Crouching Leaf, Hidden Bean (KOORI'S WUXIA CAFE RIVALRY RP)

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Kooriryu, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. 茶葉 藏咖啡豆
    Crouching Leaf, Hidden Bean

    [ CLICK ME FOR AMBIANCE ]
    [video=youtube;hzzhBjjTSTs]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzzhBjjTSTs[/video]

    [ LOOK AT ME FOR MOAR AMBIANCE ]
    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]


    The cloud defused morning light shone down on a busy little town in Hong Kong. The clear, shallow rivers separating the commercial plazas sparkled softly in the light, the fish swimming just beneath their surface looked particularly happy... if only knowing they survived yesterday's fishing. The wet market had just started to open; gruff old men occasionally peered over their newspapers as they sat beside boxes of freshly butchered meats and all manner of sea life kept in aerated tanks while equally old women stood by their vegetable and fruit stands trying to cajole young mothers to buy from them if they wanted big, strong children.

    The smells of the wet market rising and wafting through the air accompanied the clatter of storefronts being swept, outside dining tables and chairs being set up and the mechanical cacophony of machines made to make running a business easier starting up for a new day. Delivery boys clothed in dingy white uniforms with the ubiquitous towel slung over their shoulder and riding in small, three-wheeled vans whirred past patrons and sellers alike, giving them whiffs of the mystery contents inside.

    And then...

    The people who were busily setting up their wares stood stock still for a moment. It was if there was something in the air that alerted them to oncoming danger, much in the same way when rabbits and deers use their ears to listen for threats after hearing the snap of a twig. They were right to take notice since the aromatic scents of the local coffee shop and tea house began to creep into the air. The fragrance gently tweaked the noses of all those who were near, triggering memories of being cozy, being with loved ones and the simple delights of a delicious beverage on hand while simultaneously triggering memories of ducking for cover from flying pots and steaming liquids... The Dancing Horse café and Falcon & Pine tea house were open for business.

    The weatherman said it was going to be a wonderful day.

    But it wouldn't be long before the employees of both stores would begin to show up for work.

    The morning started off so well too.




     
  2. The sun was coming up. Finally. The graveyard shift always dragged on for far longer than J thought it ever should. Getting things washed, getting other things ready for the morning rush, and catering to the random drunks and late night partiers looking for a snack. And, well, people complemented her for her energy, not her friendly manner. The boss lady would be in soon, say something, people on their way to work would start pouring in, morning as usual.

    She pushed herself out of her chair, stretching, adjusting the bake shop's uniform. She was just about to turn and get things in the oven, when she saw it.

    It was in the corner, under a table. It could have been there for days. It probably had been. It was gum. Crushed under the soles of many into a black lump, fixed firmly to the floor, existing for no other reason than to anger her. J stared at it, feeling the rage slowly build, but after a minute of staring the gum did not get up and put itself in the trash. So, with a sigh, she went into the back and grabbed a flathead screwdriver.

    She put the tip against the edge of the gum and pushed. It skipped off. She did it again. It skipped of. From another angle. It skipped off. Straight down to split it like a log. It skipped off. Pushing and twisting. A small chip popped off. J drummed the fingers of her free hand against the floor, thinking of ways to punish this piece of dropped gum. Then the idea hit her.

    She got up enough to see that no one was coming, and pulled her fighting glove out of her pocket. She slipped it on, then keeled beside the gum, putting the screwdriver against the chipped area, taking a deep, steadying breath as her right hand snapped into an rock-hard fist. Before the tool could fall, she tapped the back with her fingers, the first half of the Smoking Dragon Fist! Her body automatically snapped into the blow, almost instantly slamming her fist into the back of the screwdriver, causing it and the gum to ricochet off the floor and walls. She caught the screwdriver as it went over her shoulder. The gum landed on her forehead. Insult to insult.

    With a deep sigh she straighted up and pried it off her forehead and threw it into the trash, muttering, "It's just going to be one of those days, I can tell..."
     
  3. The early morning quiet was broken by the thrum of a lone limousine's engine. It cut arrow-straight through the canal save for the occasional bobble as a duck got too close to the front end, effortlessly sliding into one of the many docking slips that bordered the wet market. Its driver, a young man of average build and with whiskers that hinted at a reluctance to shave, climbed bonelessly out of the pilot's seat and opened the passenger hatch.

