Portal Breach: The Collision of Worlds :: v.4.0


    Where Everybody Knows Your Name

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    Where Everybody Knows Your Name

    Post by Shen Woo on Mon Oct 29, 2018 9:57 am

    Time: 6:25 PM
    Date: October 28, 0009

    Scaramouche had made the offer, and who was Shen Woo to refuse. Unlike his costumed Friday night, he was a little more natural in his appearance. Just a little. That day at the mall buying makeup, he'd also found a few more casual outfits for himself, and a couple weather-appropriate items as well. Right now, he was sporting his usual shoes and black jeans, but atop them he had a black leather jacket with a Chinese long dragon on the back. Peeking out from the zipped-up leather jacket was the pink collar of his usual pink shirt. His hair was tousled into its normal unruly style, rather than slicked back and pinned down as it had been on Friday.

    Now, when he stepped in the entrance, he wasn't expecting the boutique area, but as the old adage went, curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back. Lots of nice self-care products--okay, maybe he'd buy a first-aid kit after his meal, not to mention maybe a scarf. He didn't like the ones in the few shops he'd stopped at while at the mall the other day. Too silky. You needed a heartier one to keep warm. Not to mention, to not keep his neck from not getting too cold without that leather collar. But no regrets there. The kid had needed a good cheer-up and pep-talk.

    He would then look around for signage--oh! Bar area downstairs. Duh, Shen Woo. If it had been a snake it would have bit him and knocked him out. He would saunter downstairs with a huge grin, and a growling stomach. "Yo!" His eyes seemed to have a sparkle to them that blatantly screamed of a good mood. Most of the time he was in a great mood. So long as he had his health, had good friends, and knew he would be able to buy good food, he was happy. Okay, good fights and nice street fights on TV helped.

    He settled himself on one of the stools casually, stretching his arms out to the side and then exhaling with exhiliration. "The food smells delicious--wouldn't expect any less than the best after trying some of Scaramouche's best!" He quipped. Oh yes, he was definitely going to enjoy it. After all, hew knew the good stuff.
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    Re: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

    Post by Universal NPC on Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:28 pm


    Spoiler:


    As Shen entered the basement, the colors turned to a calming purple hue that welcomed them into the bar. Music spread through the air that was filled with scents of fried foods and brew, earthy and grainy with hints of sweetness. There were a few other patrons already, two at the very end of either side of the long bar while the large TV propped near the stage played something or rather, probably a sport or local news. The only person so far to be manning the large bar was Collins, dressed in his casual maroon garb, gold-rimmed glasses and top hat adorning his stone head. Fingers covered in thin latex-like gloves as he held a glass, bringing it up to the light.

    The end found itself viewing Shen as he walked up to the bar and took a seat. For a moment, Collins' face was neutral, until the young man opened his mouth.

    "The food smells delicious--wouldn't expect any less than the best after trying some of Scaramouche's best!"

    Ugh.
    The gargoyle's face turned into a brief sneer, though he remembered his manners swiftly as he placed the clean glass aside. "Good evening, sir," his voice seeped in imperiousness as he spoke, "Scaramouche is currently washing dishes as he is accustomed to do so, but I'm sure he'll find some time to come down and 'shoot the shit' with you, I'm sure..." Collins turned away for a moment as he shuffled a few small menus behind him.

    "Here," he stated, sliding a small drink and meal menu towards the young man, "let me know what I can get you. I'll alert Scaramouche of your... arrival." The gargoyle turned once more and took a few steps away, heading towards a wall. There appeared to be a speaker and buttons, and a gloved finger pressed it with a click and spoke firmly through it. "You've a visitor in the bar, Scaramouche," was all that came from it, alerting the android (and Lunette and Boon) that someone was waiting downstairs for him.

    With that done, the gargoyle would wait for a patron or Shen to call him forward to order, though he stood as still as stone and watched over the few visitors (and quietly judged them).
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    Re: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

    Post by Shen Woo on Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:56 pm

    Ah, that soothing hue of purple. Even the most hot-blooded brawler couldn't help but be settled a bit by the welcoming hue and the soul-warming smells of the food and drink. A sneering being in maroon drew out a menu for him and left him to it. "Or, yanno, gimme a good recommendation of what to have. I mean, I did come here for food." Shen shrugged. Oh, he'd learned the fine art of verbal parlay here and there.

    He seemed to scan the menu, squinting to read. Mind you, it wasn't that he was "uneducated" so much as "undereducated". He could read most of it but he wasn't always so sure of how to say it. And of course, there was also that pesky little nagging sensation of wanting dessert. Which meant an all-encompassing array of choice. Curse his sweet tooth just as much as his undeniable hunger and his undereducatedness!

    He would be hunched over the menu for a moment, seeming to zone out, a faint pout on his features. Yeah, were we sure he was thirty-one?
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    Re: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

    Post by Scaramouche on Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:04 pm

    BOY, THIS WAS KINDA AWKWARD. But only a lil' bit.

    In any event, Collins' words rang true: Scaramouche was indeed the tavern's resident dishwasher, the android commonly seen hopping around the kitchen's various stations and counters whenever Boon or Lunette needed an extra pair of helping hands, but that didn't mean he had no managerial clout! The gargoyle was just being a salty roody-poo. No matter the customer, Scaramouche was always rubbing elbows and seeing what's what and who's who. It's how businesses established a solid repertoire (and a decent source of income)! Folks knew him and he knew them, and that's how the robot liked it.

