Description: With a new mission from a mysterious benefactor, Raiza reaches out to her classmate for recruitment to the party. She and Daisuke soon find themselves joined by a third wheel... but maybe a tricycle is just what the doctor ordered?
Since the beginning of her Taiyo High journey, Raiza has developed a fondness for the Pao Pao Cafe. As a place that not only serves local dishes like bento and ramen, but also exotic American food like pizza and hamburgers, it's the kind of dining that Raiza can enjoy whether she's celebrating her love of Japanese food or feeling a little homesick. It's also an easy walk from Taiyo High, and even if they seem to be redecorating a lot, Raiza also really digs the decor.
"After all, who doesn't love dragon statues?" Raiza comments as she walks up the sidewalk toward the cafe with Daisuke, having been elaborating on her feelings about the establishment in lieu of talking about what she's actually asked him to join her for. It's not long after the end of the school day, and she's still dressed in her winter Taiyo uniform - a cozy blue blazer and matching skirt, with white knee socks and black Mary Janes, finished off with a red ribbon tied in a bow around the collar. She's carrying a couple of textbooks in her arms, probably because the brown bag over his shoulder is full of manga and her ninja gear, just in case of emergencies.
"It's weird, though. I thought that the Pao Pao Cafe was actually a nightclub when I heard about it back in Sunshine City..."
And besides Raiza walks, indeed, Daisuke. Dressed similiarly in the winter uniform of Taiyo High... except for, you know, boys. Which comes down to black slacks and a very formal-looking black jacket with a high collar, complete with his own adddition of a red scarf matching the color of his hair coiled about his neck and shoulders. The red-haired boy may or may not have had a comedically surprised reaction to Raiza even inviting him along for this kind of outing (and he may have had to internally yell at himself for any kind of misunderstandings), but he agreed to come along pretty easily regardless. Itd be rude to decline!
"I mean, I guess it depends...?" He muses idly on the matter of the dragon statues, scratching idly at his cheek with one hand while the other busies itself with holding on to the strap of his own backpack. "In some parts you see those all the time so I figure people living there would just find them boring at that point? WEll, anyway..." He pointedly eyes the books in her arms and frowns. "You sure you don't want me to carry at least some of that?" Probably not the first time he's asked. "... And have you thought about a bigger pack, maybe...?"
But that last admission? Oh, *that* earns a tight narrowing of his eyes at her. "How...? What kind of nightclubs do you have in America, exactly?"
Unbeknown to the Taiyo twosome, a young blonde is trailing their journey towards the culinary and dragon decor delights of the Pao Pao cafe. She's dressed in a bright pink, snug fitting cropped hoody and matching pants. The upper half of the ensemble has the letters LC stitched on to the back in large diamante letters. On her feet are comfortable looking pink and white high tops with cushioned soles and a pair of diamante cat eyed sunglasses cover her striking eyes. Her long locks that are usually worn in twin tails are piled up on top of her head in a style that seems to defy gravity, given the fact when left loose they cascade down to her ankles.
She's careful not to get too close to her prey but keeps her eyes fixed on them at all times, following their conversation carefully and shaking her head every now and then as if she's displeased in some way. Whatever can the teens have done to cause her such irritation?
Daisuke's response to her rhetorical question provides Raiza with some food for thought.
"Do you mean, like, people here don't think sushi is the best food ever because it's easier to get? Or British people are actually bored of fish and chips, 'cause they have it all the time? Do you think people in Italy don't like pasta and they'd actually be more impressed with a hot dog?"
Or at least it gives her thoughts for food, anyway, accompanied by a rumbling in her stomach that causes her to pull a face before doing her best to ignore that it happened.
She wraps her arms a little more snugly around her books, thinking that might keep her stomach muffled.
"Oh, no, it's fine! I'm used to carrying them like this. Hiroko-sama says it's better for posture this way! And it's better for the turtles."
Actually, Hiroko-sama said that wearing a giant backpack made her look like a turtle, but Raiza's grasp of Japanese is still a work in progress.
"I hadn't realised before that she cared so much about the environment," Raiza muses, before stepping up to the door to the Pao Pao cafe and pushing it open with the back of her shoulder, leaning into it and using her body to hold the door open for Daisuke. She doesn't seem to have noticed her present stalker, likely due to the subtle disguise that the woman is wearing.
"I've never been to a nightclub! I think they've been extinct in America since before I was born. I just heard that there was this famous Pao Pao cafe that was a big dance place that hosted fights sometimes..."
"I mean... sure,, something like that? Except I think hot dogs and burgers are kind of an universal thing these days, but that's besides the point..."
The sweatdrop on the redhead is nearly visible, despite all logic involved over Raiza's... uh, reasoning for her choice to carry the books. "What does that have to do with the state of the turtles, exactly...?" He shakes his head at this regardless, and then steps in after her for the cafe proper... but he halts just for a few seconds there, to look back over his shoulder with a confused expression.
He felt *something*. His control over his empathic senses has been much better lately, but he still gets an unintended sting of psychic feedback from crowds around him regardless. And he definitely felt *something* just now. Something sharp...?
"... It's probably nothing..." he mutters to himself eventually, with a shrug, and elects to just forget about it. For now.
"Er... I don't know if cafes usually involve much dancing, but sure. Hey, you wanna grab a table and I can go get coffee or tea from the counter? Uh..." Rather than actually going straight off to buy something, he gives an akward smile back to the girl and asks of her, "What would you like...?"
"Turtles?" the sunglasses wearing stalker murmurs to herself, before stealthily padding after the hungry high schoolers.