    Without waiting for the passenger, he cocked his head to the side and, staring at nothing but air, promptly walked unsteadily off the end of the pier. He was saved from a sudden dunking by the passage of a passenger barge; he then proceeded to weave his way unconcenedly across said barge, tripping on the far gunwhale. He managed to catch himself, balancing just long enough for the barge to pass another pier, which he stepped onto, still oblivious to his direction of travel. He continued walking, and, upon his feet hitting actual stone instead of wood, he stopped. Swaying in place for a moment, he pulled out a cigarette - running a thumb over the warship embossed on the pack, just to make sure they were actually his - lit it with a lighter he produced from somewhere, presumably his sleeve, and stood there in the middle of the morning foot traffic for a moment smoking it.

    He then proceeded to continue more-or-less straight forward, until he walked smack into a glass door. He backed up, straightened his sunglasses, and pulled the remainder of his cigarette out of his mouth to check its condition. It was, alas, ruined, and he dropped it, missing completely with his attempt to stamp out the butt. He then grabbed for the door handle. On the third try he found it, pulled the door open, and walked inside what, as the smells reached his nostrils, he assumed was a bakery. Walking toward the strongest concentration of the smell of fresh bread, he tripped over a chair, executed a flawless front somersault, and came to a stop at the counter - or at least he presumed it was the counter - where he waited for an employee to react to his presence.
     
  4. Without looking to see where his driver was walking off to a man in an immaculate business suit, tailored to perfection and clung to every curve of his toned body as if it had been stitched up with him inside it. The smell of fresh air laced with the rich aromas of the market brought a smile to his face the quickly faded in the early morning son. Turning his back on his retreating driver he smother an imaginary crease from his jacket and adjusted the hat perched on the top of his head before closing the hatch and walking the short way to the stone steps that lead up from the jetty to the plant-lined street.

    His nose twitched, among the glass shopfronts one and smell of fresh drinks and baking there was one homogeneous aroma that he greeted. Profit. It was everywhere waiting for a skilled hand to reach in and grab it. It was that, and not the quaint family owned shops that had brought him here, those would have to go. A hand reached up and stroked his bearded chin as his eyes settled on a coffee shop. He would take a look in here first, it looked promising. And he was actually hungry having boarded the corporate jet almost ten hours ago. They called him a fool for coming here, "the Chinese would never let an Fondue™ do business as they had in Japan. Time to prove the board wrong, once again. With the tinkle of the bell mounted over the door he pushed his way into the shop his nostril catching fresh buns, beans, and the ever present smell of money.
     
  5. <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> <w:SplitPgBreakAndParaMark/> <w:DontVertAlignCellWithSp/> <w:DontBreakConstrainedForcedTables/> <w:DontVertAlignInTxbx/> <w:Word11KerningPairs/> <w:CachedColBalance/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> <m:mathPr> <m:mathFont m:val="Cambria Math"/> <m:brkBin m:val="before"/> <m:brkBinSub m:val="--"/> <m:smallFrac m:val="off"/> <m:dispDef/> <m:lMargin m:val="0"/> <m:rMargin m:val="0"/> <m:defJc m:val="centerGroup"/> <m:wrapIndent m:val="1440"/> <m:intLim m:val="subSup"/> <m:naryLim m:val="undOvr"/> </m:mathPr></w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" DefUnhideWhenUsed="true" DefSemiHidden="true" DefQFormat="false" DefPriority="99" LatentStyleCount="267"> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="0" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Normal"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="heading 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 7"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 8"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 9"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 7"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 8"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 9"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="35" QFormat="true" Name="caption"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="10" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Title"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="1" Name="Default Paragraph Font"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="11" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Subtitle"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="22" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Strong"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="20" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Emphasis"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="59" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Table Grid"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Placeholder Text"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="1" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="No Spacing"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Revision"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="34" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="List Paragraph"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="29" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Quote"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="30" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Quote"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="19" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Subtle Emphasis"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="21" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Emphasis"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="31" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Subtle Reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="32" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="33" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Book Title"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="37" Name="Bibliography"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" QFormat="true" Name="TOC Heading"/> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]-->

    Amira Koh


    The 3 AM air felt cold but refreshing in Amira’s lungs as she took the river trolley on the way to her beloved My Lovely bakery. The quiet sloshing of the water as the small boat cut across the surfacing calmed the old woman, peering over the side she caught her brief albeit distorted reflection contrasted by the waning moonlight and looked on ahead to her stop coming up. With a jilted hop onto the platform, Ms. Koh let out a hiss—she was only 43 but her bones were already letting her know that these early, early mornings were becoming unwelcome. She had greeted J and gifted her with one of the donuts she experimented in baking yesterday afternoon before setting to work in the prep corner. Amira had just stepped into the preparation area, fetching the ingredients for making choux dough with the intent to make a batch of cruellers, éclairs and kue sus, having gotten to the panade stage of making the dough she heard a loud ruckus in the small serving area outside the kitchen. However, Amira thought better of asking J what she was doing out there and blithely assumed it was her cleaning something.