    October 28th thankfully landed on a Sunday, which usually meant that only the regulars from the woods and nearby hunting camps hung around until closing. Their orders were fairly mundane and simple; a round of drinks and a few hearty dishes, little else. An easy night before the staffs' days off!

    "You've a visitor in the bar, Scaramouche."

    Mm~! Listen to that grumpy boy sizzle. The android paused in his vigorous scrubbing of a grease-caked griddle and spoke into the intercom near his workstation at the kitchen sink. "Readin' ya loud and clear, Bat-Boy~!" he honked, laughter as nasally as could be. "Keep 'em occupied for a sec, will ya? I'll be right over ASAP. Thank yoooou~!" Click!

    Hm... Wonder who would've requested his presence on a humdrum night like this? It wasn't Knock Out or Kev, or even Kyoko, because they typically arrived earlier when there was still daylight. Winter was fast approaching and that meant the days were getting darker! And colder too, brrrr... Shrugging with a petite smile, Scaramouche finished up with his chores and draped his sopping-wet dish gloves around the faucet's neck, eager to get away from dishwasher duty for just a bit. All this work made Scaramouche a dull boy! He clicked his heels thrice, fancying a playful twirl, and proceeded right for the downstairs entrance lickity-split. Musn't keep their guest waiting!

    Clop... ...clop... ...clop!

    "Hi~! Good to see ya! Everythin' goin' well?" Ever the social butterfly, Scaramouche first interacted with the patrons closest to the stairway railing and tipped his hat in friendly greeting, taking the time to check up on their meals and see if the tavern's service was above and beyond the call of duty. Aside from a couple of gruff - "Mhm, I'm good." - and - "Oh, everything's swell, thank you." - there was little else to report, and the android was once again making his rounds down the basement bar. He occasionally stopped his route to wipe a few areas and rearrange two or three napkins before locking optics with a certain Shanghai brawler. "WOO-WOO~!" And lo, Collins' Hell had only just begun. Pucker up, because it was gonna be a looooong night.

    Before the man could even react, let alone respond, Shen quickly found a metal hand clasped on his shoulder. "Good to see ya, good to see yaaaa~!" Scaramouche laughed, giving it a fond squeeze. "I'm happy you could make it! The journey wasn't too terrible, was it? The days are gettin' darker, y'now... Pretty soon it's gonna be dangerous to make the trek past 17:00! Ah, but just listen to me ramble... You must be famished~!" It was here that the android happened upon the observation that Shen might not have understood the menu's particulars. The poor guy seemed kinda confused! Scaramouche sent a brief accusatory look Collins' way before glancing down at his friend, toothy grin returning. "Eh~! I don't think we'll really be needin' any of that froo-froo stuff," he remarked, giving Shen a reassuring pat. "Besides, I don't think you're a fellow of hoity-toity origins, so let's wing it Shanghai-style, huh~? We can make ya sweet n' sour spare ribs, Lion's Head, xiaolongbao, yangchun noodles, or even one of your favorites: Shanghai hairy crab! Don't worry about the time; here at Moonshine Tavern, we're master fudgers." But nevertheless proud of their craft, so everything was guaranteed to be of the utmost highest quality.
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    Re: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

    Post by Shen Woo on Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:15 pm

    Ah, but there wasn't really anything wrong with a dishwasher; Shen himself had been a busboy in a gang-owned restaurant in Shanghai when he was ten, after all. Keeping dishes clean was just a very wise survival skill whether you were a guy who had learned to take care of himself because you did kind of have to grow up sometime--even if you grew up on the streets--or an android who had to ensure the survival of a business run by you, your romantic partner, a gargoyle, and another fellow. Mind you, Shen was no stranger to salty words either; that was normal both on the streets and among the King of Fighters tournament where opponents often dished out shade, salt, and a healthy dose of shit-talk.

    But on a Sunday evening, a King of Fighters champion on his downtime needed something other than shit-talk and fisticuffs. Instead, food seemed to be the real need. He'd walked the whole way--a man didn't get exercise by sitting on his duff on the bus after all--and that walking worked up an appetite like training did. He watched Scaramouche greeting the other patrons and checking on their meals with a grin. It really did remind him of his youth working in a restaurant as a busboy. Only hardly anyone actually answered a ten-year-old who didn't look much like the other kids on the account of him being half-European. But it was nice to see how Scaramouche was around his other patrons, to know what he should expect in a more business setting when he was the customer, and the customer was always hungry. And then that nickname! "Scaramouche! He blurted with a huge grin, emphasizing the last syllable of Scaramouche's name with his usual brassy belting voice bursting into its bright brogue.