She's feeling rather pleased with her surveillance skills and even more so that she as yet has remained undetected by any of her frenzied fans. But then...
The redhead turns to look her way and she deftly ducks behind a wall, pursing her pink painted pout and then peeking around it to see if she's been spotted. As he ignores his instinct, she breathes out a sigh of relief and waits till he and Raiza have entered the colourful cafe, before following in their wake. Slipping her slim frame into a well concealed corner booth, she watches to see their next move, concealing her familiar face with the aid of an oversized menu.
Raiza's eyebrows quirk in consideration of Daisuke's bemused reply. "I guess bigger backpacks mean... more waste?" she offers, after thinking about it for a few seconds. She tilts her head when Daisuke stops to look back over his shoulder, her own expression becoming slightly concerned. Are the two of them being followed?
"What's wrong, Daisuke? We're not being followed, are we?" she asks with a nervous laugh. That would be really bad. Especially considering her plans for this rendezvous with her red-haired classmate. Could /they/ have been tracking her smartphone all this time? She reaches into her bag and goes to hastily turn the device off, just to be sure, ignoring whatever messages may have accumulated in her backlog in doing so. Noting that the chains, mask, and knockout powder are all secure and available for when she needs them, she breathes an inward sigh of relief, before breathing an outward sigh of relief.
"Oh! I'll have coffee, with cream and extra sugar. I can pay for it, though! And I can help carry it once I put my books down. Arigato, Daisuke!"
With quite a bit more haste than would seem natural, Raiza hurries off to find the most secluded table that she can find. The best one seems to already be taken by someone with fancy hair and their face buried in a menu, so she decides not to bother them and instead takes the next table over, placing her books and bag in the booth and smoothing her skirt before sitting down and sweeping her big, brown eyes around the place slowly.
The fact that Raiza actually seems to ask seriously if the two of them are being followed seems to catch Daisuke... off-guard. He blinks rapidly at her, and after a few seconds of contemplation he offers, "I... don't think so?" He doesnt sound *entirely* convinced now. Maybe growing just a *touch* more paranoid now that she's asked that.
He's waving his hand insistently at the brunette's assurances about her ability to pay for the coffee and food, though. "No, no, it's okay. The guy's supposed to pay, right?"
And then Daisuke suddenly looks *much* more akward.
"Or, er, uh... Something like that. ANYWAY I'LL SEE YOU AT THE TABLE." And with similiar haste (albeit for different reasons), the boy makes for the counter to get the order handled.
And possibly mentally beat himself up and mutter something along hte lines of "Don't overthink it, idiot..."
It's a moment or so later, he arrives to the table she's picked out with two mugs. One filled with coffee as Raiza ordered, and the other holding some green tea -- presumably for him. The former gets set down in front of the brunette before he rounds the table to sit opposite from her.
... And he just stays silent for a few seconds before akwardly offering, "So..." Real smooth.
"I'll have some Ramon and a grape soda" the fancy haired female firmly states in what appears to be an American accent.
The harried looking waitress she addresses nods her head, quickly pulling out a black iPad to record the order. As she looks towards her curt customer, her small mouth falls open but before she can say anything further, the blonde shakes her head in warning, which sends the starstruck server scurrying away.
This is all getting too close for comfort. What with the teens talking of being followed too. Perhaps she should just give up the ghost and reveal herself to Raiza and the red haired boy.
Rising to her feet, she prowls purposefully towards their table and stands looming over it, lowering her shades to peer at Raiza hard with her aquamarine peepers.
"Hello Raiza. Are you ignoring my messages or are you just too busy being on a date to remember your commitments?"
All signs of the New York drawl have now vanished, replaced by the local lingo more familiar to her fanbase.
Maybe if Raiza wasn't so preoccupied with the possibility that shadow agents from a mysterious corporate entity are tracking her every move, she would've picked up on the subtext that Daisuke is practically emanating. As it is, she's too busy trying to establish a mental danger hierarchy between Disney's ninja lawyers and whatever agents Ultratech might have unleashed. Don't they have robot dinosaurs? She's pretty sure she saw one in action on a stream once, but that might've just been footage from a video game. At least if they're a video game company, she can be pretty sure that they're understaffed. Heck, they might even lay off their shadow ops before they even reach the Pao Pao Cafe.
The arrival of her coffee is a welcome distraction from such concerns.
"Arigato," she thanks Daisuke again as the coffee is set down in front of her, her face flushing slightly as she returns to the present moment with a bright smile. "So!"
Hands wrap around her mug as she leans forward for a more intimate proximity, the better to keep the subject of the coming conversation between them. Honestly, part of her is excited to share what's on her mind with the redhead, and it shows on her face.
Raiza's mouth drops open in surprise, like a child who's been caught doing something that she shouldn't, as she turns her face up toward Lucky Chloe. What's she doing here...?
"Gomenasai, Chloe-chan! I promise it's not what it looks like! We were discussing... something important...!"
Her present inability to explain what she actually came here with Daisuke for probably doesn't help make Raiza look any less guilty. It definitely doesn't help her feel any less guilty.
Well, at least Raiza seems to be in a good mood. That's good, right? Daisuke does have the sense of mind, at least, to not have any kind of embarrassing reaction when she leans in. He even leans over the table some himself while he's cradling his tea cup in both hands, with russet brows lifting up slightly in anticipation to hear whatever is on her mind.
Only for someone *else* to speak up instead.
Daisuke promptly straightens up in nearly jolt of a motion. But whatever embarrassment might have come initially is replaced quickly by a clear look of wariness, instead. The boy's brows furrow together for a moment while Raiza exchanges words with this interloper. But after Raiza's initial excuses...
