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‘Something wrong?’

‘Ah, no, it’s just … you’re being kind of forward today,’ you point out, wondering if you’re more flushed from having her two mounds in the palm of your hands or by your own apprehension in proceeding beyond what you’d already conducted ‘You’ve, uh … well, I don’t think you’ve ever acted like this around me, either, so …’

‘We’ve never really taken our relationship in this direction before, either,’ she retorts smoothly … and reasonably, with her hands still firmly upon your wrists, ‘but outliers on top of outliers form a reasonable pattern by correlation, don’t you think?’

‘You’re saying that so easi—’

She kisses the corner of your mouth in a swift motion before drawing back, successful in her endeavour of keeping you from over-complicating a matter that was so simple. Staggered, stunned, by her cheeky attempt, you gather what cohesion you have left to drain the red from your cheeks … and deciding that a counter-assault would be the way to go. You give Sansa’s breasts a teasing squeeze, fingertips dragging along her bountiful flesh and rolling her nipples along your palms. She arches her back, humming; you take the opportunity to lean forward and kiss her jaw and suckle her throat, tasting her all the way to the valley of her breast. Hands shift away from her mounds as you give her cleavage investigative nibbles. Sansa gives light squeaks at your ministrations; the response almost causes you to smile. Your fingers drag along her waist until you reach the beginning of her thighs, the string of her panties tense under your fingers. You hesitate going further, the rationale of risk and reward pointing out that you weren’t in the safety and privacy of your hotel room, but in the very public changing room of a designer clothing store.

That really shouldn’t have turned you on as much as it should have.

It really shouldn’t.

Are they to your liking, my Lord?’ Sansa repeats, desire incarnate.

‘Yes,’ you answer breathlessly, hungrily devouring her breast again, ‘as is all of you, top to bottom.

She squeals in delight as the both of you manoeuvre yourselves onto the flat surface of the floor. You’re on top of her, tasting, suckling and licking as her arms envelope your head to prevent any escape. Sansa was right; you did think too much sometimes. You kiss your way to her navel, prompting a giggle as you draw your tongue around and upon the point. She breathes loudly, her knees raising to either side of you, her toes dragging along the walls as your invitation is stamped in approval. It takes every neuron to forget not to breathe, raising yourself with one hand and probing one hand down her belly and into her—

Oh.

A fuzzy sensation tickles the space between your fingers.

Sansa smiles apologetically.

'Aha ...'

>Write-In
>>
>>3682105
>Don't say anything.
>>
>>3682105
>shrug?
Absolutely no one would stop at this point. Especially considering that it would be the second case of blue balls.
>>
>>3682105
>>Write-In
Remember exactly where we are and why it'll be a bad idea to continue further.

Whisper into her ear "We really really have to continue this elsewhere." and nibble on it.
>>
>>3682287
Fine by me
>>
>Abruptly stop
>"I feel refreshed! Let's move on!"
>leave her laying on the ground in shock
>>
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She didn’t have to.

In the last ten seconds, you had decided that you didn’t mind your woman being a little wild. In a better position to do so—and with her back rested upon the floor to allow you more convenient access—you lift her legs, placing her calves upon your shoulders. Sansa giggles as your hands palm the curve of her rump … before hooking the strings of her panties and tugging them upward, revealing her glistening—and fuzzily crowned—slit. Your thumbs press against either side of her labia; her calves are lifted from your shoulders as you prop her with the motion. Sansa lies beneath you, top down bottom up, her lower lips mere inches away. Her gaze towards you is hesitant, inviting … but her voice is silent, allowing for your agency to dictate the terms. It thrills and scares you, somewhat. You’d known her for years; it had crossed your mind a few times but as no more than brief considerations dictated by your inexperience with lust. Now, however …

‘Hm?’

You give her lower mouth a gentle kiss, your libido screaming in pre-emptive protest as you pull away. There is nothing you want to do more than shove every inch of you into her and make your House proud … but in here? It was your first time … and hers. You didn’t want to commit to memory that you’d lost your virginity and taken hers in one go in the cramped changing room of a designer boutique … and especially not with all the bodies that could just walk on in. It was one thing to finally strike it off your list; it was another to be caught in a scandal that didn’t—

No, no, no, you weren’t like the others. Not any more, at least.

Or were you ever?

‘This isn’t really the place for this, is it?’ you sigh, throwing apologetic look at the now-incredulous (and incredibly unamused) Sansa.

She squeezes your head between her thighs.

‘You know, you really know how to disappoint a girl,’ she replies, glaring up at you. Scion or no, you deserve it.

‘Sorry,’ you apologize, holding onto her and wearing the most innocent expression you can muster. ‘I’ll make it up to you later; I promise.’

Sansa appears to consider it for a moment … before relaxing her hold, letting out a sigh. ‘Do you know how hard it was to convince myself to even … try this?’ she laments, looking … genuinely hurt. You feel like a heel, leaving her high and dry like this.

‘Yeah,’ you chuckle, beaming at her from above the forest of hair, ‘but this is hardly a place worthy for a Mistress of the Mishima.’

She squeezes the sides of your heads with her thighs again. ‘I’m holding you to that.’

I know.

Silence. A pair of shared, awkward, genuine glances.
>>
‘You know, I,’ you hesitate, wondering how best to ease the situation, ‘didn’t think you had it in you.’

