|Debts, Hats, and Challenges|
"Sure don't look like it's gonna let up any at all," observes a yellow chicken, not quite as tall. The way she leans in to peer outward alongside the rabbit shows a certain edge of wonder at how much is coming down.
"It's a good thing we got inside just in time," adds a bear, quite tall and a bit rounder than the others, taking the time to wipe some of the dampness from his fancy tophat while standing behind the other two and looking out at the wet wet landscape.
"Yeah," chimes the rabbit. "We almost got completely soaked. Imagine what it would be like to get caught out in that." Seemingly, the rabbit regrets the words as they are spoken and he turns to look over his shoulder. The chicken and bear follow suit. All eyes fall upon the fourth: a fox. While the shortest of the group, the fox easily stands taller than the average person. His furred exterior is dripping, sopping, and the fox looks absolutely miserable for it.
"Aye. Imagine that." Such a dry delivery...
"Well, Foxy, that car was very rude to splash you with that puddle," laments the chicken with a classic Southern drawl.
"How was that puddle in the parking lot so deceptively deep?" asks a sheepish rabbit.
On the list of places that the classy and well-to-do frequent in Twisted, one does not find the S-mart. On the list of places that Rystan frequents, however, it's near the top. Groceries. What a boon! He had to rely on Soleil's cooking, or inn scraps when he was growing up. Now, he can just buy all of the canned goods and diabetes he wants! Truly, this is the life.
The thief is repeatedly tossing an alabaster dagger up in the air and catching it again as he rounds the corner and strides through the parking lot of the S-mart towards the entrance. There is a series of low whizzing sounds, like something passing through the air repeatedly, and somehow, almost impossibly, the sheets of rain don't hit him.
That's not to say that he's not getting wet. More like a curtain of raindrops about 30 feet around him in every direction is just splitting apart into a fine mist. A windy, breezy mist, granted. Still, it's enough that even without protection from the elements, Rystan finds himself merely damp rather than dripping wet. And he's... singing something? It's hard to tell what, until the automatic doors open and he strides in, leaving wet footprints on the floor but little else.
"Oh, the world owes me a living~ Deedle dardle doodle deedle dum~" ...Huh. "There once was an old grasshopper - who could only think of fun. He looked on work as something too unpleasant to be done~"
As he sings, the young man brushes his damp hair out of his eyes and the whizzing sound stops as he takes in the four fuzzy friends 'fore him. The singing stops abruptly, too. "... ... ... ...Yup. That's normal."
One of the rabbit's ears lift and swivel before his head turns to look over toward the newly-arrived shopper. There is a buck-toothed smile and a little wave before the rabbit points a finger at the man and speaks to the others. "Well, he didn't get all that wet. Maybe there's a trick to it." One by one, heads all turn to place eyes upon the merely-damp individual. The casual friendliness one might expect of any stranger plays upon those faces with surprising ease.
"Aye, well, see, it were a massive wave, rising tall as if out of the ocean itself, come crashing down upon me." It would seem the ragged and soaked fox is trying to save face in front of direct observers. "Such is the curse o' being a pirate, dum de dum diddly-dum de dee and a yo ho ho and a fiddle-dee dee." This 'Foxy' tries to strike a more gallant pose to show off his eye path and hook hand as if to sell the image completely, but is it working?
"Don't worry, Foxy," says the bear with the deepest voice of the bunch. "I'll go buy you a towel or two and we'll get you dry in no time. Just need to find out where they are."
The newcomer mouths the name 'Foxy' to himself, trying to suss out of it's a nickname or an actual one. He looks them over for a bit, and then shrugs. He didn't hear the first part of the conversation, but giant waves do come out of nowhere in Twisted sometimes. It's not really his business. One thing he respects is autonomy. Animatronic, automatonic autonomy is definitely something he doesn't intend to poke his nose into.
Not after the noodle incident.
He resumes singing, catching and putting his dagger away for the last time. It seems like his tone is a little more an imitation of Foxy's now, though. Maybe the pirate ditty inspired his own?
"Well, he loved to sit in the summer sun and fiddle all day long~ While dozing there he played this air, and singed this lil song~ Oh the world owes me a living~" And so he goes on with his day, not providing any more initial interaction with the group. He's got sugar to buy! ... Oh, and he supposes he'll get some actual food, too. His song can still be heard as he wanders around towards the linen section to grab a towel and wipe himself off for a moment before setting it back where he got it from. How convenient of them to just have one lying there for him.
