Description: Whilest attempting to unlock the secret of the local mall's 'mystery buns', Namie encounters a small girl with a terrifying appetite!
The mall is teeming with activity, something that shouldn't be all that surprising given it's relative location to Taiyo High and the fact school's been out for a couple hours now. Not that there aren't those who make a habit of skipping their last class of the day, crowding the mall a bit earlier than might be expected. The cool weather doesn't seem to be stopping anyone from coming out today, especially not when the various food stands are offering all kinds of hot treats and drinks to keep people feeling toasty enough to browse through the various stores.
One of these vendors in particular is has a special going on today. Having been delivered twice their normal supply as well as a little 'extra', they're offering 20% off their meatbuns, and 40% off some special 'mystery meatbuns'. There's nothing quite like a mystery to get the attention of Namie Yamada, the black haired first year having bought two entire platefuls of the mystery buns. She's not exactly a huge girl so seeing her with so much food is pretty strange, and quite a few people give her odd looks as they pass, classmates and strangers alike.
The first several of the buns she had wholly eaten, but now that she's full her progress has significantly slowed. In a display that might make Kensou weep she's pulling the remaining buns open one at a time and eating the meat out of them, doing so slowly and with a very discerning, concentrating look on her face. "What -is- this? It's not beef, pork, or chicken. Definitely not any kind of fish. Squid or octopus would be way more squishy..." She glances at her current bun as if it's gotten up and started talking before finishing off the rest of the meat and setting the uneaten bread roll on her tray.
Namie isn't the only oddity that the strange sale has brought crawling out of the local community today. Not but a dozen feet away, one of the tables set out for just such dining purposes is a small hotbed of activity. Several young women, most of which still sport their Taiyo High uniforms, are clustered around what appears to be an even younger girl. With almost reverent awe they stare as the tiny figure practically inhales meatbuns non-stop, pausing only long enough to chew thoroughly and swallow before the next takes its place. A small stack of plates next to her already sit empty and atleast four more are spread out before her, awaiting their inevitable descent into the black void that is her stomach.
Despite the tiny gaps in her feeding frenzy, Momoko manages to participate in the conversation going on around her, though not without collateral damage. Bits of sauce and mystery meat dot her face as if she were a small child but she either doesn't notice or doesn't care.
"I already told you! *omph om om om* I'll be fine!" Momoko waves a hand dismissively at the nearest of the girls who is hovering over her with a look of concern. "I just need to *om om om* get my strength back up!"
"Are you sure? Your bandages don't need changed or anything?"
"What about your bag? I could carry it for you."
"You shouldn't be walking around alone! What if something happens again?"
Momoko just beams a disarming smile up at them, mouth still half full. "Ahm holf yew *gulp* I'm in the mall, no one is going to do anything to me here! And the police have set up nightly watches in the area so there's nothing to worry about. Now, I know all of you have other things you'd rather be doing than babysitting me, hehehe. Shoo! Shoo!"
The group shares a communal giggle before they finally relent and turn to leave, waving and calling their goodbyes until Momoko sit alone with her tiny mountain of food.
Though it was difficult to see before through her gaggle of groupies, the girl at the center of the conversation is not only tiny but covered literally from head to toe in medical gauze. Almost every inch of visible skin save for her face is wrapped in thick white bandages. Tiny splotches of rusty-red stain the surface in several places indicating relatively fresh wounds or atleast ones that have not yet fully healed.
If it weren't for the energetic way in which she's stuffing her face with meat buns, Momoko looks like someone who ought to be laid up in bed rather than out and about. Whatever accident or catastrophe caused her infirmary doesn't seem to have dampened her spirit much in any case though even in her enthusism she takes noticable care not to bump any of her limbs against the surface of the table or the chair.
Somewhere around a full plate of meatbuns eaten Namie is seriously starting to lose her pace. While the gauze wrapped girl shows no sign of slowing down despite the amount of food she's eaten, her fellow Taiyo student is starting to groan with every meatbun she packs down. Eventually just opening one up is starting to make her stomach lurch, and it's not because she seriously has no idea what's inside the things.