"Are you... Her boss at a part-time job or something?" He asks, with a slooow squint of his eyes. Oh. He... he doesn't recognize who this is. "Isn't there some kind of law against harrassing employees on their off-hours?" Way to have a misread on this situation, Daisuke. Or mostly misread, anyway?
"Important, hm?" the popstar ponders. "Important like a rehearsal for my upcoming music video? Important enough to not only waste my time, but also the time of the director, the camera crew and the other dancers. That must be something VERY important indeed."
There's no anger in her tone or any sign of her throwing things (not an uncommon occurrence). Instead the words are delivered with a tone so icy it could turn Raiza's coffee into a frappe.
Her glacial gaze turns towards Daisuke, subjecting him to a steely stare of accusation.
"Did you put her up to this?" she interrogates.
"As for me harassing her, do you know how many people would love to land a job working for Lucky Chloe? It's a prized position! Desired, dreamed of, I'd even go so far to say that some would die for such an opportunity. But not to worry, I'm sure your little date is worth it."
One time in recent memory, Raiza placed her own body in the path of a deadly ninja star without hesitation to protect a boy she only kind of knew. Apparently, Lucky Chloe's disappointment is scarier than deadly ninja stars, because the teenage ninja can't help but shrink away from confronting it. Ironic, considering that kittens were supposed to be the nice alternative to ninja stars in that video she watched on FightTube about nine days ago.
"It's okay, Daisuke! I must have just accidentally forgot that I was supposed to work this afternoon... don't worry, Chloe-chan! I didn't forget to practice my moves!"
For whatever reason, she tilts her head, winks, and holds her hands up under her chin like cat paws. Maybe it's one of the moves in question, or maybe she's just trying to appeal to the celebrity's love of cats. She wouldn't give a cat a kicking for missing dance practice, would she?
"I had something important to talk to Daisuke about! It's... a secret, though!"
Raiza's hands wring as her face flushes. Apparently being caught out on a date with Daisuke has put the poor girl in a tizzy.
Daisuke might not have recognized the face, but he does recognizxe the *name* at least, now that their accoster has revealed it.
"That... That Lucky Chloe? The pop star? Wait, hold on--" Come to think of it, his friend *did* mention she had met her, but he wasn't expecting things to actually turn out like this with her! His hands leave his tea cup to lightly slap at each of his cheeks instead, like that would somehow help him properly regather his thoughts and actually properly process just what is unfolding before him.
"I... guess I shouldnt be surprised you're in the city, at least...?" He offers with an akward sound of a forced chuckle. "I mean, I heard you put up an exhibition match or something in Gorin...? ...I didn't see anything about who won that for some reason, though..."
Somewhere, a volleyball-playing girl sneezes, with no idea why.
"Wait, wait, what?" He blinks rapidly when he's accused, and he's instinctively leaning back away from the popstar's interrogative gaze, his own eyes going wide briefly. "How would I even-- Look, er, Chloe-san?" He sounds like he's not entirely sure if he is saying that right. Some western names are kind of hard on the pronounciation for him. "I know she's not the type to do something like this on purpose, and she's sorry, so theres no need to..."
He was going to finis hthat thought. He really was.
But then the D-word gets dropped. And just some kind of incoherent noise squeaks in the boy's throat instead, as his face rapidly turns to match the color of his hair. "I-i-i mean-- um, er... that is to say!!!" Yeah, he's just mumbling and blustering over his words now. Raiza herself saying that she had something *secret* to talk to him about doesn't help matters at all either, as evidenced by his face growing redder still!
...And so he just elects to bring up his tea cup and hide behind a long, loooong sip of the beverage.
And doing a pretty phenomenal job of hiding the fact that it's still painfully hot.
"Yes, THAT Lucky Chloe" the pink wearing popstar agrees, tilting her head towards Daisuke.
"This is the city I live in, so I'm often here, but I also travel a lot too."
No response is given to the mention of the match at the high school and instead her attention turns to Raiza. Though apparently unmoved by her attempts at kitty cuteness, the teen idol has had her interest peaked, despite her better judgement. She parks her pert posterior down, pulling up an extra chair to the table to allow her to do so.
"I simply love secrets" she purrs, not even considering that the one in question would be witheld from her.
"I can't say I'm going to forget this incident, Raiza. I am however willing to forgive it, but it MUST not happen again. I've fired backing dancers for less. Luckily for you, youre a lot less annoying than most.
She taps polished pink nails on the table top, looking between the brunette and the boy, before snapping her fingers sharply at the confused waitress who is attempting to deliver her order to a now empty table.
"Oh sorry, Lucky Chloe. I didn't realise you moved! Please accept these refreshments as a gift as way of an apology. Me and my sister are your greatest fans!" Her words are followed by a bow of her head and an almost pleading look in her dark eyes.
"Oh, there's no need for free food" Chloe assures her, changing into charm offensive mode.
"Let me give you two signed photos for you and your sister."
She produces some from a stack tucked away in her cat ear backpack. The image shows the icon in her usual stage attire, holding up her furry feline paws in greeting.
Once the server has scurried off, satisfied with her signed goodies, the singer stifles a yawn and then says. "So, secrets, spill!"
And then there were three. It's a good thing that Raiza's chosen trade doesn't involve subterfuge, since she seems to have a knack for drawing all kinds of attention anytime that she's trying not to. Assuming her chosen trade is 'backup dancer for Lucky Chloe' rather than 'career track ninja.'
