[LF] Late Night Tea [K 3.4]

edited December 2012 in In-Game
You've been sitting in this simple tea house for long enough to draw a look from the server. But you're a student, so it isn't questioned openly. The tea house is a single wide room for customers, a series of picnic tables with people sitting in groups and talking quietly. Perhaps twenty people are here. Does the place you chose have music, like a biwa player?

It is well after midnight when Ji arrives with Rui. Ji is dressed in green and yellow Earth Kingdom clothing, the cloth is a fine cut, but for Middle Ring, it works. They only stand out a little bit and they are posing as students. Maybe he is from Fire Nation and that works? Its late enough and he isn't armed, so they only draw a few looks.

Rui makes note of you and ushers Ji over to a table in front of you and takes the seat facing you, so his back is to you. How are you hiding when he walks in? Nose in a book? Turned around completely? Straw hat pulled down low?

It truly was Ji's clear blue eyes you saw in the palanquin at the zoo that day, but the body that's grown up around them is just as handsome. You know him right away, but his expression is a bit less playful that when you were kids, a little darker, more serious.
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The tea house is small enough that there is one server, an older man who comes around and takes drink orders. Ji tries to order a couple rare teas, then settles for a simple green tea without complaint. His voice is deeper now, not hard edged, it still carries that gentle coaxing lilt that he would use to talk you and Rui out of your crazy schemes and pranks when he thought you were going to cause too much trouble.

They sit there for a moment, then Rui says in a hushed tone, "So you were at Keela's ahhh, home earlier today?"

He huffs with a bit of derision and says, "Yes. Their house is in complete disarray. It is horrible. A pig-faced woman named Hua Tsin claimed to be Jun Da's majordomo, but after a couple polite questions, I found out she is really his daughter-in-law and they recently let their majordomo go over the loss of Keela. When I asked for her things to take them home, there were pieces missing. Did she honestly think I would not miss that the necklace her father gave her was gone? We brought him that stone! She claimed she had no idea and offered to beat her servants to get them to reveal the theft. Is this what Keela has been subjected to for the past ten years? Why didn't she say something in her letters?" Ji started getting louder as he recalled the tale, and Rui's eyes grow wide and she shushes him.

Long moments pass in silence. Finally, Ji speaks again, calmer, "Alright, we are at the tea house, will you talk to me now, Rui? Why are we here again? I told you I needed sleep so I could head out early tomorrow to look for her..."

"You don't need to look for her anymore, Ji-Ji. I found her. She is fine." Rui says quickly. Ji visibly relaxes for a second, then the server comes by with a hot pot of tea, which he pours into tiny cups and then leaves.

Ji Fang says with a bit of irritation, "Roo, are you serious? Where is she? She can claim amnesty with me, surely she knows that. Why hasn't she come to me? Is it because I'm in the Upper Ring? Where can we meet?"

Rui glances over Ji's shoulder, too quick for him to catch, but you see the hesitation in Rui, she doesn't like doing this, but she promised. "Ji-Ji, she isn't coming to you. She didn't even know you were here until I told her tonight. She escaped because some of her friends were in trouble. Well, they still are in trouble. She's going to leave with them in two days."

Ji sits back, shocked at this news. Rui leans forward and places her hands on his forearm, "I'm... I'm going with her, Ji-Ji. To make sure she stays safe. She's coming home, on her own terms... It's Keela, alright? Would you expect this to be easy?"

Comments

  • I may or may not have collected a few books from distracted students wandering around the University while I was waiting for Rui and Ji. After I had a good collection, I set up at the tea house with an entire pot of tea like several other frantically studying students. When Rui and Ji walked in, I had my face buried in a book that I was staring blankly at. I peeked over the top and got a good look at Ji, and, well, he's really changed. I mean, he's grown up. A lot. I always thought he was handsome, but there's no doubt about it now. And suddenly all I wanted to do was put this book down and go throw my arms around him like I greeted Rui. Why am I hiding from him? It's Ji.

    But he's not just Ji anymore. He's carrying around this title of Trade Ambassador and he means to propose to me. He's not just my friend. Not any longer. And suddenly I'm scowling fiercely at my book. I hate this. Why did things have to change?

    I calm down a little so I can eavesdrop. I hope that his discovery of things missing didn't get Trill in further trouble. Hopefully Jun Da stepped in before that could happen. I watch Ji's shoulders as Rui talks to him, noting his reactions. If only it was so easy. If only I could just go with Ji and claim amnesty and go home. But Ji had to make that all complicated by coming here to propose to me, and I love someone else.

    I give Rui a wide, fierce look when she glances at me. Thankfully Ji doesn't seem to notice. I'm watching her closely as she interacts with him, touching his arm. Is that because they're close friends? Or is there something more there? Ji seems pretty shocked by the big reveal of the plan. I told Rui to tell Ji that we were leaving in two days instead of tomorrow. Just to be safe. She really didn't like that, but I talked her into it. I'm almost holding my breath as I wait to see how he responds.
  • Ji sighs a bit, exasperated, "Roo... are you about to tell me not to come with you two?"

