown /without/ specific direction to fight things is an increasingly alien experience for Satsuki. She wanders the streets, doing nothing quite so much as people watching; she's here to look for fighters and get a sense of the disposition of the city, not merely sightsee, but in /practice/ fighters are uncommon enough that this ends up largely sightseeing.
Clad in a white blouse and deep blue skirt but still bearing the Doll hallmarks of 'tiny hat' and 'red gauntlets,' she sticks out a little in the crowd, but not so much as to draw immediate questions.
After her /last/ meeting, she's also gotten the sense that she should try the food; people are weirded out when you say you haven't had something, and for Satsuki, the Venn diagram of 'unfamiliar foods' and 'foods people expect familiarity with' is pretty much a circle. That's where we find her, then, for the moment: looking at a street vendor's food.
Honoka is distracted. And when the Twilight Star performer is distracted, a yo-yo will often be found flicking from her fingertips. Snaking downward, looping around her fingers, vacillating back and forth... if it's a yo-yo trick, you can rest fairly assured that Honoka's idle hands are putting the yo-yo through the motions without even really giving it much thought.
What could be distracting her now, though? Well... it's Chinatown. There's plenty of interesting and exotic things to see in Chinatown. And right now the young juggler is apparently spellbound by a shimmery silk cheongsam on display in one of the various shop windows.
Never once does the yo-yo stay idle, not even as Honoka seems to be transfixed upon the display. Ever calculating, ever thinking...
And then, for no apparent reason, she turns to leave, yo-yo still flicking through her sizable repertoire of techniques. It's then that the peculiarly talented young woman finds her gaze cast across the streets, fixated upon the red gauntlets, standing out like a beacon in the crowd full of muted grays of Chinatown. Honoka travels a lot, but she's not used to seeing -those-.
With simply a raised palm, she summons the yo-yo back to her grasp, and confidently strides across the street. She walks alongside Satsuki, giving off the air of someone who comes here often. And since she doesn't seem to be 'in line' as it were, Honoka sees no qualms with walking up to place an order. A quick glance at the menu is all she needs to confirm her earlier decision. "One Cha siu baau, one xiao long bao, please," she states crisply, glancing over with a faint smile at Satsuki. "... I'm sure it's all delicious, miss... unless you have food allergies."
Still spellbound by the sheer number of options she has, Satsuki only looks up to see the yo-yo-wielding performer after she's personally addressed. She barely acknowledges her existence until then, standing almost totally transfixed. This food is /chaos/ -- trying to mentally assign order to it is a mistake. And yet, somehow... she keeps right on trying.
When she /does/ get her attention broken from the food itself by Honoka's words, she says, voice flat and empty, "I have no food allergies, but am unfamiliar with most of the food offered here. I am unsure of the nutritive profile of most of it as well." She doesn't return the smile, but the practiced distance of her expression indicates that it's /probably/ not personal.
"Do you have suggestions as to what would be optimal for a protein-heavy diet?" she asks, innocently. Her gaze finally ticks /fully/ over to Honoka, studying the performer carefully. "And... what is that device in your hand?" The unfamiliar always puts Satsuki on edge.
It is hard for Honoka to ignore the indecisiveness of the gauntleted young woman. But, then again, that is one of the reasons she chose to say what she had. Honoka glances to the folks fixing the food -- who are steadily focused on the craft of getting Honoka's order together. She states quietly, "If you are looking for nutritional value there are many other options. If you are looking for taste, however..."
Honoka breaks into a more amiable smile, "Then you can't really go wrong with anything here." Bold claims for someone who hasn't eaten here before, but Honoka is generally a pretty good judge of Chinese cuisine, from how often the circus orders takeout.
"Protein-heavy, hm," Honoka considers, the yo-yo flicking out of her hand as a matter of habit. However she notices Satsuki's reaction to the yo-yo, and decides to let it spin in a controlled spiral, holding her hand up to demonstrate the complete lack of harmful intent. "... This is a 'yo-yo.' It is a toy." The yo-yo is dead weight on the end of her string now, due to her willful display -- and she slowly begins to wind the string back onto the axle. "The objective is to cause the toy to appear as if it's got a mind of its own, when in fact, all you're doing is manipulating the strings."
Honoka pauses for effect, and then in a flurry of hand motions, twists the string into a cradle, allowing the yo-yo to swing back and forth. "Nothing more, really," she explains.
Withdrawing her yo-yo back to her palm, she pulls out a few coins from a pocket. Depositing them with the cook as payment, she opens the take-out box and withdraws one of the buns. "Char siu baau is what I'd recommend. Barbecued pork. It's Cantonese, I believe. Quite tasty for a snack."
At least Honoka's /calm/ when she has to explain something normal to Satsuki; Satsuki, for her part, just accepts it, watching the yo-yo move with rapt interest. "I see -- a toy that requires significant manual dexterity and attention to one's surroundings," she reflects, tracking it back and forth.