    The Southern Tiger Style lady had idly remembered the weatherman mentioned that the forecast was going to be nice today and tomorrow-- Amira scoffed at the thought. Ever since opening the Hong Kong store of her bakery chain, Amira hadn't had a truly nice day to conduct her business-- especially after allying herself with the two stores in town that had an established and bitter rivalry. But in adversity lies opportunities... Amira thought, recalling the optimistic advice her old friend Ah Meng had given her when she discovered the rivalry. She was grateful at least for the customer base the tea house and coffee shop brought in when told that other baked goodies were awaiting purchase at her store if they liked the ones served at either shop.

    Amira was scrounging for a particular piping bag tip when she heard the loud noise of what seemed to be… someone walking into the door? She managed to squirrel her upper body partially into the low-standing cupboard, reaching for the piping tip when she called out to J, “Be a dear and attend to that customer… !



    ------------

    <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> <w:SplitPgBreakAndParaMark/> <w:DontVertAlignCellWithSp/> <w:DontBreakConstrainedForcedTables/> <w:DontVertAlignInTxbx/> <w:Word11KerningPairs/> <w:CachedColBalance/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> <m:mathPr> <m:mathFont m:val="Cambria Math"/> <m:brkBin m:val="before"/> <m:brkBinSub m:val="--"/> <m:smallFrac m:val="off"/> <m:dispDef/> <m:lMargin m:val="0"/> <m:rMargin m:val="0"/> <m:defJc m:val="centerGroup"/> <m:wrapIndent m:val="1440"/> <m:intLim m:val="subSup"/> <m:naryLim m:val="undOvr"/> </m:mathPr></w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" DefUnhideWhenUsed="true" DefSemiHidden="true" DefQFormat="false" DefPriority="99" LatentStyleCount="267"> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="0" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Normal"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="heading 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 7"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 8"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 9"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 7"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 8"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 9"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="35" QFormat="true" Name="caption"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="10" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Title"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="1" Name="Default Paragraph Font"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="11" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Subtitle"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="22" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Strong"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="20" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Emphasis"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="59" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Table Grid"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Placeholder Text"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="1" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="No Spacing"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Revision"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="34" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="List Paragraph"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="29" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Quote"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="30" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Quote"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="19" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Subtle Emphasis"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="21" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Emphasis"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="31" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Subtle Reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="32" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="33" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Book Title"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="37" Name="Bibliography"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" QFormat="true" Name="TOC Heading"/> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]-->
    Ai-ai Tiongson


    She had been sitting outside the door to the back entrance of the tea house hunkered down by the two step stairs leading up to the threshold, studying a beat up looking manual for only thirty minutes, but in the morning chill it felt like a whole hour and thirty minutes. If one tilted their head down they would see what was written on the cover of the book Aiai was so diligently studying, “Tea Etiquette from the Song Dynasty”. Aiai’s mitten encased finger flicked at the corner of the book until it slipped underneath to let her turn the page, she let out a quiet huff from behind her cowl. Though she wanted to study from the book as it was becoming interesting around the proper techniques for the host to use in order to sit it was hard to go at her normal pace when it took about three minutes just to flip to the next page but Aiai couldn’t help it—she despised the coldness of the morning.


    Aiai looked up for a moment from the book Sifu Tseon had given her for the month, the old doddering man hadn’t arrived to the tea house yet and Aiai took it upon herself to wait for him in order to open the door for him and hang his coat for him and let him warm up by the machine used to oxidize the tea leaves used for the Falcon & Pine’s house blended tea. Though her aunts warned her that that type of overzealous doting can be construed as rude by some old folk, they encouraged her to stick to it and back off when the old person in question took offense. It was a good trait for a daughter-in-law they said and when her aunts turned away she would roll her eyes and sigh. Sifu Tseon didn’t seem to be arriving yet and so Aiai prodded her nose back into her book.

     
  6. Morning found Li Koh asleep. But alas, she was cursed with a east-facing window, so the streaming light of the sun itself quickly woke her up.

    Still, she was somewhat drowsy from adventures the previous night as she stepped out of her pajamas and into the shower. She idly turned on the water, and practically jumped out of her skin as the torrent of ice-cold water came pouring down on her.

    Someday she was going to get mom for that.

    One shower later she had gotten dried off and changed into her usual dress. It was a bright and beautiful day, so she grabbed one of the fresh buns on her way through the kitchen and got down to the garage. There were a few bikes laying about the area, ranging from just piles of engine parts to full functional to...sexy.