‘Didn’t have it in me to be … what?’

‘This?’ you indicate, raising an eyebrow despite being between a pair of milky white thighs and a glistening, eager and fertile vagina right in front you. ‘You know … adventurous? You’re usually the one being a stick in the mud—ow!

She squeezes a little tighter this time.

What was that?

‘Nothing,’ you manage, your voice barely a squeak as you meet her glare with your pleading gaze. As she loosens her hold on you, however, you manage to formulate an immediate method of response … and upon finding the focus of your vengeance, raise two fingers in a mischievous salute.

The other hand spreads her anus. A larger target was an easier target, after all.

Kanchou!

Being blinded by a splash of discharge was really something you should have seen coming.

>Write-In
>>
>>3682672
"I didn't know you were into that."
>>
This is Mech. Some guys are confused, so I'll clarify. She squirted her (involuntary) orgasm. Not the other thing.
>>
>>3682672
>"wow lovemaking is easier then I thought"
>>
>>3682829
This is so crude and I shouldn't find it funny at all, but I do.
>>
>>3682831
This is the second time senpai noticed me and my stellar wit. I feel so proud.
>>
The attendants were more accommodating than the hotel staff.

At the very least you didn’t have to go around explaining why your face was covered in female vaginal discharge. In the aftermath of your unwarranted intrusion of her excretory orifice, Sansa had been oddly … silent. The attendants had allowed her to clean herself up upon discovery of your tryst (even giving her tools to do so) and led you to the bathrooms to freshen yourself up. Rosaria’s curiosity of the why of you were suddenly dishevelled (and your face wet … with water and freshener, this time) upon returning to your seat was at a minimal, as she was more engrossed in the data tabs that the store had allowed her access to over what you and Sansa had spent fifteen or so minutes alone discussing (or, more accurately, doing).

You seat wasn’t even re-warmed by the time Sansa stepped out.

So here you are, standing in front of the large man from before, his hands behind his back and his attendants holding aloft two evening gowns, a maroon spaghetti strap that would no doubt accentuate Sansa’s generous rump (and the thought prompts you to clog any inclinations towards them, lest you … explode before the evening was over) and a green mini that was simple enough in structure, but elegant enough in detail that gave even you pause. Both were keen mixes of elegance … and accessibility.

You stroke your chin, considering your options. You were the one paying, after all.

>‘Simple and elegant it is.’ (Maroon Spaghetti Strap [10,000 Crowns] BALANCE: 79,000)
>‘Enticing and intricate’s more my speed.’ (Green, Decorated Mini [12,000 Crowns] BALANCE: 79,000)
>‘It’s not as if I don’t have the money to cover this.’ (Both-Scion [20,000 Crowns] BALANCE: 16,000)
>‘Neither is to my tastes.’ (Leave)
>Write-In
>>
>>3682936
>‘It’s not as if I don’t have the money to cover this.’ (Both-Scion [20,000 Crowns] BALANCE: 79,000)
>>
>>3682936
>>‘Enticing and intricate’s more my speed.’ (Green, Decorated Mini [12,000 Crowns] BALANCE: 79,000)
>>
>>3682936
>>‘Enticing and intricate’s more my speed.’ (Green, Decorated Mini [12,000 Crowns] BALANCE: 79,000)
>>
>>3682936
>>‘Enticing and intricate’s more my speed.’ (Green, Decorated Mini [12,000 Crowns] BALANCE: 79,000)
>>
>>3682936
>>‘Enticing and intricate’s more my speed.’ (Green, Decorated Mini [12,000 Crowns] BALANCE: 79,000)
>>
>>3682936
>>‘Simple and elegant it is.’ (Maroon Spaghetti Strap [10,000 Crowns] BALANCE: 79,000)
>>
This is Mech. People alive?
>>
>>3683227
Aye boss
>>
>>3683227
Aye papi.
>>
>>3682936
>>‘It’s not as if I don’t have the money to cover this.’ (Both-Scion [20,000 Crowns] BALANCE: 16,000)
>>
>>3682936
>>‘Enticing and intricate’s more my speed.’ (Green, Decorated Mini [12,000 Crowns] BALANCE: 79,000)
>>
>>3682936
>‘It’s not as if I don’t have the money to cover this.’ (Both-Scion [20,000 Crowns] BALANCE: 16,000)
>>
‘Enticing and intricate is more my speed,’ you declare, admiring the pattern. ‘Green’s always been her colour, anyway.’

Sansa doesn’t reply.

The man nods as you move to complete the exchange, folding the dress into a box and placing it into a bag, which Sansa picks up and throws over her shoulder, leading the way out of the store without another word (but with at least some acknowledgement and thanks, as she nods and makes small curtsies in the direction of the attendants) as you show your gratitude with a shake of a hand and an apologetic smile for the large man. You can only hope that his professionalism extended to his discretion. Then again, seeing as they didn’t so much as acknowledge your status as a Scion, perhaps there was no need for it. No one was going to watch a recording of some random idiot failing to pick a woman off the floor in a carry or listen to rumours of some citizen engaging in a sordid exchange with said woman in the changing rooms … right?

‘Senpai, ah …’

You had been shaking his hand for far too long.

