NFG Season Two - Meeting at the Mess

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Description: Between the matches, Albert runs into Skye in The Mermaid's lavish buffet restaurant. The people in charge of the NFG's budget promptly regret giving the contestants free and unlimited access to the buffet.

The Mermaid Cruise Ship is certainly no stranger to the strange, and today is one of those days.

A stack of plates, steadily growing, sits next to one "Skye" Rodriguez---presently dressed in a baggy t-shirt and sweatpants and sitting at a corner table slightly away from the most hustling and bustling of the crowd. Well, except for the onlookers curious to see one of the rising stars...and thos who just came for the spectacle of what's happening at the table.

The wrestler forks her salad rhythmically, picking up a mouthful of spring mix and dressing and shoving it into her mouth. She repeats this several times before taking a slice of pizza from a stack on another plate and practically inhaling it in a quick series of bites. Grabbing one of the dark plastic restaurant "glasses" nearby, Skye washes it down by draining half the cup of whatever is inside before subsequently disposing of a second slice, then a third, then the rest of her drink.

"Ma'am?" one of the ship staff speaks up to her. Skye freezes as if she were caught breaking a storefront window.

"Uhhh?" Skye looks up.

"...can I get you anything else?"

Skye's shoulders drop a little from the sudden lack of tension. Whatever she was expecting seems to have passed.

"N-napkin?" Skye suggests, and the server departs.

It's a good thing there isn't a dress code here. Or, well, at least a dress code that is enforced very well. Because Albert Braendel, as he is making his way to the buffet restaurant now, looks very much like he has just come straight here from swimming in the deckside pool. He still has what are *very clearly* swimming trunks on, with deckside sandals at his feet and a towel coiled over his shoulders. He's still even got a faint bit of water dripping at his bare arms for that matter! ...At least he had the decency to also acquire a tank top before making his way here, but... well, maybe he's going to end up getting someone to come throw him out if he lingers too long, like this.

"Oooh? Oooh!" The young man looks excited to see the selection here though, rapidly padding his way along the counters with sparkling eyes of almost childlike glee. "You can really eat as much as you like?! Wow!!"

Has he never been to a buffet?

His mouth clearly waters, but-- he gets idstracted. His eyes snap to a figure over thataway. "Hm?" His eyes squint. "Hmmm? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..."

Foregoing the prospect of immediately assaulting the food storage of the ship, he suddenly goes pattering around the counters, and...


Suddenly, there's the head of a german boy popping into view from behind the pile of dishes in front of Skye!

"Aren't you one of the contestants?!" He asks, with not-at-all-concealed eagerness in his voice. "I could swear I saw you when everyone was gathering! I'm Albert! Hi!"

With the staffer now preoccupied, Skye has resumed her feasting with another slice, then another. She helps herself to a second salad bowl and is mid drink when she's addressed from behind the stack of previously defeated dishes.

"Hmmwph?" It's not quite a word on account of Skye's mouth being full, and for an instant, it seems like she might choke. She thumps her chest twice and, rather than coughing up the offending item, instead seems to successfully swallow it.

"H-hi, yes, that's me! I'm Skye," Skye clears her throat. "Skye Rodriguez, professed wrestler!" The blonde narrows her eyes. "Oh, hey, I remember you! You had on the knight cosplay, right?"

She looks at the stack of plates and her mostly empty bowl.

"...they told me it was all you can eat," she says quickly, "so it's OK that I'm eating all this. Right?" She seems uncertain.

"U-uh? Miss?" The german boy looks very much worried for a moment, but thankfully Skye succeeds in swallowing the food down before he ends up resorting to any more drastic reaction. "Oh geez, you okay?" he asks after the fact anyway.

"It's not cosplay!" He insists over her question then, suddenly hopping over the backrest of the seating besides her to plop himself down there, stretching his mostly-bare legs out underneath the table once there. "It's who I am! Or am going to be, anyway. I'm working on becoming the strongest knight of the modern world!"

THere is not the slightest hint of irony in his voice.

Giving a look to the stacked plates, he rubs his hand along his chin thoughtfully, even giving an audible, rumbling hmmmmm. "That's what they told me too, I think!" He points out. "SO it should be fine! Even if they run out of food!"

"Oh," Skye says, she nods, once, then a little more. The idea seems to be seeping in, slowly taking hold. "So like, with those Sacred Order guys or...?" Skye stuffs her face with the rest of her salad while waiting for Alfred to answer.