    She couldn't help but admire her red and black baby, the sleek curves, the half-dozen perfectly repaired exhaust vents...it gave her a sort of thrill just to be near it, and then there was riding it...

    Still, it was not time to ride it yet. She had some ideas on how to improve performance for the older model in the corner, and there weren't any orders to be filled yet.
     
  7. Not so far from the tea-shop, on the top-floor of an old apartment building sat a man alone on his porch. Sifu Tseon is deep into his meditation, his usual morning ritual. He's about done when he catches himself snoring, but wakes up from a fly entering his nostril, the moment is ruined! Scratching his nose rapidly while letting out some rounds of curses, he stands up, grabs his long white hair and sets it up the way he has always done it, another morning ritual.

    The apartment is small, filled with scripts and books laying all around, a mess in anyone's mind, it's the way he likes it. There is no kitchen, no bed room and no real living room. Apart from the small bath-room, the bigger room is used for reading, writing, meditating and sleeping. And I forgot to mention the massive amounts of plants placed randomly around the place, along with an aquarium filled with koi-fish, Sifu's pets. The only way to enter it is by a ladder on the outside, starting a couple of floors below. This is Tseon's safe spot, his private chamber, visitors are very rare and usually of great importance to him.

    After some stretching exercises to keep up his flexibility, Tseon gets his robes on and stares the cold morning sun right in it's center. "Alright, time to get cracking!"

    Mood

    Tseon leaps from building to building in an elegant manner. Each morning he finds a new route to keep himself entertained while closening in on the shop. He's already figured out that Aiai's already waiting for him at the usual place.

    He jumps down from the roof of the neighbouring flat, landing perfectly on his feet in a crouching stance, just next to Aiai. Looking up at her looking down at him he puts on a big smile, noticing her book. She's doesn't look surprised at all, her face expressing that his tricks might be getting a little old too her.

    "So...the door, are you going to open it?"

    He is really only entering the shop today to check that everything is going as normal and keep a watchful eye on his employee's. His trip to the mainland has been postphoned one too many times already. His hardest decision before leaving? Who is he going to give the caretaker-position while he's gone? Both Wei and Aiai are much too young! He might'd have to ask Amira after all, then again, she has her own store to run!

    'Decisions...decisions....Ffff- Diu!' The old man made faces as he just remembered something else.

    "Aiai! Keep an eye on things! I have to get back to my apartment and get my fishies down here before I leave!" With that, the Sifu leaped back out through the door and back up the same way he came down, leaving his apprentice without striking as much as a real conversation.
     
  8. Ai-ai Tiongson

    "Good morning Sifu Tseon!" chirped Aiai, tilting her book on tea etiquette down for a moment to bob her head, she was already beginning to turn the knob to open the door when she hesitated. The old man had that peculiar expression on his face whenever thoughts about anything other than tea were floating in his mind. She shrugged it and assumed he'd mull it over during his morning cup of tea.

    As Aiai began to follow the tea master into the shop, he suddenly halted-- leaving her standing just at the threshold of the backdoor when he abruptly announced, "Aiai! Keep an eye on things! I have to get back to my apartment and get my fishies down here before I leave!" and somehow swerved around her and leapt back onto roof he just came down from.

    Wah lau! Why liddat?! fumed Aiai in the safe confines of her mind, on the one hand she was happy he wasn't a decrepit elder but on the other his unconventional methods of travel worried her because well, he was pretty old already. What if he sprained an ankle on a rooftop? No one would know! It was pretty obvious what she'd have to do, Got to help carry fish, lor!

    Chase Music!

    "Sifu Tseon! I go with you, hor!" shouted Aiai as discreetly as possible... after all her aunts and grandmother didn't raise a girl who screams at the elderly in public! So after grabbing one of the large tupperwares from the basket beside the door she closed it after herself and leapt onto the same rooftop and gave chase following her teacher to his tiny apartment. The morning air was beginning to warm up in the sun but Aiai still felt the chill that lingered as she zipped from rooftop to rooftop. She gave credit to her teacher for being spry enough to leap the gaps between buildings, weave his way through the tangle of trolley and telephone wires, flip onto store awnings and bounce off of rails and onto walls. Though Aiai was young, she had only followed Sifu Tseon like this on a few occasions and her bones felt every impact as she scrambled up poles, vaulted over walls and somersaulted over bridges all because the old man didn't like to travel conventionally.

    Aiai curiously wondered how she and her master looked as they traversed the city by rooftop. Two leaves on the wind? Maybe two feathers? ...Somehow in the middle of running along Mrs. Lee's clothesline she settled that the best imagery was that of a grasshopper and a floating petal-- yes, that was it.
     