Throwing out another apology, you and Rosaria follow Sansa back out into the streets, mentally noting that if you headed back now, you’d have just enough time for a nap. Rhysode’s extra hours were a boon for the exhausted. The streets are the same as they are before, with identical characters going back and forth, admiring the shops or whatever else they were doing on this stretch of street. You even recognize a few of your fellow graduating cadets walking in and out of shops you wouldn’t have normally associated with a member of the Aegis. Fashion bags and heart balloons … really, now?

Still, there was some time to look around … and while the shops really had nothing to offer you and particular, it didn’t hurt to stop every ten steps or so to look into what they were selling. Rosaria was, as she had been, inquisitive on the subject of logistics, raw materials and the like, engaging (and educating) you on comparisons to her Colony Fleet’s supply logic and merchant operational procedures. It’s nothing actually new to you, of course, her regalement being more confirmation of suspicions than they were anything substantial or revelatory within the context … but one thing does stop you in the midst of your chatter about how cotton was synthesized in artificial, engineered and natural conditions.

Or rather, the absence of thing,

Sansa had been quiet ever since you’d left the store. Was she displeased with your choice of dress for her? She had left the decision up to you …

‘Sansa?’

She doesn’t answer.

‘You all right?’

Still, nothing. What was she so angry—

Ah, yes …

‘Was this because of the—’

She covers her face, squeaking into her palms. Bullseye.

‘I can’t believe I … urgh,’ she groans, making an embarrassed sound. ‘I can’t believe you—’
>>
>>3685118
>Be silently smug
>‘Why’re you complaining? I’m the one that got splashed.’ (Dense)
>‘You have no idea how proud that makes me.’ (Proud)
>‘Why is it such a big deal? I mean …’ (Ignorant)
>‘That’s what you’re in a jumble about?’ (Irritated)
>‘You mean you never tried it there before?’ (Logical)
>Write-In
>>
>>3685121
>‘You mean you never tried it there before?’ (Logical)
>>
>>3685121
>>Write-In
"But I'm the one that almost drowned."
>>
>>3685121
>>‘You have no idea how proud that makes me.’ (Proud)
>>
>>3685121
>>Be silently smug
>>
>>3685133
This

Stan proud!
>>
>>3685121
>‘You mean you never tried it there before?’ (Logical)
>>
>>3685121
>Be silently smug
>lightly slap that ass
>>
>>3685121
>>‘You have no idea how proud that makes me.’ (Proud)
>>
>>3685121
>>‘You have no idea how proud that makes me.’ (Proud)
>*flex a little*
>>
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You huff, puffing your chest and placing balled fists on your hips. ‘You have no idea how proud that makes me, being able to—’

‘Please don’t,’ Sansa cuts you right off, her hands still covering her face. You can’t help but let out a small laugh in response, throwing her a coy look that she returns with half a glare, her throat letting out a sound that was halfway between reluctant resignation and an attempt at rebuttal … neither of which would have been successful at putting out the fire burning in your chest.

‘I mean,’ you start again, your nose practically scraping the clouds, ‘I’m not saying that I knew what I was doing, of course—

‘Can you just not?’ she practically begs. You choose to ignore this.

‘—but it’s still an accomplishment, is it not? I mean, everyone was complaining about how hard it was to find a point of attack’—she makes a disgusted sound as Rosaria stares at the both of you in confusion—‘but I suppose, considering my blood, I’m not exactly everyone else, am I?’

‘I thought you and your ego had a heart-to-heart some time ago.’

‘Yes, but I’m allowed to be on speaking terms for this, am I not?’ you snort, smirking so widely it threatens to cut your ears. ‘After all, from what I’ve heard, making a girl—’

You find your mouth sealed shut and your neck put in a choke-hold as your knees slam into the cobbled path, drawing several curious stares. Rosaria, ever the worry-wart, looks at you—and your assailant—in concern. You’d forgotten about her during the course of the conversation … and you realize that Sansa wasn’t totally wrong about your victory over her coming on a technicality rather than on applicable grounds. Her hold was very much … tight. Not inescapable, of course, but you wouldn’t be able to get out of this without getting violent … which was precisely the opposite of the type of resolution that you wanted to reach. You frown, wondering just why she was being such a sore loser. She was the one who reached orgasm by the stroke of two—

‘We are in public,’ she hisses into your ear.

You consider it for a moment.

‘But I made you squir—erk!

‘Senpai, no!’

HE MADE HIS CHOICE!

You died making a woman squirt with two fingers. There were worse ways to—

My, my, you’re both getting along just fine, aren’t you?

Your eyes widen as the smooth voice of a familiar arrival reaches your ears. The hold around your throat loosens; freedom is yours again; you breathe its scent with gusto, falling upon your palms as your former assailant walks up to your saviour, glaring up at him as she smirked down at her.

Maldante.

Wilmots.

You could feel the chill of their animosity clawing at you from your position.

