After the Koi God's party wraps up, Kinqueduran: takes the still slightly drunken and vastly confused Anstice: to relax and recover in the saunaplex of the Crimson Panopoly of Victory. Often warriors and instructors, as well as their abused and battered students, come here after or before matches on one of the many sparring grounds and arenas around the Panopoly.
After having the rules of the Saunaplex explained to Anstice: and a membership coin issued, the two men are given one-use red silk robes to change into while enjoying the Saunaplex.
Anstice: "When they said slip into something more comfortable, I was imagining something less... effete."
Kinqueduran: "There's just no pleasing some people."
Anstice: "I can be pleased. It's simple enough."
Kinqueduran: "What, six glowing drinks and a few dragons?"
Anstice: "Ah, good."
The empty locker is, in fact, not empty! It holds a number of variously sized and styled comfort wear garments. All red and all of the finest materials, though not all silk. Clouts, shirts, sashes, towels, robes, tiny pouches and even thongs are ready in case the locker-user wishes to change into whatever pleases him most.
A number of the gods in the looker room pause in their changing to peer at the two Sidereals. With only 47 Sidereals in Yu-Shan on a regular basis, the humans are a very rare sight indeed. A massive, bull-headed god cranes his short neck to follow the two as they leave, momentarily forgetting to put his thong on.
Anstice: drops about a foot further into the water then he planned on as a slightly lighter section of the steaming water moves out from under him, muttering foul words at the Exalt as it flows away.
Boraman: "It's unusual to see a Chosen of the Green here. Good to see that at least some of your division can enjoy the finer things in life."
Kinqueduran: "He's not with the division."
Each of the two men finds the sweat from their bodies being whisked away by some unseen force almost as soon as it forms. After several minutes, each is tapped on the shoulder by a small, translucent woman. Perfectly proportioned despite being no bigger then the forearm of the Sidereal she is attending, each woman is a slightly different color. Both are utterly beautiful and have soothingly pure voices
Kinqueduran: "No, they're real. Ish. Realish."
Kinqueduran: "He's here on business."
Kinqueduran: "Pick on my friend. He got himself royally inebriated, and deserves a good ribbing."
Kinqueduran: "...well, okay. A massage, then."
Anstice: "We're here as consultants on a difficult message."
Kinqueduran: "Something about the end of the world, nothing severe."
Boraman: "Interesting. I guess I'll have to decork that bottle of wine before it goes to waste."
An strange looking god slips into the bath at the opposite end from the two Sidereals and Boraman. He is covered head to toe in wiry black hair that nearly obscures his alabaster white skin. Only his face and hands are free of the hair, both are quite well-shaped and pleasing to the eye. Kin can't place him, but he is probably a nature god of some sort. He lays on his back, limbs extended and begins floating around.
Kinqueduran: "Can you bring me something to throw?"
Kinqueduran: "Ah, very good." He holds on to the ball of water for now, and says nothing more on that subject.
Having completed their tasks, the two Sweat Servants ask their respective masters if they desire anything else.
Kinqueduran: "Hmm. Anstice:, you need anything?"
Anstice: "Not that I can think of."
Kinqueduran: "I think that means that Anstice: needs a glowing beverage."
Anstice: "Anstice: has had enough glowing beverages for now, thank you."
Kinqueduran: "He needs another one. Also women."
Anstice: "You speak as if I was greedy or something."
Kinqueduran: "Not at all."
Boraman: "I'm well. The company of the Exalted is, as always, very interesting."
Kinqueduran: "I would hope that we could do better than interesting."
Kinqueduran and Anstice notice a group of four women disrobing at the next pool. With practiced grace and none of the distaste their forms would suggest, the Goddesses of Tigresses, Lionesses, Pumas and Ocelots arc into the air and dive into the steaming water to begin practicing for the All-Yu-Shan Synchronized Swimming Competition.
Anstice: "Perhaps you should predict the saving of the world and other happy endings."
Anstice: "This is true. Merely an attempt to lighten the mood."
Kinqueduran: "You know that never works."
Boraman: "The competition is often more rewarding than the prize."
Kinqueduran: "I think that's only true in swimming competitions."
Anstice: "It depends muchly on what you consider the prize. The enjoyment of the act and the adulation of the fans are often more than a mere trophy."
Anstice: "Metaphor is assumed, but I can see where that specific prize is worth it.
Kinqueduran: "Disruptive influence? Imagine that. What did you do? Did you start bringing your hobby to work again?"
Anstice: "Pleased to meet you."
Kinqueduran: "And this charming goddess is Verna. We used to work together."
Anstice is distracted when the same god that was watching the pair of Sidereals change in the locker room drops into the water next to him with a splash and a huge bovine sigh of pleasure. The massively muscled God of Bovine Vitality and Health sinks into the water, blowing bubbles through his massive nose.
Anstice: "Doing what? I'm afraid I don't see quite what skills you share immediately. It is the alcohol, I apologize."
Kinqueduran: "I've worked in departments that don't solely focus on stabbing, Anstice:."
Anstice: "Slashing instead?"
Verna: "Kin and I worked together for three weeks in Office 984. We dealt with the annual livestock round ups in An-Teng. Kin was a consultant dealing with rustlers."
Kinqueduran: "And before that, I was assigned to a subOffice of the Cerulean Lute."
Verna: "He was transferred out when they found him threatening a rustler with a Daiklave."
Kinqueduran: "It wasn't a Daiklave, it was just a really shiny great sword."
