< Reassignment | Red Ice Logs | A Question of Money >

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 more or less leaves Anstice: to fend for himself once they arrive at the baths themselves. K changes into the robe, putting away his gear in a locker, and looks for an isolated spot to settle.

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 selects an empty locker at random. "Six? I thought it was eighteen..."

Kinqueduran: "Six."

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.

  • Anstice nods triumphantly at it. "See? See? THIS is what I had in mind."
  • Kinqueduran stretches, popping his knuckles, elbows, and shoulders in quick succession, then wanders towards one of the numerous theraputic baths.
  • Anstice finds something appropriate, and follows unsteadily after K.
  • Kinqueduran exchanges feeble pleasantries with a few marginally-familiar faces, then drops the robe off in the corner before sinking into the bath.

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 doesn't know anyone, so doesn't attempt to be too pleasant, instead sliding into the bath after just barely remembering to lose the robe.
  • Kinqueduran exhales slowly, sinking up to his scar-crossed chest in the steaming pool, breathing in deeply.

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 approaches the bath of Anstice: and Kinqueduran:, a nine-foot man of bronze with short, jade-tipped feathers and hawkish features. "May I join you, Blessed Ones?"
  • Kinqueduran stifles a laugh. "Yeah, why not. Just be careful of him, he's still drunk or worse.
  • Anstice waves at the shiny person. "You say that as if enjoying myself is bad."
  • Boraman smiles broadly, climbing in and sitting down in one of the deeper parts.
  • Kinqueduran slouches slightly, letting the steam soothe his lungs.

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

  • Sweat Servants "May I offer Master a drink, refreshment or other service?" the two small spirits say in unison
  • Anstice blinks at this. "K? Am I hallucinating a tiny woman?"

Kinqueduran: "No, they're real. Ish. Realish."

  • Kinqueduran politely dismisses the servant-spirit-woman with a thin smile, but no words.
  • Boraman laughs raucously, sounding like a temple gong. "Well, then that explains it!"

Kinqueduran: "He's here on business."

  • Sweat Servant K "Very well Master. If I may serve, you need only ask."
  • Kinqueduran gets an idea and waves the sweat-servant back over.
  • Sweat Servant K "Yes Master?"

Kinqueduran: "Pick on my friend. He got himself royally inebriated, and deserves a good ribbing."

  • Anstice peers at the small woman at his shoulder. "Do you have anything for hangovers?"
  • Sweat Servant K* "I am sorry master, I am not permitted to disturb other guests. But if you wish, I can give you a relaxing full-body massage."
  • Sweat Servant A* "I will retrieve a remedy from the Healer Beetles." So saying, the tiny woman skates off on the wisps of steam to do so.

Kinqueduran: "...well, okay. A massage, then."

  • Boraman leans back, gleaming red gaze flicking between the two. "What is your business, if I may ask?"
  • Sweat Servant K bows and begins kneading Kin's tense shoulders with her tiny hands, exuding a relaxing fragrance not at all like the normal sweat produced by Kin. One she finishes the parts of him above water, the tiny woman dives into the pool and merges with the larger body. Kin can still feel her tiny hands, but they seem to come from all directions at once, massaging all parts of him with equal perfection and skill.
  • Kinqueduran starts to explain his business, but only ends up half-closing his eyes and slumping.

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.

  • Sweat Servant A returns with a tall glass of bubbling pink liquid for Anstice:. "Master, your cure. Compliments of the Healer Beetle."

Kinqueduran: "Can you bring me something to throw?"

  • Sweat Servant A produces a fist-sized ball of water and offers it to Kinqueduran:.
  • Anstice nods. "Thank you." He sips carefully at the glass.

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."

  • Boraman offers a two-fingered wave to the hairy god. "Enjoying yourself, Snowfall?"

Anstice: "Anstice: has had enough glowing beverages for now, thank you."

  • Unsightly Snowfall "Yes...I really should do this more often. And yourself, Boraman:?"

Kinqueduran: "He needs another one. Also women."

  • Sweat Servants "Since you no longer require my services, I will depart. I will return to check on you in a short while." the two speak in unison once more and, also in unison, leap back into the men's bodies. With a splash their forms lose cohesion and are reabsorbed :into the skin.

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 blinks at that. "Well, there are the women anyway. And if I hold the glass right, my drink glows. so it seems you are more prophetic than you think."
  • Boraman watches the four goddesses with a twinkle in his red-jade eye. "Well.."
  • Anstice drains the glass anyway, just in case.

Anstice: "Perhaps you should predict the saving of the world and other happy endings."

  • Verna slides into the bath next to Kinqueduran. "The Fish Goddess Team wins every year. I don't know why they keep entering..." the minor goddess of Spring in the Southwest smiles charmingly at everyone else as she relaxes. The heat and water allow the tightly furled blossoms in her hair to open wide, displaying their rainbow of colors in bright compliment to her flawless emerald skin
  • Verna: "Though one year the Queen of Honeybees won with her drone team. But it was decided that a single mind controlling several bodies was not the intended definition of "team" and they were barred from future competitions."
  • Kinqueduran casually drapes an arm around Verna's shoulders, closing his eyes. "I'm not sure predicting happy endings really sees them through, Anstice. That's why we're involved, anyway."

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."

  • Verna shrugs. "It must be. I myself have no desire to participate in such competitions."

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."

