|Life is Like a Triple Chocolate Ice Cream|
In short, Neo-Edo is not the place to be hanging around if you want a normal, pleasant day. But what's 'normal' anyway?
Emi Goodman hasn't been here all that long, but the dimunitive, dark-haired girl is already a veteran of the mean streets. She has to be - the only job she could find that would take a clueless, lost young woman with no prior work experience happened to be a local ice cream parlour. In search of someone to (wo)man their cart. In Neo-Edo, it's the perfect job for a rough, charismatic daredevil with a heart of golden steel. Apparently they were happy to settle for the qualities of skinny, quirky, and beautiful amber eyes.
These stunning optics are currently focused with attentive care on a pack of three leather-clad punks - well, let's be fair, CYBERpunks - with dayglo mohawks and a collection of cutlery about each of their waists. Two of them seem to be preoccupied with the menu while the other sidles his way to the edge of Emi's cart and leans across to coarsely flip one of her long pigtails out of the way.
"Hey, doji-chan, how about a five-finger discount for the boys? Boss Yuba doesn't take kindly to his finest being charged, right? You know the score. Help us out with a sweet little treat, or maybe we'll find our own way to the 'honey pot', yeah?"
The streets are busy, but nobody else really seems interested in this dairy extortion. A couple of businessmen also eyeing the menu mutter to themselves and inch away as Emi scrunches her mouth up sideways and levels a flat stare on the thug trying to intimidate her. She looks especially tiny right now, esconced as she is in her spacious if rather fashionable jacket. Not so much -scared-, though.
"Eiji," she says firmly, after a moment's thought, her delicate voice without a quiver, "I told you no, and I meant it. Please leave. I have other customers to serve!"
The thug looks around with a leer. "You do, huh? I don't see anyone. Think anyone will care if you scream?"
All of this buzzing and rumbling and vibrating unfortunately leads up to a very anticlimactic finale, as...a woman, tall and thin and not nearly as diminuitive as the ice cream girl, just suddenly starts to exist, uncomfortably close to the thug who is so cheerfully harassing Emi. For a moment, the redheaded woman looks oh-so-slightly disoriented, starry blue eyes glancing around the area as an almost lost expressions settles upon her face.
Finally, that starry gaze sweeps back to the thug, lids hooding in a vaguely disappointed, vaguely irritated expression that settles across her fair features. She remains silent for a long moment, though she slowly leans closer...still closer, until her face is hovering no more than an inch away from the thug's face, the annoyance not draining from her expression in the slightest.
"I, personally, would care quite a bit if she screamed." Sun's voice is flat and steady, but there's no denying the danger that edges her tone. "Pay the girl or get out of the way, you really don't want to get between me and my ice cream today. I just got back here from another dimension, and I really need some chocolate." Something about her indicates that it may not be best to test her today.
She then holds her ground in stoic silence, way too close to the thug for comfort.
"K-Kuso!" Spits the previously-confident Eiji, suddenly out of his depth. Retracting his hand from Emi's face, he fumbles for a steel chain at his belt, servos in his wrist whirring as his clearly expensive, well-disguised metal digits fail to operate promptly on the too-frantic instruction from his brain. Emi's amber gaze blinks passively at Sun, before a tiny smile darts across her pale pink lips. Sliding her gaze sidelong to Eiji, she drops abruptly down, snatching with rather greater dexterity toward the pavement and popping up with the scoop back in hand.
"Good choice, ma'am," chirps the dark-haired girl, smiling more brightly. "Eiji prefers the Violent Cherry Popper, don't you, Eiji?"
The scoop descends and whips a blob of crispy purple cream, flecked her eand there with darker pieces of fresh fruit, from the cart's interior. Holding it up to demonstrate in passing just how delicious the delicacy looks, Emi then turns and clamps it primly down upon the staring thug's nose. The scoop's spring is released with a *snap*, and then a tight little stomp from below drives home the one-two punch. Already way too close to Sun, now the gang enforcer is screaming and hopping on one leg to alleviate the sharp pain in his toes.
