Description: It is rough out there if you are trying to get a solid dinner packed with macronutrients and without too heavy a load of carbohydrates. When Mai Shiranui, the flower that bloomed in KOF, seeks out some pork belly ramen (hold the noodles) at a late night home style diner, she discovers that the homey little place has been aggressively reconcepted into a pan-continental fusion place with a jicama-forward tapas menu. Can the heritage of late night Japanese dining be preserved, or will the future be forged in the cauldron called "Tantalus?" (Winner: Mai)
It's 9 PM. Mai Shiranui has had a busy day at a local martial arts convention doing one of her usual staple jobs: Booth babing. This involves the occasional demonstration, breaking boards, signing autographs, and answering questions about the mystery of the ninja. It's a lot of the same questions, so it's exhausting work, but Mai does like being in the center of the conversation.
What she really needs right now is some quick protein before she crashes out for the evening. Fortunately there's a local late night diner Mai knows about where the menu is long and the food is hot any time.
As tired as she is, she stumbles almost zombie-like through the front door, without even looking at the sign outside. The little bell rings as she steps in. "...What I could really use is some ramen... with pork... MAYBE a cold beer," she mumbles to herself...
Before wondering if she accidentally entered the wrong place.
"HEY, if you NEANDERTHALS can't HEAR, we have a new CUSTOMER!!"
The voice that cuts through the air of the diner is shrill with a slight Eastern European accent. It's certainly a woman, maybe even a kid---
"HOLY HELL, why'd I even get that BELL if you IDIOTS just ignore it?!" OK, perhaps she's not a kid. The person yelling from the kitchen, in any case isn't the only change afoot here. Normally, this particular diner in Yokohama is a homely and traditional late-night establishment just as Mai seeks. Unfortunately, the SNF Commission has recently gotten a hold of one particularly nasty chef, and in the interest of drumming up a proper bout has given her full reign over the establishment and a budget that would make Robert Irvine green with envy.
The result drips with that sort of a hipster "chic" common to other parts of the world. The booths have been remodeled to a wood and an paper array with various portraits of dragons, oni, and another assorted whatevers to give it a theme. The lighting is stainless steel decorative overhead lamps. A chalkboard menu near the door lists several specials, most of which seem to have "jicama" somewhere in the dish description. Would would do such a thing, and why?
It's at this point that a particularly short young woman steps out from the kitchen in an apron. She's decked out in a practically ridiculous black and white lace dress, the frame of which is probably two or three times her size. Her hair, which is long, black, and meticulously curled is black with splashes of red and white. It also goes down to her knees, at the least. "Do I HAVE to do EVERYTHING myself?" she shouts back at the kitchen.
"Oh, good evening," her tone makes a 180 shift to saccharine sweetness. "Welcome! May I help y--" Amandine opens her eyes and looks at Mai. Her eyes squint, ever so slowly. "Oh," one hand goes to her hip. "So I guess you're here now, huh?"
"What? Excuse me?"
Mai looks around for a second. Then she steps outside, and looks at the sign.
Then she comes right back in, at double the speed she left by. "Hey, what happened to Buta Diner? I was here to get some protein before I have to do my late night--"
She looks around again, and takes in the decor as if she was taking it in for the first time. "This doesn't look like a DINER. Where's the ramen? Where is the beer?" She looks at the menu, leaning forward a little to squint at it slightly. "What ... what is Jicama?" She puts her hand behind her head.
"Hey, do I know you? I mean, you probably know who I am, right?!" She pulls out a fan from behind her back, and holds it in front of her face with a little wave, posing for a second.
Then she waits another beat, and folds it again. She leans over to look at Amandine, cocking her fan-holding hand to rest it on her hip. Mai is not toweringly tall, but Amandine is quite a bit shorter. "You're kind of dressed like a diner waitress anyway..."
"Playing DUMB, huh?" Amandine says, shifting her weight. There's a heavy clack of very large heels on the restaurant floor. As she steps, her mouth curls into the smuggest, most self-assured smirk imaginable. "Not it's probably that HARD of an act, but anyway."