It isn't until the group of friends disbands and keep from surrounding her that Namie notices Momoko. She is, simply put, completely flabbergasted at the rate and volume with which she's devouring her food, sitting back and staring for several long moments. Looking down to a still entirely full plate in front of herself she imagines eating so much herself, and turns very slightly green.
In this she must admit defeat.
Picking her tray up she walks over to the other table, realizing then the wrappings aren't some kind of bizarre new fashion trend and that those red splotches are probably not just for show. Is massive injury the key to power eating, she wonders?
Having to snap herself out of the staring once more she offers a friendly smile, "Hi! I... I think I ordered too much. Would you like some of these?" She sets down the tray, half a plate full of meat-emptied buns along with a full plate of untouched ones, hoping for salvation from wasted money and wasted food.
Momoko, who had been busy reveling in the deliciousness of her own array of meat buns, complete with happy little noises as she chewed away, oblivious to the world around her, turns to peer at the sudden visitor with wide curious eyes. Even with a fresh meatbun already halfway stuffed into her mouth, the little student visibly lights up at the prospect of more food. Better yet, /free/ food! Her eyes mist over a little but she quickly inhales the pastry in her hand and gestures emphatically for her new friend to take a seat.
Congratulations, Namie has discovered the key to her heart.
"Oh! Don't mind if I do~!"
With absolutely no hint of shame, Momoko snatches up one of the buns from Namie's tray and wedges it into her mouth alongside the first. Her cheeks bulge out like a gerbil hording seeds but she still manages to chomp away with deliberate motions and eventually swallows it all in one big gulp.
"Aaah~! So tasty!"
Turning her attention across the table, the tiny meatbun destroyer smiles at Namie with a childish look of innocent glee. "Thanks a bunch! My name is Momoko! I'm a student at Taiyo. How about you?"
Truth be told the bandaged state of mummy Momoko was enough to concern even Namie, but with her chowing down so cheerfully as if she hasn't a care in the world she can put that worry aside for now. After all, there are introductions to be given!
"Hi, Momoko. I'm Namie and I go to Taiyo also so it's extra nice to meet you!" Her smile is indeed turned up to extra cheerful upon finding out the youthful food vacuum goes to the same school, peering at her for a moment and trying to place the other girl's face. They must not have any classes together, a tiny energetic girl like that would be hard to miss.
As the extra meatbuns are eaten and the motion towards the seat given Namie takes a seat, "Ahh, thank you! I wouldn't have been able to let myself throw them away, but if I had eaten them all myself I think I would have gotten sick. You saved me!" About this she's mostly serious, though she adds a bit of extra dramatic emphasis to that last bit for fun.
It then occurs to her that such a prolific eater may have a better sense of taste than she as well. Personally she wouldn't even be able to taste at all if she was eating as fast as Momoko, but then again she can't eat that fast in the first place, "Say, Momoko... I only got so many of them because I was trying to figure something out. Do you know what kind of meat is in these?"
"Hehehe! Well, if you ever find yourself in distress over extra food, I'm very heroic in that regards!"
Momoko pops another meatbun whole into her mouth just to prove it! She beams a smile up at Namie while chewing, looking quite proud of herself, though she appears to be taking her time more so than before. Slowing down finally or distracted by the company? Hard to say.
The question of the contents of said meat buns perks her ears up though and she nods emphatically. "Off corsh Ah do!" She takes a few moments to finish chewing and then adds, leaning in conspiratorally, "It's fried balogna! Hehehe! They grind it up and put a lot of seasonings on it, so it's hard to tell, but my little sister loves the stuff. I've had a whole lot of it!"
Namie grins a little bit, "If I ever have trouble with too much good food I know who to look for!" For a few moments she just watches her continue to pack it in, truly amazed at just how much the girl can eat. ...she's got to be amazingly active to eat so much and not look like a blimp!
Then when she's told what is inside the meatbuns she blinks, "Fried balonga? They -fry- it and then put it in the meatbun? No wonder I didn't figure it out. That's pretty sneaky." She's tempted to try just one more now that she knows, and even starts to reach for one. But no, no, it wouldn't do to get sick in front of someone she just met.