It takes you all of two seconds to remember Sansa Wilmots and Lucion Maldante got along as well as you and Emilio did.
>>
>>3685345
>'Sansa, why don't you take Rosaria back to the hotel. I'll meet up with you guys back there.' (Talk with Lucion)
>'I see that the both of you have some catching up of your own to do.' (Leave them both together)
>'Maldante.' (Curt acknowledgment)
>Say nothing
>Write-In
>>
>>3685349
>'Sansa, why don't you take Rosaria back to the hotel. I'll meet up with you guys back there.' (Talk with Lucion)
>>
>>3685349
>>'Sansa, why don't you take Rosaria back to the hotel. I'll meet up with you guys back there.' (Talk with Lucion)
>>
>>3685349
>>'Sansa, why don't you take Rosaria back to the hotel. I'll meet up with you guys back there.' (Talk with Lucion)
>>
>>3685349
>Write-In
"Come on you two, lighten up for once. It'll be one of the last times we'll be on the same rock for a while, after all." [Mediate/placate/beg]
>>
Thankfully, as Sansa was used to calling off any potential scuffles between you and Emilio before things got too bad … you were used to (ironically, along with Emilio) calling off Maldante’s and Sansa’s claws before they popped out of their sockets. Neither of them were fighters by nature, but Maldante and Sansa had been tussling for the position of the primary for the better part of the last five yearsdespite neither of them sharing a single syllabus outside of mandatory physical conditioning and CQC remedials. They didn’t even share a single class outside of the administration elective … and even that wasn’t so much a competitive grade as it was an instructional module to those with an eye on desk work more than front-line management. Stepping in at this point was something that you were used to; it just wasn’t something that you enjoyed doing. You just wished they’d get along; their political scuffles were as irritating to you as synthesized fuel was on cotton.

To be fair, however, you and Emilio probably caused the others the same grief.

That, however, was perfectly valid, in your opinion.

‘Sansa,’ you start, catching her attention, ‘why don’t you and Rosaria head down to the hotel first? I’ll catch up with you guys when I’m done here.’

You get no argument from Rosaria. She does, however, throw Maldante a small glare (he returns it with half a smirk that he doesn’t bother to hide) as she makes her way towards a concerned-looking Rosaria, who you proceed to placate with a reassuring look. The both of them walk down the street and back towards the hotel without another word, leaving you alone with quite possibly, the strangest twenty-two year-old on Rhysode.

‘You would think that five years would dull that knife’s edge,’ he quips, chortling as he observes Sansa’s retreating back.

‘I think the both of you need to dull your edges,’ you return, placing your hands in your pockets as you fight down a small smirk of your own. ‘We’re not kids anymore.’

‘Tell that to her,’ Maldante mentions pointedly. You don’t bite; smart as he was, you’d grown too used to being around Lucion Maldante to fall for any and all his traps. He may have you out-stripped on intellect and wit, but you could hold your own enough to make your way around him.

‘You’re more likely to listen to me in that regard than she is. In a negotiation, you go after the more reasonable one first and make your way up. Besides, you’re acting like you didn’t get a sick sense of joy beating her out in the elections at the start of the year.’

‘And I thought I was supposed to be the observant one.’

‘No, I’m the observant one. You’re the smart-ass.’

Lucion punches your upper arm.

You give him a light shove.

Then … you laugh.

‘I haven’t seen you for a while,’ he starts. ‘Everything all right?’
>>
>>3685463
>'Yeah, just ... I got my assignment. I'm in Logistics aboard the Greyhound. You? Got that cushy desk job?'
>'Wow, you actually noticed that no one was around you for once?'
>'No, nothing much going on here. You?'
>'Unless the rumors about you and Fisher are true, I'm fine.'
>'You're actually asking me that? I thought I was as interesting as toasted bread to you.'
>Write-In
>>
>>3685467
>'Yeah, just ... I got my assignment. I'm in Logistics aboard the Greyhound. You? Got that cushy desk job?'
>>
>>3685467
>>'Yeah, just ... I got my assignment. I'm in Logistics aboard the Greyhound. You? Got that cushy desk job?'
>>
>>3685467
>>'Yeah, just ... I got my assignment. I'm in Logistics aboard the Greyhound. You? Got that cushy desk job?'
>>
>>3685467
>>'Yeah, just ... I got my assignment. I'm in Logistics aboard the Greyhound. You? Got that cushy desk job?'
>>
‘Yeah, I … I just got my assignment,’ you answer, albeit reluctantly. As much of a bruise as it would be to your pride, you couldn’t keep the truth of your future sealed forever; even if the man next to you was bound to out-rank you—no, especially because the man next to you was going to out-rank you. ‘I’m serving as a Logistics Specialist aboard the Greyhound. Have my designation and everything. How about you? You have that cushy desk job you wanted?’

‘It’s there,’ he answers, causing you to feel slightly more disheartened than you thought, ‘but … as always, service first. I’m given a clear pathway and the powers that be have decreed that I need a … messier resume than what I have on offer. I’m thinking of actually serving as a Specialist somewhere for consideration.’

‘You have the scores to be a pilot on any Squadron on any inhabited world or conflict zone,’ you mention pointedly, silently lamenting that you didn’t, in a side-by-side comparison. ‘Why don’t you ask around for any drives looking for fresh meat? I’m sure one of them will pick you up. Maybe you and Emilio might even end up on the same Squadron.’

‘I’m not looking to go full career,’ Maldante replies, before taking a stance of reconsideration. ‘At least not fully. I have a fifteen-standard window to work on, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that transitions into politics don’t translate well for military personnel unless they wish to be stuck as sandwich meat somewhere as endorsement references.

You sigh.

You’d forgotten about Maldante’s ambitions.

‘Frankly, I’m surprised that they passed on you as a Squadron attachment,’ he announces, making you cock an eyebrow. ‘Then again, I suppose they consider the collective data over ambition and irregularity. It must pain Instructor Fisher somewhat … actually being killed in an exercise by someone who didn’t even make the cut.’