Kinqueduran: "They completely overreacted, I was just trying to help."
Verna: "Well the Daimyo of Daiklaves said it was a Daiklave."
Kinqueduran: "I think he's just out to get me."
Burgeron: "He doesn't have time to bother anyone but General Grimcleaver, you know. He won't leave the poor god alone."
Kinqueduran: "Speaking of the General, I really think he gets a lot of shit for nothing."
From various parts of Anstice's body, a stream of slightly dark water forms into his Sweat Servant. Her face smiles and mouths "Do you need anything, Master?"
Anstice: "He has loosened up considering since returning here. I am used to him acting more morose." He shakes his head at the return of the sweat servant. "No, but thank you."
Kinqueduran: "I'm the only one who's loosened up. How many dragons did you amuse at the party?"
Anstice: "Three? Unless the same math applies to them as it did to the drinks."
Kinqueduran: "I counted at least three."
Kinqueduran: "Anyway, Verna, do you know Mendhari? I can't think of what office she worked with. She's ... 'helping' Anstice: and I with the situation in Creation."
Kinqueduran: "Anstice:, tell the nice folks about Mendhari. I think you know her better than I do."
Anstice: "Oh. Delzahn. Pretty. Very strict about what is proper and what isn't... matchmaker."
Anstice: "Princess of some sort, I believe."
Verna shakes her head. "I'm afraid I don't know her."
Burgeron: "I've met her. She's fairly nice, at least she was to me."
Kinqueduran: "Anstice's description seems appropriate. Pretty, strict, princess. Also a judgmental bitch. She doesn't like me! Can you believe that?"
Anstice: "I think it's less that she doesn't like you, and more that she doesn't think you should be anywhere near her."
Kinqueduran: "I'm actually pretty comfortable with that idea. I've half a mind to let the next demon that takes a liking to her just eat her damn legs off."
Boraman: "Calm down, Burgeron. I'm sure he used the proper contraceptives."
Anstice: "It would not surprise me if I did get in trouble. I have little luck with women. My first was a Yozi cultist."
Burgeron: "What terrible luck!"
Kinqueduran: "That's why I've been guiding him around Yu-Shan. He needs to meet some nice women."
Boraman: "How was she?"
Anstice: "Very good, until she tried to stab me. I should be doing the stabbing, not her."
Anstice: "Anyway, I thought you were guiding me around because of other reasons. I didn't hear anything about nice women before we left..."
Burgeron: "Of course not. He was just using you to attract them for himself."
Anstice: "Then he's had bad luck thus far."
Verna: "I did? Mortal fingers!" the young-looking Spring Goddess has always been a bit..odd about curses and oaths. "Did I miss anything?"
Kinqueduran: "Anyway, that was half the purpose for going to parties. I tend not to enjoy most of Yu-Shan's more social occasions."
Kinqueduran: "Not much, I think, Verna. You could go back to sleep, if you like.'
Anstice: "I don't know... ask Verna. She's more native than either of us."
Kinqueduran: "Any suggestions, then, Verna?"
Verna "Well, there's the Drying Room. And the Aphritorium. The Rose of Serenity, they have the best peach-rind sweets..."
Kinqueduran: "Right, then. The Drying Room."
Anstice: "Hrm. What's that?"
Kinqueduran: "I don't remember."
Burgeron: "It is the chamber of the Saunaplex where we are dried by elementals of warm air, laid on clouds and thoroughly cleaned and then dried again. It is a very nice place."
Kinqueduran: "Now that might be nice."
Anstice: "That does sound quite good. Though it seems as if you have entertaining of your own to do, K."
Burgeron: "While they visit the Drying Room, I think you'd enjoy something else. The Chamber of Towels seems more your place, Anstice:."
Anstice: "Oh? Whazzat?"
Anstice: "If by causing shame for all involved, then I'm doing stellar."
Kinqueduran: "Oh, you know you're having a good time."
Anstice: "I think that is mostly because I still have serenity's own buzz."
Kinqueduran: "That probably helps. Was nice to catch up with her, though. Haven't talked to her in a long while."
Kinqueduran: "Have a nice time with Burgeron?"
Anstice: "It was interesting. However, he is not a nice woman. I think."
Kinqueduran: "Was he a nice man, then?"
Anstice: "He was a fairly nice bullgod, given he's the only one I've met.
Kinqueduran: "So, you like Yu-Shan?"
Anstice: "For now. But again, serenity's own buzz. I think I would like Malfeas almost as much."
Kinqueduran: "I wonder what Malfeas is like."
Anstice: "Like Yu-Shan, only ickier."
Kinqueduran: "You've been?"
Anstice: "Of course not. I've seen it."
Kinqueduran: "Ah. Oh, while we've a tiny bit of privacy, let's make a deal."
Kinqueduran: "We don't talk about this leg of the trip."
Anstice: "Fine by me. I'll probably forget it all anyway."
Anstice: "So, what are the other two things she mentioned?"
Kinqueduran: "Other two things?"
Anstice: "Places to go."
Kinqueduran: "Oh, right. I don't remember."
Anstice: "Bet you can't go ask."
Kinqueduran: "I'm sure you can."
Anstice: "I'd have to find her first. And... well..."
Anstice: "Ah. Probably."
Kinqueduran: "Nap here."
Anstice: "Hrm... considering how useful you've been in avoiding trouble, I'd probably wake up covered in traffic tickets."
Anstice: "That might be nice."