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Mari

[OP-F4] Girls Night In!?!? But who is that outside? Probably a loser.

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'Cord's Noodle Factory - Fourth Floor'

 

Mari had frequented the store a few times now, ever since Cordelia had opened - Rather....the orange haired woman had probably frequented the place a little too often. Many times she'd duck her head in to glance at the board; just to see if there was any available stock. When there was, she'd buy it out. She had to eat; and what better way to do it than by supporting the business of someone she knew? Tonight, was one of those times.

It was evening, the sun had just set; and the gently falling snow had finally settled, creating a new pristine carpet of white across the entire floor. Mari entered the shop - hands cold and red, she had just  finished playing her violin, by the lake of her home - and instead of venturing into her abode to warm herself up, she instead made the trek to the noodle hut. Despite the open storefront; inside ws toasty warm - and the scents of various broths and meats permeated around, causing Mari's stomach to growl.

"Hey Cordelia, you in?" Mari called out as she came and sat herself down on one of the stools. She gingerly rubbed her hands together to bring them some semblance of warmth.


@Cordelia

Edited by Mari

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"Oh, hey Mari," Cordelia chimed, stopping what she was doing-- which just so happened to be cutting green onions-- as she watched a frequent customer enter her shop. "Are you here to get something again?" She asked, turning on the faucet behind the counter to wash her hands before she shook the water off of them. 

Strangely, Mari had been visiting her shop more than the average person probably should. . . though, Cordelia was sure that it had to involve being a PKer and all. Even though she was sure Pinball was still roaming out and about, Cordelia wanted to open her shop to Mari at the very least. Mari couldn't go into town to get any kinds of buffs, so she was sure that was the reason why she had come to her shop so often.  She really hoped that her ramen wasn't the only thing feeding Mari though. . .

"Goodness, you look cold," Cordelia sniffed, propping her elbows against the counter. "I can cook you something if you want? I feel guilty when I'm not usually here when you come by. You can consider it my treat if you want?"

@Mari

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Someone else was already here.

NIGHT slipped under the store curtains, head ducked down, but eyes still settled towards the counter. She was hoping she wasn't going to be seen packed up in a bright winter's coat and scarf, but with any luck, it was someone she wasn't going to see again for a lifetime. "Hey," she called out, announcing her presence, before turning over to the player beside her. Nevermind. She'd discarded her hopes when she found the figure out to be Mari. The woman still wasn't used to seeing orange marked players at all, but it brought her some comfort that it was someone she was already familiar with.

Dark locks trailed with NIGHT's head tilt as the player asked. "Oh, you're here to feast too? Didn't take you to be one suited to the cold -- or for a bowl of ramen." She glanced over to Cordelia, with a nod. "A bowl of shoyu, please. Extra cha shu. Err-- hold on the vegetables, but give me the seaweed. Sorry I'm such a picky eater." A brow raised, as the woman smirked. "No treat for me, please. The snacks you save for me are fine enough."

She slid onto a stool, picking up a pair of chopsticks and looked them over as she waited. To the two of them, she asked aloud, "So, what've either of you been up to these days?"

@Mari @Cordelia

Edited by NIGHT

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Mari waved Cordelia's apology off. "It's fine, its fine. I'm just happy you've set up in a place I can actually get to." Mari leaned forward on the wooden bar; peering over at Cordelia as she continued her conversation. "Yanno, this is the only place I can really eat. I've tried ordering from stores in the safe zone before - but the only one who accepted was some hotdog shop...and I shouldn't be picky. But I'm not really a big fan of hotdogs...still...ah..." Mari's brows furrowed what was the guys name again? It was a sesame street character. "Ahhh what was it...it was named after that muppet....oh. Oscar. Yeh. Would you believe that before I ordered from him and before another player gave me some food...I hadn't eaten in months?"

Mari sighed as she leaned back. "It's....quite painful to feel constant hunger. But I'm...really...happy that I dont have to worry about that anymore. Now I just need someone to open up a tea hut and I'll be set."