Actually, drawing too much attention is probably a liability as a backup dancer, too. Especially for one working for Lucky Chloe.
Sitting back rigidly in her chair, her hands wrapped around her coffee mug, Raiza shifts her wide eyes awkwardly between her two compatriots. Caught in an impossible conundrum, the wheels in her brain start to spin wildly out of control in a way that they haven't since she started trying to learn trigonometry; in other words, veering toward total mental breakdown.
Finally, she raises a single finger before calmly saying the phrase:
Then, shutting out everything, Raiza closes her eyes and raises her coffee to her lips in a serene, almost meditative fashion. Her chest and shoulders rise as she breathes in the aroma through her nostrils before slowly exhaling. Finally, she blows on the beverage, then takes a slow sip, allowing herself a moment to enjoy the flavour before setting the mug back down with a sigh of relief as her eyes open once again.
Suddenly, Raiza is leaning forward with that same intimacy and twice the intensity as before, but this time inclusive of Lucky Chloe. If anything, she seems more excited than before.
It's a little scary.
"I was sitting by myself in the forest on the mountains near my village and it was snowing and cold and I was out there because well nevermind that but anyway I was by myself and it was cold and then it started raining and there was thunder and then RAIDEN-SAMA appeared out of nowhere and he told me that he has this quest where I have to investigate these bad guys and it turns out it's ULTRATECH which I thought was just a company that made video games with roboraptors but it turns out that they're doing this thing called the JANUS PROJECT which is probably like METAL GEAR or something and I need somebody to help me because they're like actually pretty scary and these things are usually best handled in a party anyway right so are you guys in?"
Raiza's eyes turn between Daisuke and Chloe questioningly as she finishes her half-whispered machine gun monologue.
"O-oh, that makes sense..." Daisuke decides after being informed of Lucky Chloe's place of residence. He calms some (though a very noticable hue of red still remains on his cheeks), but-- the instant she declares her interest in the secret Raiza was intent on sharing with him, he straightens up in his posture again. "Hey, hold on, just because you're her boss--" he stalls, though, since the waitress is being called over. "--Hey, are you even listening to me?"
He might huff a bit, but he doesnt interrupt the exchange the idol has with the waitress. It... also doesn't take long at all for him to change his expression several grades towards something much more dubious, while he watches her.
"Wow, she's like a completely different person suddenly..." He observes in a quiet whisper.
Once the three have been left alone at the table, the redhead promptly crosses his arms over his chest. Rather than saying exactly what is on his mind, he looks to Raiza, instead. And what he sees of her quickly brings a bit of a concern to his features, too, the beginning of a pout turning instead to an empathic frown. "Hey, look..." he says, gently, just as much as for her as for Chloe--
And then she's just bounced back with some precision meditation that would make a buddhist monk proud. The enthusiasm she surges back with nearly makes Daisuke's jaw fault down all the way to the tabletop. "Just like that?!"
Not that the boy really has that much time to complain or question this whole process. At least the way this is going is rapidly warding off the rest of his embarrassed blushing brought on by the scandalous accusations of dates and what have you not. So, instead, he obediently leans in so that he might hear the whispered explanation from her... though for some reason he could *swear* it comes through pretty loudly in his head anyway. Possibly with a reverb when she namedrops some important actors in this play (and he could swear there was some kind of strange eyecatcher flashes and capital letters in the background? what was in that tea?).
Quietly, he listens, with an entirely straight, serious face to start with. Once she's done? He leans back some, with a thoughtful noise, takes his tea cup in both hands and slowly, dramatically takes a sip from within. And just as slowly bringing it back down onto the table, before he finally gives her his response:
Realizing that the single-worded deadpan would not qualify as an adequate answer in any kind of universe (except maybe one, but we don't talk about that one), he leans back in... but this time, with a potentially unhealthy kneading of his fingers along his temples.
"Okay, so... Let's back up. You want to spy on a big scary corporation that, the way you're describing it, may or may not be doing some super suspicious, clandestine operations and or super weapon programs? And possibly giant mechs? Did... I get that right?"
While Daisuke does look rather flabbergastered by this now, he doesn't... actually think that Raiza is *lying* about all that. The psychic feedback he's getting very much points towards sincerity on the girl's part, but... That might just make it even *more* concerning. So instead of questioning her sanity and praising her ability at storytelling, he instead asks of her, simply: "...Are you sure you want to do this?"
"Perhaps I was wrong. Maybe you're on a date with the coffee" Chloe quips, as she observes Raiza's moment of pleasure with the aromatic beverage. She sips on her own grape soda, using a paper straw to preserve her perfectly applied makeup.
As the Sun City schoolgirl starts to spin her story, the singer mimics her body language, leaning closer towards her cafe companions. It's a tale of wonder and whimsy and Chloe contemplates for a moment that her backing dancer may be faking and fibbing or even worse on drugs! The word Ultratech does catch her attention though.
As an employee of G-Corporation she is familiar with the world of big business. Both companies have attracted their fair share of rumours, but as a rule, Lucky likes to stay out of the day to day running of the place. I mean, there was that one time where she fought off an intruder in their headquarters that helped launch her fighting career and that other time where she walked in on a conversation about an abandoned mansion, but for the most part, she focuses on her role as their face, helping provide them with a more friendly and family focused facade.
As Raiza poses her question, she doesn't rush to answer, instead turning towards the other Taiyo teen to gauge his reaction. His attempt at asserting himself towards her seem to have been brushed off and her expression in response was of amusement rather than irritation. His whispered words are also left hanging, though she for sure heard them, filing them away for future reference. Not many people get to see both sides of the supposedley sweet singer. Her vitriol and violence are mostly reserved for her fighting opponents or employees.