"---do you think they're going to run out of food?" Skye suddenly looks concerned. The wheels are spinning. A dozen questions spin through her mind. "It's not me, right?" Her eyes move over the stack of plates. "I mean, it's not really -that- much, is it?" She nudges the salad bowl to join the dishware serving as tallymarks of culinary conquests. "I mean, it can't be worse than anyone else on the boat. I mean, a few times, when I was my old job, they ran out of food during rush time and that was real bad."

Skye runs her fingers along the side of her face pensively. "But it's a huge ship. They had to have planned for this, right?" She looks at Albert. "Right?"

"I meeeaan..." Albert frowns subtly at the question driven by waht seems to be genuine concern from Skye. He props one elbow up on the table, and then his chin onto his fist, assuming the closest estimation of the Thinker's Pose that he can. Best he can while sitting at a table, anyway.

He seems to need to put some serious thought into this, apparently. But eventually, he comes up with...

"Probably not?"

He doesn't sound very sure!

"I mean, considering folks like us must eat a whooole lot to keep up energy and stuff... Which, speaking of...!"

Oh no. Is he going to...? Yes. Yes he is. Albert promptly proceeds to, with a quick flourishing motion of one hand, snatch a slice of pizza from one of the plates in front of Skye. And before the woman might even have a chance to protest, he is shoving the slice - yes, the WHOLE THING - into his mouth wholesale with what is actually an audible *CHOMP*.

"Yeah. ... yeah you're probably right," Skye agrees, bobbing her head. "I mean, they have to plan for big eaters and--hey!" Her protest comes a bit late before Albert -- yes, Albert (Skye makes a note in her head that it's not the butler name) -- Albert has already had himself a slice. Skye makes a face.

"You could get some too, ya know." She says.

"But I guess my pizza stomach is about at its limit anyway..." Is she implying she has a stomach just for that? In any case...

"Oh um, I guess I should ask," Skye says, thumping her fist against her palm as she stands up. " if you're a knight, do you fight with like, a sword and shield or something? Apparently that's a thing in NFG?"

"Mmmmfffph?" Is the only response Albert manages, while his mouth is stuffed full to the point that his cheeks are actually a bit swollen out in an outright cartoonish manner. He blinks at Skye, and slowly swallows down what must be the entirety of the slice -- only to tilt his head sidewards in curiousity as if nothing had happened.

"Oh, I can go get more stuff for us is you want!" Wait, 'us'? He's smiling wide enough to make it seem like he is innocently assuming this is some kind of shared table party or the like.

"Don't worry!!" He declares suddenly, before she's even had a chance to answer, bouncing off the bench with a spring of seemingly endless energy. "I'll bring back as much as I can carry! Of everything!"

He does halt from just blindly charging right off though thanks to Skye's own rise up, and the ensuing question. He was so ready to run off for the quest of food retrieval, that he was already leaning his weight forward, and he has to effectively snap right backwards into place so he can direct his blinking eyes to her.

"Oh-- well, I'm not a knight *yet*..." He reitarates, a bit sheepishly. "But yeah! I use a sword! ...Well..." He's suddenly looking away with that, and the sheepishness just grows while he adds on, more quietly, "Not that it's a real sword, I just got it from a cosplay store..."

Didn't he *just* say that it's not cosplay?

Skye doesn't seem too shocked by the struggle with the pizza slice. Perhaps she has been in that situation before. "Oh, um." Skye seems like she needs a minute to take this in. "Really? I mean, for real?" Skye sits back down with a creak of her chair. "I'm not really used to that. Um. Sure! Can you get me some pasta? Like a lot of pasta?"

"Oh," Skye says, "Yeah that makes sense. I didn't have a real bow and arrow last match, either. It was just part of my costume. The other guy had a real sword though."

Skye goes back to sipping on her drink. Perhaps after Albert has stepped away for a moment, a second thought creeps in:

"...isn't it hard to fight with a prop sword? Huh."

"Of course!!" The agreement from Albert is perhaps a little too energetic. He even puts out a big ol' thumb-up with a grin so bright it might very well blind the sun itself. "I'll bring you everything you like! A knight cannot deny the request of someone in need, afterall!! Especially a pretty lady!"

Wait. What?

Rather than actually giving Skye the chance to process the utter absurdity of that statement, he's already bursting off with only a "Be right back!!" offered in passing.


"Uhhh... Miss Rodriquez? Help?"

