|Title||Chance Meeting in China Town|
|Synopsis||A group of Scions bump into each other at a shop in Chinatown.|
China Town Mid-April, Springtime in the Afternoon.
It was a particularly cool day that day, a sure sign of springtime. People were running all across Chinatown busily, the sidewalks heavily muddled with pedestrians. She was always so sure of where she was going, but today she just liked to saunter around and see the sights. It was in the afternoon, so some of the restaurants in the area for some good dim sum were packed - but she knew a right, good place. Walking slowly, she took in the sights with that slight, upturned curl of her lips. As usual, she wore a plain black dress - though her sleeves, as always, were intricate and lacy. Her walk was at a snail's pace, which would have bothered any number of people behind her - or caused someone to bump into her.
Haruki has tried to ponder and meditate over the last few days since he was last in Chinatown - apparently meeting his Guide, Huang Mei. Mei Huang, in a Western naming format, is an older man of traditional Chinese garb, wisdom, and language housed in the body of a man raised in the West: his accent is every bit as British as Blaze's when he speaks English. He runs a shop down the way named Exceptional Wisdom, Fei Chang Zhi. Having been there once, and finding out some answers to his questions (and, as is the way, winding up with a ton more that need answering), he has finally returned to Chinatown. The problem is that the shop is closed in the middle of the day when he gets there, and though he hangs out in Chinatown most of the day, it doesn't re-open. Apparently Huang Mei meant what he'd said about contemplating things a while before returning - longer than a couple of days in fact.
Blaze has tagged along with Haruki today, having nothing else to do during daylight hours. Being a trust fund baby is nice, especially when it comes with a title. Today, he's decked out in a gray suit, his hair pulled back in a short tail, and he looks far more respectable than he really has a right to. He takes a small, silver pocketwatch from his vest pocket. "We're going to miss tea time," he says with a small frown. "Are you even certain he'll be here today?"
Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your point of view, Owain too has a guide, or guides plural. Its just that they live in the Underworld. Which means that Chinatown is as good a place as any in New York to…not talk to them. The Turehu would probably go blind in a place so riotous in color, and Owain isn't faring much better in the morass of tourists. While he briefly debates the use of the spear as a method of crowd control, he recants just as quickly. Play it low, play it cool. So he continues to walk, keeping an eye on all around him as one foot crisply moves in front of the other. He isn't dressed nearly as fancily, opting for white short and jeans. A forgettable Scion in a forgettable crowd, it is part and parcel of his purpose. Until he bumps into a Chinese girl and mumbles a quick apology, trying to segregate himself out and to the side of the crowd. New York is just bigger than any city in New Zealand, and he needs the freedom of air not filtered within the sprawl of weekenders and cheap merchandise.
The young Chinese girl had been walking through the smaller side streets of Chinatown, passing by a store called Fei Zhang Shi. A bump right in the keester was what Xian felt. The dress tight around her hips and waist, his larger form had pushed her forward and into an Asian man who was standing beside a man dressed to the nines, with his hair pulled back. The young girl quickly apologized. "Oh, I'm really sorry." She said, her voice and tone even and quiet, though with presence even in a street filled with tourists. She turned to the man who had quickly segregated himself out and to the side of the crowd of the walkway, giving him a little smile, as if to say - Don't worry about it. Though, Xian realized as he was walking, that maybe he wouldn't catch her trying to pardon him for pushing into her like he did, looking quite lost amidst the sea of people trying to walk through Chinatown. The young woman crossed her arms as she looked at the other two gentlemen. "Pardon me…" She continued, her voice still soft and mellifluous as she attempted to walk past them. Even though she was slightly embarrassed on the inside, it only remained as a quick flash of emotion in her milk chocolate-colored eyes.