"I'm Amandine Karnstein, head chef of the NOL! ...and well, presently I'm fixing the kitchen nightmare! Ohhhh ho ho!" She raises the flat of her hand as she chortles to herself. "And YOU'RE Mai Shiranui, right? I mean, of course I'm right." It's at this moment something seems to click.
"What?" Amandine stammers, "You've never heard of Jicama? You're uncultured SWINE! It's ..." A pause. "It's a kind of spud, OK?? It's all the rage, and much better than some simple...RAMEN! I bet you eat out of those little microwave packs, DON'T you?" That incredibly smug smile creeps back.
"But ANYWAY," Amandine says, "I'M here to show the SNF Commission how great I am, so WE'RE going to FIGHT. If I win, OBVIOUSLY you'll try the house special, right?" A pause. "And I GUESS if you SOMEHOW beat me, I'll ... I dunno, fix you some ramen or something on the house??"
COMBATSYS: Mai has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Amandine has joined the fight here.
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Amandine 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Mai
Mai sighs. No ramen, no pork? After the day she's already had?
Well, at least she already has her fan out. She takes a breath through her nose, and leans into her fighting stance, though she was halfway there already. "I guess this WAS on my agenda for today, huh? I got so hungry that... I forgot..."
Mai unfolds her fan for a second, then waves it in a little taunting motion. "All right. You know what, I like those odds! But if you end up serving me the house special, it better fit into my macro schedule! A girl has to work on her figure, you know..."
Mai takes a jump back, landing right on top of one of the wooden tables. Paper cut figurines scatter everywhere. Nobody is eating at this one, but the few other patrons of the diner, off to the sides, turn to watch this. Dinner and a show!
Mai would take a bow, but she doesn't want to lose her opening to begin the bout. She pulls back the hand with the fan in it, and throws it, sending it spiraling toward Amandine.
COMBATSYS: Amandine endures Mai's Kachosen.
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Amandine 0/-------/-----==|=------\-------\0 Mai
"As a WORLD CLASS CHEF, I'll have you know that I'm an expert on macronutrients!!" Amandine puts both hands on her hips. "But really? YOUR figure? Are you trying to thin out that wasp waist, or are you hoping to get THOSE to basketball size? Or maybe you're trying to work on your a--"
When the fan smashes into Amandine's face it does so with a heavy slap that tilts her head to the side and leaves a nasty red splotch on the impact site.
"You BITCH!! I wasn't READY!" Amandine practically looks like she's pouting as she rubs the side of her face. "But if that's how it is, TANTALUS!!!!"
A eery creak echoes through the kitchen before a heavy black cauldron comes rolling through and widening the doorway as it does. Two heavy iron chains unfurl from it, wrapping around Amandine's waist as if handled by unseen hands. But even as they loop around, Amandine is on the move, sliding forward with a clack of her heels. She launches herself at Mai, reaching to try and grab Mai and pull her close enough to slam the kunoichi with her hip. (Or whatever hips she has under all that dress...)
COMBATSYS: Amandine successfully hits Mai with Tuxedo Bombe.
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Amandine 0/-------/----===|==-----\-------\0 Mai
Mai looks down at 'those' when they are mentioned. She looks as if she is noticing for the first time that they exist, or has no idea what Amandine is talking about. Then Amandine draws her attention elsewhere, and she looks over her shoulder, checking out her own backside with a bend of her hip. "Well... naturally... a terrific butt requires maintenance!"
Checking this is important, so she almost misses that Amandine is doing something strange. Wait, what is Tantalus? Oh. That looks bad. Mai wants to get out of the way of that. She jumps off of the table, but she doesn't quite get clear. She's knocked with the side of the hip-check, and goes flying backward. She lands on the ground next to one of the few tables with customers.
She shakes it off, leaping back to her feet. A quick glance over at the table, and she sees what looks like a tempura battered appetizer sitting between the two diners. She reaches over and grabs a piece. "Hey. I'll pay you back for this, but I'm seriously starving!" She picks up the fried veggie, and puts it in her mouth...
Hm. Not quite an apple, not quite a potato... "Is it. Some kind of fried radish? It's really not so bad!"
With some renewed vigor, she turns her attention back to Amandine. "All right, back at you!"
