[LF] Kashang Oasis [K 4.4]

edited January 2013 in In-Game
The first thing you noticed after cresting a dune and looking down on Kashang Oasis were the twisting trees, a whole interlocking grove of them that rings the pleasant town. The buildings visible through the trees are all colored in bright blues and reds and yellows, garrish but vibrant against the desert landscape like colored sands.

After you helped bring the Lucky Dragon into port and locked it down, Captain Yun gave all of you a few words of wisdom, don't go out late at night, don't put all your koku in your belt pouch, always haggle for everything and make sure you try the food at Lessa's. He paid each of the guards a third their wages for the trip, which is pitiful compared to what you got for your jewelry, but the most legitimate money Dash has ever held.

Hornet, Iwao, Ren, Sheng-Li and Hanae headed off to grab rooms at a good inn and then his the bath house. Sheng-Li offered a free meal to you and Dash at Chu Nu's a gambling house where he plans on spending most of his time (and money). Captain Yun went with Jyuu off to the bazaar to set about selling some goods, dropping off some freight and possibly buying some for sale at the next stop.

That leaves Dash, Canlid, Mew Mew, Boot and Min with you. Min says with a smile, "Isn't this great? This whole place is just amazing! And guess what? I've been here before! Back when I was maybe four, I think, with my mom and dad. They have a great bazaar, lots of pretty clothes, and music and good food and a huge water fountain in the center of town! Let's go! Let's Go!" She takes off running and Canlid follows. Mew Mew and Boot walk near each other, but not holding hands or touching. You can tell Boot wants to, but Mew Mew is busy gawking, she's not picking up his signals.

Of course Dash wants to hold your hand or kiss you, but the crew just left, so he throws a best buddy arm around you and you're walking behind the train of the Clay Street Bunch towards the fountain.
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  • I woke up this morning with a plan. A surprise for Dash. And I'm really excited about it. As everyone else runs ahead, I pull Dash to a halt and grin at him. "Hey. I'm going to do some shopping with Mew Mew. I'll meet you back here at the fountain in two hours. Ok?"

    First I want to buy a simple, but pretty kimono. Then I want to find a bathhouse, get clean, and be transformed back into a girl. If they have a good bathhouse here, I'll be able to get extensions put in my hair and get my face all dolled up. I want to look as different from Key as possible because there's a good chance we'll see the crew around. And tonight I want to be Dash's girl. I don't want to have to sneak around. Dash has never really seen me looking dressed up and girly. I can't wait to see his face!
  • Dash nods and lets you go. Canlid and Min both head to the fountain and he ends up standing by Boot and chatting, since you took Mew Mew off.

    With some koku and the chance to spend it, Mew Mew loves the idea of dolling you up. Of course, she's more there to help out, since she's quite out of fashion from dressing like a boy for so long. Odd thing, she asks if she could buy a kimono, too. Right in the small shop where both of you are, she asks, "Care, could I buy a nice kimono, too? Is that ok?"
  • I grin at her. "Mew Mew, of course you can! We should buy one for Min too!"

    It is actually really fun, doing this with Mew Mew. We try on several different kimonos, and I give her some casual pointers on how to wear them, what's in style right now, what events you would wear the different kinds of kimonos to. Basically all of the stuff I know that I always saw as being stupid and useless. It makes me really happy that Mew Mew finally feels safe enough to be girly again. It really feels like having a sister. Giggling together, ooooh-ing over different fabrics, asking each other's opinions. We each end up with one simple, but nice kimono. And we pick one out for Min. She's going to be so excited. It's about time they both had a nice kimono.

    But as fun as that was, I'm more excited for what's next: a bath. Being clean is going to feel so good!
  • We cut scene to the pair of you lying in a steamy bath area, covered by towels, some cucumber-like vegetables over your eyes. You're both completely relaxed, a couple young girls are humming softly as they firmly but gently work the grime out of your nails.

    Mew Mew says in a languid voice, "Did you? Uhm, did you warn Sheng-Li to stay away?" Its the first time she's brought it up today. She doesn't sound skittish like before, or even worried exactly.
  • I sigh. I was kind of hoping I wouldn't have to talk about this. "No..." I lift up a cucumber with my free hand so I can peek at her. "...but, um, I think he and Hornet might have, uh, a thing going."
  • Since you've removed a cucumber and Mew Mew hasn't, you get a glimpse of her expression when you tell her that. She's still lying there on the tiled shelf beside you, her feet slightly over the edge so the bath servants can work. But Mew Mew's face scrunches up, her rbows crease and she bites her lip a bit and a frown creases her mouth gently. Then she says in a clipped voice, "Oh... well, that's um, great then. It will keep him away from me." But then she sighs quietly.