Everything else happens at once. The remaining two rush at Sun, one pulling out a switchblade and the other just opting to launch a kamikaze yell and a blistering haymaker... while Emi continues smiling as she leans over her display of treats, amber eyes bright as she picks out a flavour.
"Death By Chocolate?" She proposes, looking up at Sun in seeming full confidence that the grumpy newcomer can both handle herself and was entirely serious about the ice cream. "It's got all three kinds, and we make it with clotted cream!"
She shakes her head slowly, turning to Emi. "I think that would be delicious. Do you mind if I go over there? I'm going to go over there."
There's that vibrating again, and suddenly, Sun is on the other side of the cart, peering down at the selection with those lazy hooded eyes. Meanwhile, those two thugs are suddenly not springing their attack on Sun, but on each other instead. Amazing what a subtle direction change will do to a situation.
The dragon-woman sniffs once. "Do you have rainbow sprinkles? It seems like a rainbow sprinkles kind of day." As she speaks, she reaches into her pocket, pulling out a decent sum of money and holding it up. "Here. You can definitely keep the change for having to deal with this crap this early in the day."
She settles back on her heels with a perky bounce, the motion causing her loose-fitting jacket to phrase a shrug all of its own.
"You--" she starts in spite of her attempts to remain composed, cutting off with a faint flush in pale cheeks and a sudden grin that sets a golden fire to intelligent amber. Lifting her chin with a wrinkle of her nose, she meets that starlit gaze and redirects smoothly, "Have beautiful eyes, ma'am." There's a lot more behind the statement, but how much can she really say in so short a time? Determined to remain professional, she nods briskly and exchanges the scoop for a shaker full of sprinkles. Thumbing the catch on top, she shakes out a dash of rainbow and then thumbs it again.
"I'll do you one better," she murmurs, tipping the redhaired woman a wink and flipping the catch again. This time, a spray of edible glitter greets the brisk shakeshakeshake. "Rainbows and stars, to match! Thank you very much for your business," she grins anew, flashing pearly whites as she straightens up and passes forth the positively fabulous-looking treat, "And for being so very kind. But for me, it's just another Tuesday."
Humming under her breath, ahd takes the cash and deposits it with by-now familiar dexterity in the portable till beside her. Behind her, one of the embarrassed idiots has found his footing and busies himself helping the others up.
"You wait 'til Boss Yuba hears about this! W-We'll be back, and you'd better not be here!"
Emi looks over her shoulder, scrunching her mouth up again as she stares down the clicking servos of a pointing finger. She phrases a thoughtful 'hmhm' and looks back to Sun, standing on tiptoes to offer conspiratorially over the counter, "Truth be told, they don't really pay me enough for this. You don't know if anywhere else is hiring?"
Starry blue eyes turn to the thugs. "Are you going to tell them about how you guys beat each other up? Because as far as I can tell, you guys did that to yourself." She lowers her eyelids, and suddenly, she doesn't seem so nonchalant and dull. She seems dangerous, deadly even. "Don't come back or I will kill you all." The tone of voice only adds to the dangerous appearance of the woman. She...is probably serious. Right?
Then, she is all smiles again, turning to Emi. "I think the coffee shop I work at needs some help. You make good coffee and treat people like shit. It's pretty fun, really." She takes another bite of ice cream, closing her eyes in a display of pure contentment.
As one they hesitate, puffing up their chests and snatching at their belts as if they mean to resume the fight. But really, what have they got to gain? Sun's contribution to the day's profits is by far the largest of the morning, and the aura she's exuding... as the same single entity, Yuba's boys turn and hoof it, cursing and finger-pointing amongst themselves, while Emi turns and offers them a finger-wiggling wave, giggling brightly as she turns back to Sun. Relaxing herself with a breath she wasn't aware she was, figuratively, holding, she leans against the interior of the cart - it's not a particularly robust structure, she's just that damn small it doesn't matter - and clasps her hands in her lap.
