Description: Meeting up a few days after their fight, Tarmo finds Shina for some casual drinking and snacks along Southtown's river. There he learns a little more about the young mercenary. Not the least of which being that she may have angered a local gangster.
Late in the day sends a yellow stretch of Summer sunlight long over Southtown. The shadows cast are deep dark. But the fetid water allowed for some semblance of a cool, if rancid, wind. There are few people up and down the riverside today. Its concrete banks and the aroma are never the most inviting of locales. But it is a place that gets people out of the way. And it's a place to walk to to get some time from the hustle of the city itself.
Also, this place is a lot less likely to attract police when it comes to enjoying a drink in public. Particularly when the one trying to enjoy the drink is technically underage in this particular country.
Jeanne Gado, AKA Shina, has a four pack with her alongside the river bank. Beer may not be her first choice, but she's made contact with a person she presumes would prefer it over wine. Finding a drinking partner in Japan was not expected. However, after the bout in that pit of a ring, the big Finn Tarmo seemed a good choice to hit up. Shina was, at the end of the day someone used to being in company. Primarily the company of rowdy mercenaries and fighters like Tarmo. And maybe to some degree Shina finds a brand of familiar comfort there as she searches for her quarry.
So that's lead her to picking up some beer and leaving an off hand offer to hang out with her as she stalked the city to get a feel for the layout of the place. Even if the guy didn't come along, Shina would at least have some drink to carry her through.
The last time Tarmo was invited to enjoying some alcohol in a hangout spot hidden away from most eyes was when he was a teenager. It's almost a nostalgic feeling. And considering the person who gave the invitation was the fierce fighter who got his blood pumping something fierce in that underground fighting ring, it's one that he is perfectly happy to come chasing after, too.
It might take a moment for the massive Finn to find the indicated location, even after the time he's spent in exploring the city himself since he wandered over for the Rising Star Tournament. Not so long that it would be considered offputting, thankfully. But long enough that he ends up passing by a certain food stall on the way to his destination.
And lo, when Tarmo does come finding his way to the bridge and ducking down, it's with two plastic bags in his hand. One from a convenience store, with what might very well be a couple extra bottles brought along from the convenience store. The other a takeaway bag from a street food stall, filled to the brim with wrapped-up grilled buns filled with various meaty goods and sauces.
"Ahoy," the Finn calls out, with his free, enormous paw lifting up in a gesture of greeting as he approaches. Still dressed in an un-seasonal winter jacket and camo-patterned cargo pants, with his chest exposed. Maybe that really is just a fashion choice, who knows.
Coming down the incline, to the edge of the concrete embankment, Tarmo finds Shina sat on the slope. She's dressed much the same as she was in the pit; combat boots and cargo ready fatigues with a cropped tank top. She has one of the convenience store beers already open and held in hand resting on her knee. She looks over, up, toward the call from Tarmo. And in greeting she raises her bottle to him.
She waits for him to find a spot nearby. There is certainly plenty of room for anyone else to come around. "Did not know if you were getting lost!" she tells him, voice accented in her native tongue. She laughs, and takes a quick swig from the bottle.
A gesture to the stained river. "Did I not pick out the most scenic place of all Southtown to meet at?" she asks, "And the most piquant?" But it's when she looks back at Tarmo that she tilts her head and asks the first true question; "How are you not on fire wearing that thing?"
"You certainly have an eye for scenery," Tarmo offers with a throaty little laugh while he eases himself down the concrete incline, down closer to the woman, until he can come bringing himself sitting down besides her, likely towering over her even while lowered down like that.
"Just a *little* lost," he confirms with a low snort, setting down the bagful of booze before lifting up the takeaway bag of meat buns. "But look what I found on the way. You hungry at all? I brought enough to share." Certainly would *hope* that it's to share, considering how full that bag looks!
He lets the bagful of buns rest in the space between the two of them for now, though, and instead fishes one of the cans of beer from the grocery bag - it's some foreign brand, probably expensive - and cracks it open with a hint of foam quickly bubbling out while it's held out for a quick tap against her bottle.
"Ventilation," he finally offers in answer to her question, grinning wide and toothy as his free hand moves to tug the jacket a bit more open around his bare, muscular torso for emphasis. "Gotten plenty used to it by now."