‘It was luck,’ you admit, remembering the incident. ‘I mean, it’s just basic knowledge, right? When you’re in a mutual black-out, deceit’s more important than establishing organization. Everyone’s in a mess and you don’t have time to gather your forces up for any feasible offensive, so you fall back to rehearsed protocol. We work under assumptions; not binary situations, and if the enemy is expecting you to fall back to rehearsed protocol in that situation you—’

‘—Improvise’ Maldante chimes in as you do, the both of you sharing another laugh. ‘Technically, it was an illegal move. I would’ve docked points.’

‘They did,’ you lament, remembering just how it went down. ‘Wray gave me the kill, though. I don’t think I’d ever seen him so … uh …’

‘Purple?’

‘That’s the word,’ you nod. ‘You’re serious about not going career?’

He stares at you neutrally. ‘We’ve had this conversation before.’
>>
>>3685562
>‘Yeah, but … politics? Really? I lived through politics. Nothing ever really gets done until it doesn’t need to be done anymore. Most of the administrative stuff actually goes into action by direct intervention.’ (Scion)
>‘Right, right …’ (Resigned)
>‘I just think it’s a waste of talent. You’d make a good Knight-Commander … and I’d be able to tell my kids that I hung out with you when I finally go grey.’ (Praise)
>‘I just feel like it’s an insult to The Aegis. That you’re—you, of all people—are just using it as a stepping stone.’ (Dreamer)
>Write-In
>>
>>3685566
>‘I just think it’s a waste of talent. You’d make a good Knight-Commander … and I’d be able to tell my kids that I hung out with you when I finally go grey.’ (Praise)
>>
>>3685566
>‘Yeah, but … politics? Really? I lived through politics. Nothing ever really gets done until it doesn’t need to be done anymore. Most of the administrative stuff actually goes into action by direct intervention.’ (Scion)
>>
>>3685566
>‘Yeah, but … politics? Really? I lived through politics. Nothing ever really gets done until it doesn’t need to be done anymore. Most of the administrative stuff actually goes into action by direct intervention.’ (Scion)
>>
>>3685566
>>‘Yeah, but … politics? Really? I lived through politics. Nothing ever really gets done until it doesn’t need to be done anymore. Most of the administrative stuff actually goes into action by direct intervention.’ (Scion)
>>
0
>>
hmm
>>
>>3685566
>‘Yeah, but … politics? Really? I lived through politics. Nothing ever really gets done until it doesn’t need to be done anymore. Most of the administrative stuff actually goes into action by direct intervention.’ (Scion)
>>
>>3685566
>‘Yeah, but … politics? Really? I lived through politics. Nothing ever really gets done until it doesn’t need to be done anymore. Most of the administrative stuff actually goes into action by direct intervention.’ (Scion)
>>
I am in my father's office and people are looking at me as though my dad de-aged 30 years and is typing on a laptop.
>>
>>3687833
Command whoever looks like a secretary to get you a coffee
>>
>>3687882
And a sexy dance
>>
>>3687898
My Dad's Secretary is a 53 year-old friend of the family whose husband passed away last year and whose son is mentally disabled.
>>
>>3687946
Damn don't they make hot secretaries any more? What a shame.
>>
‘We have, yes, but … politics?’ you practically spit the word out, rubbing your own shoulder as you’re met with a narrowed set of eyes from his side. ‘I lived through politics. Nothing ever gets done until it doesn’t need doing anymore. Anything administrative only really executes by direct action from external bodies pressing in by their motivations until the objective just happens to be achieved as a side-effect. If you’re looking to make a difference, you might as well go sideways into a corporate subsidiary and reinforce local administrations with whatever you want through injection. It’ll consume less time than whatever pathway you’ve planned out for yourself.’

He cocks an eyebrow.

‘You do realize I could seriously reverse that and ask why a Scion of Mishima has aspirations to be a Knight-Commander if I wanted to, don’t you?’

You raise your hands in apprehension.

‘Yeah, but you’re better than me,’ you throw right back; at his lack of response, you decide to push on. ‘Take it from me: it’s a Hell of a thing to balance pragmatism and honour when you’re in that seat … and it’s a lot easier to think of the after-effects of pulling a trigger on a moving target than it is pondering data and forms condemning an industry to a recession.’

‘And I could easily point out that you saying that is more of an excuse to step away from responsibility than it is any semblance of honour.’

‘I won’t lie that there’s a self-serving element to it,’ you reply, chuckling despite yourself, ‘but at least I know that I’m taking a life with a shot in a combat situation; when life and death and statistics become involved, your considerations get very wonky. I’m not suggesting anything, of course … but like I said, if you’re thinking of being tempered for the political scene, you might as well dropped through a corporate subsidiary and shift sideways. Going through the Aegis seems fast, but this place … if anything else, it’s a bit of an anathema to requirement, you know?’

‘By your opinion?’

‘Well, I grew a conscience,’ you grumble, scowling. ‘It’s horrible.’

Maldante chuckles behind a fist, nodding. ‘I suppose,’ he concedes, even if he doesn’t really sound like it. ‘You can be such a pessimist sometimes, though.’

You tilt your head, considering it.

‘Maybe,’ you admit, sighing, ‘but really, you don’t feel off at all using The Aegis as a stepping stone to get into the Silver Hall?’