She jumps up in the air, and changes direction suddenly, aiming with a hawk dive pointed elbow-first.
COMBATSYS: Amandine blocks Mai's Musasabi no Mai.
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Amandine 0/-------/---====|=======\-------\0 Mai
Amandine shows her teeth when Mai takes a moment to flaunt it. "Stupid...curvy...ninja," she mutters under her breath. One can almost hear the grinding of enamel as she does. Meanwhile, Tantalus sits there lifeless once more, bubbling quietly.
"Not bad? NOT BAD?!" Amandine interjects, "Everything that I cook is HEAVEN ON EARTH!" Her latest tirade is abruptly cut short when Mai goes into a dive, crashing down toward Amandine with an elbow. The tiny woman snaps into position, bringing up her forearm to intercept the blow. Mai crashes into it, sliding Amandine back, but to be so tiny, the woman feels like she's made of brick and mortar. Her heels clack as she sets herself against Mai, then pivots into a straight kick toward the woman's stomach.
If it connects, Amandine transitions smoothly into a headlock, shifting around to try and drop the taller woman face-first into her elbow with a traditional pro-wrestling stunner.
COMBATSYS: Mai blocks Amandine's Short Order Stunner.
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Amandine 0/-------/----===|=======\-------\1 Mai
Mai is pretty impressed with how well the block goes off. She wants to say something encouraging about that, but she also figures she should concentrate just a little bit. She lands on the ground, and holds her own hands in a defensive position. Since her attack was blocked, she figured she should anticipate a retaliation. She manages to deflect the kick, though not without taking a little bit of damage to her arms in the process.
Now she and Amandine are face-to-face in closer quarters. "I'm not sure I'd go that far. I'd have to try another bit to say for sure..."
Mai tries to consider the last time she had a really good meal. It would probably be far too lowbrow for Amandine's taste: for one thing, a much bigger portion than is on the tables now. But now she's thinking about the sweet justice of the ramen she's going to earn when she wins this. It's making her chi rise, little flickers of red light appearing in her eyes.
"Hey, question for you!" She pulls another fan out, and holds it out, then spins around suddenly. A burst of flame rushes around her, throwing a quick flaring fire aura out at Amandine. "Do you ever cook with high heat?"
COMBATSYS: Amandine endures Mai's Ryuuenbu EX.
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Amandine 0/-------/--=====|=======\====---\1 Mai
The deflected kick almost knocks Amandine off balance, forcing her to wobble on her heel to keep from toppling over. She huffs loudly in protest as she does. "Well don't worry!" Amandine says, "You'll get PLENTY when I WIN!!" But before she can say further, she is presented with a question.
"Huh? What kind of STU--" The flaming tabbard of Mai's uniform smashes into Amandine's side, searing her clothes and burning up one of her ruffles. Her jaw creaks as she grimaces back at Mai.
"Oh, being FUNNY now, HUH?!" The length of chain rattles as Amandine gives it a tug. With another sharp pull, she yanks the cookpot right off the ground with a swift tug and swings it around. It flies narrowly over a row of booths, making the diners turn pale, and then Amandine smashes it forward like a flail. When she does, it's with such force it drags her along behind it. "So SPEAKING of questions," Amandine interjects, "Can you even buy off the RACK with those?"
She looks EXTREMELY smug about that one.
COMBATSYS: Mai blocks Amandine's Bon Appetit!.
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Amandine 0/-------/-======|=======\======-\1 Mai
Mai waves her fan at herself. "Ohhh. I know. I AM kind of funny, right?" She gives a glance to the diners that Amandine frightened, and smiles as if for a fashion shoot, holding her fan just-so. It's her way of countering all the rage.
The flailing cookpot comes flying at her, and she keeps the fan in front of her face. It goes swinging hard, and it still strikes with fury. The paper fan shatters with the impact, flying out into a spray of confetti.
When the paper trail is cleared, Mai is looking Amandine right in the eye. Her sudden proximity is almost a bit startling. But Mai takes it in stride, as she's considering the importance of the question.