"I do," Shina agrees, grinning before she takes a long drink to punctuate her irony. She watches the oils and chemical stains in the river dance amid the lowering sunlight. It would be pretty as an opal if Shina didn't know the source of coloration.
She gives the bag a look and does what appears to be a cursory sniff of the air when it's presented. "Sure," she says, holding up an expecting palm in wait for meat-filled dough. "Haven't had much today and I can't fill myself with beer," she says, "I'd be out of fighting shape in a week."
She laughs, knowing other biological truths are at work in her situation. The dramatic irony only hers to enjoy.
She looks down when the bag gets deposited, and her eyebrows raise. She turns that upturned palm downward and digs in for her choice of meatbun. While she roots, she gives Tarmo a flat look. "That is what you call it?" she asks. "I would say the way to the worst possible tan."
She finds a choice dumpling and starts in on it. It takes a moment and she looks down at it. "This's good," she says through the bun. "Where'd you get this from?"
While she talks, she doesn't know that some distance away are some figures sitting around a yatai have been watching her for some time this day. And now with the Finn, they mutter among themselves.
"Don't underestimate the capacity of a nordic skin to not get darker," Tarmo boasts with a meaty THUMP of his fist against his broad chest. "...And I guess my capacity to just go entirely topless every now and then. But that's besides the point!" Sure it is, Tarmo.
Whatever is going on with the observers keeping tabs on Shina, the Finn is woefully ignorant of all that now, too. Everything that matters right now is just this moment in time, with decent drinks and better company.
"Chinese food stall a couple blocks down," he offers in explanation with a vague nudge of his head towards what can be seen of the city from beneath the bridge. "I can show you sometime. And you can have as much as you want. Like ya said, can't just fill up on beer. And it wouldn't do to have you out of fightin' shape before I can have my rematch, mm?" His eyes turning to her with that, glittering with utter mischief.
Shina laughs, almost hard enough to choke on her beer, almost, with Tarmo's 'unique' reasons for boasting. She shakes her head and shifts her position to lean back and rest on an elbow.
Above, the yatai goers make nods and whispers. One older man shuffles off.
"Chinatown? I don't go there a lot. There's a lot going on at once. Gets in my head sometimes," Shina excuses, "Headaches." The noise and stimulus there sets off parts of her still coming to grips with the strange work that was done to her in that lab. The people that made her more than human. Sometimes, she isn't fully in control of just how to filter the sensory overload that comes with her particular existence.
But a rematch, that gets her laughing. "Let me get sunglasses and earbuds and I'll head out there with you. Once I beat you again and you owe me a second meal tab." She sits up and polishes her bicep. "Because you haven't even seen me at my full. I was going easy on you in there," she teases. "Cause that was just for drinks in a shit house."
She picks up her remnant meat bun and waggles it at Tarmo. "But good food? That's something to kill a man over."
"Don't do well with crowds?" Tarmo might not be in any way or form aware of Shina's particular... circumstances, but he can pick up on that much at least, even if the reason behind it isn't clear.
The boasting over the prospect of the rematch, however? That brings Tarmo's eyes narrowing slightly over at her. Not in the glaring kind of way, though, no. There might actually be outright excitement in his eyes when they peer at her.
"Some promises you're giving me there," he rumbles. "I'll have to get myself real worked up for that too, don't I? So you can get a fight worthy of that too."
He leans over suddenly when she waggles the bun in his general direction, and outright snaps out with his teeth to try and steal a quick bite out of that bun. Regardless of wether he manages it or not, he is left with a happy laugh roaring out afterwards.
"And I'll just have to come at you as hard as I possibly can."
"Not as well as I wish I could," Shina admits with a languid shrug. "Combat, fights, that I'm good at. I can focus on that. But those crowded places. All the noise distracts me." The smells do as well, but she cannot go into that. She takes another drink and she taps the bottom of the bottle on the concrete.
She laughs at the rumble of a challenge. "I want to see that. You wrestle well, but you haven't seen the kind of combat I can bring to the table." She enjoys playing this game. Despite sensory overload, she enjoys her talents. It's a wonderful tool to her. And like anyone young and capable, she loves it and can only keep it such a secret.
She pops the last of the bun into her mouth and washes it down with the final drops of her beer. A pleased sigh and she points the bottle at Tarmo. "I promise you, that I do."
At the Yatai, the proprietor takes a look at a cellphone. He gives a nod to the two others. They turn and start toward the embankment edge. Moving from watching from afar, to getting closer looks.