With one mystery solved her mind changes gears, her focus leaving the food itself and going to the one doing the eating. Her thoughts are plainly obvious on her face as she looks over the bandages, her lips pursing in a perturbed way. "I understand if you don't want to talk about it... but what -happened- to you, Momoko? You look like you got hit by a bus or mauled by a bear!"
The rate of bear mauling among schoolgirls has sky rocketed recently- true facts.
Momoko freezes mid-bite as the subject of her injuries comes up. She looks somewhat like a deer caught in headlights for a moment, as if she'd completely forgotten what she looks like at the moment, but the tiny girl quickly resumes her energetic chewing as if nothing had happened. Once she's swallowed that one down, she smiles back at Namie. Despite her nonchalant reaction there is an obvious change to the glint in her eyes.
"Well... let's just say I went down the wrong alley on the wrong night."
That probably rules out the bus theory but the bears are still up for debate!
Grabbing another meat bun, Momoko quickly resumes eating. She doesn't say it outright but it's pretty clear that this is a touchy subject for her. Another two of the small plump noodles disappear before she looks up again, a fresh and genuine smile returning to her face.
"So! Namie, was it? I've never seen you around here before. I'm generally pretty good with faces. I guess you must be in a different class, huh?"
One can see the conflict in her eyes, though her face remains the same. It is something Momoko does not want to talk about, but it's something Namie wants to know. The urge to press is strong, to dig a little deeper and try and get the girl to give just a few more details. It's doubtful she could get the full story, especially while she was still recovering, but enough pestering could probably get -something- from her.
If Momoko is especially good of hearing she might even hear a low, "Mmmmm..." coming from the taller girl as she struggles.
In the end she relents, not only because the subject is clearly so freshly sore... but because Momoko already solved one mystery for her today. It'd be rude to outright demand answers to a second!
Taking in a deep breath and letting it out slowly she laughs in a slightly nervous manner, "Okay, we can just leave it at that!" Then to the question sent her way she quickly nods, "I think that has to be the case. I just started going to Taiyo this year- I'm a first year student."
Then as if suddenly struck by a lightning bolt she sits up straighter and claps her hands together, "Oh! I'm also on the Yearbook Club. If you've heard about someone going around to all the other clubs to see what kind of articles we should have about them in the yearbook, that's me!" A bright smile.
Momoko perks again at this news, sitting up a little straighter herself, though her back is already pretty rigid to avoid leaning against the seat and rubbing her wounds. She's always been interested in the social aspects of school life, and well, life in general. The Yearbook club sounds like a lot of fun and she might have chosen to get involved in something like that herself if not for her dancing and martial arts lessons along with helping out around the house and babysitting her siblings taking up most of her free time.
"Oh, that's really cool! I bet that's a lot of fun. I hope the older students aren't giving you any trouble though. Sometimes they can be kind of annoying and treat people like they're kids just because they're short."
Her cheeks puff out at this without the aid of a meatbun; clearly speaking from personal experience. She vents her sudden frustration at the memory on the food, completely emptying what's left of Namie's plate in a frenzy of rapid gobbles.
"It is a lot of fun! It's a great way to go about meeting people in the other clubs, and I get to sit in on their sessions while having a pretty good excuse for it." Namie's smile turns into a bit of a grin as she utters the word 'excuse', not worried too much about hiding the fact that's a big part of why she's on the Yearbook club. Anyone who cared enough would find that out pretty easily on their own without her prompting anyway.
When the subject of older students making fun becomes of height Namie looks to the side, reaching a finger up to scratch at her cheek a little bit. "I haven't really had any problems with that. Eheheh..." Rather than being treated like a kid, she's usually subjected to 'stick' or 'beanpole' for her figure when people want to insult her.
At the puffed cheeks she laughs a little more, feeling slightly bad because it's the exact reaction the other girl is complaining about, and she knows it. "Well, I wouldn't take that -too- hard. Much better to be cute and have people think you're younger than you are than for them to think you're old and ugly, right?" She gives Momoko a cheerful smile, trying to boost her back up a bit.