Haruki is dressed down fairly well today too. It's business casual you might call it, if your business of the day happened to mean you spent most of the day outdoors rather than at a desk. He's leaned back on a bench watching the store, but shakes his head at Blaze. "I don't think he is," he admits at last. And double-takes yet again at Blaze's wardrobe. "Seriously, man," he points out, "you were in a corset and wild makeup the first time we met, and leather pants later on, and… NOW you break out the Lord Carmarthen gear?" He reaches for the pocket watch with a playful look. "What?! Even a… chained… Good god, man! Are you DEPRESSED?" he asks half-seriously. "The day I bend and wear jeans and a tee-shirt, you strut the fancy stuff?" He shakes his head, looking around once more. And then sighs. "Right, let's roll," he decides. "I guess I need to meditate more on questions and answers and the meaning of life and whatnot." He's such a bad Buddhist, really he is. Well, until someone knocks into a pretty Chinese girl in snug fitted garments, and she falls into Blaze at least. He's immediately a good Samaritan then, reaching for her to help steady her. "Ni shenti hao ma?" he asks in Mandarin - "are you okay?" Though the answers in English have him switching immediately. "No problem, just checking," he replies in English then, watching her walk away.
Blaze quirks a brow curiously at Haruki, standing as well as he tucks away the watch. "What? Can't a gentleman dress nicely for his beau now and again? Besides, I thought perhaps your mentor would be a bit less glowery if I weren't decked out in motorcycle leathers. Shall we…?" He's cut off when people begin colliding, falling back onto the bench. "I say!"
Owain misses nothing. Where his father skimped on endowing him with the fine virtues of being personable and making friends…okay, maybe he can influence people to a certain point. Tangaroa did however give his operative the best sensory suite a neophyte Hero could ask for. That and his own feelings of a lack of resolution prompt him to shadow the enfolding scene. "So sorry. Completely my fault." The Kiwi utters. More by way of explanation than apology, though there is a quite sincerity for those that read those sorts of things. Owain, ever the minimalist. He hangs back as Haruki steadies her, but ever ready to assist. He then turns to the closed shop, a faint whistle through his lips, as if recalling some pearl of wisdom. "Some of us stumble into our destiny, others wait outside the gates praying for admission. Still others wander in the dark and hope for enlightenment." Yeah, thats Owain. Not much for everyday conversation, but he reads between the lines like woah. Noting that the Brit and his erstwhile Sino compatriot appear to be engaged in some sort of joint intelligence advertise, he hangs closer to the lady of the equation, though hardly in any fashion save that of one lone ranger gravitating towards another. "Yes, men of the old ways tend to be rather…sticklers for protocol."
The sound of Mandarin being spoken to her was like a little shock. Xian gave the tiniest smile. "Wo mamahuhu." - It's tolerable, she said with a little smile. Could be better, definitely - having a big man push into her definitely wasn't on her agenda, but what was a girl to do? It's not like she wasn't jumped by any bigger things, especially when fighting. The thing was that she had the chance to throw her fenghuo lun before they got too close to bump into her that way. With a little smile, she turned to the English gentleman. "I apologize," she said quickly in English - her voice steady and calm as it always is. When the larger male started to speak, she turned to him and stepped closer to the big lug. "Enlightening," she would quip, nodding sagely. She turned to the shop with a small smile. "I've always been a stickler for those types of quotes, myself. If I could only recount one that might seem as profound as that for this situation." Not that she knew the situation at hand, but she turned to the man who spoke Mandarin. "Ni gandeng le." - You're waiting in vain, she'd say, with a tiny smile, and then in English now: "They don't seem to be opening today."
Haruki gives both Owain and Blaze a semi-flat look. "I think he was more frowning over the fact a good Chinese boy was hanging out with a hooligan white one than anything. If you'd been Chinese and dressed like that, he'd probably have just shrugged it off as you being a kid." He passes his fingers through his dark hair. "You're right. Huang Mei, the owner, told me to go home and reflect a while. I suppose he understands the impatience of youth better than I do if he's chosen to close so I can't come pester him." He chuckles, but it leads into a sigh as he sets his hands into his pockets. "Well, that's that then. I'll just have to try him again the next time I've a few days off work." He nods at Owain and the girl both. "I'm Haruki Lee. My dapper friend here is lying because he's usually dressed differently and I think he must be totally ill." He nods sagely, casting that same almost-smiling look Blaze's way. "Nice suit, though," he does compliment.