Cordelia mentioned that Mari looked cold as she approached her. "You think?" Mari asked as she looked down at her hands, they were still red. "Yeh...I was uh...playing the violin. Yanno Baldur thought that the music I played was just the floors background music?" Mari laughed lightly, her cheeks slowly matching the red of her numb fingers. "So - I guess I try to play more often in case he or others hear." Mari reached up and over the bench - her cold hands clasping either side of Cordelia's cheeks. "Do they feel cold to you?"

It was then another patron had come in, Mari quickly pulled her hands away from Cordelia's cheeks. "Ah..." It was NIGHT - speak of the devil and she would appear?  "I actually really like the cold." Mari said to NIGHT as she went back to absently tapping her fingers along the wooden bar. "I made my home here, and its my favorite floor thus far..." A faint smile appeared on Mari's lips. "I guess...it's just, peaceful here."

Mari listened as NIGHT made her order. "Not a fan of the spring onion?" Mari asked - continuing the lighthearted conversation. "I'll take some Shoyu too; with extra Chasu, oh and extra seaweed - everything else can stay the same, and you know I'll pay you back - be it col or in some other way."

Mari turned her attention back to NIGHT. "I've just been preparing for the frontlines... doing a few quests here and there, with Cordelia too - ah, and I Got my familiar now."

@Cordelia @NIGHT
 

 

 

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“Cold cold cold cold.” The words fell like a muttered prayer from her chapped lips, spiraling as hot steam into the frigid air. Completely unprepared for the floor’s miserable temperature, Kai wrapped her arms tightly around herself. Of course, in her flowing blouse of vibrant, highlighter yellow, the wind went right through her. Her black high heeled boots slipped on the snow and ice, and the similarly colored pants she’d painted on that morning provided no warmth. In short, Akaiko was miserable.

The time had come to face the truth - she would become a Kaicicle before she could even reach the transport gate. With no other option available, Kai sucked into the first storefront she encountered. The heat washed over her immediately, providing blessed relief the moment she stepped inside. Her long groan was almost erotic in nature as the warmth permeated her frozen form. Then, when her eyes fluttered open to survey her surroundings, a million watt smile lit her flushed face.

”Oh my gosh, hey,” she cried out. “No way, a ramen shop! I had no idea this was even here! How totally iced.”

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Cordelia poured herself a cup of coffee as she listened on to Mari. "Hotdog place you say?" She hummed, bringing the mug up to her lips. Sounds like a certain person she knew--

"-what was it. . . it was named after that muppet. . . oh. Oscar."

Cordelia nearly spit out her drink. 

"Muppet?" She echoed, her brain slowly putting two pieces together, "th-the one that--" She wheezed, setting down her cup as she let out a laugh, "t-the one that lives-- in the trash can?" She cackled, her hands clutching her stomach. "I-I can't breath. . !" She gasped, propping one hand on the counter as she went into another fit of laughter. "I thi-- I think I'm going to die," Cordelia exclaimed. A wave of coughs ran over her body as the laughing seemed to die down-- which really wasn't for like, another two minutes. 

"My lungs won't ever be the same again," she rasped, pulling herself up to the counter before Mari an exhausted smile. "That was the biggest laugh I've had in a while though, thanks for that."

Cordelia tilted her head. "Well, you're always welcome here." Cordelia sipped on her coffee again as she raised a brow. "Baldur, huh?" She mused, smiling into the cup. "Well, I'm sure they're a bit warmer now but they're a little bit cold," Cordelia noted. "It is nice here, but I wouldn't live here. Even with the Survival Skill, I still get cold easily," she shuddered, a shiver running down her spine. 

"Oh, hey, NIGHT," she sniffed, flashing a smile to the girl. "Ah, alright. Coming right up!" She exclaimed, setting down her mug on the counter before she retreated to the stove in the back of the shop. 

Cordelia nodded her head. "Yeah, same with Mari. Just been preparing and stuff like that. I want to start preparing buffs for the frontlines soon. Oscar shouldn't be handling all of that by himself," she murmured, grabbing a few bowls from the shelf beside her. 