She puts her now empty hands on her chest, lifts... up a little, and then drops them again. There's a symmetrical wobble effect. "Sometimes. But it's a pain! I can never find a button-up shirt that works. I just explode-"
Mai does a sudden backflip, right in the middle of her sentence! Her chi is still active, and her feet trail with burning fire as she flip, sending out a bright red wake.
She lands perfectly on an unoccupied table on the other side of the flip. "Right out!"
COMBATSYS: Mai successfully hits Amandine with Hishou Ryuuenjin EX.
~~ Alluring Hit! ~~
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Amandine 1/----===/=======|=======\======-\1 Mai
Amandine continues to grit her teeth. It certainly doesn't seem to help matters that she's now suddenly face to bust with her taller opponent. Her teeth continue to slowly, agonizingly grit. When Mai lifts her chest and drops it, Amandine's eyes follow the bounce. Her cheeks puff out, and one can almost hear the words rising up like a tea kettle starting to boil.
But before she can, there's a backflip. Mai's foot connects directly with Amandine's chin, knocking her back with such force that she goes airborne briefly before crashing into Tantalus hard enough to slide it backward. She finally lands flat on her back and lies there.
"Oh, I'm so FURIOUS," Amandine huffs, "You're over here BOUNCING around in MY restaurant like some kind of....PARADE FLOAT!!" Amandine stomps up, grabbing the side of a table. The paneling cracks as she squeezes it, lifting herself back onto her feet. The occupants slide out of the booth and take off, scattering to the other side of the restaurant. "UGH!!!" Amandine's suddenly presses on the table, tilting it precariously until the dishes slide toward her. She takes one, lifts it up, and dumps the contents into her mouth before chewing angrily. In a moment, she takes a fried dumping and takes a giant bite of it before tossing the whole thing in her mouth. She speaks up with mouth full of food.
"Ifts juss not FAIHR!!"
"Oh, please don't be jealous! Beautiful girls come in all shapes and sizes!" Mai puts her hand under her chin, then puts her elbow in the opposite hand. This has the effect of crossing the lower arm under her bust, which continues to emphasize, but in a way she can't help that.
She looks a little concerned at her opponent, but there is no attack coming toward her. So she waits a moment, cautious. "Oh, wow! You serve those small plates but you have a big appetite! I respect that!"
She wants to continue the fight, but she's cautious about hitting super hard. After all, what if the poor girl chokes? After Mai is fairly sure that Amandine isn't going to kill herself eating that fast, she pulls out another fan. She leaps in, does a very quick fan jab, and then jumps back and goes back on the defensive.
COMBATSYS: Amandine blocks Mai's Evasive Strike.
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Amandine 1/----===/=======|=======\=======\1 Mai
COMBATSYS: Amandine successfully aids herself with Soup du Jour.
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Amandine 1/---====/=======|=======\=======\1 Mai
Amandine huffs again before swallowing another mouthful of food. For such a short window, she seems to have cleared that party's entire table. Angrily, she takes a napkin, snaps it, and wipes her mouth. "Hmph!! Well I HOPE you're not just PATRONIZING me!!"
But before she can speak further, Mai goes in for the quick jab. Amandine snaps her elbow around to clash with Mai's blow, which crashes into Amandine's arm with a solid thwap. She stops, dusts the crumbs off of her dress, and smooths out the wrinkles.
"You AREN'T patronizing me, ARE you?" she demands angrily. "Bouncing around with your FLOOFY acrobatic moves and your...your..." Amandine makes a slightly lewd but vague gesture, before stomping her foot. Tableware rattles around her.
She tugs on her chain, bringing Tantalus up and swinging it around and around in a loop. A booth loses the top of its back. A table gets cleared in passing. Amandine keeps swinging, until she she smashes it down toward Mai. A designer light fixture becomes a casualty of war.
COMBATSYS: Mai full-parries Amandine's Get Out of My Kitchen!!
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Amandine 0/-------/----===|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2 Mai
Mai looks a little hurt by this. "No! I'm not patronizing you!" Of course, if that is what Amandine wants to think, then she just seems like she has a sour attitude about it. Even if she has a neat sense of fashion. ...It's not Mai's style obviously, too constricting, but to each their own.