Momoko beams at that. Being called cute might be annoying to some of the teenagers but she wears it like a badge of pride. It's not like she's done much to dissuade that image either, what with her cheerful updo and pink ribbons all over the place. Still, being treated like a kid just because she looks like one is kind of annoying, particularly when she's rather sensitive about the fact that she's completely lacking in the one thing (well two things technically) that generally defines a girl's growth into adulthood.
"Yeah, I guess if you look at it that way, it's hard to argue. Just don't let them bully you, okay!"
By this point, Momoko's vast stockpile of food has been whittled down to a single plate with a veritable mountain of empty dishes stacked up beside her. For her last round, she slows down considerably, thoughtfully chewing each bite rather than inhaling the meatbuns whole like some kind of adorable garbage disposal unit.
"So I guess that means you get to hear a lot of gossip if you sit around in all the club meetings, huh?" She grins and asks, "Anything good?"
Namie's smile brightens a bit more when the compliment is taken as intended. If she hated being seen as a kid enough to completely all things cute it might have offended her, and the gauze was making it a bit harder than it might normally be to get a sense of the other girl's style. As for that particular sensitivity, beanpoles unfortunately aren't known for being immune to that particular line of teasing.
"I won't let them do that, trust me! One good thing about meeting lots of people is making lots of friends, and it's a pretty bad idea to bully someone as well known as I am!" she states proudly. Okay so that might be a bit of an exaggeration, maybe in her old school last year she was popular but for now she simply has a whole lot of acquaintances.
The stomach ache from overeating is starting to wear off a bit, so Namie becomes a bit more animated as she talks, widening her eyes and nodding, "A whole bunch! The thing is most of it is just the same gossip you hear around school with a different spin. Sometimes it can be pretty hard to figure out what's true and what isn't, and I don't like spreading rumors I don't know are true. ...or ones people told me themselves- that'd be mega rude!"
Her eyebrows come together a bit and she hums softly, "But things I heard first hand that aren't personal secrets... Well, how about this. I think this is going around already, but maybe you haven't heard it. The art club was planning on making sculptures. But the whole thing had to be scrapped because someone had the bright idea to hire a nude model, and it was complete chaos when the sponsor teacher found out!" She grins widely and then sits back in her seat, snickering a little, "If you need a hundred kilos of clay, I know where you can find it!"
A hand flies to Momoko's face and she gasps dramatically at the news. That's something she never heard of! Maybe because she's been spending most of her time recovering instead of hanging out with her usual crowd.
"A nude model?! Someone really paid for that?"
The tiny girl glances down at herself for a moment then blushes a bright pink, sinking even deeper into her chair. Could she do something like that? She certainly likes art and she's never been afraid of showing off infront of a crowd. But naked? In front of a bunch of teenagers?
"W-well, if I find myself swamped with an urge for pottery, I'll let you know, hehe."
Momoko reaches down to the floor where her backpack rests. It is an abundantly cute thing, large enough to cover her entire back with its pink fuzzy exterior which is shaped like a large bear. She flips back it's head, revealing the mouth to be the flap underneath, and withdraws a bottle of strawberry milk. Popping it open with a single deft spin of her wrist, she downs half the contents in a single draw, washing down her heavy meal with an equally copious amount of sugar.
"Aaaaah~! Milk is the best! Would you like one, Namie?"
Nodding her head up and down in huge motions, Namie laughs, "Yep! And what's worse is they were going to use school funds to do it. Can you even imagine? I mean, the teacher caught it before the model actually showed up, but if they had you can bet there would have been fliers going out to parents and all other kinds of horrible things. Assemblies, student council meetings." She shudders a little, and then laughs.
The sudden embarrassment from the other girl gets her flushing a bit as well. For a moment she wonders if she should have held back on that one, but then mentally chastises herself- holding that back would be just the kind of child treatment Momoko wants nothing to do with, right?
Then when the backpack is reached for she looks to it, gasping slightly when the head is pulled back, not having seen the straps from her angle and thinking it a stuffed animal. In a way it kind of is, but visions of Momoko eviscerating a poor stuffed pink bear in order to turn it into a tote bag disappear when she realizes that's what it was originally made for. A sigh of relief.