It appears that he is shocked by his classmate's outburst but interestingly she suspects the boy believes their mutual friend. If she is telling the truth, then her eager and enthusiastic employee could be heading directly towards danger.
Sitting back in her seat, she shakes her head, causing her elaborate updo to wobble.
"I'd run the other way, Raiza" she advises. "You don't wanna be messing with the likes of them. If they discovered what you were up to, they'd swat you like a fly."
Raiza takes in a deep breath to recover her deeply depleted oxygen levels as she leans further across the table, up on her elbows, opting for conspiratorial wagon-circling over actual discretion.
"I'm sure! One hundred percent. You can't just ignore a mission from the literal Kami of Thunder, no matter how dangerous it sounds. I mean, no offense, Chloe-chan, but I have to do this, even if you tell me not to. Otherwise you're like, at the top of the list of people I'd listen to."
It's not strictly true - there's also the President of the United States, her dad, Master Masayoshi, the Japanese immigration board, Professor Oak and Yoda ahead of the J-Pop princess in Raiza's personal hierarchy, but she makes the claim sincerely and apologetically.
"That's why I'll need your help, though, Daisuke - you're already a superhero, right? So with your superpowers and my ninja skills, and - oh. I might have to get time off of work for it," Raiza says, her expression deflating as she looks meekly back from her redheaded male friend to her blonde boss. "Wait, Chloe-chan - do you know much about Ultratech? You work for G-Corporation, don't you?"
Daisuke finds himself pretty quickly rubbing his fingers at the bridge of his nose with Raiza's further insistence she's going to keep chasing after this... incredibly dangerous-sounding thread. He doesnt actually dare to say what precisely is on his mind about that, though. Why? Because he would sound like an absolute hypocrite saying it and *he knows it*.
It's not like he can't sympathize either. She's got too good intentions for him to think any less of her for it-- and if he knew there were some bad people up to no good - even if they are an incredibly powerful megacorp - he wouldn't want to sit still either.
But, while he's steadying himself with a deep breath in preparation for his proper answer to her... she's gone and dropped something very important there.
She called him a superhero.
Oh. Oh no.
Daisuke's eyes widen to the sizes of dinner plates with the realization of just what she's gone and done, with a quick, panicked look sent to Chloe before he just-- suddenly lets out an entirely forced, deadpan laugh.
"Ahahaha! Oh Raiza you're SUCH a jokester!" he declares with no small measures of nervousness in the air around him. He's even trying to enhance the effect of his response with a dismissive wave at the brunette schoolgirl-ninja. "Still not letting me live down dressing up as an anime character back at the school Halloween party, are you? Oh you..."
Daisuke didn't even attend the school Halloween party. And by now he's bringing up the tea cup again too take a looooooong sip in an attempt to hide the absolutely panicked expression creeping back to his face -- and trying to sneakily send a pleading look back to Raiza over the rim of the cup.
Eyebrows are raised at the casting of Daisuke as a superhero. Obviously Lucky Chloe doesn't know about his past adventures!
"Maybe you should switch to decaf" she suggests to Raiza as she rants away, rushing out her words.
"As for Ultratech..." She shrugs her shoulders. "They make robots don't they? Robots that kick ass. I've never actually met one. Or at least as far as I know."
The mention of time off work has the cat girl narrowing her aquamarine eyes. "This whole idea is just sounding worse and worse. You've got a nice life haven't you? A good school, family and friends and an awesome job working for me."
Her opinion is followed by a dramatic sigh. "On the other hand, I know what it means to have a calling and a passion in life and also how important it is to see a job through, so...I'm willing to help if I can. Only so you don't get yourself killed though!"
She delicately gathers up some noodles, sucking them up between her pink lips and into her mouth.
"Oh and if this all backfires, I will deny everything. There's no way I'm risking my brand for this bullshit."
Message delivered she turns back to Daisuke and casually asks "Which anime character? Do you know there's actually Lucky Chloe Halloween costumes available? I get a cut of every one sold of course."
Raiza, for her part, did go to the school Halloween party.
==*== FLASHBACK: NIGHT OF THE SCHOOL HALLOWEEN PARTY ==*==
Raiza staggered into her room after a gruelling afternoon shooting the latest Lucky Chloe video followed by two hours of ninja training, flopping onto her bed, when the voice of a woman penetrated the bedroom door from downstairs.
"Raiza-chan! Have you picked out a costume for the party tonight?"
"Oh, no," Raiza murmured, sitting up in bed and pushing a palm up into her hair as she looked around the room like a zombie on the verge of a panic attack, before her eyes spotted the original Lucky Chloe costume she'd been gifted (after failing to steal it) by the pop star.
"Yes, Mrs. Suzuki!"
==*== PRESENTLY ==*==
"But I looked for you at the Halloween party and I couldn't find you!" Raiza remarks with bemusement at Daisuke's comments. Then, abruptly, she seems to hit a realization. "Oh! Don't worry, Chloe-chan is great at keeping secrets! Like she didn't tell anyone about how I broke into her dressing room, or how we got into a fight, or how I'm working for her now even though I'm here on a student visa!" she declares with a reassuring smile for her fellow teen.
"I still don't know how she explained all the broken furniture."
Turning to Lucky Chloe, Raiza raises her eyebrows in surprise.
"You'll help me, Chloe-chan? That's amazing!"
She sets her bottom back down on the chair as her expression becomes a bit more sober, and she maintains a hushed tone.