The tune doesn't go unnoticed, though. Through the casual browsing, a couple of the colorful animals hum along their own accompaniment. The chicken happens upon the towels just as one gets put back, freshly used, and she pauses long enough to fold it back up neatly so that it matches the others. She then finds a couple a bit closer in red coloration and carries those in her arms. She'll have to find the bear.
The bear is distracted by a hat display, though, and removes his tophat with one hand to see how others look on him, but none seem to match the charm of the original. The bunny, however, has found a rack of what seem to be comic books. He doesn't pick any up, but he does have a very good look.
"Da dum da-da dum de dah."
"Hh-hmm hm-nm hhhn hm-hmm."
Clank, tap, tap, tap.
"The north wind, it blew them leaves away - when winter came one stormy day~ The snow fell fast upon the ground; no food nor shelter could be found~" The young man heads down the aisles singing, and comes upon a mechanical bear trying on new hats. While the bear's original hat is removed, Rystan shrugs and attempts to snatch it up, intent to place it upon his head and continue on his way down the isle.
"This old grasshopper was sad and weak, could hardly hop or view his feet~" Rystan takes his index fingers and drums them on the shelving as he passes by, playing to his freestyle accompanists. "He slipped! He fell! Poor chap... Farewell~" Oh, the world owes him a living, and he snatches up a comic about a man with a TV for a head. Well, it takes all kinds.
It's a strange bit of a cappella that is struck amidst the shopping atmosphere as the chicken and rabbit wind up following along in a loose sense. The chicken has towels, the bunny picks up one of the same issues that is taken (out of intense curiosity), the fox taps a foot louder than anything he hums, and for the moment it might make others think there's some kind of in-house show going on (which is better than any Deadite attack by far). There's a clear rhythm, the added accompaniment by the three might almost come off as haunting or hypnotic and likely does affect the tone of what is actually being sung. The rabbit falls into step beside the man and watches him with a smile as he sings, as if trying to suss the words being spoken from sight alone rather than whatever practical purpose those long large ears serve.
This display is only hampered by a passing observation on the rabbit's behalf, though, as he lifts a finger and remarks in naive amusement, pointing. "Hey, your hat looks a lot like Fre-"
"WHO. TOOK. MY. HAT?!"
The booming voice thunders easily over the sound of cashiers, PA sounds or music, and any music or conversation being had otherwise. It is so thunderous and bassy that one might swear that the shelves shake a bit. The lights, however, do suddenly flicker in a very notable way. The fox peers over from some distance, suddenly very alert despite his appearance. The look on the rabbit's face is sheer wide-eyed horror. The chicken's reaction is similar, but a little more muted as she manages to voice, "Sugar, don't tell me you did what I think you did."
"WHERE... IS... MY... HAT?!" Flicker, flicker, buzz. Needless to say, things go very quiet otherwise.
Rystan smiles at the rabbit in that polite, distant way that people often smile at strangers. He flips open the comic and begins to read, enjoying himself as he walks, until he hears a loud, booming voice. It's a deep bass, and it absolutely drowns out his song, which is fine, which is fine. However, it also sounds a little angry, so that's Rystan's cue to skedaddle.
The young thief carefully lifts the hat off his head and wedges it in between the rabbit's ears, sticking his tongue out to one side in concentration before stepping back to examine his handiwork. Much more quietly, now, he murmurs. "Ohh, I owe the world a living~" And like that with a flick of his wrist and a whizzing sound, he's gone from the aisle with the rabbit, and he (perhaps unwisely?) appears in the aisle where he last saw the bear.
"Think I saw it on some bunny over there. Purple fellow. Looked rather dapper. Friend of yours?" The thief is the picture of innocence! He certainly hasn't got the hat! "Well, have a nice day!" Attempting a nonchalant stride, Rystan over-sells his casualness as he sets about leaving with the havoc he accidentally created. Some people are really attached to their stuff. Eesh.
Or it was a trick of the eye. A second glance certainly wouldn't show such an eerie visage. The redirection does seem to work and the bear moves to intercept the bunny and chicken. The two so confronted by their de facto leader explain that it fell and that they got it back and were holding on to it until they could meet up to pay for the towels (and comic book). It seems to be working, but it's difficult to bring the bear down from his temper. They might be at it a while longer.
The fox? The fox is standing just before the exit with his arms crossed. It's not meant to be a full body block, however. It's meant to be noticed. Perhaps he's waiting to have a word. On the plus side, the lights stop flickering and the sounds begin to return to normal, though no doubt an employee checks on the three to make sure everything is okay.
"Arr, ye really went and made a fuss o'things, lad." So what if anybody nearby overhears? There's a perceptive edge to the worn-down fox that the other three don't seem to outwardly show.