Albert has returned. On his quest for More Food, he chose to acquire - from somewhere??? - an enormous tray that he can carry with both hands. And load *that* up, in turn, with multiple plates of various foods, and an absolutely enormous bowl of pasta. Where did he even get *that* bowl from though?! They only had normal-sized ones at the buffet counters, didn't they?!

Either way, the pile of food he has managed to gather is, amazingly, actually large enough that while the wide tray is held in his hand, it actually completely conceals his upper body entirely from view, and... well..

"I can't see the table..."

Skye reflexively runs her hand through her long blonde hair, tossing back at ponytail. "Hehe. Thanks!" I hope he's not a creep, Skye thinks to herself afterward. He seems nice though. She lifts up her drink and sips again, watching Albert as he goes.

"Oh!" Skye jumps up a moment late, apparently not used to being addressed as "Miss Rodriguez."

"Let me help with that! I'm a professional!"

And, like a professional, Skye starts distributing plates along her arms, arranging herself with the skill of a professional...server. Honestly, she looks like she belongs perfectly in a decided middle class American restaurant. One of those chain "special occasion" places.

"I..I've carried a lot of plates," Skye confesses, shifting her position. "Do you have the rest?"

"Yes please!" Albert's voice comes from behind the pile of plates and bowls. He's wobbling much less in place once Skye has come to the rescue, and there's actually a breath of relief from the german once the mountain has been lessened enough to no longer be hiding his face behind it.

"Oh!" He lets out upon getting a good look over how she is handling the plates in her arms. "I can tell! Very impressive! I would drop *everything* if I tried that!"

He has no trouble moving a big ol' mass of weight though, clearly. He's just not as dexterous in comparison!

Be as it may though, he settles the now-less-full tray down onto the table amidst... all the already emptied stacks of bowls and plates, only to immediately turn to Skye and look a little uncertainly at the plates she is balancing. "Ah--! Do you got those or--?!"

"Ah, yep!" Skye says, "just a little shuffle here, and I put this here..." She unloads the plates steadily, doing a bit of a balancing act to get the dishes off her shoulders and arms and onto the table. "...I've had a couple of serving jobs, and I used to drop these a lot more often. ...which I guess is why I had more than one job waiting tables."

"Anyway," Skye picks up after a moment. "Thanks for getting these. Uh, so what do you do when you're not doing the hero thing or trying to get ... knighted? Is that the right terM?"

"So graceful..." Albert lets out with perhaps a bit more awe than should really be warranted for Skye's waitress act. He... probably isn't very worldly.

He's quick to plop himself down at the table again, though, once all the dishes have been settled there. Giving out a thoughtful "Hmmm..." while snatching out a whole drumstick of chicken by the exposed bone. "Oh, I mean... I'm sort of always doing that!" he declares proudly, not at all tryong to contest the 'hero thing' part either. "That kinds thing is something you have to devote your life to, right? Well... I mean..."

The faux-knight pauses to sink his teeth into the drumstick, tearing out a large chunk of meat to chew and swallow doen in quick succession.

"I dunno!" He seems... oddly cheerful about this admission of ignorance/indecisiveness. But he does go on to explain further: "Just whatever seems fun! I guess I'm seeing the world now! I never left my home town until now, and now I'm getting to see all kindd of new places on a cruise ship! I've never been on a cruise ship before either!"

His eyes are positively *sparkling* now.

"Isn't it exciting?"

"Really? Skye seems kind of incredulous at the idea as pulls over a bowl of pasta. "I mean, uh, I did do cheer, like, in high school. And I took some dance classes in comm-uh, in college. Yeah." She fills her mouth with rigatoni rather than say more right away.

"Oh, huh. Well, I mean, I could never afford a cruise, so this is pretty cool." Skye bobs her head. "So um, where are you from? Is that rude to ask?"

Skye continues working on a bowl of pasta with the same gusto as before. She still eats as though someone might take it away if she doesn't scarf it down fast enough.

"It *is* cool!!" Albert stresses further in agreement, all with the innocent glee of someone who really hasn't seen much of the world at all. Or probably more than a ten or so miles from home.

He keeps up surprisingly well with Skye's pace of eating, too! Chomping down on positively enormous mouthfuls of pasta in quick succession-- though her new question does make him pause after one swallpw so he can offer, "Deggendorf!" in answer.

"Oh, it's in germany. I basically lived in a farm my whole life! What about you?"