And it's back to the food, once she draws the yo-yo back. The idea that nutritive value is secondary with this particular spread of food isn't /totally/ alien -- after all, she's already encountered ice cream -- but it still just seems strange to her. Sliding a finger into her gauntlets, she carefully pulls out a few bills, saying, "I will have the char siu baau." At least, for all her weirdness, she's come with mone.
"Thank you for your assistance," she says to Honoka, her attention moving back as her food is prepared. A question that might be slightly less expected than some of the others Satsuki has had up to this point comes a moment later: "What were you looking at earlier?"
But... was Satsuki even /looking/ in that direction earlier? Did she even have any reason to commit Honoka's window shopping to memory?
Honoka had simply nodded in response to Satsuki's question. The peculiar young woman from Hokkaido may notice an unusual set of patterns emerging as she talks with Satsuki -- that -was- the whole point for initiating conversation after all. But she sees no harm in explaining, "Indeed. It gives my fingers something to do while I'm thinking."
Honoka offers a friendly nod of her head in response to the confirmation of Satsuki's purchase. Finding it inconvenient to hold both the yo-yo and her pork bun, the juggler velcros the yo-yo onto its designated wrist strap. The faintest hint of amusement creeps into her expression as she considers the notion of storing money in one's gauntlets, but she doesn't speak of it. She only has time to respond, "Of course..." before Satsuki's sorta-non-sequitur query is posed. ".. I..." stammers, Honoka, blinking. Was Satsuki -watching?- ... Honoka rationalizes that maybe she was at the window longer than she'd realized.
Composing herself -- really, just closing her mouth before she looks too much like a country yokel -- she answers, "There was a pretty dress in the window over there. I... I haven't been to the cities that much, it's probably all the rage here." Honoka offers a faint, polite smile, as she takes a nibble out of her char siu baau.
"Ah... so you use it as a meditative aid. Understood." That much at least makes sense to Satsuki; her thoughts are much clearer when she's in motion, too. Accepting her food and taking a bite, Satsuki chews with neat, mechanical precision; the corners of her lips upturn just slightly, the more she does it. This /does/ taste really good, she thinks -- not that she can really unpack that feeling, but there's something about it that feels... almost nostalgic.
Swallowing, she watches Honoka stammer and shift. "Understood," is all she says at first; if there /was/ a question, for a moment, it seems like it was just an idle curiosity. It's only in that tiny sliver of time, though -- after another bite of her food, Satsuki asks, "Do you intend to purchase it?"
Her tone remains perfectly flat and even through the questions. "I am unclear why you would do so. Your current clothing seems more useful," she adds, distinctly unaware of how much like a weird alien she sounds.
Meditative aid, understood.... To Honoka, everything Satsuki says just sounds... out of place. Maybe it's just how people talk in Southtown, she resolves with a furrowed brow. Though the slight upturn in Satsuki's lips seems to be a contagious gesture.
Despite that moment of good cheer, Honoka does begin to get the sense that Satsuki has another aim in mind. "I may," she answers in good cheer, opting this time to avoid specifics. When told that her current clothing seems more useful, Honoka decides to take that as a compliment, nodding her head cheerfully. "It's certainly more comfortable, I'm sure, but..."
Honoka pauses, looking at her mostly-uneaten pork bun for a moment. "Mm," she states, hesitantly, before flashing narrowed eyes and a broad grin over to Satsuki. Perhaps overemphatically. "Well, what I'm wearing is -nice-, but it won't really pass muster for a truly formal occasion. One would want to dress pretty and.... Mm. Less utilitarian."
Her eyes move pointedly down to the red knuckles. "I believe guys would find a dress... less threatening." Her gaze scans back up to Satsuki's, as she takes a more substantial bite out of her pork bun.
Any indication of potential 'real person' status from Satsuki quickly fades; by the time she's on her third bite, she's gone back to carefully eating her food as neutrally as possible. It seems simultaneously practiced and natural -- at least, for her; the actual act is distinctly /un/natural.
"Less threatening... Understood." /That/ is something that Satsuki absolutely needed to know -- and something she socks away for future reference. "Your assessment of my gauntlets would indicate you think they are threatening..." This, too, gets noted. To her, this is simply what you wear -- the idea of not having /some/ reminder of who she is seems alien.
"In the future, I may have to request your assistance in constructing a less threatening outfit that still allows for a range of motion." Satsuki knows this is a suspicious rquest, on some level... but she really can't stop herself from asking. She needs to expand her range of effective knowledge -- that /is/ why she's in Southtown, after all -- and this seems as reasonable a place to begin as any.
