Two weeks ago...
?Oh, good,? Lirssa breathed a sigh of relief. ?They didn?t include bacon on the Aric-inator.? Taking a moment to read the description again, she added, ?Oh, wait, of course not. It?s a veggie sandwich.?
Lirssa sat at the cafe across from Jewell, looking over the updated menu where items often played on the names of duelists. Like there was Hope?s Eternal Salad, which was looking particularly appealing to Lirssa. She still ate very little at a sitting, but a salad might let her fill up on some good stuff and not feel full instantly.
?I think I?m gonna have the Overladyfinger Blueberry Cheesecake,? Jewell pointed to the desert section. An Empress Overlady could eat whatever she wanted for lunch! ?Because the Kal-amari salad sounds kinda meh.? Similar to Lirssa, Jewell didn?t have much of an appetite these days. Different reasons, similar results. But the faerie always had a bit of a sweet tooth. When the waitress came by, Jewell ordered her desert and a drink, ?I?ll take the Lir-Lemonade. Thank you!?
As odd as it was to order a drink named for her, it was lemonde. Not going to pass that up. ?Make that two, please.?
And when the waitress hustled away, Lirssa leaned forward a little, eyes narrowed on Jewell and studied her. There were plenty of things she wanted to say and ask. Jewell?s poker face was, unfortunately, impeccable. Lirssa could not read one way or the other if diving into the grim truth of the past coming up to bite the Empress?s particularly well renowned backside was a good idea, or she should stick with frivolity.
Naturally, that did not mean there was requirement to be absolutely one or the other. So, Lirssa tried to aim towards the shadows where light still fell. ?I wanted to thank you for taking up with the Foundation. Penny told me that you stopped by to tell stories, too. I?d ask how drunk you had to be to do that, but seems uncharitable of me to even joke about such things in light of how much it must have troubled you to do so.? Even with the arriving drinks, and the quick orders of their lunch, Lirssa barely skipped a beat. ?I knew people would step up, step in,? she didn?t think of herself as irreplaceable, ?but that it was you, well, that means a lot, Empress. Thank you.?
Jewell actually laughed. It was a good way to release the sudden anxiety blossoming in her chest, especially when she was sitting in a cafe and punching the wall was probably deemed socially unacceptable. ?Pretty drunk,? she joked. ?I won?t lie,? not that she could anyway, ?it kind of made me want to vomit every time. But it was also? nice too.? That was a vulnerable admission there and Jewell had to quickly cover it up by taking a sip of her lemonade.
?More importantly, it was the right thing to do. Despite what it might seem, I don?t just help with the Foundation because it makes me look good. Occasionally,? she smirked, ?I do the right thing too.?
?Well, as a way to say thank you, I am going to return the favor you provided to me some time ago, and invite you to a spa day. You know, get all pampered and gussied up before you have to make people bleed and die. Wouldn?t want it to get around you cut people?s heads off without having the perfect polish color for it.?
Jewell coughed, taking a sip of her lemonade at the wrong time there! ?Make people bleed and die?? The Empress took a very careful and discreet look around. It should be a safe place to talk, but there was a couple a few tables over that had caught her eye. They were human. And as ugly as the feeling was, she couldn?t trust them even with glamour to obscure the conversation. ?Only financially these days!?
Had there been some wary survey of their surroundings by Jewell? Lirssa quickly added to the charade. With wide eyes and lemonade lifted only part way, Lirssa hissed dismay, ?You make overlady and you aren?t going to duel anymore? Or, you?re just not going to make them bleed and possibly die anymore? I suppose I need to come up with less gore laden cheers.?
Jewell grinned, apparently 100% at ease. ?Okay, maybe a little blood.?
The lunch arrived, a salad and cheesecake not highly taxing things to prepare, and Lirssa speared greenery on her fork, pretending it was something more than rabbit food. ?Speaking of financially, I guess we?re still all set for the Foundation, though I?ve already got an idea for next spring?s charity event.? If they lived that long was not said, kept from being spoken by a forkful of salad.
?Yes, we should be good through the winter. I tried to make sure of that.? It had been done intentionally. The Empress was doing her best to make sure her house was in order before winter came because who knew what winter would bring. The last two had brought only sorrow. This one didn?t seem to be heading in a more cheerful direction. She tasted a bit of cheesecake, covering her mouth to ask Lir while she chewed, ?What?s your idea??
?Good, because this one is a bit risky, but little to no upfront costs. Administratively sort of a headache, but I?m thinking along the lines of the well known, well to do, the hoity toity of the city donate something they?ve worn to one of the high profile events around town and we auction it off. The Clothes Off Our Backs fundraiser. Like, you might donate one of your dresses you?ve worn to a gala, and then folk bid on it -- cause they admire you, or like the dress, or are weirdo and want to just cuddle with it. Whatever.? A cheeky grin as she took another bite of salad. At least she wasn?t asking Jewell to auction off anything that she held of value. ?If we get at least ten pieces, and they go for five or six hundred, that?s another season at the least of carrying through with medical and basics.? Lirssa paused just enough to gauge Jewell?s reaction.
She was busy trying not to choke on her cheesecake through her laughter, ?Cuddle with it? Oh my word, yes! That sounds fantastic.?
Together, they continued to chatter on about Lirssa?s plans and Jewell?s hopes that no one would buy a pair of her shoes just to sniff them.