    Then, "How do you, uh, know that? About them, I mean? I didn't think Hornet actually liked anyone."
  • I'm frowning at her. The other cucumber is sliding off my eye because I've got my head tilted up, looking at her. "Mew Mew, you know you can tell me anything, right? I won't judge you. You're basically my sister, you know. And I can tell when you're lying." I pause for a brief second. "And I, uh, accidentally saw them. They were making out in a closet."
  • Mew Mew sits up at that one, the cucumbers slide down to her cheeks and you see how shocked and a little hurt she is. "Wha... what?" She reaches down to pull her towel up and the girl at her feet slides back to adjust her position to keep working.

    Mew Mew looks down at you, her shock melts and then you can see the wheels turn. Finally, she says, "Oh Dare, I feel so awful. I shouldn't care, it is a good thing he's with Hornet, that is so good because then... then I can't have him." The grayish mud on her face hides some of her emotion, but she looks like she might tear up a little. She waves her hand in front of her face and looks away. Then she shoos the girl away from her feet and pulls them up, sitting on her butt, the towel wrapped around her chest and legs. She ignores the mud and rests her chin on her knees.
  • I sit up too and glance at the girl working on my feet. "Sorry, can you just give us a few seconds." I say in a low voice.

    I wait until she's left, and then I turn towards Mew Mew, gently laying my hand on her shoulder. "Mew Mew," I lean closer and whisper. "You are a hundred times kinder, smarter, and more beautiful than any noblewoman I've ever known. Sheng-Li, well, really any guy, would be lucky to have you. Why would it be good if you can't have him?"
  • The girls excuse themselves and the two of you are left relatively alone in the stem bath. Mew Mew watches them go. Her wet hair has fallen down and she doesn't look like her normal tomboy get-up.

    When you compliment her, Mew Mew tilts her head and smiles, obviously touched. Then you ask why its good she can't have Sheng-Li, she answers, "Boot. That's why. He loves me, Dare. It would break his heart to see me with anyone else. Anyone. I just... I can't do that to him, to the whole Clay Street Bunch. It would break us apart."

    Then she continues, talking quickly, trying to push past the emotion in her voice, using the back of her hand to wipe away something on her cheek in the mud, "And he's saved me so many times, from the city guard, from men who wanted to hurt me, slavers... he should be happy. I make him happy, Dare. He's a good guy, he really is. You all are my only family. After Chopsticks, I thought he would just die. And now, well, he doesn't act it, but I'm pretty sure he's happy."
  • I feel my heart break a little bit. "Oh Mew Mew..." I pull her into a hug. I don't know what to say. I understand where she's coming from, but at the same time, I want her to be happy, to be with someone she loves. So for now, I don't say anything. I just hug her tight. I know it took a lot for her to tell me all that.
  • edited January 2013
    We'll leave that scene there. Mew Mew didn't want a long talk, but unburdening her heart to you is a big help.
  • We flip scenes to some time later with Keela and Mew Mew still in the bathhouse, but now in the salon. There are four women concentrating on applying the perfect amount of make-up to you, Keela. It actually reminds you of getting ready for a part when you lived in Ba Sing Se, right?

    Did you give them any instructions? Anything you wanted in particular? What do we see when she's nearly done?
  • This might be the first time I've actually enjoyed getting my makeup done. Usually this process was just a pre-curser to some party that I did not want to attend. This time, though, I couldn't be more excited.

    I give the women pretty detailed instructions. I guess one good thing about being raised as a noble is that you know what you like when it comes to makeup. I know I look best with the darkest eyeliner, a light shimmery gold shadow on my eyelids, and red lips. But I don't like a ton of makeup, just enough to highlight my features in a dramatic way. I also splurge and have them put in some long hair extensions. I justify it in my head by calling it a part of my disguise. I mean, if I show up with Key's short hair, there's a better chance the crew will know who I am. I inspect the extensions first, to make sure that they're good quality, and I'm actually surprised at how nice they are. I guess when you're an Oasis, lots of people come through, including people who can sell you really nice hair extensions.

    When they're done, they let me look in the mirror, and my mouth forms a silent "oh." I look like Keela Zhu again. Minus of course all the elaborate noble headdresses and expensive silks. But I look like a girl! My hair is long and wavy. My skin looks soft. The gold shadow and dark liner has made my gray eyes dramatic and alluring. My red lips curve up into a smile.