Blaze stands again, brushing at the front of his vest. "My fault entirely," he says to Xianliang with a small smile, then offers his hand to her. "Lord Carmarthen, a pleasure to meet you." He casts a quick glance to Haruki, lips curling in a grin. "When I bother to dress at all, you mean?" He looks Owain over for a moment, giving the man a pleasant nod.
Owain leans back against the nearest wall, finding a certain comfort and solidarity in it. Crowds reminded him too much of flowing water…of ocean waves. "One of my uncles is the same way. Old Maori man. Frowns on the White Man and Western Culture in All Its European-Ness." Ah yes, skin color and stubble aside, perhaps it is an olive branch of common ground that he offers to Haruki. They both were fostered by worlds that Disapprove of That Sort of Thing. He bobs his head somewhat awkwardly as introductions are made. "Owain Morrison. Lord of The Flat, Sovereign of the Mattress." It may fall a little flat, but he tries nonetheless. It would be noble and commendable if it didn't seem so offhand. As the as yet unnamed Chinese girl relates her envy of his 'talent'. "Oh, it loses its mystique fast. I'm a repository of odd words strung together. Occasionally, it makes me look smarter than I am." He says with the first thing resembling a smile. Ah, how he does try. He keeps his hands to himsellf, though, not much for touching.
Xianliang chuckled softly. As introductions were made, she gave a pleasant nod and a smile to each of them. Her small frame standing straight and… tall, if you could consider her such. Her milk chocolate eyes gave each of them a hospitable, greeting glance. She takes his hand and shakes it, her grip firm but not bruisingly so, belying the strength that she had underneath her feminine exterior. "Xianliang Chen, but everyone calls me Xian." She says with a smile. Oh, yes, it was indeed hard living without a Westernized name in New York, but her mother insisted on it. She decided that it was an alright name, and at least people never forgot it. "So… Mr. Owain, Mr. Haruki, and Lord Carmarthen." She paused for a moment. She didn't even need to ask if the man was royalty of some sort - the title said it all. When Owain explained his talent, Xian gave a big smile. "That's nonsense. I'd love to have a gift with words, written or spoken. As for your friend," she eyed Blaze and then turned to Haruki. "He does look very dapper. I wouldn't call him ill."
Haruki pauses and then offers a quiet, "Mr. Lee," as a method of gentle Westernization. "Or Mr. Haruki, I suppose either works." He shoots Blaze a look and rolls his eyes with a shake of his head. "Yes, yes. Thankfully, you ARE dressed today." He gives the other two a borderline exasperated look. "He's presentable today, but he's usually wandering around in something deemed outrageous. Trust me." He nudges the Brit. "Hence why I'm asking if he's sick. But I think it may be something else. Sly, perhaps. He's very sly." He gives the other man a thoughtful look, stroking his chin slightly. He's still puzzled by it - totally so. His paradigm shifted and he's still working to figure out the new parameters.
"Terribly sly," Blaze admits with an impish grin. "And you may call me Blaze, if you wish. Far less formal than Lord Dylan Meredith, Earl of Carmarthen, wouldn't you say?" He checks his pocketwatch once more with a small frown. "I say, we're late for tea. Perhaps we should all find somewhere nearby to have ourselves a bit of a sit down? The streets seem to be rather crowded today. Not really the sort of place to have a private conversation."
"Knowing the words doesn't always mean they are right, or that one puts them in the correct order." Owain says by way of shrugging it off. He rolls his shoulder, wrists following in the motion. Seemingly ever trying to reach that perfect state of looseness. The likelyhood of it being close to nil, but he is surrounded by fellow dreamers, no? In the absence of an explanation of name, he simply nods at the suggestion of the aristocrat. It does seem sensible, and it would allow him to study this passel of individuals he has found himself in in grateful detail. "Be careful, young Lordling, lest you find yourself caught in a trap crafted of your own slyness." He cautions. He then waits, perhaps indicating that others should lead on. No doubt a Chinese fellow would know the best places for tea, non?
