Author's Note: Quick one-shot in response to a challenge. Actually, the challenge wasn't directed to me at all, but I ran with it anyway. Just some silliness, which is a nice change from all my smut and romance. Enjoy.


WOMEN

It was high summer in Cephiro. Naturally, the bright sun and warm air made a recipe for good spirits. The women in residence in the Castle Cephiro thought it was only fitting, therefore, to have a garden party.

Hikaru and Fuu had seen personally to the decorations, along with an excitable Caldina. It turned out to be very nice. All the summer flowers were in bloom and, while the children played and the men and women lazed about, everyone was feeling fine.

Umi sat on a large, comfortable pouf that she shared with her two best friends, Hikaru and Fuu. All three women wore hats with wide brims and brightly-colored dresses. They sipped on fizzy drinks, smiling at the scenery.

"So," said Hikaru, "next topic of discussion?"

Fuu shrugged. "Upcoming weddings?"

"I'm tired of talking about that," Umi sighed. "Caldina's been talking my ear off about it lately. She and Lafarga need to get hitched and get it over with."

"It'd be really nice though," said Hikaru. "I bet she'd make us bridesmaids!"

"Enough, different topic."

Fuu giggled. "Umi-san, wouldn't you like to be a bridesmaid?"

"Is that all any of you biddies can talk about? Fuu, everyone's been wondering when you and Ferio are going to get together. Don't tell me you're already plotting that wedding."

The blonde only blushed and sipped quietly at her drink.

"Has he even kissed you yet?"

"No," Fuu muttered.

"All right," Hikaru chimed in, "how 'bout games? We should organize a field day soon."

"It's too hot for that," Fuu and Umi chorused.

"Oh, come on! I wanna play soccer, or dodgeball or something!"

Umi sighed. She peered across the garden at the beverage table. Surrounding it was nearly every male in attendance at the party. They seemed to gravitate to each other, seeking sanctuary from all the bustling, chattering women. They looked around with wide eyes, like sheep on their way to the slaughter. Umi smiled. "Hey Hikaru, Fuu."

"Yes?" they said.

"Look at all the guys over there. Gives me an idea." She finished her drink and said, "Marry, screw, kill. Go."

She was met with terse silence. She turned to meet horrified green and red eyes.

"What?" Hikaru asked.

"Marry, screw, kill, I said. You go first Karu, since you volunteered."

Fuu's cheeks flamed pink. "Umi-san, this is highly inappropriate—"

"What's 'Marry, Screw, Kill'?" Hikaru asked innocently.

Umi chuckled. "Look, see all the men over there? There's about ten or twelve of them. Every man we've ever met since we've been here, just about. Look at them and pick three, and tell me which one you'd marry, which one you'd screw, and which one you'd kill."

Hikaru frowned. "I don't really want to kill anyone, Umi-chan."

"You're no fun, Hikaru! And Fuu, close your mouth already. Play along or else!"

Hikaru sighed and studied the group of men. Her eyes lighted on several candidates: Ascot, Clef, Lantis, Eagle, Geo, Zazu, Ferio, Lafarga, San-Yun, and a small group of Mage-Knights and soldiers that she knew by face but not by name. Hmm…

"So, I'm supposed to pick just three?"

"Just three. Shut up, Fuu," Umi added as the blonde opened her mouth protest. "And no picking obvious ones, Karu, this is supposed to be fun."

"I assume you mean Lantis. All right, then. Well, I guess I'd… I'd probably marry Eagle—"

"Nice," said the bluette, peeking over the rims of her sunglasses at said blond pilot.

"I'd say I'd uh… you know," Hikaru blushed.

"Screw," Umi offered.

"Right, that. I'd do, uh, that with…" Hikaru muttered something incoherent and Umi leaned forward.

"What's that?"

Hikaru mumbled her way over the next name again.

"Speak up, Hikaru-san," Fuu said. Umi turned to her and smiled wickedly.

Hikaru blushed to the roots of her red hair and said, "Ferio."

Fuu spit out her drink and Umi laughed loudly. "Ferio?"

"Well," Hikaru stammered, avoiding Fuu's gaze. "He is pretty cute…"

"Ok, ok, go on."

"And I'd probably kill Ascot."

"Ascot? Really? Come on Karu, Ascot's like, the most amiable person I've ever met. He's just… he's just there, really—"

"That's unkind, Umi-san."

"Think so, Fuu? Your turn, then."

Fuu frowned and flattened the creases of her dress, giving Umi a look that very clearly said she was above such things.

"Go on."

"All right." Fuu scanned the crowd. "Well, of course I'd marry Ferio."

The other two Magic Knights snorted simultaneously. "What?" Fuu cried.

"I said not to go for the obvious ones, but whatever, keep going," Umi giggled.

"Fine. I'd copulate with, with, oh, Lafarga, I suppose—"

"Lafarga?" Hikaru wrinkled her nose.

