Gone Shopping

The girls of Class G used one of their rare days off to do girl stuff (i.e. go shopping) while the male students stayed behind to do guy stuff (i.e. play sports). So with the exception of Rene, who stayed behind to play sports as well, and Melissa, who was busy stalking Zeri, and Inghild, who predicted a grisly death for them if they left Lanseal, the female students set out for one of their rare ventures out of Lanseal (Joachim offered to accompany them but was rudely rebuffed) and immediately ended up at one of the nearest markets. Soon they were all either trying on shoes or clothes, or talking about their weight and the male students, or in the case of Alexis, hoping no one would mistake her as a boy. Her hopes were soon dashed to the bottom of a cliff so she tried to distance herself from the other girls.

Unknown to the girls, the rebels had meant to storm the market and take the Darcsens hostage. Imagine their surprise, therefore, when they turned up at the designated spot and found fifteen people wearing Lanseal colours.

"Damn! Who blabbed and let slip we were going to attack this market today?" one of them said rowdily.

"It wasn't me," one of the younger soldiers said.

"I know it wasn't," the former snapped. "Hey, over there," he said, indicating Alexis who was separate from the rest of the group and staring at the ground. "If one of us can go sneaking in and grab that loner over there, we can force the rest to surrender. They wouldn't shoot us if we had one of them hostage. They're too young and stupid for that. Who's gonna sneak in?"

"Not me," the young one said immediately.

"Why not? It will most certainly be you because you can't shut up!" the older one said.

"I might mess up, and they'll kill me," the young one said, his voice quavering.

The older one walked up to him (he was at least a foot taller) and stared at him down the length of his nose. "Do I look like the kind of person who would ever place you in a dangerous situation?"

The younger rebel was like a rabbit caught in searchlights. Clearly this was a question to which there was no proper answer. "Um... yes," he said.

"Good, because that's what I am, and you just volunteered to go first, young 'un," the older one said, and shoved him to the front of the group. "Now go! Get lost! Look sharp!"

The younger one gulped and scurried off.

By now Alexis had cheered up somewhat and she decided to go back and join the other girls when she noticed that some of the baskets behind the traders' stalls were moving. Sighing, she walked over to them expecting some urchin boy stealing the wares. When she picked up the basket though, a rebel scout stared back up at her. Alexis wasn't scared (barely anything scared her) but it did surprise her... a lot. She yelped and jumped out of the way as the rebel got up and fumbled with his gun.

Anisette, who had noticed how lonely Alexis looked and worried if she had decided to go back to the academy, had intended to try and cheer Alexis up when she came upon a commotion in one of the traders' stalls. Alexis had gotten a hold of the rebel's gun and was trying to wrench it away, and the helpless rebel was hanging on to it like a drowning man hangs onto a log. Although it was obvious who was winning, Anisette rushed to help and overturned a dozen stalls in her eagerness to help. Finally, just as Alexis wrested the gun out of the rebel's grip, she took a flying kick, missed miserably and hit Alexis instead, who gasped with pain and dropped the gun.

Spotting his chance, the rebel snapped up the gun just as the rest of the rebels surrounded them. Some of them went back and marched the rest of the girls over there at gunpoint. Obviously none of them were armed, so they had no choice but to oblige.

"You messed up everything!" Alexis hissed to Anisette. "I was dealing with it perfectly and you - "

"Shh," Anisette said. "I'll talk us out of this." Ignoring Alexis's protests and dire warnings that she would mess things up for them even more, she stepped forward and started a long-winded speech.

"You think we're just kids that'll take that lying down?" she began. Behind her, Alexis slapped her own forehead. "Well," Anisette continued, "that just shows you don't know who you're dealing with. Do you know about my sister, Edy? She killed seven Imperials with one bullet. Wanted and feared all over the Empire, she is," Anisette said. "And you know what they call her there?" she said, leaning forward and lowering her voice to a dramatic whisper. "Violence Idol."

Aliasse started to giggle at the sheer absurdity of it all, but Cosette looked at her so malignantly that the giggle died in her throat.

"Thank you, Cosette," Anisette said. Surprisingly the rebels were actually listening, so she continued, "Now, as I was saying, this one time Edy landed herself in a minefield with a hundred Imps. She didn't back down, no, she killed seventy of them with her machine gun and when she ran out of ammo, she killed the rest with her bare hands. So now you know who you're dealing with, it would be in your best interest to let us go," she concluded.

The rebels paused for a minute, then fell all over each other laughing.

"See?" Anisette said brightly. "I distracted them perfectly." Spotting their oppurtunity, the girls snatched the rebels' guns away and held them at gunpoint.

"Go, Alexis, go!" Anisette said as Alexis smashed her elbow into the young rebel's face and wrenched his gun away.

"Don't help me, don't help me this time!" Alexis shouted desperately, not wanting another horrendous mistake.

Triumphantly they rounded up all the rebels and marched them back to Lanseal, where they had the rebels handed over to the Gallian Army.

Anisette was quite the heroine of the day. Soon everyone was asking for her to recount 'Edy's Adventures', as the increasingly absurd stories about Anisette's sister soon came to be known. Of course she welcomed her adoring fans to listen to them at any time. Brixham was especially enthusiastic about them and it was touching to see him sitting cross-legged in the classroom every night to listen to Anisette's stories, and after that, even when she got her exams and tests all muddled up, he would give her full marks to keep her in a good enough mood to retell some of his favourite stories.