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"Peaceful, huh?" NIGHT wondered if she could say the same about Floor 4 herself. The snow was nice, but the cold was ruthless. Though, with the Survival skill, it hadn't been as nippy as she'd expected when she'd entered the floor from the teleporter. Maybe it wasn't all bad. A sudden realization struck her, as she began to recall her experiences here. "The Yukinko...She had to check up on them at some point.

She scooped up those words, though, conscious returning to the present from her thinking. "No spring onions, ma'am! At least, not if it were up to me. Vegetables are great and all, but my least favorite kinds are anything green." The player paused for a moment, thumbing the paper slip her chopsticks came in. "I'll still eat them, just not a big fan. Except broccoli, and-- oh! Edamame. Those are always good for me. Speaking of which..." NIGHT leaned forwards and up, trying to peek over the counter. "Hey Cord! You got any of those edamame beans? I'll take a serving if you have any!"

As she slid back into her seat, the woman let out a breath, letting her chin rest on an arm set back down on the counter again. Frontlines, huh? Sounds like everyone had been busy. "Pretty good progress, I take it. What's on the agenda for you two; big boss coming up soon, or some labyrinth exploration?" Admittedly, she felt that she could rely on Bistro for that sort of information, but it was always better when she could tap from the source. She spun the chopsticks around her fingers playfully, nodding and listening in on their responses.

It was about then that yet another player entered the shop. NIGHT chirped a noise of curiosity, glancing behind her shoulder to check on the newcomer. A new face? Her extreme excitement shone through with the found warmth. "Hey yourself," NIGHT barked back, moving her stool aside to make space for the stranger. "How'd you find this place, then, if you don't mind me asking?"

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"H-huh what's so funny?" Mari asked as Cordelia literally lost it, heaving with laughter at Mari's way of remembering Oscar's name. "Oh...do you know him?" Mari inquired. Oops...calling him a muppet that lives in a trash can may have been interpreted as an insult - but at least Cordelia didn't see it that way. She found the humour in it. Mari awkwardly laughed. "I uh...ahah...of course you know him, with a reaction like that...I mean - you're welcome? I think?"

Mari leaned back. "I should really do some more potion crafting... although it seems these days cooks are the commodity in boss raids. I doubt many would want what I have to offer, but I may as well try. Right?" Mari asked- although it was more rhetorical than anything else- she had been talking to herself really, blue eyes travelling up to the ceiling as she watched the steam rise. 

"I don't mind greens, it's actually overly sweet things I have trouble with. I prefer dark chocolate to milk or white - and candy just doesn't really suit my palette." Mari swiveled her eyes back toward Night. "Maybe my tastes are like my personality, bitter." She said with a bemused smile. "As for whats comin' up soon - Yeh, I'll be fighting with the others at the floor boss. So its just a matter of last minute questing before then. I should really rest though...I also feel like-" 

She paused when she heard the exuberant sound of delight from behind her. "Pfft...Totally ice? Can't say I've heard that one before." Mari said with a grin. She quickly flipped open her HUD, scrolling down till she found her white coat. Mari pulled it out of her inventory as she pushed herself off her feet. "You look kinda, really super cold there." Mari commented - noting the red tinge on her nose, ears, and fingertips. Mari gently dropped the coat over the new girls head. "Here, I rarely use it." The warm winter coat was a brilliant white; and was lined with plush faux fur around the hood, sleeves and bottom of the coat. Its sleeves were thick, and warm. 

"I suppose it's a convenient location, right?" Mari asked in an attempt to answer NIGHT's question. "For me at least, its outside the safe zone - and for those travelling - its a neat little halfway point before hitting the town." 

Mari shifted to move back onto her stool, giving the newcomer some room. "I'm Mari." She began, pointing to herself, "We're in Cordelia's Noodle Hut, and that's NIGHT." She finished pointing toward the raven haired girl beside her. 

