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[BGM: http://www.youtuberepeater.com/watch?v=agEwkuxmgKU ]
You sit in silence as you wait for Maribel to say something. Sounds of the city sneak in from the streets, sounds like a car honking or the faint chatter of the people out there. Eliza enters as Mary searches for an answer, her eyes eventually lighting up with an idea.
"A cafe just a short walk from here. I stop there every day before my first class, and their coffee is really go..."
She pipes down and turns the other way, suddenly and overly bashful. You realize that you and Renko had been staring at her intently as she spoke, which is probably why she came to a stop. Renko tries to look her in the eyes with no success, eventually turning her attention back towards you.
"What do you think, Aoi?" She tilts her sighs while leaning her chair back. "I haven't had coffee for some time. The last time I had it was in high school while studying for that big exam..."
If she's talking about the same cafe you were thinking of, then it sounds like a great idea. You eagerly nod in response, then turn your gaze towards Eliza, who's been standing behind you since she entered. Her face became composed and serious in the time she stood out in the hall, and it bothers you, somehow. You grab her hand and stand up, pointing at her with your other hand.
"Eliza should go with us!" You lift her hand into the air with yours and continue to speak. "She's been on a few Sealing Club adventures before, so it shouldn't be a problem!"
"Yeah, yeah. Should be no problem at all, right?"
Renko steadies herself with one hand as she stands, beaming her approval. Eliza excuses herself with a promise to come back, leaving the three of you on your own once more. Renko eventually convinces Mary to ease up and follow you into the mansion's front yard, where Eliza comes dashing back to your group.
"Sorry! I had to change, since a maid walking around the city would be too weird!"
She trots up to you and stops, her chest rising and falling with each breath. Her outfit isn't too flashy, simply just a pair of jeans and a turtle neck. She regains her breath and urges the rest of you on, pointing in the direction of the cafe as she speaks. You had been all for her going along, though now you feel like she may change things around.
"So, take a right here, go straight for a block..." Renko speaks the directions out loud as she walks, having memorized them perfectly in such a short time. "Look to the left, and there it is!"
Surely enough, it's the very same cafe you had thought of. It'd be an understatement to call it small, seeing how most of the seating is on a porch outside the building. One customer sits at an iron table with his laptop, pounding out a paper for one of his classes. There's no other patrons at this hour, making the establishment feel devoid of life.
The four of you sit near the edge of the porch and watch the street as it slowly comes to life. At one point a waitress asks for your order, heading back in as soon as you finish giving it. You sigh and watch a couple as they walk towards a candy shop, thinking about how nice it must be.
"My sister had me watch this cute show with her last night." Renko smiles and stirs a cup of coffee, causing you to realize that your cup had arrived. "It was one of those magic girl shows. You know, where they fly around and fight evil with crazy powers."
"Oh, I've heard of those." Eliza sets her cup down and jumps into the conversation. "They're really popular with small kids... and some adults too. Isn't that right?"
The two of them laugh while you and Mary sip coffee in unison. She actually joins in on the conversation, talking about a fashion show that she likes. It's obvious what everyone likes to watch, except... Well, you're pretty sure they don't know what shows you like.
"Fashion is nice, sure, but what I really like are the game shows!" Renko bites into a bearclaw, chewing it up as she speaks. "Some of them are really stupid though, like that human tetris thing."
"What about that obstacle course show? That one's pretty funny. I actually see some of the maids watch it while slacking off!" Eliza stops for a second and swallows. She turns to Mary and laughs nervously while waving her hands in front of her face. "N-not that I'm the one slacking off! It's the other maids who do that, of course!"
Mary smiles, obviously unconcerned. The three continue to laugh and chat about their favorite shows, and for some time you simply watch them. It can be nice to observe, too.
"Ah, that's right." There's a sort of 'chink' as Renko sets her cup down, turning her attention towards you once more. "What kind of shows do you like, Aoi?"
You freeze up, searching desperately for a good answer. You lower your coffee and laugh, tugging on a lock of your hair as you think.
"Well, what I like are... cooking shows! Right, it's fun to watch them chop and dice the ingredients, and most of the hosts are really talented. They make cooking look as impressive as dancing, and I bet their food tastes really good, too!"
"Oh my, you watch those too? I like to jot down notes when I see something I want to serve to the Master and his friends." Eliza laughs. "Some of them are real gentlemen. They'll go out of their way to complement my cooking, even when the Master is trying to talk about other things!"
You sigh, having dodged a bullet there. The four of you finish your snack and pay the bill, and then leave the cafe behind. As you walk away, you realize that your group and the guy on the laptop were the only ones there that whole time. This revelation strikes you as odd, though it's only a passing thought.
Mary leads the way into a small store, using the excuse of having had her eye on something for a while now. She busies herself with finding some held item and trying it on in the changing room, while you take a look at a collection of music boxes on the wall. Most of them are small and inexpensive, though there's a couple large ones with really impressive displays in them. You crank one up and watch as small soldiers chase little rat men around the box, circling around a Christmas tree in the process.
You're interrupted by something being shoved onto your head, the person behind you laughing as they adjust it. You turn to face Renko, who's given you a thumbs-up of approval.
"That kind of hat really suits you, Aoi! I can't tell if it makes you cute or if you make it look cute!"
Renko says that shamelessly, laughing it up with her hands still in the air. You blush and look over at a nearby mirror, only to see that it really is a cute hat. It'd actually go well with your outfit, and it... It's way, way too expensive.
You put it up and sigh, turning to look at some noise from the other side of the store. Maribel's stepped out of the changing booth, sporting a kimono with a bamboo design. Her and Eliza exchange a few words before she changes back into her normal clothes, then taking the outfit to the front. The four of you are off again, and you start to wonder why Mary bought something strange like that.
A vibration in your pocket dispels those thoughts, and you bring your phone out into the open. The screen says that you have one new message from...
Hey, I heard that you're back! I'd come see you, but I'm really, really busy today.
We could have lunch together after class, though! You are going tomorrow, aren't you? I'll be mad if you don't!
You're probably with Renko and the others, though. Tell them I said hi, okay?
You smile and close the phone, not sure of how to respond right now. Your group stops in front of the park you thought of a while ago, and Renko leans against the wall surrounding the place. Mary and Eliza sit down, still looking at Mary's new clothes. Renko glances at them and then at you, then shrugs.
"Well, it's still too early to do real Sealing Club activities, so we might as well wander around." She looks out at the street, then back at you. "Any ideas on where we should go, Aoi?"
[ ] Suggest staying at the park.
[ ] Suggest stopping by your old high school.
[ ] Suggest going by the university.