    She frowns, and hesitates again, flicking a glance over Ji's shoulder at you, then says glumly, "No. I mean, yes. Yes, I'm telling you to stay away. I already tried to talk her into coming home with us, she won't listen to me. And. We have no right to make her do anything, Ji-Ji. I'm lucky she's letting me come along. She could have just hated us for never coming to get her sooner. But she doesn't. She's still our best friend."

    Ji gently pulls his arm away from Rui and sits back, "I didn't come here for just that, Roo. Did you tell her? That I got her father to let me marry her? Her escape now only brings shame to her the Zhu family. She can't be so selfish..." Rui's face shows the shock on her face an she looks away, embarrased, but Ji continues talking at her, "I didn't come before, we didn't come because we wanted to honor her and her family. This was the only way to really save her. Did you tell her that?"
  • I'm watching Rui closely when Ji pulls away from her. Why does she look so shocked and embarrassed? Is it because he pulled away? Is it because he said he's not just here to rescue me, he's here to make me his fiance?

    I'm gripping the book so tightly my knuckles are turning white. It's taking all my strength not to leap to my feet and whack Ji over the head with it. I'm not some simpering princess that needs to be saved! I don't need to be married off to a man! I'm saving myself! And in my opinion, that is less shameful than meekly remaining in the Earth Kingdom and obeying everything Hua Tsin says. I am Keela Zhu. I am a daughter of the Fire Nation. I'm fighting back!

    I would like to read Rui.
  • Let's say trying to see what Rui was feeling is a difficulty of two. Failure means you're discovered by Ji in your efforts to watch them.
  • I'm a Fire Nation Noble who is Educated in Etiquette to read people's emotions.

    #DiceRoller( 4d6 )
  • edited December 2012
    It wasn't the shock over Ji pulling away, its shock that he said what she's been thinking. That your escape was a bit selfish. She would never had said it, but it's plain she thinks it. Then...

    You were leaning in when they were talking, so engrossed that you lost balance on your bench, then bam, you pitch forward into J's back.

    He turns around slightly, "I'm sorry, sir..." and he reaches to help you back onto your bench. Then, your eyes meet. His clear blue eyes piercing and inquisitive and you see it, the recognition.

    "Keela Zhu?"
  • I feel myself start to lose my balance and a string of words that would make Hua Tsin gasp in horror runs through my head. Then I crash into Ji, the person I'm spying on, the person who I'm hiding from, and then I hit the floor. I stay there, mortification coloring my cheeks bright red, but of course Ji is the gentleman who tries to help. I try not to make eye contact, but how will I know if he recognizes me if I'm not looking?

    So I look. Our eyes meet. And he does. And just like that, I singlehandedly ruined my entire plan.

    I yank out of his grasp, but I force myself to smile. Then I clap him on the back like I've seen Dash do to Canlid, and then I just slide onto the bench next to Ji, trying to make as little of a scene as possible. When I swing onto the bench I lean closer than necessary and meet his eyes again, trying not to think about how he's even more handsome close up. "Shhh!" I hiss at him. "You don't need to announce my presence to the whole room." I try to inconspicuously scan the room to see if anyone is paying extra attention. Then I turn back to him and Rui, keeping my voice low. "And really? Selfish? That's how it's going to be?" I glare at the two of them, my temper burning hot. "For your information, I'm trying to protect people I care about, and I don't need help from either of you."
  • Ji sits there when you glare at him, his mouth hanging open. Then you declare you don't need help. And, he moves quick, grabbing your sleeve, and pulls you forward, off balance, straight into his arms, "Keela!" His hands are on your back, smoothing you, touching you like he expects you're a dream. He pauses for a second near your neck, but says nothing.

    Finally, the shock is over and he regains his composure. You look over his shoulder at Rui and you catch it, just a glimpse. A brief second of what looks like a dreamy smile, maybe it was a hint of envy? But then she catches your eyes and slides it into a shrug, like 'hey, it's Ji, what can I do?'

    Ji sits back, his eyes darting around, searching you, looking you over. "You look dirty, Keela. Have you eaten? Take my tea. I give you amnesty, right now. You're safe, we just need to get back to the embassy. There are guards along the path, but we can..."

    Rui cuts in, "Ji-Ji, she got here herself, she is fine. Will you calm down?" She's put her hand on his shoulder, but he's still turned around, gawking at you, just a little less so.

    You look around and everyone is looking at you.
  • red
    edited December 2012
    It's my turn to be startled when Ji suddenly pulls me into his arms. I try to stay mad, but it's kind of hard. He's holding me tightly against him, like Dash, but he's not Dash. Dash is broader, with muscles developed from working hard, running hard, fighting hard. Ji is more lean, he has a noble's build. He's strong too though, definitely stronger than he was last I saw him. He has defined muscles in places where he didn't before. For the briefest second, I suddenly just want to bury my head in his shirt and let him hold me. And then I immediately feel guilty. I just missed him, that's all. It doesn't mean anything.