@Cordelia @NIGHT @Akaiko

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Life had had a rather interesting couple weeks on his journey back from his two year isolation, he had helped a couple inexperienced players find their feet, witnessed the return of an old friend he presumed dead, and ran into Mari on multiple occasions during his quest hunts. Things seemed to be okay between them, but a lot of that had to do with Mari just being a good person. Apart from that he had made quite a lot of progress in leveling, and now it was time for a break.

There was something about the cold on the fourth floor, he couldn't tell if it was due to his survival skill, but it offered a mild numbing sensation which he subtlety had taken to. Life sighed as he trudged through the snow, the condensation of his breath forming small clouds of vapor which puffed into the sky. Did he even know how to relax?  

Life kept walking until he could hear a ridiculous amount of laughter from a distance. Probably sounded like someone who was relaxing, so Life decided to check it out. As he got closer the faint sound of chatter grew louder, and the smell of ramen was potent. Huh a ramen shop outside a safe zone, should be interesting. 

Life pushed through the banners which hid the faces of multiple feminine figures, peering into the heart of the shop. "Good evening." Life said politely as he entered. His eyes met the shopkeeper initially, a young a pretty lady, before he took a glance at the other customers, also young and pretty ladies. He paused for moment and blinked as his eyes met Mari's. "Oh, fancy seeing you here. Promise I'm not stalking you." He repeated the familiar phrase once again with a joke, this time with no ramblings about fate. "I hope you all don't mind me barging in on your small gathering." He added while taking a seat at the end so he didn't get too in the way of what looked to be a girls night. 

He wasn't sure what to order, he hadn't eaten in two years and he was rather used to the constant hunger to the point of barely noticing. Life looked up at the menu and squinted, reading each ingredient in his head before deciding. "I'll have a Tonkotsu ramen. A small bowl if that's alright, first meal in a couple years." He said nonchalantly.

Life turned his attention to the black haired women "Couldn't help but overhear your question before I got here, but if you wanted to know how I found this place I just followed the sound of someone laughing their guts out. Name's Life by the way, nice to meet you all." 

Edited by Life

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Is she, like, choking or something? Can you die from that here? I never actually learned the heimlich...

Fortunately, Kai wasn’t forced to learn the answer to her query (or the heimlich, for that matter). Instead, the woman metaphorically came up for air, wheezing a bit before she began talking to the redhead. Okay, not dying.Thank god. Akaiko must have missed a really good joke, which was a total bummer, considering how much she liked that sort of thing. Maybe she would ask to hear it later.

The player tossed her cap of brunette hair, then use both hands to fluff it. Most of the lingering snow had melted, but it left the locks a bit lackluster. Why had she even bothered trying to style it that morning? Never again, if the fourth floor was not the itinerary. She was picking at her obnoxiously bright blouse when the other woman’s words reached her.

”So it’s a funny story,” she drawled, leveling her bright gaze on the dark-haired beauty. “I was freezing my virtual tits off out there, and I decided I’d just stop into any store I came across. Y’know, before I died? Well anyway, this was the one I found, and here I am!” Kai did a quick tap dance as she shook off the last of the flakes, then strode toward the bar.

She was intercepted by the pretty ginger, who dropped a white coat over her head. Kai’s face, transparent as always, first registered surprise, then glee. “Oh my god oh my god, this is seriously mag.” She drew it tighter around herself, then beamed back at Mari. “That is, like, seriously nice of you. Do you want any money for it?”

The woman lifted a manicured hand in greeting. “Nice to meet you, Mari, Cordelia, NIGHT, Life.” She turned to each as she greeted them. “My name is Akaiko.” She placed extra emphasis on the second syllable, rhyming it with ‘eye’ rather than ‘bay.’ It was a mistake everyone seemed to make. “But most everyone just calls me Kai, here, and in the real world.” She offered a quick, one-shouldered shrug. “Yeah no, wan’t creative enough to make a new name, so I used my real one.”

