Restaurant of Stories
Order Four: Tropical Lollies
Summary: (General) Ranpha gets a day off to revitalize her fighting spirit by taking a trip down memory lane. Halfway through however, she meets Takuto who asks for her assistance. Let the misunderstandings begin.
"Nothing beats spicy food on a day off," Ranpha Franboise smiled with appreciation at the food presented to her; it was all covered in Tabasco sauce. She took sizable bites at the 'Salad de Exotic' with 'Tropical le Beef' while gazing outwards towards the sandy beach, all from the comfort of the restaurant's balcony.
The single sun shone brightly above the resort planet, it's position suggesting the peak of day. To Ranpha, that meant she only had seven hours left until she had to report back to the Elle Ciel, which also meant that she had wasted three hours already. She didn't mind though, the point of a vacation to her was to waste productive hours and turn it into a fun experience. The expenses were also going directly to the ship, so she could continuously spend without fear of a flat wallet.
Although, if she was too frivolous, it might be the other Angeltai she would fear instead.
"Anything else, Ranpha?" one of the waitresses asked with a near genuine smile, "It's nice to see you again after how long?"
"I'm good," Ranpha returned the smile, "and I think its been a year? I can't tell because I'm still as beautiful as I was back then."
The comment made the waitress roll her green irises. "Not to mention just as proud."
"What's wrong with that?" Ranpha shrugged, "I'm only telling the truth."
"Well, whatever." it was then the waitress gave up on the discussion before Ranpha went on a prideful tangent. She stuck in a subject switch just for extra insurance, "You should check out the temple, its changed since you last saw it."
Ranpha was doubting if much changed in just one year, although the temple could have been destroyed or vandalized. That wasn't the most optimistic of thoughts, but it was one of the first things Ranpha had pictured. It was also the reason she became slightly worried.
"New management took over, and they've redecorated." the waitress said after grinning at Ranpha, "Don't worry, it hasn't been destroyed... yet."
"Yet?" at that point Ranpha was interested. Those people at the temple were good individuals. Who would want to tear such a sacred place down? The waitress became nervous. Unsure of what to say, she fiddled with her apron, and slowly began to avoid eye contact.
"There's been a lack of funding ever since the temple existed." the maid stated plainly, "The new headmaster thought it was a good idea to increase revenue by 'jazzing' the place up a little. All it did was put the temple into bankruptcy."
"Let me guess, now the governor wants to tear it down because its not making any profit?" Ranpha had the general idea, but she never knew the place was always low on money. It reminded her of her childhood struggles, like when she had to fight with her siblings for seconds during dinner.
The waitress looked grim, "I'm afraid its worse. The headmaster loaned money from one of the local gangs, and their leader doesn't like late payments."
"Hmm, too bad." Ranpha sighed as she stood erect, stretching her limbs and adding a small yawn. She knew the reply was rude, but even if she cared about the temple, why should she bother about it? It was her day off after all, and she'd much rather watch the Kung-Fu presentation at the town square. The headmaster should just forward his problems to the local police or security. Giving the waitress a good tip before she left, Ranpha waved one last time at her.
"You are going to visit it, right?" the waitress called out before Ranpha headed out the main doors.
"Maybe," was Ranpha's reply.
The presentation had ended earlier than expected due to Ranpha injuring the instructor by accident, and she was stuck with nothing to do except visit the temple like the waitress suggested. "He did say to come at him with all I had..." the blond woman was annoyed that she had her hopes up for a decent match, but the past was the past. All she could do now was slowly make her way to the temple entrance where Takuto Meyers was conversing with one of the priests...
"What, him?" Ranpha made for some shrubbery that grew in a garden bed near the pathway, surprised by her commander's appearance. Peeking over the overgrown plants, Ranpha figured by the priest's body language that he was suspicious of someone overhearing them. A close enough guess, she mused, before making her way towards some tall trees that bared some of the local fruits.
"Your headmaster owes money to some thugs?" Takuto asked the priest. He was wearing that goofy smile that Ranpha didn't quite get.