Honoka had always been told that her Hokkaido accent was strange, even foreign, to those from the main island of Japan. She'd gone to great lengths to formalize her dialect into the hyojungo anti-dialect used by broadcasters and public officials, determined to avoid the negative implications her Hokkaido accent might bring to bear. So, while listening to Satsuki talk, Honoka gets the impression that her reaction might be like those mocking kids from years gone past.
And she empathizes with Satsuki, she concludes, unknitting her brow and softening her expression. "... They are, yes. " She narrows her eyes at Satsuki just a smidge as she adds, quietly, "Brass knuckles are illegal, and yours could do /substantially/ more damage. It's a wonder you've not drawn more attention as it is."
The cook seems to be peering over at the sound of whispering. Glancing to her side for just a moment, she almost reaches for her wrist, before recalling there's a bun in her hand.
"Perhaps I'll consider it if you visit the circus," she offers with a grin, returning to speaking volume. "Are you in town for long? The circus is here for the next week before we move off to Yokohama." Wild stab in the dark, Honoka reasons, but from the way Satsuki is talking, it's a fair enough guess as anything else.
"I was not aware I was not supposed to wear them," Satsuki says, quietly; she glances over to the cook momentarily, but ultimately pays no mind. There's more important things to discuss -- like, evidently, the circus. Satsuki, needless to say, has no familiarity with the actual concept of a circus; she knows the dictionary definition of the word, at least, but she has no idea beyond that.
And yet, somehow... "I will be spending a significant amount of time in Southtown from now on," she says to Honoka, nodding. "I will visit the circus." She wonders, for a few moments, why exactly she wants it -- and then, /shockingly/, manages to make an inference.
"... Do you perform in the events?" she asks, now curious; she seems like she /could/, the more Honoka looks at her -- her physique is in the right range, and she /does/ have a tool for dexterity on her person...
Honoka smiles faintly. It's Southtown, not Osaka or Kyoto or one of those cities that might have more of a history with open warfare in the streets -- she doubts anyone will -really- raise a fuss about the gauntlets. But the very idea of having placed the thought into Satsuki's head amuses the juggler.
"Oh, good, I do hope you enjoy it," notes Honoka, taking another bite of her char-siu baau.
And then Satsuki asks another followup question. Maybe there's hope for this alien after all. "Mm-hmm," responds the Twilight Star performer with a smile. And a swallow of pork bun, to explain her temporary lack of vocalization. "I'm a juggler there. I use meditative aids on stage. I call them diabolos, though. Quite a bit more dynamic than my yo-yo."
She tilts her head away, and turns her shoulders as if to leave -- but with the subtle suggestion to continue conversation, rather than cease it. Pleasantly, Honoka continues, "I feel like you know all about me now, but I don't know anything about you... you said you're 'staying' in Southtown. For work or pleasure? What do you do with those, anyway?" Honoka has a feeling she already knows the answer, but that's part of the fun of conversation.
Continuing to eat her delicious Chinese food, Satsuki gives Honoka that same flat expression back. "This sounds like an interesting performance... if it's more dynamic than what you're carrying, it must be very challenging. I am... impressed." She /thinks/ that's the appropriate word for this situation, anyway... though truthfully she can't be certain.
Gathering herself and starting to follow along with Honoka as she starts to leave, Satsuki says, "It is..." The gears grind in Satsuki's head; she wasn't briefed on how to deal with someone who asks after her /outside/ of the context of a fight. "... both. I am here to look into the local school system as well as the local combat scene. As you may have surmised, I am a professional fighter." All of that was at least technically true! ... technically.
She attempts to find some way to articulate what it is she's /really/ doing, and thus answer the question to the extent she expects of herself, while not actually giving herself away. "I am also a talent scout," she finally settles on, finishing off her food. After another swallow, she elaborates. "My employer sponsors top-level professional fighters, such as boxing champions and professional cage fighters."
She looks a little young for all of that to be true... but maybe she's just aging well?
The Twilight Star performer's cheeks redden faintly at the compliment. Rationally, she knows that she hasn't really performed for Satsuki, so it surely must be...
Honoka thinks back to recall the last time she'd actually been doing -tricks- with her yo-yo. But Satsuki's already made it clear she was watching her from across the street -- so Honoka quietly updates Satsuki's record in her head. Interesting.
Well, 'professional fighter' wasn't =exactly= the answer Honoka was expecting, but it is within the gamut of things she probably should have expected. Southtown =is= a mecca for folks who consider fighting to be a profession, after all. "I... hear Southtown has some pretty good schools, actually, considering how much of the population gets their kicks, uh, punching and kicking each other in the head."
Honoka finishes the pork bun, and moves on to her second treat -- a smaller one, that looks more like a dumpling. She takes one delicate bite, closing her eyes to savor the succulent taste, before turning back to Satsuki. "He sponsors, hm? I happen to keep track of a few of the top fighters... would it be a name I might recognize?"