  • Verna "A trophy? How…Creation. No, no, silly Sidereal. The prize is 50 pounds of Ambrosia and two Peaches of Immortality for each Goddess.

Anstice: "Metaphor is assumed, but I can see where that specific prize is worth it.

  • Kinqueduran initiates a subject change! "So, Verna, what office are you working at now?"
  • Verna: "Oh, I'm between assignments right now. I got transferred out of Office 219 for being a disruptive influence among the Water Elementals. And now I'm just waiting for my writs of recommendation from Office 787 to join the Task Force of Vegetative Activity.
  • Boraman snorts. "Vegetative Activity. That's a good one."

Kinqueduran: "Disruptive influence? Imagine that. What did you do? Did you start bringing your hobby to work again?"

  • Verna flushes a deep emerald green. "Kin...don't mention that in public.."
  • Kinqueduran blinks when she addresses him by his name - few in Yu-Shan knew him by that. Of course, he blushed just a little when he remembered why she knew his name.
  • Boraman just slides farther into the water to hide his smile.
  • Anstice doesn't bother hiding his own.
  • Kinqueduran coughs. "Right, so. Um. This is my associate, Anstice:."

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.

  • Verna "It is a pleasure to meet you as well, Anstice:. And how good to see you Burgeron!"

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?"

  • Kinqueduran coughs slightly and glances to the goddess, letting her explain.
  • Boraman watches, looking faintly amused.

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."

  • Anstice blinks at the rapid interplay, but shrugs and settles down deeper in the water.
  • Boraman pulls his eyes away from the four deities in the next pool and looks over at Anstice:. "Your friend is quite the storyteller."

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?"

  • Kinqueduran stretches, unlovely scars rippling, then sinks a bit further into the water, actually leaning against Verna just a little.

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?"

  • Verna does not seem to mind, even leaning a bit against Kin in return.

Anstice: "Three? Unless the same math applies to them as it did to the drinks."

Kinqueduran: "I counted at least three."

  • Boraman raises one gleaming eyebrow. "Three elemental dragons. Quite a feat."
  • Anstice raises his foot out of the water to examine it. "No, quite normal, I think."

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?"

  • Burgeron snorts, sending a cloud of water into the air. "I can't imagine why someone wouldn't like you."
  • Boraman smiles. "I can't even begin to conceive the notion."
  • Kinqueduran nods, slouching against Verna. "It's completely unreasonable."
  • Verna pats Kin's head comfortingly, letting him use her as a pillow.

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."

  • Burgeron looks at Anstice idly. "Did you really amuse three Elemental Dragons while drunk? You could get in trouble for that, you know."
  • Kinqueduran gives Burgeron a knowing look.

Boraman: "Calm down, Burgeron. I'm sure he used the proper contraceptives."

  • Burgeron does not sound chastising. In fact, he sounds interested. And something else that Anstice: can't quite figure out the meaning of.

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."

Boraman: "True."

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."

  • Boraman stands up, climbing out of the pool. "I have a report to deliver to the Shogun. Enjoy yourselves."

Anstice: "Then he's had bad luck thus far."

  • Anstice waves to Boraman:. "Buhbye."
  • Verna is softly snoring, head on Kin's shoulder.
  • Kinqueduran waves to the leaving deity, and nudges Verna lightly, trying to wake her.
  • Verna jerks upright with a snort. "Huh?"
  • Boraman leans over, whispers something to Burgeron, and then smiles affably before heading back to the locker room.
  • Kinqueduran chuckles, rubbing Verna's lower back. "You fell asleep."

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.'

  • Kinqueduran coughs slightly and closes his eyes again. "Where should we go next, Anstice?"

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."

  • Verna heaves herself out of the water and starts padding toward the Drying Room "Indeed it is! I will be waiting for you.."

Anstice: "That does sound quite good. Though it seems as if you have entertaining of your own to do, K."

  • Kinqueduran watches her go, then glances at Anstice: and chuckles. "Indeed. I shouldn't leave her waiting."

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?"

  • Kinqueduran bites back a comment about entertaining, and slides out of the water to head to the Drying Room.

  • Kinqueduran emerges from the Drying Room at least twelve hours later and sinks into the pool again, letting out a contented sigh.
  • Anstice is already there. He points at K. "First off, I want to say leaving me while drunk is not nice. Second off, Yu-Shan is not living up to expectations yet."
  • Kinqueduran folds his hands behind his head. "Certainly living up to mine..."

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."

Anstice: "Mhm."

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."

Anstice: "Ok."

Kinqueduran: "We don't talk about this leg of the trip."

Anstice: "Fine by me. I'll probably forget it all anyway."

  • Anstice doesn't seem that worried about it, though.
  • Kinqueduran nods. "Fair, then."

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 shrugs. "Wobbly is bad for that."
  • Kinqueduran shrugs. "She went back to work, I think. It would probably be unwise for me to disrupt her there."

Anstice: "Ah. Probably."

  • Anstice yawns. "I need some place for a nap."

Kinqueduran: "Nap here."

Anstice: "Hrm... considering how useful you've been in avoiding trouble, I'd probably wake up covered in traffic tickets."

  • Kinqueduran shrugs. "Well, my apartment's not far off. You could sleep on the floor."

Anstice: "That might be nice."

  • Kinqueduran nods, reluctantly standing, pulling the robe back on.

< Reassignment | Red Ice Logs | A Question of Money >