"Dunno what it is about you," the Finn rumbles with a low growl in the very back of his throat, leaning back away again now. "But you definitely are getting me plenty of motivation here too." The whites of his teeth are bared out, for just a few seconds. "Get my blood pumpin'."
His hand goes dipping down into the bag-o'-buns now, snatching one of them from within -- and popping it right into his mouth wholesale. It takes all of five seconds for him to chew it all up and swallow. The big man's got an appetite, for sure.
"I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what you going all out looks like." He sounds way too eager for that, considering how thoroughly the blonde already gathered her victory in the gambling den.
But for now? For now, he lets himself lean back, propped up on one elbow with a can of beer in his hand brought up to be downed as quickly as the container allows him to -- only for the can to be promptly crumbled up within his massive hand. Sometimes you just need some time to relax.
But finally, he seems to sense something being just a bit off. He doesn't have any supernatural senses, or even any improved regular senses -- but just a little hunch hits him in the very back of his neck, and the Finn frowns faintly while looking off to the side.
"...You ever feel like you're being watched for no reason at all?"
"Because I beat you with wrestling?" Shina asks, head tilting with a self-satisfied and cocksure grin. She is fairly sure it's a purely ego driven venture. "How often do the people who beat you pull your down with your own styles?"
She pulls a second bottle out and opens it. "Maybe someday you will. Never know."
She hesitates taking another drink. A look to the big man, and then a look up to the ledge of the slope. She's looking there as the two others crest the edge. "Yes. I do feel that way. . ."
With the high ground, one of the men starts to slip a pair of heavy, flat plated knuckles over his fingers. The other watches Tarmo while he gesture to Shina. "We're only here for the girl. Just walk from the picnic. Not safe being with people like her."
"... The one time I actually *want* to just relax for a while."
With a heavy grunt and a sigh, the Finn pushes himself up off the ground, tossing the crumbled-up can aside after getting himself up to his feet. Head turning to tip to the left, and then right, to lightly crack the joints in his neck.
"Too bad I don't really *like* safe in the first place, guys."
A meaty fist is brought up, thumped against the open palm of his other hand while he sends a peek down over to Shina with an arch of a thick eyebrow.
"You know these chucklefucks?"
Shina stands, lifting herself in a twisting motion so that she can face these two new arrivals from a better posture. She frowns and rolls her shoulder with a quick popping of a joint. "Non," she says, "I don't know that. Not really." Her eyes narrow, and she sniffs once. It's meant to be a dismissive nonchalance, but it does give her something that she can work with.
"Maybe, I think I might have seen them before."
The man with the knuckle doesn't speak, but slaps his fist into his palm. He lets the other man speak for him. Burlier, with a scar under his eye, the spokesman shakes his head and shrugs. "It looks like they both want to fight," he says. "Wanting to defend a pretty girl?" He laughs, though his stoic partner isn't so jolly.
"Your blonde friend made life difficult for our boss. We're here to make sure she understands that difficulty." the scarred one explains. "You won't need to remember us. After we're through, you probably won't."
Shina nods. "So I am right," she says. A quick look aside to Tarmo. "I will explain after, but these two will not leave us be without being put in their place."
"What, her?" Tarmo's brows shoot up over the accusation, and-- then he's barking out a loud, all-too-amused laughter.
"You're *kidding* right? She don't need anyone defending her." Tossing a quick glance and flashing a grin to Shina's way, he adds in, "And that's why I like her."
"That being said!" A forward stomp sets him forward a bit, with the kind of force that bounces the little pebbles and the emptied can subtly upwards once, and the Finn's grin grows to something positively *wild*.
"Like hell I'm gonna let her get all the fun. Hey, spikes, Which one do you want?"
The spokesman looks down at the two foreigners. "Sakai, step back and lets let them come to us. No need to give up the high ground." His partner nods and the two wait at the top of the slope. Their open, cheap mass market suit coats blow in the warm breeze that carries the rancid stink of the river. "I also don't want to smell that anymore," the spokesman adds in a grumble.
"I'll take the skinny one," Shina says, "He looks like he's fast." She lowers herself, hands pressing on her thighs. "Not really good strategy to charge up a hill," she says, but there's a wild challenge in her eyes and her heart is pumping with excitement. "Good thing this won't need strategy."