    Oh how he rambled though. But he was right about some things. "Eh, it wasn't too bad, even hoofin' it from the Inn. The only way a trek like that could be bad would be to shove me in high heels and sic a flock of seagulls on me--and I don't mean the band." Hey, he knew the music of his youth quite well, and A Flock of Seagulls wasn't a bad band, despite the name. No, their stuff had been pretty catchy. "Shit, that's true. I'mma probably have to start taking the bus or a motorcycle or maybe even start bringin' me a flashlight if I'm still feeling like hoofing it." Really, any of those options would be Shen Woo's norm. However, he sighed when he realized that they could possibly wing it for once. He licked his lips like the cat who had just spotted the freshest cuts of meat on the farm. "Ooooof, my weaknesses, xiaolongbao and Shanghai hairy crab. I'm a man of such uncomplicated tastes my good man...mech...mechman...my good pal!" He gave his trademark shit-eating grin, as though someone had served him the best poo-poo platter. Ah, the low-hanging fruit of gross and immature humor, that pun set just had to be done together. "Speakin' of fudge...I couldn't really read the desserts too well but so many of them looked so good too." Why yes, Shen was a glutton for sweets as well. Just as Ash Crimson who stole the last sachertorte in the hotel room, or Oswald who he treated to a good old-fashioned Irish-style bread pudding while in a pub in Dublin.
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    Re: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

    Post by Scaramouche on Mon Nov 12, 2018 5:54 pm

    "Ohhhh, ya hoofed it from the Inn, huh? That's quite a lovely walk!" And, personally, one of Scaramouche's favorite treks to and from the city. Getting too cold for that now, though. The plummeting temperature was positively murder on these old aluminum joints, and don't get the android started on snow, ugh! If he could strap Lunette to his back and take her everywhere, fluff and all, he would in a nanosecond. "Hon, hon~! I vouch for takin' the bus, champ!" Scaramouche advised, tossing in a friendly wink. "The fare's relatively cheap, the seats are clean, and - best of all - the bus driver keeps it nice and toasty. What more could a 'bot ask for, eh~?" Deeeeefinitely safer than riding a motorcycle in sleet, hail, and black ice. Trudging through all that with only a flashlight and booties was also out of the question. Shen, that's how you'll catch frostbite, ya dingus!

    "Ooooof, my weaknesses, xiaolongbao and Shanghai hairy crab. I'm a man of such uncomplicated tastes my good man...mech...mechman...my good pal!"

    Mm~! Music to the android's auditory receptors. "Good pal's nice~!" he responded with a big ol' grin. Consider these old circuits tickled pink! "Good pals also get the good pal discount. You'll be wantin' that, I'm sure~!" Hey, who didn't like saving money?

    Now, as for dessert, Scaramouche could absolutely assist with that. After all, he knew their menu like the back of his right hand! "Hm! Well, I'd say it all depends on what your sweet tooth's cravin'." Was the gangster in the mood for chocolate, caramel, ice cream, something fruity, etc? Scaramouche leaned against the bar counter, arms crossed, and was fully prepared to help his friend. Illiterate? Under-educated? No judgement here!

    "If ya want somethin' light to warm your belly, I highly recommend the warm butter cake - folks say it's really good!" he piped up. "The lemon-poppy seed tart's also nice, but ya better like almonds. I get a kick outta folks who grimace after takin' that first bite~! Like, what did they honestly expect, y'know?" It wasn't a savory dessert for everyone. Anyway, here came the rest of the menu: "We also have donuts; cheesecake; coconut pie; key lime pie - it's sweet but also pretty tart, so don't order if ya don't like puckerin'; a decadent brownie with raspberry sauce and macadamia nuts; a chocolate torte that's similar but with drizzles of caramel and toasted coconut shavings; apple-walnut bread puddin'; toffee sundae; various flavors of ice cream and sorbets - they're kinda like ice cream, but made of fruit juice; our seasonal cobbler, which right now includes apples, blackberries, or pears; aaaaand... oh! And crème brûlée~! If ya like custard and vanilla, it's terrific, baby. Do keep in mind it's served slightly chilled."

    As Shen could probably see (or hear, in this case), the tavern's desserts were quite a few steps above the average fast food variety. No wonder the brawler couldn't make sense of them! "If none of that's your cup of tea, though, we do serve dessert wines and drinks!" Scaramouche added, hoping any of this helped. "And if that doesn't satiate your hankerin' either, we can always, ahem...."

    The android leaned closer and lowered his vocalizer's volume considerably, "We can always take a request and work some of our legendary magic for friends and family. Keep it on the down-low, though, huh~?" So if Shen wanted something that reminded him of home and it was feasible, now was the time to speak up!

    But quietly.
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    Re: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

    Post by Shen Woo on Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:11 pm

    Shen himself gave a grin.  "Quite scenic.  Saw colors I ain't seen in years from the leaves, you know?"  He was being fairly honest there.  The temperatures of course were getting too cold for even a guy like Shen who was used to the elements.  "I'mma hafta remember that.  And if it's indeed as toasty as you say, even a coastal boy like me will need to take in the beauty of the journey from the window of the bus."  Mind you, Shen didn't have a motorcycle yet anyway, and he wasn't one for frostbite.  Maybe on a warmer winter evening, or early spring evening he'd hoof it with just the light he needed.

    His own brain--nay--his soul was tickled.  "You know me.  A thrifty soul of simple but delicious earthy tastes."  He winked.  And of course, he did enjoy Scaramouche's company.  The other had a way of putting folks at ease in ways that Shen found downright homey.

    Of course, his sweet tooth was debating between fruity--or decadent.  He did of course love so many good things!  Ah, the choice between the torte and the bread pudding though, that was the real thing.  The true pain.  "On the Downlow for you.  Though between you and me, some nice warm sake always sounds nice."  He then gave a huge grin.  "Though I do like the sound of that apple-walnut bread pudding.  Can never go wrong with a nice, decadent bread pudding."
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    Re: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

    Post by Scaramouche on Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:29 am

    Oh yeah, the turning of the leaves on Portal Breach was very, very gorgeous. All manners of reds and yellows delighted the eye (or optic), and Scaramouche always took time out of his day to appreciate nature's canvas. Compared to a world ravaged by Aku, this one was a breath of fresh air! "It's a nice ride!" nodded the android. Scaramouche wouldn't recommend taking the bus if he, himself, wasn't satisfied with the service. "You'll see plenty while catchin' it at any of the local stops around the city. I doooon't advise ya bother with the ones in the Outer District, though... Nasty place; good if you're lookin' to fence ill-gotten loot, bad if ya value your life. Avoid at all costs, baby~!" Or, y'know, do whatever. It's up to you, big boy!