    "It's perfect." I tell the women, beaming at them. Dash is going to be so surprised! He might not even recognize me!

    For a final touch, I slip on the black silk gloves I bought with my kimono. I really hate wearing gloves, but they will hide my rough, scarred hands.
  • We cut scene to you, all dolled up, walking to the fountain. You're walking a little quickly because its actually been three hours. Mew Mew took so long to pick out clothes and then the heart-to-heart at the baths, you couldn't possibly rush that. So now, you're late, couldn't be helped.

    The fountain, its a beautiful thing, a big wide ring of sandstone the colors of a wondrous dawn morning. The spout in the middle sprays water fifteen feet up and there are several statues in the fountain of different animals spraying water from their mouths. Its quite a feat, of either sculpting or masterful bending, too hard to tell for sure.

    As you're walking up, you see a completely drenches Canlid sitting on the edge of the fountain, dangling his feet, dripping dry. Min is beside him, mostly wet, too, except some of her hair. You realize he probably pulled her in, at least that's what you'd guess from her expression. But she's only slightly still annoyed. They're just sitting there talking to each other over the lapping on the water in the fountain, which is rather loud.

    Boot and Dash are half watching them, more staring off into nothing, talking. Boot's arms are crossed, folded into himself, he's scowling like always. Dash is talking and looking around, not like he's casing the joint, more like he's making himself aware of everything, looking at roofs, alleys, guards. Old habits.

    They haven't noticed you yet. Mew Mew, is she with you or did you ask her to let you go up alone?
  • I let Mew Mew walk up first, and now I'm walking up after her, my stomach all fluttery with nerves. Mew Mew said she'd take Boot away from Dash so he'd be alone when I walked up. I'm about fifteen paces behind her. I wait until Mew Mew's taken Boot's elbow and steered him away. Then I'm approaching Dash, taking him in as he stands there in the late afternoon sunshine. He looks like he took advantage of a bathhouse too. He is so handsome, the way he stands there so confidently, it makes my heart stutter in my chest.

    I stop in front of him, smiling shyly. "Hello, Dash." I say, my eyes on his face, waiting anxiously for his reaction.
  • Dash turns around and looks down at you and his eyebrows sort of hop up in surprise. He takes a moment to drink in your whole new you, his mouth slightly open. He's a little lost in you for few breaths.

    Finally, he inhales through his nostrils and then says, "Uh, hello there, miss. I don't think we've met before..." He bows low, with horrible form, but graceful nonetheless, then rises, "My friends call me Dash, but it is short for Dashing Prince of the Clay Kingdom. It is wonderful to meet you, ah..." Then he pauses, because you two hadn't established your new new fake name.
  • I do a ladylike bow back to him, my eyes dancing. "Dashing Prince of the Clay Kingdom, my name is Kiu. I am Key's sister. He told me I should meet you here. I'm very sorry to be late."
  • Dash smirks at the new name and he replies, "I always thought Key would have made a nice woman, what with his slim features and beautiful eyes. But he can't hold a candle to the wonder that is you, Kiu. I really owe him owe, don't I?" He reaches to take your right hand and kisses it, like they did in that puppet play you saw with him and the bunch that one time.

    Canlid tromps up behind him, exclaiming, "Wow, you look fancy!" He's still dripping wet and he has a big goofy grin on his face. Then he exclaims, "Ow!"

    Min punched him, it seems, "Canlid! Dash is on a DATE with Key's SISTER. We are supposed to go AWAY! Leave them alone, you punk!" Canlid laughs and runs away from Min as she starts chasing him, her fist raised in the air like a punch would fly down on him. Dash got a little bit wet from Canlid flinging his mess of wet head around, but he just grins through it, still having eyes for the new you alone.

    "I just got paid, Kiu," Dash says, "So I'm hoping to blow all of it on an attempt to impress you. I, uh, hope you don't mind."
  • I can't help but laugh at Canlid and Min. At my family. They take off, and I turn my attention back to Dash. That look in his eyes makes me feel so warm inside. He's still holding my hand after he kissed it, so I thread my fingers through his. It's so nice to be able to do things like this in public.

    "That sounds like a promising evening, Dash." I tease lightly, smiling up at him. Then my voice softens. "Although as long as I'm with you, I'm the happiest girl in the four kingdoms."
  • Dash leads you by the hand through the Oasis streets, his shoulder occasionally touching yours as he walks close to you, smiling and continuing the Dashing Prince facade lightly. He's telling you tales of his wonderful friend Dare and her exploits in Ba Sing Se, complimenting her ferocity and courage along with her beauty. He even confides that he'd held a secret love for her for a very long time, but he was much too shy and now, unfortunately, his first love, his unrequited love Dare, is gone.