  9. The morning light streamed in over the rooftops of Hong Kong, banishing away the clammy shadows of night, ushering in a new day. Already the sounds of traffic and going-ons were forming an orchestra of sound in the far distance. On the streets below, vendors and young people were rushing back and forth to go home, or to tend to work, or to even go to school. There were a few schools in this district, though not the ordinary academic kind.

    Gang Li Zhao, the Steam Fist, had been awoke far before the morning sun had broken the horizon. He was a disciplined martial artist, having studied his art for well over a decade under a most prestigious Master. He had been lazy, at first, but soon developed a strong sense of self-discipline and control.

    For the most part, anyways.

    He sat on a small cushion at the door of his rooftop apartment over The Dancing Horse, a coffee shop of the most exquisite calibre of kung-fu. And coffee. He was slouched, staring not at the beauty and serenity of the sun, but into the window of a distant tall-building with a woman dressing for the day (years of kung-fu training had honed and sharpened his eyesight). He brushed dirt off of a second bean bun that he had kept overnight on his dresser, and stuffed it into his mouth before going back to spying on the pretty girl with huge breasts.

    "Haw haw, I love this city!" He cackled as he got a perfect front view. He licked his fingers clean of sweet bean paste, and leaped up to his feet, wearing nothing but pants and sandals. He kept the door open to his rooftop apartment and crossed the roof to another open door that led down to the coffee shop proper.

    Dust could be seen in the rays of light that penetrated the locked-windows of the shop. With a thrust of his palm, the window shutters fluttered open. Zhao spun, pivoted on the ball of one of his feet, and thrust out his leg in a powerful kick that kicked up the dust into the air. Coffee machines clicked to life, some grinders turning on to go to work. His fingers curled into the Tiger's Claw, he turned again and thrust his open hand at the front door. It burst open, scaring away birds that had clustered around.

    "The shop is preparing to open!" He bellowed. "Don't nobody come in for 20 minutes, though, or I'll trounce you good! I need to get the coffee going!"

    ~~~~~

    Nobody had come. For more than the 20 minutes.

    Zhao was angry. His coffee brewing, and sweets-stacking, and other miscellaneous work-doings were all angrily done. Even his greeting of the first customer of the day was done angrily.

    "HELLO. WHAT DO YOU WANT?!" He shouted at the immaculately suited man. He scratched his chest in an apelike manner as he did so.
     
  10. J had just finished wiping the dirt and grim off of her forehead when she heard the guy walk in, although it sounded more as though he walked into things than into the store. Of course she was going to be a dear and tend to the customer. She was paid to be a dear and attend to the customers. But, as usual, she didn't say these things to her boss, only directed a forcefully cheery, "On it, boss lady!" towards the back as she attempted to inhale the doughnut in one bite as she backed into the main area. She paused in the door. Boss lady had been experimenting again. After a moment she got it down, wiped her mouth off, and whirled into the front area, sliding behind the counter right in front of the customer.

    "Good morning sir, what can I get for you today?" She asked, trying to sound like a happy employee as she assessed this guy. First impression: Blind. Second impression: Sloshed. Impressive combination, although with a twitch of her eyes she just realized the precious seconds she took to try and wipe grime and sugar off of her were wasted on this guy. But, no, hitting the customers is bad, from what she was told. So simply held her hands behind her and waited.
     
  11. His eyes darted to the kitchen where the unwashed man-ape bellowed from. Hong Kong had gotten more friendly since he had last visited. At first his look implied that he may not have understood the loud torrent of Chinese, his obviously foreign face went blank for a second even as the wind caused my the man's voice whipped around him. Then he smiled dusting off his lapels.

    "Your respect, your house coffee, and a bowl of dumplings." he ordered before he grabbed the back of his chosen chair and fasted than could be seen flipped the chair clearing it of dust before he sat down casting his eyes over the internal space of the restaurant imagining red and white tiled floors, a salad valley and Fondue™ buffet table and the famous Fondue™ Yellow™ gracing every surface, not a bad place to set up, and his morning was only just beginning.
     
  12. "Oh, you're a customer! You got tons of my respect then, brother!"

    Zhao flipped back and landed with his hip onto the long bar-counter that ran parallel to the back wall that housed a number of their coffee pots, espresso machines, and cooler-boxes that stored milk and other products that needed cooling. He landed gently on the balls of his feet and pivoted instantaneously, snatching a plate and bowl in either hand and flinging them with precision to an adjoining counter top. Those were for the dumplings.