"Oh, wow! I've met someone from Germany before," Skye says, then pauses. "Well, actually from Germany. There was this one guy I knew who said he was from Germany, but I really think he was trying to impress me or something? He was kind of a weirdo." She pauses again. "Not that I think you're a weirdo, you seem much nicer than him. Uh, anyway."

Skye resumes eating her pasta.

"So what made you want to be a knight? -- oh, wait, that's right. You asked where I'm from. you know much about American geography??"

"Eeeeh...?" Confusion bubbles up from within for Albert again, enough so to make the boy stop devouring food for a moment altogether while furrowing his brows at Skye.

"Is.... being german impressive somehow?" He asks, with a very puppy-like tilt of his head to one side. "If it is then no one's told me... I'm not sure why it would, though, I mean-- we're just people too, right?"

He perks up pretty quick right after her following question, though. "Why wouldn't I want to be a knight?!" He asks in counter with a laugh, grinning toothily and all. "Knights are brave protectors of the people! Symbols of hope and justice! They're so... so... Inspirational! Is that the word? I think it is!!"

Oh, as for american geography?

... Well, to that, Albert just gives a wide but very tellingly silent smile.

"Well, I mean, uh, ..." Skye furrows her brow. She seems uncertain how to proceed. She sticks a forkful of rigatoni into her mouth and chews in consternation.

"I don't know that many Germans. I'm from..." Skye considers. "Have you heard of..."

"...North City?"

"You know one now!" Albert declares cheerfully, with an equally cheerful smile. And that smile still remains even when...

...Well. Even when he gives an otherwise silent stare back at Skye over the mention of North City. It... kind of looks like he might at least *try* to think about it, but there's clearly absolutely nothing going on behind that gaze.

"Nope!" He does in fact eventually declare, with absolutely zero loss in his cheer. Apparently he's not at all ashamed of not knowing the place. "What's it like?"

Skye sinks in her chair. "It's technically a suburb of Metro City, I guess," she mumbles to herself, "But uh. It's big. Well, the city itself is...I'm kind of from the surburbs, you know? Like, the part that people move to because the city gets all rough and stuff." This definitely seems to be repeating something she's heard at some point.

"But uh, yeah! I guess it's nice?"

"How's being from a farm? I went to a farm once to visit my cousins. They have cows."

"A-ah." Oh no. Albert actually looks kind of guilt-ridden when Skye sinks in her chair like that! "I... I'm sorry!" As if he did something wrong by not knowing the city!

He props his elbows up on the table, forgetting the food altogether for now while he considers Skye's question now, however. "Hmm... I mean..." His first thought was to answer with 'it is normal', but the realization did quickly hit him that, in fact, it probably isn't normal for most people though??

"Oh yeah, we had cows too!" He chimes, however. "And chickens and pigs! We also planted a bunch of wheat on our fields. It's a lot of work but it was... well... How do I explain it? I mean, I never had anything to complain about!"

Skye seems quick to the change the subject from her North City/Metro City mix-up (?) and on to the farm. Unlike Albert, who has paused though, Skye continues adding food to her seemingly bottomless stomach. How long was she eating before he got here? Maybe she just started?

"Oh, that's nice!" Skye quickly says. "That sounds really nice. I mean, probably not good for me, but nice." She bobs her head as she answers, setting down another empty bowl and pulling a new one over.

"Oh uh, I wish I didn't have anything to complain about, ya know? But I guess I shouldn't ramble on that."

Albert does *finally* get around to tugging another bowl for himself so that he might finally return back to devouring the food offered upon him here!

....but then he pauses just before he can actually bring a forkful of spaghetti up to his mouth, maw left hanging open and all for a few seconds before closing akwardly. All because Skye just so happened to say something that makes him frown a bit in that exact moment.

"Oh, um..." He murmurs, suddenly akward despite all that energy he had before. "Is... Something the matter...?" Sure, she might have said that she shouldn't ramble about *that*, but he also doesn't seem willing to let that go now that he has heard it.

"It''s fine," Skye starts stuffing her face with pasta again, avoiding an answer via having her mouth full. When Albert presses, she speaks up.

"It's just I'm hoping this is my big break, ya know? I've never really had one of those, and this time maybe I'll hit it big and not be working at whatever job I can keep for a bit. That's all."

Skye eats a breadstick like she's angry at it, shoving the thing in with several ferocious bites until it's gone. She repeats it with a second.