She surges forth, boots gripping the concrete. At first, she's so light on her feet and she's trying to move so quickly, the boots refuse to grip. But when they do, she's up and over the edge. And upon the shorter, leaner of the two gangsters.
With kicks pistoning lightning fast, the slender gangster keeps ahead of things with surprising alacrity. But the pressure moves him backward, separating him from his more rotund buddy.
The portly spokesman steps aside, and he looks in that moment ready to leap onto Shina from behind. But it's only a single step. He makes a loud 'ahaha!' and turns back to the hill to look down at Tarmo. "Did you think I would be so dumb to leave myself open to you!?" he calls out. "Come at me, tubby!"
"Deal," Tarmo offers in the quickest of agreements to Shina's recommendation on target-distribution. He even rumbles with sharp laugher when she launches off ahead. It's one thing to see those kicking coming for you, and somehow just as delightful to see her pummeling someone else with them.
But he has his own treat to bite down on. Metaphorically speaking, anyhow. He lags behind a touch or so, but he makes up for it with even wider leaps up along the ramp, even pouncing well high upwards towards the end.
"Who you callin' tubby, fatso?!" He roars out (not that he actually sounds insulted in any way or form), his hulking figure falling right back down for the rotund fellow with his arm outstretched, for a wild, flying clothesline!
"And I wouldn't want ya to!"
Knuckle Dusters is good at keeping up. The quick kicks, for all the crackling lightning that they bring, clap against deflecting forearms. But the man is on the defensive, and while he is good at that it does not win a person fights. Only when he finds himself taking an offensive punch, his arm is quickly grabbed up by Shina and used as leverage for her to clamber up and drive the man to the pavement with ankles locking his neck.
Tarmo's delivery of himself into the portly gangster brings with it the loud smack of bodies against one another. The goon bounces off Tarmo and tumbles ass-over-teakettle. Rolling out to a splat on the ground, the thug is surprisingly quick to get back to his feet. He has a deep seated frown and he starts punching his fist into his palm. "That one actually hurt! Now it's your turn to feel the pain!"
He winds up and throws himself to Tarmo. A slow and terribly aimed haymaker punch hurtles toward Tarmo. A fist good for roughing up shop owners, not fighting trained wrestlers.
Clothesline gone through, the leap does leave Tarmo momentarily landed down onto knee. But not for so long that he can't get himself back up and steadied by the time the thug's getting ready to repay the favor.
"Will it? Show me what you got then!" Tarmo all but roars out in counter-challenge, smiling in an almost predatory manner. He meets the incoming haymaker by stomping right in towards the goon without any hesiation. He might not be a quick man, but even he manages to duck down and to the side out of the way--
And more importantly, with his palm thrusting out as it crosses past the offending arm, to smash into the unfortunate soul's face and grip on tightly at his skull.
"Come on, I thought you were gonna be *fun*!" He complains while sweeping one foot out forward, past the other man, only to swing it back in again and into the thug's own feet, to sweep them out from underneath him and clear the way for him to violently slam him down onto the ground with that grip on his face, back-of-the-head first to the concrete. CRUNCH!
"...Could be she just spoiled me, though."
Shina, quick to her feet, continues to hold onto the slender fighter she has taken down. She looks over her shoulder toward Tarmo. She calls out his name for attention. "Catch him!" she shouts with a laugh. Then, she is quick to pull the man forward while she makes a leap. Climbing over him with surprising quickness, she kicks off the man's back with all her might. She rolls forward, quickly retaking her feet and being back up into position to pounce.
The man, shoved, head still spinning, lurches forward toward Tarmo.
While the spokesman was easy to take up to the air, he is easier to pin down to the pavement. The wind-knocking blow enough to leave him wheezing dismally while weak slaps try to pry off Tarmo's fingers from their death grip on his face.
Tarmo's head snap-turns to peer towards Shina while his palm maintains it's pressed-down grip on the Spokesman-- and then he quickly catches on to what she's getting at.
"I got ya!"
His hand finally lets go of the spokesman's face, letting him bounce upright and turn to face Knuckle Duster's incoming stumble.
And catch the man he does! One hand thrust over to grab into the man's shirt by his stomach, and the other gripping tightly onto his shoulder. Making use of the momentarily-continued momentum from the lurching stumble to pull him further in, hoisting him over his own head and down on the other side -- to throw him down like brick onto the spokesman before he has a chance to properly recover and actually get up.