    He caught himself in mid-spin and spun the other way, pushing his momentum forward to the over-sized coffee pots. He went for their House Coffee, a strong dark brew that, while bitter, had a very pleasant smokey taste and a hint of honey. He stomped the floor, and a mug leaped up from the top of one of their espresso machines that kept the mugs warm. It landed softly in the palm of his hand, and it was filled with the brew near the rim.

    Holding the steaming mug of coffee in one hand and a small saucer of cream in the other, Zhao gingerly stepped over to the immaculately dressed customer and set both of them respectably in front of him.

    "Steamed, fried, or sweet dumplings, brother? With the house, and so early in the day, I gotta say, I'd go sweet..."
     
  13. Tseon was standing firm on his balcony, waiting for Aiai to come to him. His robes, flapping wildly in the wind as the morning sun hit his back.

    "Your progress......very impressive." He said, watching as Aiai landed in front of him, panting while she slowly found her sense of balance in her feet.

    "Now...." Tseon paused, stroking his beard, pointing his nose in the air while keeping his watch on her. "Do you think you got what it takes to posess my dear fishies while I'm gone?"

    "Y-yes..Si-" Aiai stuttered before Tseon continued his speech.

    "Then I must give you a final test before I leave! I challenge you.....one on one!"

    In a split second, Tseon was in his wuxia-gear, arms stretched out, resting his weight on the left leg, right leg crouched slightly in front of him, body sideways, eyes on his opponent.

    Aiai followed swiftly. As they started circling around each other a heap of leaves came raining down on them. Tseon made the first move, attacking her front to front, she moved quickly to the side and blocked all his attempts before she stumbled slightly. Tseon smirked, she did well, but she could barely block his shots. If he struck her with a double-combo, she would surely break. He wasn't going to take the easy win though, he kept his distance and waited for her attack...
     
  14. The businessman didn't answer right away, instead he placed a handkerchief around the handle of the mug and lifted the mug smelling the coffee. "Fried." he finally replied lifting the cream to pour a small amount into the brew. He had already decided that if this were the future site of Fondue™ the staff would change, there was no need for such boarishness to non-customers in Honk Kong anymore, thousands of tourists a month wound be coming through here once we was done, and he'd milk then for every cent. He looked from side to side for a spoon buy with the waiter gone to get the dumplings nothing presented itself....

    There was a loud bang as his closed fist struck the table the mug and contents leaping into the air, his hand grasped the cloth covered handle as he caught the steaming liquid in the cracked enamel not missing a single drop before taking a sip. It was good coffee, he'd have to make sure to steal it or include it in the fine print.
     
  15. Sho Li had risen well before sun rise to begin training. He'd been at it for about an hour and a half when he finished his regular routine. Getting up he decided to go get some tea. Getting up he grabbed his school uniform and changed into it out of his normal fighting attire. He then left his small apartment and walked down the street.

    The first tea house Sho Li found was the Falcon and Pine Tea House. He casually tried the door, finding it locked. He grunted in disapproval, looking around the street, all the other shops had opened by now. He knocked on the door and waited a few minutes. When he didn't get an answer he grunted again, before kicking down the door.

    Sho Li looked around as he stepped into the tea house. It wasn't particularly big, but it had potential. He moved into the back to find the teapot, and tea leaves. Finding them he started making himself some tea. The owner could complain about the door, but it was his fault for not having dependable employees that would open the store on time.
     
  16. David could tell the employee was annoyed, and maybe a bit tired. It was those subtle tones that blind people hear - even falling down drunk - and normal folk don't. She sounded cute, though, and she smelled like sugar with a just a hint of cigarette smoke. Or maybe the smoke was him. In any case, he reckoned he should let it slide. Be the gentlemanly thing t'do. No point to being rude just 'cause he was half a Fifth into the day. He adjusted his admittedly sightless gaze to where he judged her voice to be coming from. Or tried, anyway. He overshot.

    "Ah think," he said with the exaggerated care of one who knows perfectly well that he is three sheets to the wind and wishes to ensure he is understood, "that Ah would appreciate a Danish, Miss. Blueberry, if ya'd be so kind."
     
  17. [video=youtube;AMl0qwm_lLQ]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMl0qwm_lLQ[/video] (For Ambiance)

    Xifeng shook the spray paint can a little before going back to work spray painting a large, ominous pink rabbit riding a hoverbike. As she finished she crumpled the can in her fist and tossed it over her shoulder letting it clatter to the ground. Quickly she blew it a kiss and hopped on her own hoverbike and jetted off, cruising the waterways of Hong Kong. She knew where she was headed, straight for her favorite tea shop, she was going to pick up a shift today but unfortunately for her this path was going to take her right next to the creepy old man that always wanted to cop a feel as she sped by on her motorbike.