"S-sure! I should probably drink more milk than I do. Gotta keep my bones nice and strong!" She lifts her hands up and holds them in a peculiar position, wrists down with only two fingers extended, before swiping at the air in a short but well practiced manner, only to knock the backs of her forearms together for bone knocking emphasis. Depending on how much fighting she's seen, or research she's done, Momoko might recognize the hand positioning it as Mantis style Kung Fu claws.
Unfortunately, Momoko isn't really a martial arts buff. The only reason she even got involved with capoeria in the first place was because it looked like dancing and turned out to be a lot of fun! Ofcourse, it never hurts for a girl to be able to protect herself, something she learned rather pointedly recently. Her own personal style is used for street shows more often than ~mortal combat~, however, so she hasn't really seen much outside of action movies.
That combined with her general quick witted uptake allows her to work out what Namie is implying. She grins and digs another of the bright pink bottles out of her pack, sliding it across the table with a little push since her arms can't quite reach that far.
"Milk is great for strong bones! Are you into kung-fu or something, Namie? There's lots of people who like that stuff around here."
Namie picks up the milk when it's slid over to her, unscrewing the top and taking a long drink out of it before responding to the question. "Mmm! This is really good. I wonder if I could get Mom to buy some?" She turns it over and checks out the nutritional value, blanching a bit when she sees how much sugar is in it, "Aha, I'd definitely have to buy them for myself."
Answering, then, she nods her head quickly and with a bright smile, "Yup! My friend Miki got me into it a few years back and I started reading up on it and checking out various styles and put together a bunch of things I think are super fun." It's pretty obvious to see just how happy she is to talk about this subject, especially considering she actually lets out a small squeal, "Eee! There's really not much that's more fun then running and jumping around. If I knew that when I was younger I'd probably be a gymnast now, but I think it's way more fun than even that to kick moving targets and people who know how to defend themselves. It really makes you push yourself to the limit!"
She settles down a little after that and takes another, slower drink of the milk she was just given. "If you don't already you should try it some time. I bet you'd be really nimble and quick. I can move pretty good, but I'm a bit too gangly for a lot moves." She tilts her head and looks over Momoko for a second before laughing, "I bet you can bend yourself up into a pretzel!"
Seeing how happy merely talking about the subject makes her new friend, Momoko sits back and smiles as brightly as if that happiness were her own. In a way, it is, though she can't really tell that to the girl without sounding like a crazy person. She doesn't quite understand the implications herself. Maybe Athena will be able to shed some light on the questions she has.
As for the present, she just nods enthusiastically at Namie's description of the rush she gets from facing other people in battle. "Yeah, I get that! I do a bit of it myself, though I'm not really a hardcore martial enthusiast or anything."
She rubs the back of her neck sheepishly and grins at the supposition of her limberness which isn't far off from the truth. "Hehehe, I've been running around and jumping off things so long my parents were happy to find something productive I could channel that energy into. Instead of fighting, though, I put on street shows! It's lots of fun and I have a bunch of fans at school!"
She rummages through her backpack again for a moment before producing an old coffee can. It rattles noisly as she shakes it back and forth a few times before plopping it down on the table with a heavy thud. Momoko puffs up her chest like a peacock and crosses her arms, looking very pleased with herself.
"I get lots of tips too! Really fuels those sudden shopping binges, hehe!"
There's a bit of a positive feedback loop going on, because when Namie notices Momoko enjoying listening to her gush so much it makes her all the happier. In her experiences she's usually the one listening to the gushing and being on the other end is pretty fun for a change.
"Oh you do? Maybe when you're feeling up to it you can show me sometime! I'd love to trade tips with you. I bet we could both learn a lot, even if our styles are completely different." Then as the mention of street shows is brought up her eyes widen a little and she gets a big smile on her face, "So that's you! I've heard of people talking about you before, but I've never had the chance to see one of your shows for myself."