The priest bowed his head in shame, "The master has good intentions, but his age leaves him prone to trickery and sly scams."
Ranpha remembered the talk she had with the waitress at the restaurant, and assumed that the Angeltai were called on. There could only be one reason why the commander was present.
"You say that you'll give us the lost technology the temple found if we help you save it?" Takuto kept his smile, and offered his hand to the priest as a shake of agreement.
"Yes, I guarantee it." the priest took the hand and proceeded with the gesture. Afterward, he tilted his head in confusion, "Pardon me, but why 'we'?"
Takuto laughed, and Ranpha felt horrible in the stomach. She knew what he was going to say next, and wasn't the least bit happy about it.
"Ranpha, one of Moon Angels that I'm stationed with, is having a day off here. I was going to look for her and..."
"No way I'm ruining my day off for some lousy work!" Ranpha exclaimed at the top of her lungs, effectively ruining her hiding place by walking up to Takuto. She felt her anger bottle up, like it was hanging in her throat and just dying to come out her mouth in a series of curses and high powered punches. Her sudden appearance from the trees gave both parties a shock. Takuto and the priest because she was eavesdropping and Ranpha because she had come towards him.
"Ah, good timing Ranpha." Takuto had recovered first, "I guess you know the contents of the mission?"
Ranpha looked at him like he was losing it, "Are you deaf? I just said I would not ruin my day to do some mission!"
The commander smiled sheepishly, "I know, but I figured since you were here you could lend me a hand? The other girls are busy protecting prince Shiva with Lester, and I'm not exactly familiar with the area."
"Well then, its time for you to get off your lazy butt and do something. And while you're at it, try and get some important paperwork done too." Ranpha gave him a smug grin, as if she had won the battle of words. The blue haired commander laughed again. She miscalculated.
"Haha, yeah." he scratched the back of his head, "That includes the vacation documents too..."
Apparently her small insult was a double edged sword.
Ranpha felt like beating him up then and there. His head didn't look like a bad punching bag. "I injured a Kung-Fu instructor pretty badly an hour ago. I wonder if I should do the same moves on you, pervert."
He was still laughing. Whether it was because he believed her words or not, didn't matter. "I'm sorry, Ranpha." a tone of seriousness. At least he took his apology sincerely. "As you know, I prefer doing things than writing things."
There were plenty of comebacks for that one, but Ranpha resisted. She also resisted beating his face in. A sigh escaped her lips, she was unsure of what to do. A small silence ensued, and soon she found herself staring at Takuto's eyes. They seemed alive, bright and filled with a certain hope. A hope that maybe everything would turn out alright in the end. The end for what though? Was he hiding something?
He stared back. For how long, Ranpha had no idea. She looked away. "What?" her voice faltered. She had no doubts that she looked embarrassed. In the corner of her peripherals she noticed the same goofy smile. The smile that she hated. She hated to love it.
"Its great to see you're normal again, for a while I was really worried about you," he said. Ranpha was a blusher. That self awareness only made it worse when she felt the blood rushing to her cheeks.
"Thanks, I guess." being honest with feelings was a tough business. If it was another man, Ranpha would be much bolder, much more outgoing. She was beautiful, No one would ever deny that. But if she wanted to confront the one in front of her, it'd always backfire, and she'd end up getting all defensive. It never happened before, being bold and all towards Takuto used to be a cinch. She envied the way Takuto could be so honest with minimal effort. How he could just say what he thought without care of what others think of him.
"Are you okay?" but she didn't like how it made him completely oblivious. She punched the back of his head.
"I'm fine. Now move." Ranpha didn't want to be around him any longer. Pushing her way between Takuto and the priest, she proceeded walking towards the temple door.
"Girlfriend trouble?" the priest asked Takuto, eying Ranpha as she nearly kicked the temple doors open. The commander shook his head left and right, and groaned at the pain.
"I don't understand why shes always so defensive towards me." Takuto answered, rubbing the lump that had formed on his head. "She has never addressed me by name either..."
Was it hate?