    That's when I catch Rui's eye, and I'm again left wondering what on earth that look meant. She shrugs and my eyes narrow again. Ji finally lets me go and starts rattling off instructions, taking charge, and I've half a mind to give him what for again. But I'm looking around at all the eyes on us, and I start feeling kind of trapped, panic bubbling up in my chest. "We need to leave. Right now." I say in an urgent low voice, looking back at Ji's bright blue eyes again.
  • edited December 2012
    Ji Fang stands quickly, gently pulling you up with him. Rui is on her feet, hand near the sword on her back. Ji glares at everyone in the tea shop as he starts striding purposefully towards the door, every bit the confident noble, unused to being questioned. For her part, Rui is much more cautious, but she won't be left behind, either.

    The door to the tea house opens and four Earth Kingdom guards start to walk in, three men, one woman. Keela, you recognize the woman... it's Lian Ninching! They are moving quickly to fill the space and Lian declares, "Stop! We are here for the escaped prisoner!"

    Ji Fang stops, putting himself between you and the guards, standing tall, "I am Ji Fang, second order trade ambassador of the Fire Nation. I have accepted Keela Zhu's appeal for amnesty, she is under my protection. She is in great danger because of the reward for her capture. You will escort us to Upper Ring and the Fire Nation embassy so we can avoid any further incidents."

    The male guards hesitate under Ji's command, then they look to Lian Ninching. She shakes her head, her long braid swaying with the motion, "No, ambassador, that would not be safe for you and your party. We will escort you to Middle Ring Prison and sort out this situation there, where everyone will be safe and secure..."

    Rui hops onto a table, drawing her sword, cutting off Lian, "Not going to happen! Get out of our way!"
  • I see Lian and my heart drops. How did she find me? Did Master Gon Kon Lu rat me out? Ji puts himself in front of me and I watch Lian Ninching from behind his arm. When she objects to Ji's plan, I'm not surprised, but that panicky feeling definitely gets worse. I don't want to be locked up again. I can't go back to that cold metal cell. I can't go back to Suli. She'd never let me out again. I get a mental image of myself tied to her metal chair with metal bands, and I shiver.

    Rui is ready to fight, but I really don't want to hurt any more guards. I'm already in enough trouble. I step up next to Ji, looking straight at Lian Ninching. My voice rings out clearly, hopefully stopping Rui from attacking anyone. "I am Keela Zhu, vassal from the Fire Nation to the Earth Kingdom. I have sought amnesty with my Ambassador, as my rights do allow. I would suggest that you follow procedure and take us to the embassy, as the Fire Nation will not take any breach of protocol lightly."

    I know that have the right to request amnesty and that in doing so I am then basically imprisoned in the embassy while the two nations try to work something out. I'm not sure if Lian Ninching knows of some loophole if she deems the way "unsafe" or something. I also know that the Fire Nation truly will take offense to any breach of procedure. Since the war, the Fire Nation has taken extra precautions in always closely following those sorts of rules. And they in turn expect the other kingdoms to follow suit.

    I also know that this is bad either way. I'm either going to be put back in the Middle Ring Prison or stuck in Embassy until I'm shipped back to the Fire Nation. And I can't see how I'll be able to see Dash again in either of those situations. But I can't think about that right now. I can't think about Dash, and how he couldn't even kiss me goodbye last I saw him because of this stupid disguise. No. I can't think about Dash. I have to be strong.
  • Lian Ninching pauses at that barrage. She seems like the type to hold a grudge and she did brag she'd never lost a prisoner before, so catching you, at least bringing you back to the prison would save her honor.

    If you want to support Ji Fang, then give me a difficulty three roll to win out.
  • I have a certain Charm and Charisma in my Commands as I am used to both Nobles and Servants obeying me.

    Using 2 dice from the pool.

    #DiceRoller( 8d6 )
  • Lian Ninching licks her lips, eyes darting as she tries to think of a way to hold onto you, to force you to the prison. But the other three guards move forward and take defensive positions around you and Ji Fang. Finally, Lian Ninching's shoulders slump and she mutters, "Leave it to a Fire Nation brat..." She falls in line, taking up position right beside you.

    Rui hesitantly, almost with disappointment, sheathes her sword and hops off the table, inclining her head in silent apology to the to students who were sitting at the table, gaping at her like she was some theatrical star.

    You make your way out of the tea house and Ji Fang asks Lian Ninching, "How did you get here so fast... to assist us, officer?"

    Lian Ninching quirks an annoyed frown, but replies smoothly, "We were off duty, this is Dawon's favorite place for tea. Never liked it much myself."

    "Ha! What fortune! Lady Moon brings us together then, we are lucky to have you as an escort." Ji Fang says, and he sounds completely polite, disarmingly so. Other than Lian Ninching, this settles the guards.

    And you continue on the trek to the Upper Ring.

    --END SCENE--
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