"I mean, I think I'm cool, ya know? I can do stunts, and I can act, and I can make costumes, and like, sing? I deserve to get a big break."

"Uh, anyway. I hope the knight thing works out, ya know? You should follow your dreams." She's eating another breadstick.

"W-well..." Albert does seem pretty much on the uncertain side on how to respond to Skye's woes. These are not things he ever had to think about! Sure, his life as the son of a farmer wasn't... exactly one of wealth or anything, but at least it was a stable life and all that.

Even if he does have ambitions beyond just that, too...

But after she's listed all the things she can do? Oh, he suddenly perks up something fierce.

"You can make costumes?"

This is apparently of great interest to Albert all of a sudden, and he even leans his way slightly over the table from where he sits opposite of Skye.

"That is really cool!! Do you think you can help me figure out my costume? I just... got my stuff cheaplike from this one used goods store..."

"Oh uh, yeah, I used to do cos--uh." She pauses, catches herself, then coughs. She drinks hurriedly and conveniently.

"Yeah. I can do costumes. I took some theatre classes and my grandma and mom taught me some stuff, plus I looked up a lot of tutorials."

Skye actually seems a bit dumbstruck at the suggestion that she might be able to help someone else with a costume. "Oh, uh. Sure! I think I could figure out something."

Thankfully for Skye, Albert is much, much too dense to really catch on to her near-slip and having to catch herself. Clearly she just had a dry throat that she had to attend to, right?

"That is cool!" He promptly reiterates after her explanation, and while she's seemingly reeling from the suggestion of helping him, he's all but slapping his hands down against the tabletop and rising to standing between it and the bench on his side. "Then... then... Do you think, uh..."

THat's when some bluster disappears from him. He frowns deeply, clearly trying his best to think something over for a few seconds, before kind of sheepishly asking of her then, "Uh... actually, do you think you could, like... give me pointers on outfit planning, in the first place...? I kinda just picked out my current stuff, er... more or less at random."

Skye is stuffing her face again, which she seems to do whenever given too much of an open moment. She has, from somewhere, acquired garlic bread, and she uses it to fill the space between her answer and Albert's response.

"Oh, uh..." Skye looks to the side. "I think...well, I'm not really good at teaching people stuff." She does not make eye contact. "But uh, maybe we could do it together, and I could try to explain how I decide on things? Maybe that would help?"

"Yeah! We could do that!" Albert promptly responds, clapping his palms together once with that and a truly, uncontrollably energetic nodding on his part. "Yeah, yeah! We can go browse some clothing store when we get to land again, right? You could show me stuff there!"

The smile on the german boy's face spreads into a truly, sun-rivalling brightness and warmth with all that. "People tend to be pretty good teachers even when they don't mean to be about stuff they're passionate about, you know," he offers, with a tone that sounds, despite potentially being somewhat misguided, completely sincere. "Don't worry. I believe in you!"

"Uh, sure! We can do that! Just so long as I don't have to buy anything." She bites her lip. Was that too much?

"Do they? Gosh, I hope so. Maybe that'll work for me, too. I um, I appreciate your confidence!" Skye stands up, shoving another piece of garlic bread in her mouth. After she swallows, she speaks up. "So it's settled then! I uh, I'm going to go get more food, 'k?"

But she is off that way before waiting for a proper response.

"I believe you will at least!" Albert reiterates, and gives a thumb-up to her direction while she's still close enough to actually notice as much. Which most likely happens while she's swallowing down that garlic bread.

For the record, Albert seems to be paying no mind to the fact that Skye is, frankly, kind of eating a *lot*. She probably works out a lot and needs the energy, right?

But then she's off, and he's blinking. "Oh, okay! I'm gonna go, but--" He doesn't have time to finish that sentence, but hopefully she heard that much at least before dipping through the buffet crowds.

The faux-knight frowns thoughtfully over this, tapping one finger against his lip... before flagging someone from the waitstaff happening to pass by. "Ah-- excuse me! Do you have a pen I could borrow...?"

And by the time Skye comes back, Albert has in fact left. But there is a napkin quite purposefully set on the table right in front of where she was last sitting. And looking upon it, there's blue-colored writing on it!

"Got a thing to go to, sorry! Call me! -Albert"

There's also a phone number scribbled there.

This is a perfectly normal thing to do, right?

Log created on 12:22:44 03/28/2024 by Tarmo, and last modified on 05:45:25 05/06/2024.