Honoka grew up as the daughter amongst a tribe of fishermen, after all.
'Trick' is perhaps a strong word for what Honoka was doing earlier -- but Satsuki certainly can't think of a better one! Fortunately, a question comes and lets her deflect the conversation from that before too long. "I cannot divulge that information unless entering negotiations," Satsuki answers, going for the messiest question first.
Watching Honoka eat with more interest than, perhaps, is rational or healthy, she pauses a moment before moving on. "You may, however, recognize some of the individuals who have received sponsorship. The American boxing champion, Mike Bison, has been able to rehabilitate his career with our assistance." That's simultaneously a high-profile individual /and/ a bit of a black mark... maybe her 'employer' is interested in scooping abandoned or -- blemished -- talent.
Satsuki keeps pace evenly with Honoka, finding herself wishing, just faintly, that she'd also gotten a dumpling. It would give her something to eat and deflect questions with, at least!
Honoka nods slowly. She could take the reference to 'negotiations' as a sign that she's pressing a bit too far for the information she desires... and resigns to just go ahead and finish off that dumpling.
But then Satsuki spills more beans anyway. Mike Bison... the name -sounds- familiar, but Honoka will make a point of finding out exactly -why- that sounds familiar once she returns to her home. "Well, that's something, heh," she agrees, "It sounds like you really look out for your people, if nothing else. I don't figure he needs to wear those, though," she offers with a friendly -- if slightly predatory -- smile. Yes, Honoka will probably going to rib Satsuki for her gauntlets as long as she's allowed.
Tossing the to-go box in a trashcan as she walks by, she offers a faint shrug. "I kid, but really, I don't know how much I'd have to offer in the clothes front. I usually have our designer help me out." She laughs, draping a free hand -- of which she now has two, thankfully -- behind the back of her head. "I'll be honest, I get help. The show designer usually helps me pick out things that look smart." She looks back to address Satsuki directly, hoping to get a good look at the younger lady's eyes. "I'd be happy to help, though! And... I have horrible manners. My name is Honoka." She stops just a little ahead of Satsuki and offers a proper Japanese bow.
Not that she likes being part Japanese. Or likes acting Japanese. But rather, because it's the polite thing to do in Japan -- something which she occasionally forgets.
"His fists are regarded as impressive on their own," Satsuki agrees, not pressing the issue very hard. She doesn't seem too self-conscious about having those big red gauntlets anymore -- but the fact that they stand out does sort of nag at her for a little bit. She needs to find a way to become less conspicuous without sacrificing fighting ability... but /how/?
The thought of working the gauntlets into an outfit in which they make sense does not actually occur to her. It's a little bit of a skip in her brain, at least for now.
Following Honoka's lead and tossing her own trash in the can, she adds, "My name is Satsuki," giving a bow back. "If we are to meet again, we will need to exchange contact information..." Expression still flat, she notes, "I will..." It takes her a moment to find the words, but she eventually finishes, "... be looking forward to the circus."
Honoka doesn't seem to press the issue on Mike Bison's talents any further -- without research, she'd just be parroting words back anyway.
"Satsuki, then..." Honoka repeats, committing the name to memory. It could mean May. Or it could mean Assassin, who knows? But what Honoka actually says is, "That's a pretty name," offered with the sweet smile of someone who actually means it.
As for the expectated transferral of contact information... well, Honoka's going to make Satsuki work a bit harder for that, as she takes that comment at its face value. "Indeed! I'll look forward to seeing you in the crowd!" ... How would Honoka find Satsuki in the midst of a crowd of thousands? "... Of course, you might want to make it more difficult for me, hee." Again with the poking fun!
Honoka seems to be approaching a parked car. With two gentlemen inside it -- one of whom opens the door for Honoka. "So... I guess I'll see you then, okay? It was a real pleasure meeting you, Satsuki!"
Honoka's comment on the name gets Satsuki's eyes to widen just slightly. Names... aren't really pretty, she thinks. She's just the fifth Doll -- that's all. It doesn't really register to her that other people could have complex thoughts about arrangements of syllables until her attention is drawn to it.
She doesn't linger on it though... "I will endeavor to seem more inconspicuous before that time arrives," she adds, with total, deathly seriousness. She has no idea how to accomplish that, other than, evidently, 'do something about the gauntlets,' but at least it's a start on the /idea/ of doing something about it! Baby steps.
When the door opens, Satsuki just nods. "I am pleased to have met you as well, Honoka," giving her a second bow as she starts to head toward the vehicle. She turns to walk away, knowing full well what a parked vehicle with people inside it means -- she's not welcome here, or at the very least, shouldn't outstay her welcome. ... yet.
Log created on 19:52:41 10/29/2014 by Honoka, and last modified on 23:58:11 10/29/2014.