‘You’re acting like I’m the first one to do it,’ he shoots right back. You wince, if only slightly; he was correct in that retort. ‘Rather than, what, the twenty-thousandth or so?’

‘Fine, fine,’ you brush it right off. ‘Don’t say I didn’t warn you, though.’

He laughs again. ‘I’d never.
>>
>>3687963
>‘I’ll see you later tonight, then?’
>‘No books today?’
>‘Speaking of politics … Kaibara.’
>‘So, do you have a date tonight or are you just going to show up, eat and get ready for the slog?’
>‘This is a little … personal, but did you and Fisher ever really … you know? Since we’re probably not going to see each other again. At least until you finally make office.’
>Write-In
>>
>>3687975
>‘So, do you have a date tonight or are you just going to show up, eat and get ready for the slog?’
>>
>>3687975
>>‘So, do you have a date tonight or are you just going to show up, eat and get ready for the slog?’
>>
>>3687975
>‘So, do you have a date tonight or are you just going to show up, eat and get ready for the slog?’
>>
>>3687975
>>‘So, do you have a date tonight or are you just going to show up, eat and get ready for the slog?’
>>
>>3687975
>‘So, do you have a date tonight or are you just going to show up, eat and get ready for the slog?’
>>
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You throw him a small smile, rubbing the back of your head … until a stray thought hits you.

‘So,’ you start again, ‘do you have a date for tonight or are you just going to show up, eat and check back in to get ready for the slog.’

‘I do not have a date, I trust my appetite more than you do yours and I am planning to return late tonight, if the festivities take as long as I suspect they are going to be,’ Maldante answers, as systematic as ever. ‘Besides, isn’t have having a date something that you should be concerned about more than I, Lord Mishima?

Oh, boy.

>Write-In
>>
>>3688105
"Perhaps, perhaps, misery loves company does it not? I think I can manage something though."
>>
>>3688105
>I think I have that covered two maybe three times over. I don't think I will be lonely tonight.
>>
>>3688105
>"Do you like BLONDES Maldante?"
*Seinfeld theme plays*
>>
>>3688112
This
>>
>>3688105
>Write-in
>Ive got two, maybe three.
>>
>>3688105
>>3688112
this
>>
>>3688112
This

Also YES
>>
You wear a slight smile, trying your best not to give away … too much.

‘I think I have that covered a few times over,’ you let out slyly, throwing a wink in for good measure.

‘So you finally decided to Hell with it and paid a whore-house to send in their best?’

‘What? No!

He nods, prompting you to raise an eyebrow.

‘That’s it? You’re not curious or anything?’

‘It’s of no concern of mine,’ he returns simply. ‘If anything, I’m more surprised that your progress took this long to bear any sort of fruit, given the assets at your disposal. From an external perspective, your assets were there to be deployed at your leisure, but you adamantly refused to move forward with these advantages despite every inclination to do so. This outcome, therefore, is ultimately of no consequences or concern of mine. I’m not here to keep up on gossip that concerns my comrades or to continually observe them; if you choose to do so, it’s your choice to proceed. Not mine.’

‘And what if I told you Ryosuke had a date, too?’

What?!

You snicker into a fist, prompting a glare from the slightly taller man.

‘It’s good to know you got an eye on him more than you do me.’

‘You can’t tell me you wouldn’t be the same, either,’ Maldante accuses, regaining his bearings (the pink cheeks are very pronounced, however). ‘Honestly, if there is a woman out there for him, I … she’d be a curiosity for the ages. If I were him, I would have caved in and paid a pleasure district a visit.’

‘Oh, he went,’ you reveal, grimacing as you turn your gaze downward, ‘they told him to never come back.’

‘Oh, ah … well … I hope there’s someone out there for him, at least. He’s not an … altogether unpleasant person, even if his attempts at romance are rather, ah …’

‘Embarrassing?’ you finish, placing your hands on your hips as you fight down the grin. Trust a memory of Ryosuke’s mishaps to lighten up the atmosphere.

‘Some girls enjoy that, you know,’ Maldante retorts, literally pointing a finger in your direction. ‘That … how do you call it again? That … charm. Plus, we both know he’ll be going places once he decides to take his commissions seriously. I’m surprised he wasn’t head-hunted by fourth year.’

‘He’s not head-hunted because he’s prone to lapses in concentration; has an abysmal record in applying combat theory; thinks out of the box too much to the point of detriment and has no electives in administration-centred units and is a piss poor Commander in practice,’ you let out in one breath. ‘I think he likes it that way, too. Sometimes I wonder if he just popped right out of some book of character cliches.’

‘We’re all the richer for it,’ Maldante declares, before pausing and adding, ‘but don’t tell him I said that.’

‘No promises.’
>>
He rolls his eyes, brushing imaginary dust off his shoulders as his lips fight down a smirk.

‘In any case,’ Maldante starts again. ‘I’m glad that you were able to get over yourself and go ahead with … well, it would be too presumptuous to say relationship—’

‘You can just ask me, you know?’ you grumble, now finding yourself rolling your own eyes.

‘Oh, I’m not curious about that at all,’ he replies dismissively, prompting you to develop a slight twitch, ‘but really, good for you. In any case, my designs for tonight are mostly on keeping my vigilance up. As you are aware as the … top gun, I am the designated target for our class, and I don’t intend on being idle about it.