This is what she considers as she sees the chain lift up, and start spinning. She's a fair distance away from Amandine right now, so the chain has to do a little additional work to cross the diner, and swing out to strike her. This time, she won't take that attack so lightly. A fan might not be strong enough to block it!
Mai jumps off the table she's perched on, rolls to the ground, and grabs the back of the booth that Amandine destroyed. She holds it up as the pot is about to come clashing down. She times the counter just right, this time. The booth back breaks in half, cracking cleanly down the center, but no part of Mai breaks with it. She immediately retaliates. She bursts out of the broken halves of her wooden shield with splinters flying around her. She drives toward Amandine with an elbow, and knocks her skyward...
Where, if all goes well, she'll hit her several more times up there, until she has an aerial advantage. Then she wraps her legs around her shoulders and slams her back down.
COMBATSYS: Amandine barely endures Mai's Shiranuiryuu Ougi Kunoichi EX.
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Amandine 0/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\-------\1 Mai
As the cauldron swings around, Amandine gains a maniacal, even crazed grin. Perhaps it's the thought of smashing Mai against the restaurant floor and having revenge for the perceived slight. Maybe it's simple sadism. In any case, it is short lived.
"Oho ho ho!" Amandine echoes with a noblewoman's laugh. "That won't protect you! I'll smash right thr--" Mai is moving beneath. The cauldron is still fully extended, Amandine's arms outstretched from swinging it. There's no time to react, no time to move.
"rough it.." The elbow smashes into Amandine's jaw, launching her upward, after which Mai's legs wrap around the little witch's shoulders and drive her down into a whirlwind of a spin and crash into the floor.
But Amandine doesn't entirely go down, even though the floor has caved partly under her impact, the little woman staggers back up to her feet, brushing pieces of tile and wood out of her hair. She puffs up her cheeks and trembles with frustration.
"UGH!! How are you so FAST, too?!" Amandine stomps her foot several times, but then stops, glancing around. She grabs a bottle of sake off a nearby table and upends it, chugging the thing down posthaste.
As as soon as she does she thumps her chest a few times with her fist. What follows is a rumble, then a window-rattling belch as Amandine spews a fireball of chi toward Mai. She doesn't even say "excuse me," either!
COMBATSYS: Mai instinctively blocks Amandine's Aperitif.
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Amandine 1/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\-------\1 Mai
"Practice!" Mai shouts. After the flip and smash she lands surprisingly lightly considering the power she just displayed. Back on the floor, she braces herself for the retaliation she knows is coming. Something tells her that Amandine doesn't want to get close again, so she's going to attack at range...
But what does surprise Mai is the nature of this particular attack, as she gets assaulted with... a flaming belch? Kind of gross! But Mai is used to dealing with fire. She pulls a fan out, holds it open, and the fan catches most of the fire...
Of course, paper burns, and with a flicker, it falls away all over Mai, stinging her slightly. But through some kind of ninja magic, she closes the fan, and re-opens it, and it is no longer burned. Pretty good trick, but she doesn't even remark on it, just smiles in a slightly smug way.
Then she dashes forward with a ninja run, her hands flying behind her... until she pulls them forward, spinning her fan in an elaborate dancing manuever. She moves like a whirlwind. "Ninjas have to work on speed, and power!"
COMBATSYS: Amandine blocks Mai's Hakuro No Mai.
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Amandine 1/------=/=======|=======\=------\1 Mai
Amandine tugs at her length of chain, pulling it taut above her head as the fan smashes down against it. The chain still smackes her in the top of the head, butthrough Amandine's strength resisting Mai's along the way. When the clash ends and the two of them break away, Amandine lets the chain drop with a rattle.
"Grr, well HOPPING all over the place like a RABBIT will fail you eventually!! Then you'll be RABBIT STEW!!"
Amandine reaches forward, trying to grab Mai by the waist (which is about the safest thing Amandine can grab at her height), lift the ninja up over her head, then slam her down overhead like some kind of tiny, gothy wrestler. If she does, an explosive of fire chi punctuates the crash, after which Amandine, "helpfully" attempts to stomp it out several times with another one of those noxious, hearty laughs of hers.