No. She didn't hate him. If she really did despise him, she wouldn't have these feelings. She preferred reliable, decisive men, not lazy idiots who ask for help on one's day off. Well, supposed to be day off. She didn't like perverts either.
"Welcome to our temple. Cleanse your soul and purify your thoughts, young one." the priest's voice sounded odd. Ranpha had instantly picked up on it. It wasn't the kind of voice one would want to hear when entering a temple, more like a voice from a satanic leader.
Quick glances around the temple halls told Ranpha two things: Something was up, and it was happening fast. Where were the friendly people that chimed over and over about receiving the blessings of their gods? This bunch was all up tight, like something was stuck up their behinds and intended to stay. The hoods over their heads didn't help.
"I was told to check the temple out due to renovations." Ranpha faked an act. Letting them know she knew something was wrong was a sure fire way to get into unneeded conflict. She didn't want that on a day off. The old priest smiled. His teeth was yellow, and out of place.
"Ah yes, the temple looks much more presentable now." his breath smelt of tuna. It took Ranpha a lot of endurance to hold her act. She turned her face away, taking in the view. Figured it'd be much better than what she was seeing previously. She was right, the flowers in the glass vase by the mahogany table were astoundingly pretty.
"I would say so myself." the tuna was strong. Either he ate it a few minutes ago or the concept of brushing teeth escaped him along with his youth. Breath mints too.
"Nice fountain." Ranpha watched the water spew forth in multiple directions, much like how she felt about herself. Her real self, lost within the flowing stampede of multiple facades. Showing Takuto all the faces she didn't want to, pushing him away when she didn't mean to, having all this confusion when she didn't have to.
"Yes, it is. And I must say you are quite the looker yourself." the old man was flirting. Ranpha felt sick.
"Of course I'm beautiful," here it was again. Bold and proud, no fear, no shame. "who wouldn't think that?"
He was getting closer. She was losing her act. "You seem confident." he said, the words twisted about from his tongue with a playful rhyme.
An aura of fear lingered about him. Ranpha felt a tingle in her spine. She noticed a statue. "Who is that?" she inquired, pointing at the porcelain figure that proudly stood out.
The priest turned around, an adequate distraction. "the original founder." he stated, more disgusted than prideful. "An old fool."
Ranpha thought he should look in the mirror before he talked about others. At least she had the looks to back up her claims. Maybe the priest could read minds, as he gave her a scornful look. "Are you disgusted by me?"
Maybe she was easier to read than she had originally intended. "Not at all." she was a horrible liar. She could say whatever the heck she wanted; it was all written on her face anyways. A gathering of priests had surrounded her, isolated her from the outside. It seemed that this time Milfeulle wasn't needed for Ranpha to get into an unfortunate situation.
"We feel a threatening presence." they all chimed. "You have come to threaten our temple."
They were delusional, paranoid. Ranpha didn't know what to do. She could kick and punch her way out, but their numbers would pose a challenge to her stamina. Being closed in made her feel claustrophobic, and her lungs begged for air.
All hope seemed lost. It ran away like the water from the fountain.
What Ranpha didn't know was that the water came back through tubes.
"Takuto?" Ranpha saw him, standing high on the mahogany desk. So did the local gathering of priests. They also saw the bomb firmly gripped in his left hand.
"See this bomb?" he paused, making sure the word bomb sunk in, "I'll let it detonate unless you let Ranpha go, and that we have a civilized discussion."
He was crazy. Ranpha joined in the chorus of jaw drops. Was there even a speck of common sense in him? Speculation was among the hooded ones. "Would you really blow up such a sacred place?" one questioned, eyes arched in disbelief.
Takuto seemed resolute. "There are a lot of talented people that can easily replace me, I'm only a man following orders." his smile was grim, "Just like you guys, only a person following their beliefs. But somewhere along the track you all lost sight of it."
Ranpha had to admit, he looked pretty cool just then. Not all of the priests agreed though.
"So what? We don't need some stupid faith, we need money!" another one cried out from the crowd. Some of the others murmured in agreement.