"I'm glad you understand. Obviously, I love living here, and my family, and my friends, but... this is who I've always wanted to be! Someone who does the right thing, even if it's scary! And also a sick ninja."
She hesitates for a moment, before adding, "I'm still working on that part, but you can't level up without doing a few quests on the way."
Before Daisuke has a chance to come up with a quick and convincing lie on his choice of anime character to dress up as, Raiza both fails to pick up on his attempts at subterfuge, and then drops it all entirely, leaving her redheaded friend to just cover up his face with both his hands.
"...Okay, fine, I guess that cat is out of the bag," he mutters, voice muffled by the cover of his hands but still audible enough for the two girls to hear, at least. "...And nailed to the wall on display. Guh." Sloooowly, his hands drag back down along his face, tugging momentarily at his skin before finally relinquishing their hold on his features and falling back down onto the tabletop.
As much as Raiza might be giving assurances that Chloe can be trusted with this particular information, Daisuke *does* still give the aforementioned idol a mixed look of wariness and suspicion. For a moment it might even seem like, just judging from his expression, that he's ready to say no to the other Taiyo student's request...
But ultimately, he ends up letting that expression turn into a soft smile instead. "Someone who does the right thing, huh...? I can't really say no when my friend says something like that, can I?" One final sip of the tea to empty the cup completely. When the cup is lowered, his eyes take on a bit more of a firm tone to them. "But you have to promise me you will back out if it gets too dangerous, alright? I... um."
As quick as it had been summoned, that firm look fades away quickly too, as Daisuke's suddenly brought to peeking to the side sheepishly, with a single-fingered scratch to his cheek, while he considers how exactly to word what he has on his mind.
"... I don't want you to get hurt."
"Broken furniture? That happens all the time. It's just part of having a passionate and artistic temperament" Chloe claims between mouthfuls of ramen. "Not like one former assistant said as being a side effect of having the personality of a complete diva bitch. It's kinda sad what happened to her. The last I heard she was unemployed and living in the doya-gai."
"As for the student visa" the blonde girl makes a zipping gesture across her lips. "Neither of us want to spoil the sweet situation we have going on."
"I am wonderful at keeping secrets though. It's one of my many talents."
"You quite alright there?" she checks with Daisuke. "You seem to be squirming a fair bit or something." Then in hushed tones "So what kind of super powers do you have? It makes sense if I know, if we're going to be working as a team."
She starts to giggle and then looks between the other two teenagers. "We'll be like Charlies Angels. I guess Daisuke will probably be Drew Barrymore."
"Perhaps we should design some matching costumes. I could get one of my people on to it."
As an impressionable youth who's consumed large quantities of anime and JRPG content and recently confirmed her own status as a secret ninja, on top of being an eternal optimist, Raiza's sense of genre savvy unfortunately conflicts with a healthy sense of secrecy, especially where her friends are concerned. Fortunately, her lack of discretion is, for the most part, made up for by blind beginner's luck.
When Daisuke expresses his heartfelt concern for her well-being along with his request that she back out if things are too dangerous, Raiza tilts her head, then smile.
"I don't want you to get hurt, either! I'll just have to try my best. I don't think Raiden would have sent me on this mission if it wasn't something I could handle, though. Especially with you guys helping me."
Her cheeks flush faintly in regards to the last bit, though her smile doesn't dim. She turns to Chloe as the subject of Charlie's Angels is raised. The fact that she's inadvertently created a blonde/brunette/redhead power trio reassures her that this must be fate.
"Ooh! Does that mean that I'm Lucy Liu? She's totally badass!"
Raiza appears pleased with this designation, even though we all know the truth is that she'd definitely be the Cameron Diaz of the group.
"Eeeeh..." To say that Daisuke's growing just warier of Chloe after being imparted with the story of what happened to one of her earlier assistants would be an understatement. There's a good, long moment that he's spending just staring at the idol. Whatever preconceptions he had of her just based on what he's heard in rumors and news reels is surely getting steadily chipped away bit by bit.
He doesn't seem entirely reassured by Raiza, either, even with her declaration of wanting to see him unhurt. "I just mean..." He starts, but he thinks better of whatever he was about to say, instead directing some idle frustration to a slight drag of fingertips along the surface of the table instead. He did already give an agreeing answer to her earlier, but after a moment of watching her intensely-- something seems to change. In a low voice, he murmurs, "...I'll do everything I can for you," as if he'd just steeled his determination.
Hooowever, that confidently firm posture and expression crumbles quickly thanks to Chloe needling him about his squirming-- which just ends up causing some more squirming! Even more so when she asks about his superpowers. "NNhaah... It's, um. I'm not sure how to explain iiiiit...?" It's an answer given partly out wanting to try and wriggle away from that particular explanation, and partly out of a genuine uncertainty of *how* to explain his own powerset.
And lo, then comes talk of a western tv sho-- actually, no, about a western movie based on a western tv show? Not that Daisuke is able to tell either way, judging from the blank look he's giving to both girls. Probably more at Chloe, though.
"... What's Charlie's Angels and why am I a woman...?"
When the suggestion of matching costumes comes, he just... crumbles. Leaning his weight further down against the edge of the table, while his face turns down to press against the palms of his hands *again*.
"Sure you get to be the cool one" Chloe concedes to Raiza. "But it's purely based on hair colour."
"Who's this Raiden guy anyway?" she wonders with cat like curiosity.
"I hope he's paying you well."
Feeling Daisuke's gaze on her, she returns it with a sickly sweet smile thrown in for good measure. "You okay there, sweetie?" she checks, her tone coming off more than a little patronising.
