The Quizzical Nature of No One in Particular

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His near tumble to the floor was hidden by a flurry of activity. Paige seemed to share the amused partial smirk that the cat did, watching him shimmy away with the dishes as if it were all according to one of his well thought out plans. Planning things even to minuscule details was something Paige had come to realize he must have did often. Though he seemed like the sort to jump around with clueless abandon, he seemed to have all of that chaos under control...

Those thoughts mingled with Andrist's confessions about his current project. Paige understood all too well what it was like to be taken away and never found. It shifted her from mild curiosity to full blown interest. She couldn't follow what he meant by mason, trowel and mortar... But she was already wondering who would want to pluck people out of the town and why! The WHY was always peculiar.

"If you have a suspect, does that mean you're going to go and ask them to see what they're up to? What if you find out you're right? Will you rescue them yourself or ask for back up?" She tapped her fingers on the table, other doubts coming in to play. In a world full of villains and heroes, someone who detected things didn't seem like he belonged!

"...and what if you're not supposed to rescue people? Some of these things involve professional heroes and all that nonsense. Your One True King or Knight In Shining Armor or Savior Princess and other people with fancy capital letter titles."
"Titles are a pretty thing, etched in a tombstone perhaps in flowery letters, but they can be traded like a hat."

There was a blur of action as Andrist set about putting the plates where they could be cleaned and slapping a sizely dollop of the dessert on a single plate, stuffing two spoons in the gelatinous mound and parading extravagantly back to the table. With a gentlemanly flourish, he set the plate down and resumed sitting upon the shrunken pile of books, to reach over as though he didn't notice he'd suddenly become a few inches shorter. He enjoyed the sharp orangey flavor and the citrus aftertaste; the trick to good mousse was to make each mouthful absolutely explode with taste.

"Mmmnhm. Resplendent. Anyway only one thing weathers the storm of time and that is conscience. Shall or Shant, Will or Won't, my conscience cannot allow me to sit idly by and wait for somebody -else- go running about, righting wrongs and, and bludgeoning baddies with their lofty titles, no no."

Snorting with proper derision, he crossed his legs and arched his back a bit in an effort to reach a bit better over the table. Andrist seemed perfectly ignorant to the scrutiny under which she had locked him, either that or liked her well enough to not mind it so much. Between little spoonfuls, he again sought to catch her eye, puffing a lock of tainted white out of his face.

"And I suspect, my handsome assistant, that yours cannot either. Despite that dour crease on your brow."

Here, he dabbed at the corner of his lips with a napkin he seemed to have acquired.

"Tonight, I will see whether I can bait the offender myself. And in so catching him mid-act, make my interrogation much... MUCH simpler. It is difficult to deny kidnapping activity with a kidnapped man slung over your shoulder, hm-hm!"
Orange mousse. Paige had never eaten such a thing. It looked light and fluffy, with the most obnoxious color of orange she ever laid eyes on. It smelled lovely, though. Like sweet citrus. Taking a spoon in hand, she tried a bite. ...then it was her slow, pleasant swaying. Tilting side to side in her chair from pure enjoyment. Her swaying didn't seem to spot this time as she considering over his words to reply.

"I am not of a mind to sit idly by while someone is dragged away to their doom, no..." As that seemed to be his plan! Was he going to walk outside and stand on a street corner, waiting to be kidnapped by someone who might do something awful and terrible to him? Did he think it would be a piece of cake, (or in this case very fantastic orange mousse!) to escape from any number of fathomable prisons? Obviously the man was mad!

Hazel eyes were staring at him with unmasked disbelief. "Hmph... you can't very well go on such a silly mission without having someone ready to rescue you when you are bound to get yourself in trouble. I doubt a small amount of kitty claws would be very effective if such a person intended to kill you. Since I will be out on the street anyway, I will have to keep an eye on you." Paige couldn't in good conscience let him die now that she knew he was crazy.
Oh, but wasn't she a treat to behold! The elegant curl of her hair. The glitter in her blue/green eyes. The silk of her skin, though slightly unscrubbed. The pendulum with which she enjoyed her dessert.

Andrist was delighted in his choice of assistant. Of course, all things professional, he maintained an air of casual appreciation, instead of gawking like he wanted. There was no room in his buzzing brain for such thoughts, though he entertained that were he some -normal- bumpkin, he should like very much to kneel and recite poetry to Paige.

Leaning back on his pile of books (an impressive feat given the lack of back-support), he fixed her with a gentle nod as dreamy violet eyes drifted to the roof. "I would wager that any person thieving up Blunderpuss would soonly return him with a note of apology, and lacerations for their efforts!"

The thought was an amusing one, and Mr Sleetrain considered it over the course of... a second or perhaps two before hopping up on his feet and scooping up his plate. Half of his mousse remained untouched; this he guided onto Paige's own with the aid of gravity and a spoon.