You can’t help but chuckle again … before realizing something.

‘Wait, how do you know I’m not going to do anything to you?’

Because it’s beneath you.

You shrug. It was true.

>‘I’ll see you later tonight, then?’
>‘No books today?’
>‘You’re probably more up to date with it than I am, but … you heard anything else about Kaibara?’
>‘So … not even Fisher? You hung out with her a lot …’
>‘I assume you have your valedictory speech for the party ready.’
>Write-In
>>
>>3688615
>>‘You’re probably more up to date with it than I am, but … you heard anything else about Kaibara?’
>>
>>3688615
>>‘You’re probably more up to date with it than I am, but … you heard anything else about Kaibara?’
>>
>>3688615
>‘I assume you have your valedictory speech for the party ready.’
>>
>>3688615
>>‘No books today?’
>>
‘You’re probably more up to date with it than I am, so I was wondering if I could ask … have you heard anything else about Kaibara?’

‘There’s been quite a bit that’s happened since the incident,’ he announces, crossing his arms across his chest. ‘Anything … you want to talk about in particular? It’s a mess.’

You nod.

‘Yeah, it is.’

>‘Anything from Prince Horun?’ (Immediate Concern)
>‘Did you catch Princess Urnae’s funeral procession? I missed it.’ (Casual)
>‘Has the Emperor said anything since?’ (Grieving)
>‘Kingon Worthy resigned. The Black Rod must be dancing.’ (Infighting)
>‘The Silver Hall’s becoming more aggressive with their industry. What’s your opinion on that?’ (Economic Aftermath)
>‘I … you know that I actually met Princess Urnae before, right?’ (Scion)
>‘Actually … I got nothing.’
>Write-In
>>
>>3688651
>>‘The Silver Hall’s becoming more aggressive with their industry. What’s your opinion on that?’ (Economic Aftermath)
>>
>>3688651
>>‘Anything from Prince Horun?’ (Immediate Concern)
>>
>>3688651
>‘The Silver Hall’s becoming more aggressive with their industry. What’s your opinion on that?’ (Economic Aftermath)
>>
>>3688651
>>‘Anything from Prince Horun?’ (Immediate Concern)
>>
>>3688651
>>‘The Silver Hall’s becoming more aggressive with their industry. What’s your opinion on that?’ (Economic Aftermath)
>>
>>3688651
>>‘Anything from Prince Horun?’ (Immediate Concern)
>>
>>3688651
>‘The Silver Hall’s becoming more aggressive with their industry. What’s your opinion on that?’ (Economic Aftermath)
>>
>>3688651
>‘Anything from Prince Horun?’ (Immediate Concern)
Follow up on the economic aftermath
>>
>>3688663
>>3688667
>>3688705
>>3689460

>>3688666
>>3688701
>>3689257
>>3690182
Flipping a coin. Coin flipped.
>>
Anything from Prince Horun?

‘Nothing that’s changed since the last official statement,’ Maldante answers, crossing his arms across his chest. ‘Physically, he’s recovered, but there are reports of his mental well-being being noted as … compromised in the wake of what happened. Nothing official, of course, but … well, considering the circumstances, I wouldn’t blame anyone for wanting to be out of the galaxy’s line of sight. As hard as it is for the Imperium to have to deal with tragedy … he’s probably taking it harder than all of us put together.’

You give as understanding a nod as you can manage. While you weren’t exactly privy to the intention and emotions of the Emperor and his blood, you couldn’t imagine losing a sibling in circumstances under your direct control, accident or no. Mouths flapped and tongues wagged, of course, as was the nature of man, but ultimately, the only truth that mattered was that Princess Urnae was no longer among the living … and her brother, the man who many had seen as the overseer of the affair, was still here. Whatever people thought of him, you are merely able to imagine how he felt in comparison.

‘I … can’t imagine how he’s feeling,’ you let out, sounding more neutral than you intend your voice to be, ‘but that sort of thing … it was just circumstance. Who could have seen that coming?’

‘There have been many people weighing in on the matter,’ Maldante goes on, nodding, ‘but due to the … sensitivity of the issue, many have stopped some way short of an actual conclusion regarding what happened at Kaibara. Suspicious and gossipy people may be, but they know better than to raise an accusation of such a magnitude … so I suppose that that sort of restraint is something to be commended over the usual scavenger frenzy I’ve come to expect from matters like this.’

You almost roll your eyes. Maldante’s allusions could be grating at times, even if you did get the crux of it.

‘You could afford to be less cryptic,’ you mention pointedly, prompting an indignant look in response. ‘You aren’t, however … totally wrong. At the same time, I don’t believe that there’s anything concrete to go by, either … so any suspicions in that direction are rightly cut down before they reach assumptions that they’d regret concluding as false … or true.’

‘Rather unlike you to stay on the fence.’

‘Let’s just say that I’ve learned to give people the benefit of the doubt … and if incompetency’s the most logical of conclusions that we’ve reached … well, that’s that. As Emilio says, it’s not our place to throw judgment out without … you know, actually tabulating all considerations we’ve been given to weigh. Being on the outside and looking in, it’s our responsibility to at least be able to do that much.’