"I like blonds!" Fuu snapped.

"So why not Eagle?"

"He swaggers and boasts too much."

"Oh, and Ferio doesn't?"

Fuu ignored Umi's jibe. "And, in the highly unlikely situation in which I'd have to kill any of them, I suppose I'd pick Clef."

Umi pouted. "Another poor choice, then again, the sight of that stupid coronet of his makes me want to kill him sometimes, too. Ok, my turn." She sat back in the pouf and smiled. "Marry Lantis, screw Eagle and kill Geo."

Another long silence met her, profound and mocking.

"What?"

"Why would you kill Geo?" Hikaru asked. "He's nice."

"He's so tall, gross."

"What's wrong with being tall?" she asked, looking pointedly at Lantis.

Umi frowned. "Everything?"

Fuu managed a small chuckle. "So you both deem Eagle Vision worthy of marriage or a one-night stand."

"Actually, I wouldn't mind one-night-standing it with Eagle, myself," Hikaru added.

"If you don't like tallness, then why would you marry Lantis, Umi-san?"

"He seems quiet and biddable. I'd rather have a man who does what I say."

"Lantis isn't a doormat!" Hikaru said hotly.

Umi winked. "Sure."

"Why not marry the Guru? I'm not the only one who's noticed the sexual tension that seems to hang between the two of you. I could cut it with a knife," said Fuu.

"Aside from the fact that he's like, a million years old?"

"He's not that old."

"Well, isn't it forbidden for him to marry anyway?"

"So they say."

"I'd break that old man's hip," Umi laughed.

"You could have just screwed him," said Hikaru. The other two girls looked at her in awe. She blushed.

"I could have yes, but remember, I said no picking obvious ones." Umi stretched out her long legs and gave Clef a distinctly predatory stare. "That'd be nice, though."

"Well," Fuu sighed, "that's that. Next game?"

"Oh, no, the game's not over. Caldina!" Umi called. The pink-haired Chizetan looked up from conversation she was engaged in with the twin Princesses. "Come here!"

"Yeah?" she asked, sauntering over to them. Her bronze skin gleamed nicely in the afternoon sun.

Umi pointed to the group of men. "Marry, screw, kill. Go."

The Chizetan giggled. "Not this game again. All right, marry Ferio, screw Geo and kill San-Yun."

"I had no idea Ferio was such a hot item!" Fuu exclaimed.

"He's good lookin' enough," said Caldina, "but I'd marry him 'cause he's a Prince an' all."

"Geo's tall," Umi stuck out her tongue.

"He's not nearly as good looking as the rest of them," Fuu added.

"Whatever, Fuu, you just said you'd screw Lafarga, ew!"

Caldina looked affronted. "What's wrong with Lafarga?"

"Well, nothing that you'd deem undesirable, but his eyebrows are weird. Spiky and weird."

Hikaru's mouth quirked. "What are you doing studying Lafarga's eyebrows?"

"It's not like they're easy to miss, in fact, one of them is poking me in the eye as we speak—OW!" Caldina clouted Umi on the head.

"Lafarga's a dream; you're just jealous, little missy!"

"I guess we'll have to put it to the true test and see Lafarga with his shirt off, then," Umi said.

"Ah, good idea!" Caldina cheered.

"Umi-san, don't be vulgar.

"Come on Fuu, you're such a prude!"

"Yeah, we should see all of them with their shirts off so we can make a proper decision," Hikaru offered.

Umi nodded. "Yes, yes indeed."

"Well, when you manage to get all of them to go around sporting their naked chests, let me know," Fuu said sarcastically.

Umi looked at Fuu and laughed. Hikaru followed suit. Soon, all four women were laughing riotously from their corner of the party, causing heads to turn. Umi stood. "Come on, let's go get some sun. See Sierra and Aska over there? They're doing a little tanning. Let's join them."

"Yay!" Hikaru cheered. She pulled Fuu to her feet and waved Caldina after them.

Umi smiled at her two friends. How nice it was to engage in such silliness. It made the whole stuffy castle lifestyle they led so much more interesting. As the girls passed the crew of men, Umi pointed at them and shouted, "Yep! Lantis, Eagle, Geo… be glad you were my choices! Well, maybe not you, Geo." She smiled salaciously at Clef, who averted his gaze.

Hikaru laughed and clutched at Umi's arm. "Sorry, Lantis, but I didn't pick you. Umi-chan told me not to."

Fuu gaped at her friends in shock. "Ladies!"

Ferio was giving her a strange look. "Fuu?"

The blonde sighed. "I did pick you, you know… However, Lafarga was my second choice."

Caldina pushed the three girls along, winking at the group of dazed men.

Ferio, Lantis, Eagle and Clef all looked at one another. "What was that all about?"

Lafarga watched their retreating backs and shook his head.

Women.