"The danger here is very real, I'm afraid," he admitted whilst floating over to the rest of the dishes, as the smile ran away from his face. "I would much prefer you here during the interim, but I shan't command you. Much might go awry, and if it should, I will require you to flee as fast and as far as you can, lock up the doors, and have my family notified of my demise."

With a series of 'hm-hm's and a flourish, Andrist would buzz about the room, checking notes and old po-lice reports. As much as he'd love to see his theory proven truthful, oh and the series of kidnapping reversed, Andrist wouldn't go running out on a full tummy and besides which there was still an hour or so of daylight burning out of doors.

Blunderpuss regarded Paige with the blend of interest and disgust that is typical only to cats, sauntering over to hop lightly and summarily plunk himself down on Andrist's side of the table.

"Meow," he informed her drearily, his gray tail flicking this way and then that.
Paige narrowed her eyes at Blunderpuss. Her spoon hanging from her mouth as she pulled her plate a little closer to her. Despite receiving an unexpected portion, she wasn't keen on sharing with a fuzzed up maniac. All cats were maniacs, whether they deemed to reveal it or not.

"Me going to save you so you don't get killed is kind of the point." Paige responded, keeping one wary eye on the furry beast while she turned in her seat to watch Andrist bustle around. "I'm going to be out there anyway, it is the least I could do." She supposed arguing with him on the subject wouldn't get her much of anywhere. In the end she was going to trail after him whether he knew or not. ...just in case. He made a very fine dinner, after all, and that was worth more than just a few errands around the town.

The nearness of her current arch enemy was finally too much. Though, having finished her plate, it was a perfect excuse to flee the table and take it off to be rinsed and put away with the rest of the dishes. The idle housekeeping was nothing new to her. Once upon a time that was what she did everyday! Finding knickknacks and strange contraptions stashed in nooks and crannies where they surely didn't belong was a little different, however.

Drying her hands on her skirts, Paige took to snooping through his things while he prepared for his foolhardy outing. A book was plucked off the table, being thumbed threw her fingers.

She paused suddenly, looking up at him in befuddlement. "...How on earth am I supposed to contact your family? I have no idea who they are!"
"Well, silly Paige! They are my mother and father of course! And sister, though the Academy restricts outside contact. Deflates their inherant sense of isolation, I imagine. All in the na-"

And here S.S. Andrist shot from port, sailing tidily the seas of nonsense. Hooting on and on like an old ent, he proceeded to inform Paige all about how Tristess and he were constantly locked in argument, either favoring more the mystical or martial arts. Andrist perceived that the world was far too exciting a place to resort to such brutal and messy methods of exploring it, and Tristess ventured that Andrist was a lamby lamb who couldn't so much as -carry- a suit of armor, much less fight in one.

That his sister had been more than vital to many of his cases was something the S.S. Sleetrain managed to avoid altogether, like some massive oceaner swerving to avoid an iceberg and thus preserve the shoddy romance of those onboard.

Eventually he ran out of steam and sloppy analogies and fell silent entirely, pouring energetically through a series of tomes and papers. Time whittled on by, the pretty bard left to her own devices. For what he was, Andrist was not an annoying individual, seeking to fill every second of the day with gossipy chatter, nor was he at all pushy about her past. (Truth be told, Andrist had learned all he needed to some hours ago, and had decided since that Pretty Paige was worth keeping about.)

Time passed further, as it has a habit of doing, and as dusk came trundling along and the outside world darkened sleepily, the interior of the Sleetrain residence intensified in candleish glow to compensate. The snow still sputtered gaily from on high; Andrist was accompanied by footsteps as he strode to the door and poked his ivory dome out, to blink querulously at the sky.

"An hour or so more. I cannot stand to wait much longer. Oh exciting!"

Blunderpuss was not impressed, and quietly excused himself to curl before the mystical fireplace and snooze plainly into his tail.
Blasted blathering man. Paige didn't bother to pretend that she was following his rambling. Nor did she hide the way she was snooping through all of his things. He didn't seem to mind, which left the homeless bard conducting her own sort of investigations. The more she got her hands in to, the more curious she became. Finally, Paige found herself sitting on the rug near the fire with a giant book spread open across her lap. So intensely reading that for the first time that evening there wasn't a twitch, jump, or glare in the feline's direction as he curled up nearby.

Paige glanced up from the book to spy at Andrist while he peeped outside in an impatient tizzy. For a split second, she almost regretted that her warm, snow free day was about to come to a blizzardy end. Though, she entertained the thought of stealing his home when he inevitably got himself murdered in the city streets, it was washed away just as quickly. Who wants to live with a cat?

She flipped the book closed and pushed it aside. "Why don't we go ahead and leave now? Do you even know where you're going to start, or did you intend to wander the city streets hoping to find yourself the victim of happenstance?"