Namie considers the comment about bouncing off the walls and looks thoughtful, "It wasn't quite the same for me. I put my energy into being a social butterfly. The funny thing is, I never even knew I had it in me to be so active, but once I started practicing it's like I found part of myself that was hiding. A part that said 'jump and flip and move as fast as you can!' in a way sports just never did."
The production of the coffee can that sounds like it's full of change gets gawk from her, "That sounds like it'd buy a lot of meatbuns and chocolate milk! Your shows must be really good. You're probably way better than I am if you can make money off of it."
"Well, you know..." Momoko leans back and tries to look modest but she can't keep herself from grinning at the praise. Her feet, which are bare for some reason, swing happily underneath her seat - one of the rare few benefits she has over taller people! "I just started practicing in the park one day because the weather was really nice and classes had been cancelled and then a bunch of people showed up and started cheering! So, whenever I got the chance, I'd go practice at the park and eventually people started coming just to watch me. So, I'm not sure if I'm really good or if people just like watching me bounce around like a goof all afternoon!"
She sticks out her tongue and giggles but it's clear her 'shyness' is just polite modesty. Momoko obviously enjoys the idea of being the center of attention and the easy way in which she accepted the other girl's company is another big indicator that she might just be the kind of personality that draws others to her without trying.
"You should definately come see me sometime though! I always enjoy having a big crowd. And we can talk shop if you want, though I'm not that good at details, I just kind of... go with the flow!"
As the smaller, older girl grins and looks so proud of herself despite trying not to seem haughty Namie giggles a little before grinning, "I think it has to be that you're just really good at what you do. Even if you're pretty cute I don't think you could hold crowds like that and keep them coming back for more without some talent. If people are going out of their way to come watch it's no wonder they're talking about you at school. You just need to convince them to actually use your name when they talk about you and you're set!"
She snickers a little all of a sudden and leans in conspiratorially, "You should try to convince the student council to throw a talent contest. It sounds like you'd be a perfect ringer to take the whole thing." A bright smile is given at her playful scheme, and it's clear Namie has no problem's whatsoever letting someone else take the center of attention, quite willing to lavish plenty of it onto the talented dancer herself- and this is just in normal conversation!
When Momoko mentions coming and watching at her she responds with a quick, large nod, "You wouldn't be able to keep me away if you tried now that you've got me all riled up thinking about it. And if you don't know too much of the technical specifics it's fine- I'm sure I'll learn plenty just from watching you move. Even if it's not Kung Fu live demonstrations are a lot easier to learn off of than books, or even videos." She shakes her head, "To be honest I won't mind if I don't learn anything at all so long as it's fun."
A talent contest, huh? That might be fun. She'll have to put that idea on the back burner for later. The little dancer nods in response while looking thoughtful.
Momoko grins then quickly drinks the rest of her milk, draining the tall bottle in one long head tilt. She releases a satisfied sigh when the last drop is gone and slams the empty container down on the table like a drunk businessman.
"Aaah! Well, Namie, it was really nice to meet you! Sounds like you've already started making friends all over the place. I'm sure you'll be a big hit in no time!"
She slides out of her chair and slips the backpack into place, carefully so as not to disturb her bandages that much. It takes a few seconds of slow manuevering to get it right but eventually she's loaded up.
"Well, it's getting late. I promised my parents I would be home before the sun goes down. If you ever see me at school feel free to come and say hello, okay!"
Namie's drinking prowess is outmatched just as her eating prowess is, so while Momoko finishes her strawberry milk off in a single slug the taller girl is going to have something to sip on for a little while longer. "Hehe, I'd like to think so, but if I've got a bunch of friends everywhere it's probably okay even if I don't!"
It's not surprising when the other girl has to go- they'd been sitting talking together for quite a while after all, so when Momoko gets up she does too. She offers a quick bow and a smile, "Sure thing, and of course you can talk with me any time you like. It was really nice meeting you, Momoko. Byeeeee~!" She offers an energetic wave, and once she starts heading off Namie turns to one last loose end- a massive pile of empty plates!
Not that the food and service wasn't paid for, she just feels bad for whoever has to clean all that up, so she starts helping them out.
Log created on 17:25:53 01/14/2015 by Momoko, and last modified on 23:22:31 01/14/2015.