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Jan 17, 2021 7:27 AM
the second-least unique adventuring party in Pu’er
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“Byrne.”

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“- Mr. Barnacle, I’m afraid that’s going to be a ten yard penalty and detention, at midnight, in my office! Bring an electric eel, a raven, and a connivin’ little putty tat, for good measure, we’re getting frisky.”

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Zeke decides to bother standing up. Neighboring tables are either staring at them or pointedly-avoiding-staring-at-them.

“Say whatever weird cryptic riddle you came here for and then fuck off.”

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“Try more aerobics, sugarplum, that shirt makes you look fat.”

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“Literally gonna murder you in five, four, three, two...”

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“Your writer needs to give you more filler episodes, jeez. Go find someone dead, then one in a guise, and watch out for the man with a colorful eye. And eat fewer carbs, we’re not paying you to eat all the hors d'oeuvres on set.”

And then she... disappears in a puff of smoke?

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“Everyone totally knows that you’re just invisible, there are way more invisible bards than there are teleporting bards, you’re, like, not as cool as you think you are - whatever.”

He sits back down.

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Elsewhere in the city and slightly elsewhen, a blackbird is flying . . . strangely.  For one, it darts and weaves between and around spires and crooked towers, occasionally circling one entirely; for another, it's going a lot faster than most birds bother to, even though it's not covering much distance - ahem -  as the crow flies.  For a third, after a relatively lengthy display of aerial acrobatics, it dives, straight down, before pulling up about two stories from the ground to descend at a bit more of a reasonable speed, and finally alighting on a well-muscled shoulder.

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"I think these routes are fine during rush hour, but we should probably either add a bit to mine or take off a bit of yours for when it's less crowded," the owner of the shoulder says, reaching into a pouch on her belt and taking out a bite-sized bird snack.  "It's just too much of a straight shot; I was waiting here for a really long time here before I even saw you."  She pops the snack in her own mouth and starts walking to an edge of the plaza.

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"Uh, iono, like, twenty or forty seconds?  I forgot to count it."

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"Well next time you be the faster one, and then you can remember to count it, how about that."

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This gets her ear bitten, although not hard enough to actually hurt.

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"Ow - okay, sorry, geez - "

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- someone suddenly falls onto them after appearing in a puff of smoke! 

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She squawks in alarm.

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The mysterious falling woman huffs, dusts herself off, and stands up.

“Rude.”

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She checks to make sure the bird is okay, then turns to the dropper.  "Are you all right?"

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“My poppycock is irreparable, my gibbers are jibbed, and within a week the embarrassment of this event will make my willpower dissolve into a fine, delicious stew, heated over the flames of my despair, lightly salted with smooth jazz. I’ve never been better.”

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". . . Good?"

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“I bet you use ellipses with all the girls. Do you want to hear a secret?”

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"Yes."

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“Promise not to tell? Just you and me, no third person involved.”

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