"Are you dissapointed with being Drew? She's cool too, in her own way. Now what were you two thinking costume wise? I might be tempted to vote for black. I'm a little tired of wearing pink all the time, even if it is my favourite colour."
Apparently she's choosing to ignore the male member of their new crew's pleading.
"Raiden-sama is the Kami of Thunder! He's like the patron deity of my clan. Most people have never seen him, though. I guess that technically makes Raiden-sama Charlie in this case," Raiza concludes, a finger and thumb pressed pensively against her chin as she analyzes the analogy. Maybe that's what keeps her from fully grasping the gravitas of what Daisuke is saying. She definitely seems distracted by the details. She doesn't even press him on what his superpowers are, and she should be, because that's the kind of thing she likes to get inspiration from for her manga. After all, Lucky Chloe has brought up an important point.
"Ooh! We could do three different colours, like in Totally Spies! I wanna wear red!"
Nevermind the fact that it's a stealth mission and she's the one who's supposed to be the actual trained spy. Then again, 'kunoichi red' is one of the most popular perennial sellers at Ninja Mart.
"That's not the issue here..." Daisuke mutters past his hands while they make another exaggeratedly slow show of dragging them doooown along his face, all in response to wether or not he is disappointed in being Drew Barrymore. At least judging from how his eyeyes already being set on Chloe when they are revealed from behind his hands. Or maybe he's just so taken with the idol that he can't keep his eyes off her? You can make your own judgement on that.
His gaze (or glare?) on Chloe doesn't last long though. oh, no, not while Raiza is still loose in this cafe. "Wh--"
His mouth hangs open at her just for a few seconds. "H-hold on, I thought you were the expert spy here, isn't red a bad color fo-- wait, that's not the issue here either!!" The latter part of that may or may not come with a comical (but thankfully not loud) slap of his hand against the table, like he's suddenly the straight man in some comedy routine.
"...Putting aside the costumes that I am definitely not wearing for a moment..." he says then, in an effort to redirect the conversation. "Do you have some kind of plan for how to go about this? ... Or at least an idea on where to start?"
"Red could be good. I might go for electric blue" the music star muses. "I think it could work with my hair and eyes."
It seems poor Daisuke's protests about fashion frippery are being disregarded. The dance diva has a habit of turning deaf to avoid hearing things she disagrees with.
"So a deity hm? It all sounds a bit grandoise, but sure, let's go with that story. I will stick to thinking of him as a Charlie figure though, because it makes for a nice narrative."
She's finished with her refreshments now and pushes them away to the other side of the table, as if to dismiss their presence. Popping a sugar free mint in her mouth, she's careful to give a flash of the pink and silver tin they are held in, which has the logo 'Cool Cat Mints'. It's a brand she's recently starred in a commercial for.
"Daisuke makes a good point" she concedes, this time gifting him a smile that holds some sincerity. "We will need a plan. All joking and japes aside, we could be stepping on the toes of some serious players if we go snooping. I for one want to keep all of my nine lives intact."
As Daisuke questions her choice of colour for their costume creative collaboration, Raiza's expression grows quizzical, and she shifts her eyes between the boy's hair and the scarf that he wears around his neck. She raises a finger and appears about to say something when he slaps his hand down in dismissal of the issue. Well, that's that.
Having a plan, though, is another matter entirely, and one that Raiza is somewhat underprepared for. After all, most Japanese RPGs follow a relatively linear pathway, with instructions handed down to the player at each turning point in the narrative. Coming up with a plan in those situations mostly involved party selection, so she was starting to think that her work here was done.
What was that keyword she was supposed to remember from Raiden-sama? Oh, right-
"Okay, well... maybe Chloe can help try and find out what she can from her company about Ultratech and the 'Janus Project.' Daisuke can find out from Rafferty if he's learned anything from his meeting with Professor Shimazu. I'll talk to Master Masayoshi and see what he thinks we should do next. Then we can all team up once we know where we need to go next - or at least me and Daisuke can, if you're too busy, Chloe-chan."
Raiza smiles apologetically at the idol, having realized she may have made the mistake of telling the pop princess what to do.
"... I still don't know who this Charlie is supposed to be and why he has angels..." mutters Daisuke.
Ignoring that confusion on his part for a moment, though, he does nod in time with Chloe. Well, at least there's *something* the redhead and the idol can agree on, apparently. And with that he eagerly awaits Raiza's explanation for the plan...
...Which seems to mostly come down to 'figure out what the plan is'. And Daisuke, with his mouth turned to a thin, straight line that seems to perfectly replicate the ':|' emoticon, blinks once, twice, three times at Raiza.
And then he sighs.
"... Okay. I... guessss...? Wait, Rafferty's involved in this, too? And who's Professor Shimazu, exactly? ... And you know, come to think of it."
His brows knit together with more concern, now, and-- something else? "If you're going through your clan to get information, your 'brother' isn't going to take issue with other people knowing about it all again, is he?"
"Charlies Angels is a kinda old movie" Lucky Chloe explains to Daisuke. "I watched it after I saw the video for Independent Woman by Destiny's Child on You Tube. Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore play these female agents who go on missions that a man called Charlie sets them. They are the angels in question. Before that it was a seventies TV show. I guess it could be considered in the action genre, but it's mostly just played for fun. In the movie version, there's a blonde, a brunette and a redhead, so..."
She gestures to the three of them sitting at the table and then focuses her attention on Raiza.
"I can make time in my schedule for this" she assures the girl. "I'm not touring for a while, so I'm mostly in and out of the studio in Southtown."
She takes her hot pink phone out of her backpack and taps away on the screen, checking her calendar app before putting it away again.