"So you all loan some money from some thugs, and in the end kill them for more revenue?" Takuto was getting cooler by the second. His concrete determination to settle things made Ranpha skip a beat. The others looked around and away, embarrassed and ashamed. One of them however, pulled a gun. He aimed it at Ranpha.
"I'll shoot her, right before your eyes." it was the one with tuna breath. "I know that the bomb is timed, so I'll shoot her before it detonates. I'll make you watch her die, unless you get out of here right now!"
Ranpha eyed the barrel. Fear was a funny thing, made everything go in slow motion. Her breathing, her thoughts, the sound of the fountain, even the gasps of the others. Takuto was the only thing that had stopped completely. Still as a statue, calm as the breeze.
"You have forgotten that detonation can be done manually." Takuto pulled out a remote. More jaw drops. "I'm guessing you're the one who corrupted the others? Promises of happiness with gold alone, headmaster?"
Tuna breath laughed, gun still poised. "So what?"
Takuto frowned. "Are you in so much pain that the thought of money is the only thing keeping you alive?"
It seemed that words were not going to change the old man's ways. He made a crooked smile, and began to lose focus on his firearm.
"Drop the weapon Whisk, or I'll drop this thing!" another voice, this time from the fountain. It was the priest conversing with Takuto previously, and he was holding high a vial with green substances inside it. Whisk was wide eyed.
"What are you doing?" Whisk's voice betrayed his confident composure, "That's the lifeblood of this temple!"
"Listen Whisk, and listen good." Takuto had done his goofy smile. "We have already won, the local authorities have this place surrounded. This was a simple stall for time." the commander opened the bomb, showing cheap candies from a souvenir shop. "We will ask only once more: Drop your weapon, and let's do this peacefully, please?"
Whisk was panicking. He was blinded by fear, "Never!"
Then he fired.
"Ranpha!" Milfeulle had waited at the shipping bay on the Elle Ciel, and hugged her friend tightly. "You're okay!"
"Of course I'm fine," Ranpha sounded insulted, "No old man can beat me."
"Even I was surprised by Ranpha's final antic." Takuto had exited the transport ship, carrying the newly obtained item of lost technology, "Moving behind the target while he was distracted, very clever. Although you could have put less power on the kick to the ribcage."
The other Angels swarmed around their comrade. A barrage of questions ensued, and Ranpha felt deja vu.
Once again it was Takuto to the rescue, "How are the lollies coming along, Milfeulle?"
"Oh, they're already done!" Milfeulle explained, excited by her own news, "I call them, 'The Tropical Mix'. Who wants some?"
Mouths were watering, and Milfeulle lead them towards the meeting hall. Takuto however asked Ranpha if she could stay behind for a bit, he wanted to say something to her.
"Thanks for helping out earlier," he placed the lost technology on a wooden crate in the holding bay. He smiled. He did that often.
"No problem?" Ranpha said. The praise was unexpected. Wasn't it he who did all the work?
"You stalled them earlier while we were getting prepared." Takuto had misinterpreted the stunt Ranpha was doing earlier, her intentions were to save her own backside. "And you said you didn't want to do some lousy work. You almost had me for a second there."
He thought she was the star of the show. "You took your sweet time." Ranpha didn't mind, being the center of attention was no problem.
He laughed. So did she. Her commander stopped, stunned by the new attitude Ranpha had sub consciously displayed. Ranpha followed suit, realizing that it was the first time in a while she was relaxed in front of him.
"I like this Ranpha." a grin formed on his lips, "Bold and courageous, won't take anything from anybody."
She looked away, feeling the red in her cheeks. "Of course I'm courageous, idiot."
A reliable and decisive man. Maybe there was more to Takuto than she thought.
Order Five: Angel Salad
Summary: (Action) A mission forces the Angeltai to hold their ground against an undead force, revived from lost technology. The situation looks dire, but can the Angels and their Emblem Frames hold out? How much do they trust Takuto?
A/N: Late update, yeah. But after some time, I found some massive forms of motivation and boom, here I am, writing my behind off. Ranpha was fun to write, I won't lie. This is also the longest chapter I have ever written.