    As she sped by him today she felt a familiar hand cup her breast and she quickly spun the bike around and came to a halt.

    "HEY OLD MAN, WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING!?" Xifeng cried out revving her engine a little for effect.

    "Fufufufufu, I think it is your fault for riding so near me! If you didn't wish to be fondled then you wouldn't show off so much!" He crowed after her.

    "THAT'S IT! You're going to get your ass handed to you via one Silk Phoenix!" She shouted back, ripping away her riding outfit to reveal her wuxia uniform underneath. Without another thought she kicked off from her bike and sailed over to where the old man was sitting, letting a punch fly. It connected with the old man's wrinkled face and as time slowed she could see the ripples of power flap the wrinkles. The old man flew away spinning but caught himself on the wall of the building next to where he was sitting and smiled as he stood sideways, glancing up at Xifeng.

    "Young Silk Phoenix, you should really watch who you attack, they might be versed in wuxia as well!" He cried out to her and lunged, pointing his cane directly at her stomach. Xifeng quickly sidestepped and chopped down on the cane, snapping it before spinning around behind the man and letting a kick fly, arced high to hit his head but he quickly ducked and kicked back catching Xifeng right in the stomach and sending her flying back against the wall he was standing on just moments ago. Her body left a deep crack in the wall but she quickly launched herself off and back towards the old man, she threw a punch at his gut but at the last moment, before he could block she spun and let her heel connect with the side of his waist. The old man went tumbling across the water like a skipping stone and stopped halfway through the canal and sank below the surface.

    "THAT'S WHAT YOU GET YOU OLD PERVERT!" She shouted after him, leaping over to where her hoverbike had come to rest with her riding outfit resting over the seat neatly. Without another thought she quickly got dressed and hopped back onto the bike, speeding off towards the Teahouse.
     
  18. The dew softly glowed with the light from the neighboring lamp post. It hung to the spider web as though to decorate the fine woven art. A slight gust caused the spider's trap to sway, and the dew slid down, eventually falling off. That was nature, always changing, but always beautiful.

    Slowly standing, Ping-Lin turned from her bedroom window and walked out into the hallway. Down the hall was her parents' room, and further still her father's parents' who had lived with their eldest son for some time. Rather, Nana Grey lived with them. Gramps was off wandering around somewhere, which from what Ping-Lin understood was common. Nana never seemed to mind too much, nor worry.

    It was still early, and so Ping-Lin was quiet as she left the house. She was pleased that she no longer woke anyone when she left in the early morning for work. An impressive feat in a house of martial artists.

    Today she would go to My Lovely instead of waiting for the delivery boy. Sifu would be opening with Ai-Ai. Ping-Lin only needed to be there before the rush started. It also gave her an excuse to pass by Dancing Horse. Not that she needed an excuse. Every morning, even on days she didn't work, Ping-Lin would pass by Dancing Horse to check on the competition.

    The birds were singing, and in the distance there was the sounds of someone championing over an elder. Ping-Lin could almost hear the rustle of practicing going on in a dozen out of away spots in the district. Closer by were the sounds of produce vendors and fish mongers selling what they knew best.

    Through the town, with her parasol open and over her shoulder, Ping-Lin walked, a peaceful expression on her face. Then she paused. Before here was Dancing Horse. Inside was one customer, and something about him reminded her of a snake. She gave him no more thought though because she saw Gang Li Zhao come into sight.

    Moving her parasol down slightly, Ping-Lin made sure to catch Zhao's eye and give him a smirk before turning, and gracefully moving on. Oh yes, any day she could smirk at Zhao was a good day. Any day should could get something over on him though was a great day.

    Ping-Lin pondered how to make it a wonderful day as she walked across the bridge to the bakery.
     