    "On the Downlow for you. Though between you and me, some nice warm sake always sounds nice."

    ...Well, uh!

    Scaramouche's processors skipped a tick, but they were thankfully quick in correcting themselves. "That's doable~! And while I obviously can't eat, folks 'round here do enjoy the bread puddin'. It sells out fast~!" the android replied, his grin impossibly large. "Anyway, I just need, like, your order so I can get things started, babe. Can't really make any food if ya don't say what ya want, hon hon!"

    Best guess: Shen was going to order hairy crab, maybe some baos, the apple-walnut bread pudding, and the sake. A normally unrealistic request, but this is where the good pal discount came in handy!

    And, best of all, it was gonna be free.
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    Re: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

    Post by Shen Woo on Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:11 am

    Ah yes, this was why Shen was an autumn guy, even if autumn was too cold for muscle-baring attire. The colors of the leaves, the earthy scent of the air, the warm flavors of the weather-appropriate food. It was just what the soul of a Shanghainese street boxer craved other than the thrill of the fight. Okay, one Shanghainese street boxer but that was Shen. "Ah, so seedy even the buses from there are as seedy as a poppyseed bagel." He cupped his chin with a small appraising look. Yeah, unless there was a place he wanted to go in the Outer District--like, say, an amusement park--he had no real reason to go there. Okay, maybe a street brawl but that was at his own risk.

    Predictable, of course, Shen winked. "Can't go wrong with the xiaolongbao, some good old-fashioned Shanghai crab, the apple-walnut bread pudding, and of course...some nice, warm sake." Warm sake, and a cool evening, they just went together like denim jeans and a denim jacket. A Canadian Tuxedo, if you will. And paired with a warm meal and dessert? Well, that was even better.

    But even if things ended up free, Shen was going to find a way to pay for Scaramouche's hospitality. Even if it wasn't immediate.
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    Re: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

    Post by Scaramouche on Tue Nov 20, 2018 3:32 pm

    "Hon~! And a poppy seed bagel's a whole lot tastier, too!" There was nothing delicious about meandering around the Outer District, checking over your shoulder at every lil' shadow and peripheral movement. Unless, of course, you enjoyed taking a bite outta crime like a certain caped crusader (who was no longer with them, RIP).

    Seeing how Scaramouche was a robot, he didn't need to whip out ye ol' notepad and pen to take Shen's order. "Sounds Gucci~!" he nodded, grinning from audio receptor-to-audio receptor. "I'll get ya started with the sake and a glass of water, lickity-split. The baos'll come soon after! Sit tight, baby, and enjoy the ambiance~!" Even strike up a conversation or two with the local woodsmen, if you wanted. They were a lil' rough around the edges, but still good folk. Anywho! The android excused himself, patting Shen's back warmly, and was soon off to the kitchen, his gait brisk and his feet lively. "Sake, sake, sake~! Where's the - aha! There's the sake." Now, it wasn't everyday someone ordered sake - or that the tavern offered it to customers. The locals around here preferred something more Western - like a good whiskey or a malt beer - and Scaramouche hadn't served nor thought of it since frequenting the metropolises of Earth. It was truthfully any wonder they had some in stock. But, because it was better to be safe than sorry, they had a limited assortment to choose from. The android preferred being ready for any and every scenario, barring those of a much more extravagant taste (this was a tavern, not the Ritz!)

    "Hm, warm sake..." He pulled a few bottles out of the refrigerator and inspected each one for blemishes, taking note of their shipping dates, body color, temperature, and freshness. Good, good... Everything was fresh, U.V. damage was non-existent, and Boon hadn't gotten his demonic mitts around any of the wares. Perfect! Question was: did Shen prefer something sweet or earthy, and would it complement his meal? In the interest of balancing out the light, delicate flavors of fresh crab and the rich, savory flesh of pork for the xianrou xiaolongbaos, the choices whittled down to a good junmai or honjozo.

    Something full-bodied, something dry.

    His fingers tightened around a bottle, the words Suigei Tokubetsu Junmai written in contrasting black and red strokes, and Scaramouche didn't look back. He was already fishing around the kitchen for a tokkuri.

    The process of heating sake was admittedly a challenge, but one the android relished. It could be considered an art, a tribute to fine detail, and Scaramouche wasn't about to cower from the task. With the tokkuri found, he placed a pot on the stove and filled it with water, already setting the burner to a medium flame. The trick was to warm the sake to nuru-kan, or roughly around 104°F, and not a degree hotter as it may diminish the drink's flavor and burn the alcohol. Fortunately, being a robot came in handy; all Scaramouche would have to do is lift the tokkuri out of the water and touch its bottom (yes, the boiling hot tokkuri) to gauge the sake's true temperature. It was no different than gripping a piping-hot baking sheet or cooking tray. Being made of an aluminum alloy had its perks! The water set, he momentarily left the stove to prepare Shen's appetizer: the xiaolongbaos. Another challenge and another art, but the android was nevertheless determined to see this order through and to the best of his ability.