If the creepy red eyes get to him, the young man gives no indication. Noting that the rabbit and chick don't seem to be trying to finger him for the deal, Rystan silently thanks them for being the best marks ever. Honestly, that's how people should behave - if everyone would be everyone else's wingman like that, why, noone would ever get in trouble! Now that's paradise.
The thief's musings are cut short, however, when he notices Foxy standing by the exit. Oh, wow, the sopping wet one was the intelligent one - irony. "Yeah? I dunno. S'just a hat." But he supposes nine times out of ten, someone's mad, it's his fault somehow. And that hardly seems fair to Rystan. If people valued their stuff so much, they wouldn't just leave it lying around!
"Your friend do that thing with the lights? Gets all hellraiser when someone touches his stuff? Kinda cool, for a stuffed bear."
"Next time ye feel like pulling a fast one on the bear, make sure ye come to Foxy first. We'll figure out something proper. Just don't touch the hat, aye?" A shifty one-eyed glance is followed by a lifting of his hook to speak behind it, as if fully in secret, while dropping the whisper a bit more in volume.
"Just between ye and I, though, the bear be having a secret to use next time ye face 'im down. Just a good press." With that hook, the fox taps the side of it to his own nose a couple times.
What do you mean, what is he talking about? Rystan seems surprised at Foxy's question, but rolls with it quickly, even letting the fox-bot drape its arm over him as desired. If Foxy isn't respecting his personal space, then Rystan flat isn't acting like ***has*** any.
When he gets yanked into this kind of comical conspiracy talk, he lifts his eyes to look Foxy in the optics. "...Ah, so there's a right way 'n' a wrong way. Got it - totally a-ok understood." He has no idea, does he?
"That be all I can say to ye on it fer now, lad. Just don't forget." The fox taps his nose twice more before lowering his hook. "Now, ye seem a playful sort, so what do ye say about signing on as part o' me crew? I'll even give ye a fun little test to see if ye be cut out fer it. What say ye? Interested? Even if ye pass, ye not be obligated." Step clank, step clank; one step after another while the fox aims to stay as huddled in close as possible. Sadly, at the moment, Foxy has nothing that can be taken, were the idea to arise. Even his eye patch is attached as part of himself and his trousers don't have any pockets. "But ye best answer quickly." Apparently it's something timed.
"I don't know much about being a member of any crew..." Rystan leads off, looking first at Foxy, then back in the direction of the other faux furry funbots at the pseudo-pirate's prompting. He leans in a bit, not apparently concerned in the slightest."...But go on." Oh, there's never any way easier to catch a Rystan than promising fun or treasure.
"Arrr, good, good o' ye. Don't back down from a challenge, lad." This wandering along together, well, if Foxy has any influence whatsoever what with that heavy arm resting against Rystan's upper back, certainly helps place the thief more directly at the exit, even if the rain is fierce outside. "Normally I wouldn't be so direct, but ye seem the type to handle it, and, well, ye did try to get me Bon in trouble with the bear, aye?" There's a chuckle at this, and then a light(?) pat on the back before the fox pulls himself away to flag down a nearby employee.
"Yarr, that scallywag o'er there didn't give ye any money for his plunder, did he?" An alarm immediately goes off, inasmuch as a loud siren counts as one, although it's not from the store itself. This must be the test? This must be the test! Foxy, despite still being mostly soaked through, chuckles as only a mischievous pirate captain can. Heads will turn one way or the other, including the other three of the fox's gang.
Rystan, for his part, looks stricken when Foxy steps away and yells out that he didn't pay for any of the stuff. No, wait. Not stricken. Indignant. "What? Of course I didn't... pay..." He trails off as a siren blares and everyone is staring at him. "Oh. Well, hell." In that moment while everyone freezes, just on the cusp of reacting, Rystan scrunches up his face. "...Wait a minute. S-mart doesn't have a SIREN." He glances at Foxy with a mixture of amusement and suspicion. Who carries around a siren?!
Then the store alights in activity. Loss Prevention people come out of the woodwork to hover and ominously imply there will be touching if Rystan doesn't put his ill gotten gains back or at least pay for them. Rystan manages to run two of them into each other with a laugh, but half-stumbles over a foot another 'accidentally' left out behind him, and he has to turn around and make some grasping motions to keep from losing his plunder. He laughs as he hops over the next on the way out the exit, and turns to call back over his shoulder in a joking manner. "Arrrrr, you'll pay for this, Captain Foxy!" And then the automatic doors open, and he's out in the rai-- ... Wait. Where did he go?
Somewhere, Batman is filing a lawsuit for IP Theft.