  19. <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> <w:SplitPgBreakAndParaMark/> <w:DontVertAlignCellWithSp/> <w:DontBreakConstrainedForcedTables/> <w:DontVertAlignInTxbx/> <w:Word11KerningPairs/> <w:CachedColBalance/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> <m:mathPr> <m:mathFont m:val="Cambria Math"/> <m:brkBin m:val="before"/> <m:brkBinSub m:val="--"/> <m:smallFrac m:val="off"/> <m:dispDef/> <m:lMargin m:val="0"/> <m:rMargin m:val="0"/> <m:defJc m:val="centerGroup"/> <m:wrapIndent m:val="1440"/> <m:intLim m:val="subSup"/> <m:naryLim m:val="undOvr"/> </m:mathPr></w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" DefUnhideWhenUsed="true" DefSemiHidden="true" DefQFormat="false" DefPriority="99" LatentStyleCount="267"> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="0" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Normal"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="heading 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 7"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 8"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 9"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 7"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 8"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="toc 9"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="35" QFormat="true" Name="caption"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="10" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Title"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="1" Name="Default Paragraph Font"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="11" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Subtitle"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="22" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Strong"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="20" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Emphasis"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="59" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Table Grid"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Placeholder Text"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="1" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="No Spacing"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Revision"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="34" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="List Paragraph"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="29" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Quote"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="30" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Quote"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="19" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Subtle Emphasis"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="21" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Emphasis"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="31" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Subtle Reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="32" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="33" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Book Title"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="37" Name="Bibliography"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" QFormat="true" Name="TOC Heading"/> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]-->
    Ai-ai Tiongson




    A chittering squirrel seemed to bounding around in circles in Aiai’s stomach—that’s how jittery with anxiety she was. She may have done the occasional morning forms with old man Tseon but fighting against her teacher felt very much like her first tea-pouring test. With the tea-pouring however, she knew that she’d get berated and sent back to studying from her books but with pitting her kung fu against Sifu Tseon… ? She had no idea what to expect, if he was just testing her, if this was just in lieu of morning forms or even if she should sincerely strike out against an elder who was also her master.


    Har…? He really wants to fight? Seriously?! Aiai debated for a bit on whether or not Sifu Tseon was wanting a serious fight or just to make Aiai practice the kung fu she told me she was made to study in Singapore, after all he disliked it when she didn’t study her tea books so why not her kung fu also? Aiai’s lips pursed, then pouted and did all sorts of swiveling as she made up her mind whether to take up the wuxia challenge. She resigned.


    “Okay, I’m going to fight you seriously! I’m not going to hold back on you, lor!”


    Just as the last syllable left her mouth, suddenly a petal floated between the old man and the young girl. Then another… and another… soon, the air surrounding them was filled inexplicably with the petals of flowers. A florist in the neighboring city was having a breakdown since all her flowers were wilting and their petals were seemingly going the door in an orderly fashion. Aiai’s sight of the old man was only slightly marred by the occasional petal floating directly in front of her eyes—a split second as a petal blotted out her vision and she was gone! Disappeared!


    A petal sauntered out of Sifu Tseon’s vision and in the left side of his peripheral sight Aiai shimmered back into view and slinged her first punch, its tranjectory slanting downwards to his sternum!




    -------------



    Amira Koh


    “Hoo… !” sighed Amira as she used her forearm to wipe the sweat from her brow, a smear of white flour now decorated her eyebrows. She stood back for a minute to admire the sponge cake she had finished for a client’s wedding reception—the 108 flowers made of modeling chocolate seemed a bit much but the bride was insistent to the point of offering extra for the service. The yawn Amira let out as she wheeled the cake into the large, walk-in refrigerator resembled the gaping maw of a lion after a kill and almost sounded like one.


    Clapping her hands together to shoo off the excess flour from her hands, she looked at the eight pans holding the new pastries for the day’s sale and noted the time on one of the heavy duty ovens. Her little Ah Li was late and either she had waited for the water to warm up for her shower (which costs five whole extra dollars!) or she was in the garage admiring her loud noise machines. Amira clucked her tongue loudly though there wasn’t anyone there to cringe shamefully from it, instead she went over to a small box with a button and a hole resembling that of a phone receiver.



    Pressing the button, she spoke into it, “Ah Liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii… ! YOU ARE LATE FOR WORK! Come in already! Play with your noisy things later!”


     
  20. A hose tweak here, a extra screw here...

    The electrical system of this old bike was her real foe here. It was built into the frame pretty well, but she'd need to replace it with some higher-tolerance wiring if she was going to jack more power to the engines. If she wanted to just replace the reactor, then...she also had to replace the wiring system. It would be much easier if the bike was built to let people actually fix it...

    The sound of an all-too familiar bike and yelling went past outside.

    She was here.

    At least Xifeng had to deal with that old pervert today, judging by the sounds of her yelling. Still, there was work to be done. Li hopped on her bike, feeling the whole thing shudder beneath her as she revved the engine. For far too long had that girl and her friends been acting like they own the place, but today...today, they met just-“Ah Liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii… ! YOU ARE LATE FOR WORK! Come in already! Play with your noisy things later!”

    ...Then again, maybe being in a biker gang wasn't so bad...

    She walked up the steps to the kitchen. "I've been awake for a while now...what am I taking and where?"