    In a normal setting, making and serving xiaolongbao would be impossible. There was the complication of preparing the aspic, for one, as well as locating the finer, more authentic Chinese ingredients. Here at the Moonshine Tavern, however, the staff was well acquainted with some of Portal City's ethnic markets. And with a sunny personality like Scaramouche, who spoke every major Earth language and then some, acquiring hard-to-get ingredients was no big deal. All he had to do was simply reach into a different fridge, this one delegated to housing foodstuffs and meats, and withdraw a sizeable portion of chilled meat jelly.

    Mm, meat jelly... Didn't that sound just divine (gag!)?

    By the time Scaramouche laid out all the fixings for the dough and pork filling, the sake was just about ready to serve. Mustn't let it spoil! He prepared a lil' tray, complete with a pre-warmed ochoko to keep the sake's flavor (sorry, no masu here!), and then the tokkuri itself, wiping its base clean. Oh, and the glass of ice-cold water. Never hurt to have one. And after that, it was off to see Shen!

    "Oh good, glad to see ya haven't ran off while I was fussin' back there~!" The whole shebang, from debating which sake to serve and heating it up, had taken no longer than twenty minutes, but Scaramouche thought to humor the gangster and keep the spirits lively. In true fashion, the robot brought the tray to Shen's attention and poured the first cup of sake using both hands, overflowing the ochoko's rim just a smidgen so that a few beads of sake trickled onto the saucer (but not enough to waste the drink) and pooled around the tiny ceramic cup. Perhaps one day, they'll have to invest in a proper masu set. "Kanpai, huh~?" Scaramouche winked. "I got your baos in the works; shouldn't be too much longer for those. If you wanna pour your own sake, go ahead. And if not, I'm sure Collins won't object to pourin' it for you. He's the stony grump ya encountered upon walkin' down here." By all means, please bother the gargoyle without hesitation.
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    Re: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

    Post by Shen Woo on Tue Nov 20, 2018 5:44 pm

    Shen cackled.  "Oh how true.  Especially with cream cheese, a little lox like in New York, and, oof, a little bit of seasalt.  Gotta have the seasalt.  It's a requirement.  And I'm not saying that just because I've been to the Big Apple."  He winked with a huge grin.  Of course, the Outer District wasn't quite the place he liked.  He'd had enough of seedy alleyways and getting jumped back before the King of Fighters tournaments.  Back in Shanghai.  Back when he was just Yuhua Wu, the weird blond kid who didn't look like the other children in Shanghai from the day he was born.

    Shen couldn't help but wink with a pistol finger.  "Of course."  He did so like the ambiance.  The quiet conversations between the woodsmen who talked of hunts and logging.  The homey scent on the air.  The warmth and the memories that came from it seemed almost to get Shen lost in his own memories of the Red Dragon Of the Sea, an old restaurant that he used to work in when he was but a wee boy raised by gangsters.  Back when he had been a small, skinny child who did busboy duties after his studies since the money from the restaurant wasn't about drug running--it was about putting the little street orphans taken in by the Red Dragons through primary school so they could at least read a little.  Write a little.  Function just enough in society that they could take care of future little Red Dragons found circling the streets hunting for scraps of food after their parents died.  For a moment, Shen's eyes misted, but he blinked away the tears with a tiny smile.  One of the woodsmen near him was chattering about a boxing match from the television.  "Say, yeah, Anemoi versus Dunningham did look like a good match.  First time I'd gotten a chance to see a cross-species boxing match."  He quipped to the woodsman.  "Dunno why anyone would bet against Anemoi when the Bantamweight title was on the line.  That feathery left hook was hellacious."  Of course he'd watched Boreas Anemoi of Iapetus City, Europa take down Blair Dunningham of St. Clair, Pennsylvania, United States, Earth.  Watching an alien bird punch the shit out of a human man while both wore boxing gloves was AWESOME.

    "Yeah, well Anemoi hasn't been lookin' so good lately.  He got the crap beat out of him by a fellow named Kohlrah just a week before takin' that title from Dunningham.  Don't expect the reign to last long."

    "To be fair, Kohlrah is probably going to be the one taking Bantamweight title next time he faces Anemoi."  Shen shrugged.

    Okay, maybe he didn't want to get into a heated argument over boxing.  He just called as he observed.  And from what he saw of the fight--Boreas himself was a conservative fellow who looked like he'd kicked a lot of ass to protect family; Dunningham looked like the guy that just did drag outside of boxing.  Nothing wrong with that, of course.  Just that you could really tell from how a fighter moved whether it was about the art, or about how they lived.  It made him remember how artful Scaramouche moved, even at his roughest around the edges.  Now, Scaramouche, he recalled, was an artist on all levels.  In the kitchen, on the battlefield, in his song.  The opposite of he himself, a survivalist by his nature, having made his survival by fighting.

    Of course, from what he could watch, even the Tavern itself was a form of art itself.  The art of the deal, the art of cooking, and the artful appearance of the visuals, the ambiance of people speaking, dim violet lights, faint music from somewhere.  He wasn't sure where, but the music even set the tone.  Mind you, Shen wasn't a musician or even a singer in the slightest.  He was a fighter first, a culinarian second, and everything else last.  Maybe he'd take up fashion as a close third?  Who knew.  He was at least good at sewing.  Heh, but he did still prefer fighting and cooking.  Fighting the most of all of course.  He did so love to watch pugilistic sports.  Okay, maybe he liked table tennis too.  What self-respecting Chinaman didn't like it?  But it wasn't as though he'd be playing ping-pong, right?