    Then, as you come to the restaurant Captain Yun reecommended called Lessa's, and you're seated in a very cozy private area with a spectacular view of the setting sun on the desert, Dash sums up his story with, "From the day that Dare went away, never to come back to me, I swore that I would hold my love for her in my heart forever. And, I swore that I would be bold even if it was scary, that I would declare my love, not hide it away, even if it meant I could be rejected or hurt. I never got to love Dare," he smiles at you warmly, "But I would like to love someone like you, Kiu. I feel like I've known you my whole life, but I know there are wonderful things to discover every day."

    The server comes by to describe the roast duck and sticky rice dish special, interrupting you. But Dash barely hears her, his eyes fixed on you. The sun setting outside, the small area here is lit by candles, it is dimly lit, the aroma of the food mixed with some rare lilly blossoms mix into a sensual bouquet.
  • Dash orders food for you both and it is served up hot and it is sumptuous. Captain Yun has good taste. The server comes by with a bottle of wine and a carafe of sake, "Would you like some spirits?" she asks with a smile. Dash nods and she pours some of both.

    As you're watching the last rays of sunlight crawl below the horizon, you catch an odd sight out of the corner of your eye. You could swear that the small hallway past your private little area here, someone with blood red hair walked by.
  • I listen to Dash's story...about me...with a soft smile on my face. Sometimes blushing. Sometimes laughing. I wish we could be like this all the time, together, no hiding, no disguises. I love hearing that Dash had been secretly in love with me when I'd been secretly in love with him. At times it's so strange to look at the handsome man next to me and know that Dash, the boy I loved, my charming savior, is saying all these things that I'd only ever dreamed of hearing him say. As the sun sets and we drink our wine, we end up cozied up next to each other, my head on his shoulder, his arm around me.

    I'm so perfectly happy and content that at first the danger doesn't even register when I catch a glimpse of the blood red hair. A few seconds pass before it clicks in my head. I bolt upright, almost knocking over the bottle of wine on the table, my eyes glued to the hallway.

    "Dash... I whisper to him in a low urgent voice. I...I think I just saw one of the bounty hunters Suli hired."
  • Dash's smile falters and he sits up straight, slowly removing his arm from around you. "What does he look like? They won't know me, I'll go look." He's rising to leave the table.
  • I catch his arm, my eyes flicking between his face and the door. I'm all tense and alert. "No, it's a woman. She has blood red hair...she was in the prison with me. She's...she's really dangerous Dash. I think my Father knew her." I lower my voice even more. "I think it'd be best if we just tried to get out of here quickly...before she finds us."
  • Dash crinkles his nose a bit at the thought of blood red hair, but he's more worried about you than to say anything. He rises, unstringing his koku and placing more than enough on the table (he has very little concept of money, not ever having had any before, but it is maybe a 200% tip, do you leave it?).

    He kisses you quickly, then says, "You head to the bathroom, that way, I'll hang back. She'd have to come this way to get to you, so I'll know if she's trailing. If you hear the whistle, run like crazy, hide, then get to the Dragon. If there's no whistle, then coast is clear and I'll join you in the alley out back." He kisses you again, then urges you to go.

    Sneaking out to the alley without being seen by Suli's forces is difficulty three.
  • I absently grab some of the koku he put on the table and hand it back to him. I kiss him back, my heart beating quickly. All I wanted was a night free of all of this. "Dash, please be careful." I whisper anxiously, holding his gaze.

    I head towards the door, trying to look casual. I start down the hallway, forcing myself to walk and not glance over my shoulder. The kimono I loved wearing just minutes ago feels constraining now. I really hope I don't have to run.
  • I'm a Street Kid so I know how to hide and sneak and find the way out.

    Using 2 dice from the pool.

    #DiceRoller( 7d6 )
  • You head back to the exit and sneak out. While you do, you head past the kitchen, where you see the back of a burned bald woman with multiple tattoos,she's menacing some of the kitchen staff. Then you're outside in the alley.

    Tense hours-like minutes pass as you wait for Dash. He hasn't come out yet. What do you do?
  • I pace. Talon's here too. Not good. What was Suli thinking letting Talon out to find me?? Wasn't she in for life? My temper is burning brightly. What is Suli's problem? Why can't she just let it go?

    I keep glancing up at the sky, trying to keep track of time. For now I wait, but it's killing me. If Dash isn't out here in five minutes, I'm going back in.
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