‘So you believe that what happened … just happened, then?’
>>
>>3691582
>'No, but I refuse to name anyone that would otherwise be a non-factor in the incident. Even and maybe even especially Prince Horun.'
>'Yeah; I'm no expert, but if the technical data reported catastrophic failure by internal means, it could only have been a malfunction.'
>'Yes. I'm not one to go against what has been stated prior; I'm no expert in the matter but I don't see anyone gaining anything from this.'
>'No; I actually have a few questions, but none that I think are ... well, substantially within the scope of discussion or relevant. I'd be shooting from the hip.'
>[Shrug]
>Write-In
>>
>>3691591
>>'Yes. I'm not one to go against what has been stated prior; I'm no expert in the matter but I don't see anyone gaining anything from this.'
>>
>>3691591
>'Yes. I'm not one to go against what has been stated prior; I'm no expert in the matter but I don't see anyone gaining anything from this.'
>>
>>3691591
>>'Yes. I'm not one to go against what has been stated prior; I'm no expert in the matter but I don't see anyone gaining anything from this.'
>>
>>3691591
>[Shrug]
>>
>>3691591
>>'No, but I refuse to name anyone that would otherwise be a non-factor in the incident. Even and maybe even especially Prince Horun.'
>>
>>3691591
>'No, but I refuse to name anyone that would otherwise be a non-factor in the incident. Even and maybe even especially Prince Horun.'
>>
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No posts today, just silence and remembrance. I know we were all busy salvaging what we could. What a shitty day.
>>
Testing to see if banned.
>>
Yay, I'm not banned.
>>
[b]Testing[/b]
>>
To be quite honest, you weren’t quite sure where you really stood on the matter. Your dignity, however, refused to allow you to fundamentally make a decision based on anything regarding conspiracy or … whatever else that people called it. There was no reason for you to discount the assumptions and conclusions of the experts on the matter and save for a few dissenting voices, no one had actually vehemently argued the transparency of the investigation.

Besides, it’s not as if anyone would or could actually and actively … lie about it, would they?

‘Yes,’ you communicate adamantly, before letting out a sigh and realizing that you probably needed to explain just why you refused ‘I’m not one to go against what’s already been stated. I’m no expert in the matter but I don’t see anyone gaining anything from this.’

‘You don’t think de-stabilization of the Imperial dynamic would be of value to certain parties.’

‘Cloak and dagger methodology operates on the premise of a controlled demolition,’ you return pointedly. ‘De-stabilization’s usually better achieved through subterfuge and control over death. I’m not assuming that there aren’t madmen out there wishing for death for the sake of it … but if you’re implying agenda, then this is too wild and messy for anyone with one to control. If there is motivation at all, it’d be from a personal level … I think. Agendas and plans are usually executed on a more pragmatic basis at this scale; especially if it involves the death of a Princess.’

‘You’re awfully opinionated for someone who claims to be no expert.’

‘Whatever,’ you grumble, refusing to pursue it any further. You didn’t want to corner yourself where Maldante was concerned; he could be vicious when given the chance … and as far as you’ve progressed in regards to your character, you’re not quite sure your ego was sturdy enough to take a beating from Lucion Maldante.

Fortunately, he, too, seems keen on a shift in subject.

>‘Well, I’ll see you later tonight.’
>‘No books today?’
>‘About you and Fisher … were there really any truth to those rumours?’
>‘You have your speech for tonight?’
>Write-In
>>
>>3696940
>‘Well, I’ll see you later tonight.’
We'll find out all of the other things in time I believe. Best we move on.
>>
>>3696940
>>‘You have your speech for tonight?’
>>
>>3696940
>>‘You have your speech for tonight?’
>>
>>3696940
>‘You have your speech for tonight?’
>>
>>3696940
>>‘You have your speech for tonight?’
>>
>>3696940
>‘About you and Fisher … were there really any truth to those rumours?’
Alright. I'll bite.
>>
>>3696940
>>‘You have your speech for tonight?’
>>
‘You have your speech ready for tonight?’

While not exactly a fixture or a constant of the universe, it was an unofficial tradition for the class’ “top gun” to give a speech to his peers. The usual dribble of unity, strength and responsibility and how regardless of achievement, what mattered was their ability to be committed to their duty and the like. A small part of you is actually quite relieved that the burden didn’t fall to you. While you weren’t exactly a terrible public speaker, you still had a tendency to talk down to people rather than lift them up at the worst times. Your upbringing had made it hard for you to relate, and even with the last five years, you didn’t trust yourself to bend in a tangent that would inevitably make you more enemies than friends by the eighth syllable. Maldante, as textbook as he had been in all the time that you’d known him, was probably the safest choice. At the very least, he’d probably just bore a

‘Yes,’ he answers, concisely and to the point.

And?

He doesn’t elaborate.

You shift from one foot to the other, wondering if he would care to expand on that nugget. Five seconds pass, then ten … and the only thing washes upon you in its wake is awkward silence and a patient glance from the (slightly) taller gentleman.

>‘Yes, and …’
>‘All right, just asking.’
>Write-In
>>
>>3697444
>>‘Yes, and …’
>Is it good, is it bad, are your nervous. For a guy who really appreciates good books, you're kinda not following the social cues that have been written in them since time immemorial.
>>
>>3697444
>‘All right, just asking.’
>>
>>3697444
>write-in
>slap his shoulders
>"I'll clap for whatever you say"
>>
>>3697444
>>3697450
this. or ask if he wants help?
>>
>>3697444
>>3697450
This
>>
I'm alive, just been busy this weekend.



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