The Spokesman sputters and gasps in indignation in the very moment he can take a breath. But in the very next moment, he loses all of that breath because his partner lands with crunching force. His legs kick up comically, and flop to the ground with a low wheezing groan.
His partner is not available of comment at this time due to being used as a bludgeon. Only the tiny sound of his knuckle duster wearing hand clinking as it slaps the pavement in defeat.
Some feet away, Shina laughs. She takes a few steps forward, leaning to see around the bulk of Tarmo's frame. Seeing the unfocused stare into nothing on both of the goons, she mock dusts her hands off. "I think I've seen these two before," she explains. "But we should probably move on from here."
Shina nods to where the bags of good are. "Explain while walking?"
"That right?" Rumbles Tarmo while glaring down at the goons, his nose wrinkling up and thick arms coming to fold up together over his chest. "They were thoroughly disappointing either way. Coulda had the decency to at least put up a halfway of a fight if they were gonna interrupt us. Hmph!"
Still, he agrees to Shina's suggestion quickly -- but not without sliding down the incline underneath the bridge again just for the sake of getting the chance to recover the bags of goodies. The night isn't over yet, and it'd be a damn shame to just toss those away!
"Right with you!" He calls after her then, with the bags brought up to the safety of his hands, leaping up back over to high ground after in a bit more of a hurry.
"Can't say I've had an evening like this with a girl in a while!"
"That's why I want to go, these two are probably just a vanguard," Shina says, turning to head down the slope toward the bags for the riverside junk picnic. Back up on the roadside, the yatai that was there a moment ago has vanished into the confusion of streets and industrial wastelands of Southtown.
She hangs the bag from her wrist as she walks. "You need to find better women," Shina snarks Tarmo's way at what she presumes is a compliment. "Stick around the fighting circuits and you will. You will."
After a time, she fishes the bottle she had started just before the pair of goons showed up. Now, as the rougher side of the bridge gives more way to the city proper, she starts to explain. "Caused some problem a few days ago. There's this lady who runs some underground clubs in a village around here. Caters to unique fighters. Good challenges."
A sip from her drink, stopping at the side of the bridge to look out over the slow moving waters. "I saw those two there. They take money for the house."
"I *did* find one," Tarmo points out with a smirk flashed sideways over to the woman. "Plenty good right now."
Tarmo fishes one of the meat buns out from the bags in the meantime, nibbling idly on the treat while walking alongside her and listening to her talk. A low rumble of contemplation comes with it in the back of his throat towards the end of it.
"What kind of unique fighters?" He asks of her after the last of the bun has been shoved down his hungry maw and throat. "I'd say you should take me out there, but if those knuckleheads were from there, I'm gueeesssing the lady running hte place has some reason to not be happy with you. WHat happened?"
"You did? Where is she?" Shiina asks, looking back and forth, turning behind her before settling on the edge of the bridge and giving a self-conscious shrug. She drinks, smiling inwardly, pleased with herself.
But Tarmo's asking about the situation. So she explains. "Darkstalkers." The word is used plainly. "They're worth fighting," she adds. "A real challenge." She holds quiet for a moment, buying time with a drink, before truly clearing the air. "This woman was hunting one. I gave her a hand. He had some kind of magic book. It did a lot of damage to the area."
She nods back to where Tarmo and her had come from. "Those were her goons. Two plus two tells me she's cranky over us causing a scene and looking to make examples."
The Finn snorts at the cheeky response from the woman. "You want me to say it outright?" He asks, voice low and rumbling, almost on the husky side.
As much fun as he might have with just continuing that particular conversational dance, there's more important matters to take into consideration for now. He settles on to leaning his back against the edge of the bridge, just besides her, arms draped over the top of it nad head slightly leaned back, peering off at the dark sky above. Not much in the way of starts to see this close to a city like Southtown, sadly.
"Did fight it out with a couple Darkstalkers before," he admits with a slow, languid roll of a massive shoulder. "Just out of coincidence more than anything. Would love to go at that again sometime."
With a light roll and stretch of his neck, he inclines his head to directing a green eye to peeking down to her from just the corner of it. "So what about this woman you helped out there? Soudns like they'd be taking issue with her too."