    "'Course not!  Chatted with locals, relaxed, took in...a few good memories this place evoked."  Really, it had only been twenty minutes.  Shen wasn't the type to run off so easily from a wait like that.  He remembered customers at the Red Dragon of the Sea waiting for up to an hour if they had to!  Mind you, that was when the place was packed.

    He lifted the ochoko.  "Kanpai!  Here's to you and Lunette and the Moonshine Tavern."  He gave a grin.  "I might just have to ask him."  After all, it was bad manners, and not to mention bad luck for one to pour his own sake!  And Shen, of course, was very superstitious about things like that.
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    Re: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

    Post by Scaramouche on Wed Nov 21, 2018 11:40 am

    The Big... Apple? ...New York? A brief look of confusion spread across the android's face before realization struck. Oh, this must've been a city back on Earth! Er... back on an Earth that didn't suffer Aku's tyrannical whimsy, that is. The only real metropolis Scaramouche had come to known was Aku City: a hotbed of crime, corruption, and pretty much everything a 'bot could dream of! Provided you had the coin and notoriety, of course. If not, you were pretty much screwed. Did this New York City have robots and colorful alien life, too? Or was it just... humans? "I'll take your word for it~!" the robot grinned. Hey, it's not like he knew anything about poppy seed bagels and the requirements surrounding them. Scaramouche just knew that you shouldn't eat one before a drug test. A lil' factoid (and a useless one) he learned on the streets!

    Anemoi... Dunningham... Kohlrah... All names the robot hadn't any clue about. Despite having a television set down here, Scaramouche honestly didn't watch a lot of shows! Maybe once in a blue moon or two, he'd pop a bowl of popcorn for Lunette and they'd marathon the old black-and-white classics; things like sports and modern dramas were largely forgotten about. It was good hearing the idle chatter as he worked, though! Noise was always a comfort.

    "Kanpai! Here's to you and Lunette and the Moonshine Tavern."

    And so was good company!

    Scaramouche obviously couldn't appreciate a cup of sake, but he nevertheless appreciated the sentiment. "Hon hon~! Thank you, thank you! Lunette and the boys've worked very hard on this place, and I fill in whenever they need help." It was definitely a labor of love! "Anyway, here's your sake, babe. Enjoy!" Now it was back to the baos - they won't pleat themselves!



    Mixing the dough and kneading it between his fingers was perhaps Scaramouche's favorite part. After throwing on a pair of food gloves and wetting his hands, the android worked the flour like a master. Dating a cat-lady had its perks! He kneaded everything until it was smooth and soft, applying just the right amount of force and care, and covered the dough with a cloth until it was ready for the filling. The pork mish-mash was admittedly less of a delight than working the dumplings themselves.

    Ugh, raw meat. Raw, squishy meat. He grimaced but diligently worked, grounding the pork until it was a barely recognizable paste. Disgusting! But somehow irresistible to the organic palette, and Scaramouche dumped in the minced ginger, white pepper, soy sauce, salt, sesame oil, sugar, a bit of water, and some shaoxing wine along with the pork into a large mixing bowl. Now things were starting to come together, the aroma more akin to that of a bao, but he was still far from finished. Scaramouche whipped the ingredients into an even finer paste, his servos whining loudly, and didn't add the aspic until the very last second. The trick was not to over-mix but to gently fold, creating a perfect harmony with the meat and jelly. A weird thought, but... Hey, it somehow worked! Much like the dough, Scaramouche covered up the mixing bowl and slid it into the freezer for a brief moment so that the filling would be firm once he was ready for it. Soon, soon... because now it was time for the -

    "Ew, you're an ugly lil' bugger, ain'tcha~?"

    Crab! In this case, crabs.

    Never, never, never could Scaramouche understand why organics ate half the shit they did. Take these lil' crabs, for one! Okay, maybe they weren't quite so little, but they were still plenty gross! Their hardened carapaces... Their spider-like features... Their tiny, retractable eye... stalks... It was all very abhorrent, what Mother Nature concocted in her grand scheme of things. To a robot, such a disgusting creature made no sense! Maybe this is why she frowned upon artificial life...?

    Ah, a philosophical discussion for another time. Emitting a girlish squeal of both fright and delight, Scaramouche slipped on a pair of water-proof gloves and wrangled the lil' clackers from their holding tank (there were also lobsters, but separated for obvious reasons) and carried them gingerly to the sink. "Good grief, you two are gonna be muy spicy goin' down!" he remarked. The android gave them a good scrubbing under running water and lightly shook the excess droplets from their grungy shells. Poor things... He almost felt sorry for them. Almost, because they were starting to bubble and make a frothing mess as they thrashed about in his hands. "...And to think I gotta steam ya alive," Scaramouche frowned. Seemed awfully cruel, didn't it? But that's what the recipe called for, live crab, and he feared a customer's dissatisfaction more than he did universal karma. Finished with the crabs for now, he placed them carefully into a large pot and returned to making the baos, retrieving the two mixing bowls from the counter and freezer respectively. Oh, and he of course put on a new pair of food gloves. Can't risk contamination!

    Chop, chop, chop!  