With a tiny smile, the young girl looked around. "The best place for some tea and dimsum is just around the corner, not very far from here." She replies, her eyes glimmering in humor. There weren't very many people who were open to eating with strangers, let alone strangers they bumped into. Then again, stranger things have happened and Xian was always glad to find new acquaintances, and perhaps friends from those acquaintances. She looked at Haruki, then Blaze, and Owain. Such a ragtag group of people! One of them seemed to be quiet and mysterious, the other ostentatious and… British, while the last one… she hadn't really gotten a feel of, yet. But she would. Then there was her - a Scion. Not that they would know about that. Xian gives a small smile. "Well… we are in Chinatown, so the likelihood of finding a place that sold desserts would be… zero. But the place I recommend also sells some traditional Chinese desserts. Technically, they're for after meals, but…" Xian gestures out into the air, her eyes still glimmering with amusement.
Haruki just stares at Blaze again as if he had grown another head. He opens his mouth, closes it. Shakes his head and turns to Xianliang and Owain. "Dim sum sounds fine," he remarks. "And dessert after. I've not had lunch yet for all that it's… um." He looks sidelong at the Brit beside him. "Tea time." Bafflement crosses his features. "I would appreciate it if you would lead, Miss," he says with an inclination of his head. "I'm not from the city and don't know my way around well. Cali boy." He smiles in apology.
Blaze gives Haruki his sweetest, most innocent smile, even adding some eye batting. "Yes?" he asks. He checks his watch one more time, a nervous habit, perhaps. "Tea and dim sum does sound lovely. Let us do that then, shall we?"
Ah, and here Owain had assumed most Chinatowns had similar layouts. It had been his understanding that immigrant communities tended to favor a certain design and functionality, an emphasis on what providence of goods and services would be provided in what fashion. Clearly, his read was wrong. Ah well, such things happen. He looks at Haruki, then at Blaze, and shoves one hand in his pocket as he follows Xialiang. It is only as he is strolling away that he ponders aloud. "You do seem quite the ribald entertainer, Mr. Meredith. I was not aware that Brittania was so inclined towards incorrigibility. Is not the stiff upper lip a requisite of the nobility?" He has grown slightly more confident around other people as his time in the States has polished a few of his rough social edges. Now, at least, he voices several of his questions aloud, rather than playing the part of the cipher. For his own part, he doesn't know other Scions from holes in the head…but for a trick Tangaroa taught him. No, no Scent of the Divine, no magic. Just a bit of wisdom: 'Fate attracts Fate. The people you meet will very likely be Scions, or be involved in another Scion's tale.' Ah, that arrogant squid…and yet, some of his teaching had been useful. "Any excuse to eat is fine by me. I can respect any culture that has the good sense to make anything delicious that it comes across."
Xianliang nods with a slight enthusiasm. Her hand points slowly, somewhat gracefully toward the street corner. "Just a bit across there." Beginning to walk, she looks back and Haruki and smirks. "California, eh? Why leave the sun and the beaches for this place? So much less welcoming, and almost everybody's in a hurry to be off somewhere else." No matter what, though, Xian had lived in New York most of her life. She loved the place, but she knew it wasn't a very good place to live in, if at all. With a little purse of her lips she found the place, aptly named Haochi - simply put, Delicious. She gave a look at each of them before entering and finding them all a seat. It was a pretty small restaurant, and not very full of people. The place was clearly a place where patrons liked to eat, though, and it was inhabited mostly by a number of Chinese men and women. The consensus, seemingly, that the food was great. "Well, if you love good food," She starts to say, smiling at Owain. "… This place has probably one of the best soup dumplings I've had in ages. Next to my grandmother's own recipe, of course." She says with a start. No matter how somber she looked with her little black dress and her matching black loafers, the way her fingers intercrossed, the subtle nuance of her leaning forward to listen to them and see them more clearly, she didn't seem as somber and serious as she looked like.
May be continued on a later date!