"You get to...?" She can scarce believe her ears it seems, a smile darting across her lips that is, briefly, just a bit too wicked to suit her pleasant features. "And they PAY you to do that?" Amber eyes are all wonder now, watching the older woman enjoying her cone in a shared moment of silence before she makes a decision and reaches for the key protruding from her till. With a *click* she turns it off. "It's the crunchiness," she says conversationally, recalling earlier words as if they were just now spoken; maybe her mind works a little strangely? "Life isn't all smooth and creamy, you know? You've got to have the rough bits, but when you put it all together, you get something so much better..."
She trails off with a shrug, slipping the key into her pocket and then busying herself clothing up the tubs of ice cream and bolting them away. She works almost without thought, bustling away as if she's done what she's doing for YEARS instead of mere weeks. It's quite pleasing to watch.
"Also, they're... pretty," she finishes lamely, smile turning self-effacing as it's turned back onto the redhead. "I'm Emi, by the way. I don't know why."
Er, what? Yeah, there's definitely something not quite right about her.
At least she's doing well with this whole nonviolence thing. The old her probably WOULD have killed the thugs.
"Yes. They sometimes dish it back, but that's when it gets fun. I had a screaming match with a customer the other day. They tipped me ten bucks. Sometimes people need to get their anger out by fighting with a random stranger. They love it." The woman grins, taking another bite as she watches Emi close up the cart. "You also get to yell at them if they stiff you on tips, too. It's pretty fun, not following that stupid 'customer is always right' rule."
A soft, musical chuckle rolls out of the starry-eyed woman's lips, as another bite of ice cream is taken. "You're quite right. Ice cream is a good metaphor for life." A smile is swept toward Emi at her introduction. "A pleasure to meet you, Emi. I'm Sun. I know why, but that is a horribly long story that I am certain you don't want to hear."
"Most things are a good metaphor for life," she counters pleasantly, moving on with a playful tip of her head and a quick nose-wrinkle, "If you think about them the right way!" She pauses, tipping her head to the other side, the expression curiously birdlike, amber gaze finding the maelstrom of the sky, above, "Or the wrong way." A quick intake of breath, and she looks to Sun with a momentary gnaw of her lip. "One way or another, I'm pleased to meet you, too. You shouldn't be too certain about what other people want, though. People can be surprising."
Her voice grows distant, and she sneaks a look over her shoulder, reaching up to toy with one of her braids, twisting it around and about slender fingers. Lowering her tone, she adds quietly, "You wouldn't think Eiji is so nice to his mommy when he's out and about on a Sunday, would you?" Her lips pull into a radiant smile and she bounces on her heels, turning to face Sun with a lean forward onto the top of the now-covered cart display. "Sometimes good people do bad things for nice reasons; if there are 'good people' or 'bad things' at all. Nice, though?"
Emi's smile turns rather serene, a third cant of her head just serving to drill her gaze more intimately into Sun's own.
"I've found you can usually rely on 'nice'. I wonder, is it me who doesn't want to hear your story, or you who doesn't want to tell it?"
"Moreso, it's a figure of speech to point out that I don't like talking about myself, these days especially." More ice cream, with a pause for another sound of satisfaction. "It gets long, complicated and difficult to explain," she murmurs, turning her smile away from the ice cream cone and toward Emi. "For now, I'll just go with the fact that it's an obnoxiously large tale that needs to be told over a meal, or during a long walk. Probably both, considering how much there is. Most wouldn't want to sit through the length of it."
She takes one more small bite, before suddenly finishing the rest in one large bite. Apparently brain freeze is not an issue. Then, she offers a small half-bow to Emi. "Thank you for the ice cream cone and good company, Emi. Hopefully, we will meet again, possibly as coworkers." She winks one of those starry blue eyes.
Then follows that pleasant but unpleasant vibration in existence...and Sun rather promptly no longer exists in this location.