"I have a meeting at G Corp headquarters in a few days, so I might get chance to do some digging then. I'm not making any promises other than I'll promise to do my best though."
"It's okay, no one knows who Charlie really is," Raiza reassures Daisuke, "unless they look him up on IMDB, I guess."
The kunoichi turns a little more toward her red-haired classmate as he asks a bunch of questions she's forgotten to answer ahead of time.
"Professor Shimazu works at Justice High, I think. He's supposed to have information on why students at Pacific High have been going missing. Rafferty and me found out about it when we snuck into his school to borrow some files. I don't know if that's got anything to do with Ultratech, but we were investigating it when Raiden showed up to talk to me, so it might. We'll find out when we find out what Rafferty's found out."
She smiles at his other question. "Oh, don't be silly, Daisuke! Hisashi isn't my brother. He's my cousin - like, my fifth cousin or something. We have the same great-great-grandfather, or great-great-great-grandfather. It's hard to keep track."
What she doesn't say is that yes, Hisashi will definitely take issue with Raiza outsourcing the family business, because she knows that she'll win him over to the idea by promising to get him a meeting with Lucky Chloe. What she doesn't realise is that she's got the words for 'meeting' and 'date' in Japanese mixed up.
She smiles at Chloe.
"Thanks for explaining, Chloe-chan! And for promising to help - both of you. Sorry about being late for rehearsal, too..."
Daisuke solemnly considers Raiza's explanation about disappearing students, with a deep, brow-furrowing frown. "... You don't think students are being captured to be used in some kind of human testing or something? But wait, you said this Janus thing is probably like Metal Gear...?" He considers *this* in turn for a few seconds, before his eyes widen. "Wait wait, but they had human weapons in those games too so maybe it's both mechs and that?!" There's some kind of logical thread in there, he swears.
When it comes to Hisashi, though... his reaction is another look of concern at the High School Kunoichi. "...That's interesting and all but it's also not really what I was asking about, you know...? Honestly, the last time ended up pretty peacefully and all, but I'm pretty sure if I end up in the same room as Hisashi again, we're probably going to end up in a fight... At least that's the sense I got from him back then."
Whatever Raiza's response to that might be, he finds himself glancing with a suddenly newfound nervousness at the door. After everything they've talked about, the nerves Raiza had when she asked him if he thought they might have been followed is blooming anew in him now. When it comes down to it they *are* in a pretty public place...
"... I can't say I feel good about this. But I promised I would help, so... I'll start with Rafferty. At least I can go to Pacific without having to prepare for getting attacked by the entire school... probably." It might not be like walking into Gedo High, but the sense of school rivalries *are* still strong. Daisuke's very much choosing to not worry about that until he actually steps through the gates.
"Oh yes, rehearsal" Chloe recalls, her eyes shifting to the clock above the cafe counter that's adorned with a dragon perched upon it.
"You've distracted me, Raiza! Luckily for you they can't start without me."
She rises to her feet, her chair making a loud scraping noise as it's pulled across the floor. A few notes are placed upon the table. More than enough to cover the refreshments they've consumed.
"It was good to meet you, Daisuke. Perhaps I will get to know this Hishashi and Rafferty too. We can have our very own superhero squad and save the students. Ater all, some of them are probably my fans!"
Her words are followed by a girlish giggle. It seems almost like the singer is having fun, something that is not often seen off stage.
"Well, I don't know if there's actually mechs or not," Raiza admits to Daisuke as she scratches the back of her neck awkwardly. "I think the students that have been disappearing are mostly ones who are, like... 'weird,' I guess. Like, not like I would call them weird, but they're definitely unusual. But you can never rule out giant robots, right?"
They are in Japan, after all.
When Chloe is reminded of their responsibilities, Raiza realizes that she's got to get to rehearsal herself. Suddenly, there's an immense urgency in her own posture - much more than Chloe's herself, as she needs to catch up with her employer. Luckily, her coffee has cooled down enough for chugging, because despite not stopping to focus on the drink, the cup is empty by the time that Raiza gets to her feet. It's a skill that's been honed over several months of combining ninja training, school, homework, multiple school clubs, and a part time job.
"See you soon, Daisuke! Sorry we didn't get to eat! We can come back sometime soon, I'll buy you a meal!"
The redhead receives a radiant, if slightly apologetic, smile from Raiza as the teen ninja slings her bag over her shoulder.
"... That's your concern on it...?" Daisuke blinks incredulously at Chloe with her departure -- but thankfully, he didn't actually voice his thoughts while she was still in hearing range.
Well. The first meeting of the Southtown Angels seems to be disbanding now either way. But don't let either of the two girls that this particular branding even *briefly* flew through Daisuke's head. THey would surely never let him live it down.
"C-careful, you're gonna give yourself heartburn!!" he does warn Raiza over the speed at which she's emptying the until-now-unatteanded cup of coffee. She... seems fine, at least, so he's drawing himself up to standing, too, with his own pack slung over his shoulder, only to end up giving a sheepish smile right back to Raiza. "I keep telling you, you don't have to..." Thankfully for everyone involved, he doesn't end up with a repeat performance of the same word bungle he had when they first came into the cafe.
"... I would like to do this under better circumstances sometime though."
Buuuut that one does cause an akward cough in him-- and suddenly he's hurrying *past* Raiza and for the door. "Anyway i'll let you get back to it and I'll get to work I'll call you when I'm done and let you know okay good see you later!!"
Log created on 14:35:28 03/06/2022 by Raiza, and last modified on 23:56:41 03/11/2022.