Shina's enjoying the conversational dance. It feeds the ego. But she cannot live within that bubble forever. She is, after all, intending to explain some of the situation she is finding herself falling into. She waves her bottle in a weak circle, rolling her wrist. "I don't think she is as touchable as I am," Shina says with an optimism born from jadedness. "She was a cop. One of those magic ones. The Librarium."
She takes a drink and hangs her head languidly to looks aside herself to Tarmo. "I got a good bounty for being a part of it. Gonna keep me in the black for a bit. Thinking if they others, I could keep my cash flow going for what I really want."
She hesitates, and she pours some of the beer out to add to the poison of the river. "Just need to make certain of things. Find the ones worth hunting. No meaning to it if it isn't a challenge, and no meaning if there isn't some reason to do so, yes?"
"NOL? Hah, yeah, I guess them trying to work over her would turn out significantly more poorly for them, wouldn't it?"
He lets her speak without interruption from there, chugging casually at a canful of beer in the meantime. He can keep listening pretty well even while he's pouring the alcohol down his throat, it turns out.
Though with him having emptied his can right as she pours some of her own drink down to the sludge that passes for a river down there, he tips his head curiously to her. "Not to your taste?" He asks, curious. "I should bring you some higher-grade stuff next time." And as if it might make up for whatever taste she didn't enjoy there, he holds out the bag of meat buns towards her, to allow for easy reach for the prizes within.
"I think I get you there, yeah," he allows with a nod of the head. "It might be good money, but ain't fun to do it just for the money alone either."
Can crushed in the vice grip of his paw again, and tossed carelessly to the street, he turns himself along the bridge's edge to try and face her more fully.
"I don't doubt that you don't really need the help at all, but if ya feel like ya could do with an extra pair of hands with all this bullshit anyway, I'm down, yeah?"
"More an offering to those that cannot be here," Shina tells Tarmo, before thinking on it and deciding to not add the glass bottle to the trash of the river. She instead puts it into the bag with the rest of hers.
She reaches over to take another bun. "Can't eat fun," she tells Tarmo. "And the price tells me how good a fight I'm in for. Makes things easy." She takes a big bite and she talks through the savory flavors. "I am a mercenary, at the end of the day. What else can you expect?"
She leans back against the walls to look down at the sludgy waters. "If you are looking to drag yourself in, I won't deny you. I can only think that the lady will wear herself out soon enough. Maybe already. I doubt those two will be so eager to come for me again."
She shrugs. "And if they do, I will make certain that they cannot."
"Ah." The pouring out makes that much mor esense now, and Tarmo's expression briefly turns a bit more somber over it. He decides not to say anything more on the matter, simply inclining his head slightly with his understanding.
As far as the mercenary lifestyle goes, he does nod his head with understanding over that concept, too. "I mean, yeah... Don't mean you can't try and make sure it's as fun as you can get out of it. A life of just grinding through things ain't a life at all."
He turns over slowly after that, so that his front is leaned agains the edge instead, thick arms folding over atop it. But his eyes are on Shina now, instead of the water below.
"A bunch of fighting to keep me worked out, and a chance to see you going wild on a bunch of dumbasses?" Thick brows rise upwards, and his teeth flash out in a wide, predatory smile. "How could I say no? Would be a hell of a lot better than any dinner date for sure."
The woman laughs, almost cackling, at the choice of words that Tarmo happened to use. She slaps the bridge rail and nods until the laughter subsides. She snorts and wipes the back of her hand under her eye. "You have not seen me 'go wild'," she tells him. "I don't know if that's really what you want to see."
She turns, back resting against the railing. She considers things, and then she shrugs. "Already escalating to a date? You are a presumptive man." She's grinning, however, and as she looks out away from herself, she nods. Another look to the man, judging, and she shrugs.
"We shall see. Maybe if you can beat me."
"Don't be so sure of that," the Finn insists, apparently not at all put off by the laughing respones his words first got out of her. "I told you before, didn't I? I like seeing people going at it with everything they have."
He shrugs in turn, almost a mirroring of her own gesture. Just... well, bigger. But that's just part of how he is. "Not presumin' anythin'," he claims in protest-- though he's probably expecting her to not take that particular statement right at face value. He lets silence drift for a bit after that, content to just watch the river for a moment.
But when her latter words come, he peeks back to her. The smile's not as wide as usual this time, but genuine enough in spite of it.
"All the more reason for me to get better for next time then."
Log created on 14:05:24 06/28/2021 by Shina, and last modified on 15:45:52 06/29/2021.