But even so, the little chef seems winded. Her dress is singed and torn, her face is a bit bruised. Her hair is a mess with bits of debris in it and possibly at least one small fire.
COMBATSYS: Mai full-parries Amandine's Daily Special!!
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Amandine 1/------=/=======|=======\====---\1 Mai
Mai's managed to avoid too many burn marks; after all, her own chi abilities are also firey. But her hair is a little frazzled from all this, and she's generally looking disheveled, and breathing heavy. It's for sure been a workout.
The shorter chef rushes for her, and grabs around her waist. But Mai is in the ninja magic groove now, and zips out of the grasp just in time. Amandine is still grabbing something...
It turns out to be a log. Why a log? Ninjas just do that. Mai gets clear while Amandine bodyslams the dummy, and sets it on the fire in the process. It's actually kind of pleasantly toasty.
And leaves her wide open for Mai's retaliation!
There's a ring of fire beginning to surround the quick moving ninja. Mai leaps into the air, and seems to almost defy gravity for a moment. "It's just what I do! Houou -no Mai!" The fire around her explodes into a ring, and then she flips forward. All of the fire around her bursts as she comes crashing down toward Amandine. She is streaking with burning embers, her hair and the tails of her skirt trailing with the red-hot edge of fire!
COMBATSYS: Mai successfully hits Amandine with Houou no Mai EX.
[ \ < > //////////////////// ]
Amandine 1/-======/=======|-------\-------\0 Mai
Amandine soon finds herself holding a log, and for a moment, she looks genuinely confused. "What the SHIT," Amandine says as the flaming log tumbles away from her slam before rolling to a stop on the floor. She stomps around with a heely clack-clack across the floor, looking up in time to see Mai meteoring down toward Amandine to smash into her with so much force that so goes skidding across the floor and crashes into a booth, which splints on impact.
She doesn't get up right away, but eventually shoves the debris off of herself before coughing up ash several times.
"DAMNIT DAMNIT DAMNIT," Amandine says, "FINE, you WIN. What do you want me to COOK you...you..." Amandine searches for the proper words.
COMBATSYS: Amandine takes no action.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Amandine can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
Mai gets back to the ground, and stands back for a moment as Amandine surrenders the match. When it looks like it's sincerely over, she fans herself a couple of times with the fan she seems to never really lose sight of. She can't help but bounce a little even as she's being insulted for this, as she's breathing deeply. "Ha ha, that's really funny! It's really hot in here, huh?"
She slides into one of the tables, and, more energetic now than she was when she entered, she declares: "Ramen noodles! And pork katsu! But I'll also have some more of that jicama tempura if you're offering!"
COMBATSYS: Mai has ended the fight here.
"Hmph! I GUESS," Amandine says, "maybe you shouldn't have SET things on FIRE. But ANYWAY," Amandine lifts up her skirt slightly to step over a broken booth, clomping back toward the kitchen. Along the way she has to pat out a spot on her dress which is still smouldering a bit. "A DEAL is a DEAL."
As she disappears into the kitchen, a cacophony follows. Pots clang. Amandine screams. Two assistant chefs flee the kitchen. A door slams. What certainly SOUNDS like a gout of flame comes from the kitchen at one point.
But sure enough, within fifteen minutes Amandine stomps back out balancing a tray over her head with one hand. It's as wide as she is, and loaded to the brim with bowls of ramen, plates of pork katsu, and several heaping helpings of the jicama tempura. All of it is artfully arranged, despite the mess, and the presentation is superb. Amandine drops it onto the table with a heavy thump.
"Since you didn't SAY how much you WANTED, I GUESS I may have went a little OVERBOARD," Amandine huffs, "but a PROPER chef NEVER leaves a customer dissatsified." Amandine folds her arms and taps her foot. "Well, go on," Amandine says, looking away. She sticks her lip out in a sort of a grumpy pout, refusing to look at Mai directly...but watching her out of the corner of her eye. "Try it."
For all the fuss and grump from the little chef, in her defense the food is five-star quality. Maybe she's not completely full of hot air. (Just mostly.)
Log created on 20:36:57 11/07/2018 by Mai, and last modified on 14:40:55 11/11/2018.