Edited by Akaiko

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"Mari, he's my boyfriend," she said nonchalantly, smiling to herself as she let out another laugh-- though, not a dying one. "I'll be sure to tell him about that when I get home," she beamed, looking over her shoulder to give the orange-haired girl a wink. 

"Oh, sure. No one ever really wants those but I've had a few in store," Cordelia exclaimed, reaching to her side to grab a jar of edamames. "Oh no, I feel like the labyrinth boss would've been too much for me to handle, but I've gotten new gear so I should be able to handle the actual raid boss," the chef said excitedly, dumping a portion of cooked noodles into two bowls from a strainer. "I just recently reached tier three, too. Changed a bunch of enhancements on my sword, all that fun stuff," she sniffed, placing a few squares of dried seaweed on top of the noodles before adding a few slices of the chashu.

Cordelia looked over her shoulder again as another player seemed to have entered. She` tilted her head before flashing the girl a grin. "Oh, come on in. You must be freezing out there," she said, raising her hand. "I'm Cordelia, and it's a noodle factory, Mari," she quipped whimsically. She turned her attention back to the young girl. Cordelia's eyes widened a fraction. "Ah, I suppose that's one way of saying you're cold," she murmured, laughing under her breath. 

"Pleasure to meet you Akaiko. Do you want something off the menu? It's over there if you want." Cordelia nodded her headed over to the small blackboard that sat on the wall of her shop. "Choose anything you'd like off of there."

Another player had seemed to enter the ring! Cordelia wasn't sure if there had ever been this many people in her shop before-- it honestly a bit overwhelming. 

"Pft-- it's fine. I'm always glad to have more people here," she said to the newcomer. "Is he your friend, Mari?" She asked, turning her attention back to the bowls of ramen she had been preparing.

"Give me a second with these two and I'll get to yours in a bit," Cordelia exclaimed nervously, not sure if he was actually joking about that whole 'first meal in a couple years' thing before she eventually stuck out her hand to give the man a thumbs-up. She unscrewed the cap off of the edamame jar. "Oh, I'm guilty of that, sorry. I promise that I don't usually laugh like that," the platinum-haired player said with a silly smile as she laid out a couple of the green beans on top of one of the ramen bowls.  

"I never knew my loud laughter could attract people to my shop. I guess that's just another redeeming quality about me, huh?" Cordelia mused, adding the last few things on the ramen bowls before she poured the broth on top of it. 

"Alright, two Shoyu ramens-- one with extra chashu and seaweed and one with no vegetables except edamames and extra chashu," she exhaled sharply, setting down the bowls of steaming ramen before she handed the two a pair of chopsticks and soup spoons.

"Enjoy!"


ramen.gif

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"Ohh, so that's what had gotten you all perked up." Mari instantly regretted saying that. Foot in mouth. Always. "I mean..." She cleared her throat with a cough. "When I first met you, you seemed somewhat angry at the world - but every other time it was less so.Not that like, you need a man or a partner for that sorta thing." Mari quickly added. She thinks she smoothed that over nice enough. Mari gave Cordelia a grin. "It's nice to see people finding romance in a place like this...."

Mari listened to Cordelia and NIGHT exchange some words about the upcoming fights. It was then that Life had entered. Mari inwardly flinched. But had to remember he was trying to redeem himself, he wasn't the same person who had relentlessly tortured her - well, he was...but...water under the bridge...right?  Instead, Mari offered Life a small smile. "Oh, really cause it feels like you are." She pointed a wooden chopstick in his direction. "But I'll give you a pass for tonight." 

Mari couldn't help but chuckle at his admission to how he found the place, she turned her eyes to Cordelia, "I know they say smiles lighten up a room - but I guess yours is bright enough to be a beacon." It was an awkward compliment, but a compliment nonetheless. Cordelia asked if he was her friend. Mari shrugged. "He's someone I've known for a while, I'd call us acquaintances. But you know me, I can count my friends on...well, I guess a single hand."