    Dust the cutting board with flour, roll the dough, cut the dough, roll it some more until the pieces were neat, little medallions. It was repetitive, tedious work, but so were many worthwhile things in life. He prepared the bamboo steamer - or the long - with cabbage leaves and got a wok of water boiling, adding a dollop of filling to each dumpling before pleating them into the signature bao-shape they were known for. What happy little things that required so, so much work! A pity they would be slurped down in a fraction of the time it took to make them... Alas, such was the drawback of cooking. Scaramouche made a dozen in total, humming happily as he labored, and set each one onto the cabbage leaves inside the steamer. Was the water boiling? He glanced over and kept one optic on the stove and another on the crabs (those mischievous things). Brbrbrbrbrbrbrbrll...! Ah, good! It wasn't much longer now.  

    Putting the steamer directly into the boiling-hot water (and not letting a single drop touch the baos themselves), the android bustled around the kitchen to gather a small bowl, some Chinese black vinegar, and fresh, thin strips of ginger. Lastly, he withdrew a Chinese soup spoon and prepared a lovely dipping sauce as things were finally coming together. It couldn't have come sooner, because those crabs were starting to get ornery! "Yeah, yeah~! I'll cook ya in a minute, hold your horses, jeez!" he chuckled.

    Thank god Lunette didn't ask for crab often, because Scaramouche didn't think his patience could handle it. By the time he finished making the dipping sauce (and giving the crabs a pair of butter knives to play with), the baos were ready at last!

    Hooray, because this had been a lot of work, whew!



    "Comin' through, comin' through! Hot baos on the premise~!" The end result was worth it: a generous, homemade steamer of the freshest xiaolongbaos this side of the Kindle Forest. Anything more authentic and you'd have to hoof it back to the city markets! "Sorry for the wait!" Scaramouche apologized, placing the piping-hot steamer beside his guest. Steam wafted up from the basket and clouded the robot's LED display; which was fine, because infrared was a thing. "I'll confess and say I ain't used to cookin' Chinese on the fly, but I hope ya enjoy nonetheless! Here's the dippin' sauce for ya, too." He set the bowl nearest Shen's water and openly exhaled, wiping his display free of condensation. "I tell ya, baby," the android muttered, "I dunno how you organics do it! All this cookin', all this hustlin' and bustlin'... only for it to be devoured and then comin' out the other end! I'd almost be too ashamed to eat, hon hon~!"
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    Re: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

    Post by Shen Woo on Wed Nov 21, 2018 4:02 pm

    Shen gave a small chuckle.  His New York City had a few robots here and there--and cyborgs too--but no aliens so far as he knew.  Demons maybe?  After all, demons served Orochi, like Those From The Past.  Not that he knew much about that organization, or even its connection to Ash Crimson.  He just knew that his world wasn't normal by any stretch of the imagination.  It wasn't wild and crazy, but it wasn't normal either.  Who did you think he was, a mouthy necromancer chomping chimichangas and palling around with the fae folk?  Yeah, right, he didn't even have the reading level for those novels.

    He gave a warm smile.  "You all have worked hard.  And it shows."  Hey, he knew the value of hard work.  It wasn't always easy, it wasn't always fun.  But it always got the job done.  He took a sip of the sake, a bit pensive in the moment.  He tended to get pensive in the evenings at times, thinking about a lot of things.  About fights of the past, about friends he'd made and what they would have been doing at this moment, about friends who he hoped to make in this world.  He seemed to get lost in his thoughts for a moment before the ochoko was empty of the warm sake.  "Pardon, Collins, was it?  Could you pour the sake?  It's bad form for one to pour for himself."  He wouldn't just say it was bad luck.  It was also a little impudent and impolite to do so as well.  It was placing oneself higher than others, and he was but a humble street brawler.

    He was a patient, calm type.  His eyes seemed softened for a moment; good alcohol was a treat, not something he touched every day.  Normally he lived with tea and coffee, plenty of milk, juice, and water.  Speaking of, he took a sip of the crisp, cooling water as a sort of palate cleanser.  It didn't hurt to hydrate between alcoholic drinks as it was, as that did helped to keep someone healthy anyway.

    When he spotted Scaramouche, he gave a huge grin.  "No shame, no harm, no foul.  Thanks."  He then chuckled.  "Eh, the cooking is a labor of love, and the eating, an expression of gratitude to the chef's hard work."  He then blushed.  Now going to the bathroom was a different matter entirely.  "And I suppose answering nature's call...that's just the circle of life."  He then winked.  "These look amazing!  Haven't seen good stuff like this in so long."  He gave a tiny smile before taking a delicate bite--yes, a delicate one.  He wanted to savor every bit of the deliciousness like a true appreciator of the culinary arts.  Hey, he was a big eater but he really loved the art behind cooking and food too!
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    Re: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

    Post by Scaramouche on Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:32 am

    Too bad the circle of life couldn't be less disgusting! ...Or unabashedly candid. Fortunately, Scaramouche was equally shameless. "Ew~! Organic functions are just so weird, baby. Ya ever realize how much time you could save if ya didn't have to go numero dos?" Just a thought for the, ehe, loo! Hell, organics could probably accomplish so much more if they didn't have to eat or sleep or defecate or eat again, etc., etc. No wonder they created robots to pick up after their slack! "Anyway, babu, I'mma go finish up your crab," the android remarked, drumming his fingertips playfully atop the counter. "I gave 'em a pair of knives to play with, so here's hopin' they did the dirty deed for me, huh~?" He let loose a boisterous nasally laugh and once again disappeared into the kitchen, leaving Collins to man the bar in his absence.