She turned the the very bright and exuberant girl. Akaiko, damn. Even her name screamed cute. Mari dipped her chopsticks into her broth and stirred it. "Keep it. Really.It's aha...it's no big deal, I rarely use it and seeing someone happy about it..." She gave Akaiko a smile. " It's more than enough, 'sides. Ya probably won't die from the cold - but you might become a human popsicle. I've walked past a few in the past."  Another terrible joke, gg Mari, Gg.


@NIGHT @Akaiko @Cordelia @Life

 

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Talk about lively, when the two new players entered the shop. NIGHT hadn't expected yet another visitor to join the group so soon. She spared him a quick glance before looking back to Akaiko. Virtual tits? Before she died? Her eyes shifted as she tried to adjust to the new language, a little uncomfortable with the player's forwardness. "Well, at least you won't be freezing your butt out there anymore. That's for certain."

"Tier 3," she then repeated under her breath, catching Cordelia's words in the mix of voices. "Sounds good. You're definitely outpacing me now in progress, at this point." The player wondered if she should see to some equipment upgrades herself, but she had to admit the difficultly in tracking down some alternatives. Perhaps in the future she'd be able to seek out a formidable weapon for herself too. I really shouldn't be slacking...

It was starting to get a little out of NIGHT's comfort zone, as she lost her voice trying to keep track of conversation. Life introduced himself first, and NIGHT rolled her eyes with a smirk when he mentioned someone laughing their guts out. A friend of Mari's, he'd seemed. Then, from the other newcomer, her ears pricked up at the word 'mag'. For a beat, she wondered how old the kid was, giving the girl a glance with her cheek resting on her fist.

"So you're Japanese, then," NIGHT mentioned, casually throwing out that observation after Akaiko had introduced herself, as her food was beginning to be served. She quickly followed it up a "It's nice to meet you both," as her meal was set down in front of her, dexterous fingers splitting apart her own chopsticks. They worked at the bowl, beginning to pick apart the garnishing of beans.

The player hummed, taking a bite from her meal before piping back up, a curious look painted on her face. "Hey, Life, you wanna elaborate on not having eaten for two years? I can't imagine it." She then turned to Akaiko with a tilt of her head. "Speaking of which--" It felt a little intrusive to ask, but the woman did pick up on how prim the girl's hands were, how neatly kept her hair had been even with the onslaught of snow. "--Do you always get dolled up before heading outside...? Like, even out adventuring?" NIGHT could only imagine the effort she might've spent on keeping up appearances, only to maybe lose it within a handful of skirmishes. It wasn't up her alley at all.

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Seemed as though the other lady that shared newcomer status what quite bubbly. It seemed everyone here was getting along well, which helped ease his nerves a bit, even Mari would give him a pass tonight it seemed. Life couldn't help but smile, though a little embarrassed he turned his attention to Cordelia. Guess I will get a night to relax after all. The conversation about leveling however made him a little sheepish, he definitely wasn't making excellent use of his time. Life watched intently as the shopkeeper expertly made two bowls of ramen, sadly they weren't for him, but he hadn't eaten in two years so it wasn't like another fifteen minutes would hurt him. 

Speaking of which, the raven haired girl seemed to pick up on his earlier statement, asking for more information. He cast his gaze off to the side, not really wanted to get into it seeing as everyone was in a good mood. "Well.." He began. "There aren't many cooks when you're hiding out in the jungles on floor eight." It seemed like a poor attempt at humor, but it was more of a deflection than anything else. "Let's just say I had a lot to think about... Besides, after the first few months you barely notice the hunger pains. It's not like we need to eat, but eating together with other players like this, is nice.Hopefully that was enough to satisfy curiosity.

Life watched as Cordelia brought out the two bowls she just finished making, handing one to Mari and one to the raven haired girl. "Say, Cordelia. What inspired you to make the noodle factory?" Life had to admit even though he swore he wouldn't bother with a profession, that having your own little place of solitude out in somewhere with peace and quite was a rather tempting prospect. The heat of the ramen and the atmosphere of the shops light contrasting the cold darkness outside made for a very cozy location. 

@Mari@NIGHT@Cordelia@Akaiko

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