    "Pardon, Collins, was it?  Could you pour the sake?  It's bad form for one to pour for himself."

    Feh.

    The gargoyle wasn't known for his attitude, but he nevertheless complied with their patron's request. "..." Collins uttered not a word as he poured, using one hand and offering no generous hospitality. If you asked him, superstition was a fool's endeavor. This was just fermented rice and the guy was just a customer. Nothing more, nothing less. As it should be.



    "...What!? I give ya a pair of shanks on the house and ya both just ollie on out to separate corners of the sink? Man, you crabs don't know what you're missin'!" It was a shame. Now Scaramouche had to steam the critters alive, meaning the ordeal was going to be unpleasant for everyone involved. A sigh escaped through his nose as the android gingerly plucked one of the crabs by its hairy shell, grimacing. Oof! And the damn thing was already making with the bubbles. Fan-fucking-tastic. "Ugh, you guys are so gross..." he muttered. Welp! Time to throw this bad boy into the pot and call it a day. Without much ado, Scaramouche laced the boiling-hot water with a collection of leaves special to this recipe (perilla, if memory recalled?) and sloooowly dipped the crab shell-first into its demise.

    FWIIIIIISSSSSH!

    Aw, poor baby! Look how its legs and pincers flailed about... If this were back home, Scaramouche wouldn've have given it much thought; a crab was a crab! But, considering he was dating a cute lil' dame who just so happened to share many features with a common house cat? Yeah, no. Consider his perspective on things officially readjusted. "H-Hghgngghn..." He shivered at the thought of someone eating Lunette, whiskers and all, and left the crab to unhappily boil. Don't think about it, don't think about it, don't think about it.

    And so Scaramouche didn't, pointing at the remaining morsel in the sink instead. "You're next, buck-o. Don't think I forgot about lil' ole you!" He'll think about this all over again when he boils that crab, but now it was time to make the dipping sauce!

    For this delicacy, the recipe called for black rice vinegar, ginger, and brown sugar - everything of which they had plenty in stock! He prepared two saucers for two crabs, mincing the ginger root with a happy look on his metal face despite the previous five minutes of existential crisis. Hey, so long as he wasn't the crab, right? "Let's see, here... chippity-chop the ginger, mixity-mix the vinegar and brown sugar, and... voila~! Two helpings of dippin' sauce that oughta whet the appetite." Pretty simple! Actually, this entire meal had been far easier than the xiaolongbaos. Guess the Chinese don't fool around when it came to live edibles! "Hm..." With the sauce finished and the first crab nearly done (look at how bright it was turning!), all there really was for Scaramouche to do now was... well, wait! He glanced at a nearby wall clock and nodded to himself, using this time to gather two serving plates and a pair of crab crackers. "Might as well prepare the bread puddin', too..." Why not? Time was money, and Scaramouche enjoyed both!



    "Gang way, gang way~! I got a pair of pipin'-hot crabs, and they ain't gonna wait for no one, baby!" Fast forward a good twenty or so minutes and here came Shen's main course: a plate of bright-orange, steamed crabbies, complete with dipping sauce! "Oof, it's a good thing Lu don't ask for these, 'cause I think I'd try and get her to become a vegetarian, hon hon~!" Seriously, killing the damn critter wasn't the same kind of feel as buying it already whacked at the store. Scaramouche much preferred the latter!

    Pleased, the robot set the plate beside their guest and took a mental note of what all Shen had devoured since leaving the gangster to his own devices. "Hm~! I dunno 'bout you, babe, but I'd say you were hungry!" Which was excellent, because waste was terrible.

    Though, if any scraps were left over, there was always Boon and his colossal garbage disposal of a stomach.
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    Re: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

    Post by Shen Woo on Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:34 pm

    "Yeah, but at the same time, it's bought me plenty of time to play Tetris."  Hey, there wasn't any shame in admitting that one played video games on the john.  Ah, but indeed the circle of life was incredibly disgusting.  Not just the eating and crapping part either.  Fornication and raising children too--how mama Wu had put up with it was anyone's guess--and she had to put up with nine months of the circle of life being much more awful than normal.  "If not, at least they had an epic crab battle."  Crab battle, crab battle!  Hey, now Shen wasn't always well-versed on his meme culture, but he did know the crab battle meme.  At least, a little.  He hadn't seen the video but he'd heard of crab battle.

    "Thank you."  Shen was quieter and calmer now.  Okay, it wasn't all superstition.  Manners played a role too.  It was one of the few manners things that Shen had learned among gang life.  If another had been drinking with him, he would have started pouring for them too.  It was just how one did if they were going to have good manners.

    He could hear Scaramouche within a twenty minute span.  Piping hot crabs, just ready to be munched.  He could pick them apart and eat, but he was hungry and would probably chow on shell and all this time.  "I take it those little guys weren't quite easy--or all that fun--to whack since they appear to not have crab battled?"  He lofted a brow to Scaramouche.  "But seriously I can understand why.  It's why I can't cook it myself."  Well that, and he wanted to keep his fingers, thank you very much.

    He seemed to munch with an eagerness that was downright wild.  Truly, Shen Woo was definitely hungry if he was eating shell and all, just as he had eaten all the xiaolongbao.  Occasionally, he licked his lips to get the sauce off his lips.

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    Re: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

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