Unexpected News

The region of Tian Xia (the Eastern empire).
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Vicentius
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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Vicentius » Sun Jun 26, 2016 1:29 pm

Tius smiled, giving Ivone's hand a squeeze. He was tempted to press a kiss to her fingers, but at this stage of the greeting, too much familiarity was impolite. He settled for maintaining the squeeze a little longer, his gaze affectionate. Li-Sung and Mei-Peng were having their fun, of course, so they would not begrudge him that. There was a moment of amused silence from them though, at Ivone's words, and Tius moved to fill it.

"But I do love it when you are," he said, quirking an eyebrow, "I think you are wonderful too, but I am hardly an unbiased source."

Mei-Peng's gaze had grown doting once again, and she held her husband's hand in a mirror of the gesture. Li-Sung, of course, was quick to rise to the occasion. Tius knew that he would not let that comment about broken hearts go quite yet; it was simply too good an opportunity.

"Of course not," Li-Sung said, "there is no need to apologize, Ivone, this is a happy time for you both!"

He chuckled, taking another sip of his tea.

"And," he said, "of course I can tell you those stories. How could I not? A young man in a strange land, so exotic, so handsome, so mysterious; you can imagine how helpful people wanted to be."

Tius rolled his eyes, sipping his tea.

"You make it sound like I encouraged it, Lao Li," he said, "when I did nothing of the sort."

"He was such a gentleman," Mei-Peng said, "but, of course, that only added fuel to the fire."

"You exaggerate," Tius said, bowing his head, "I was never that popular."

"Oh, hush," Mei-Peng said, "and accept the compliment. What of you, Ivone? Are you as mysterious as Vi-cen?"

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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Ivone » Mon Jun 27, 2016 1:31 am

Ivone met Tius' gaze and had the grace to blush further. His words reminded her of their impromptu encounter in the bath room and tweaked her desire for him. Again. Ivone pressed her teeth into her bottom lip and glanced away.

Li-Sung brought her attention back to him, thankfully. She gave the man a smile and inclined her head. As he continued to speak, the sparkle lit in Ivone's gaze. She did feel a little bit jealous, or perhaps it was a possessiveness, which was reflected in a return squeeze on Tius' hand. BUT, Tius had apparently been himself.

Ivone chuckled.

"He is exactly the same at home. You wouldn't believe the number of young ladies who veritably swoon when he all but walks in the room. The others just fall all over themselves like wriggly puppies in a pile, trying to get his attention." When Mei-Peng addressed her, Ivone shook her head.

"Though I make an effort to keep a present a proper face, I am afraid I am obvious despite myself." Ivone smiled a self-deprecating smile and glanced to Tius briefly, "... as you have seen."

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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Vicentius » Tue Jun 28, 2016 5:54 am

Tius chuckled, taking another sip of his tea as she quickly looked away, blushing furiously. He had a good idea of what she was thinking, and while he knew that this pregnancy would not remain pleasant forever, for the time being it was doing something wonderful to her mode of thought. Quirking an eyebrow at the other two, he regarded them over the rim of his bowl.

"I recall being told a few stories," he said, wistfully, "of a young man and his lady love, and his ceaseless attempts to woo her that ran into the comedic."

Li-Sung and Mei Peng shared a look and chuckled. It was more than true; Li-Sung was quite fond of the tale of his, often luckless, courting of his wife, and while Tius was certain he was exaggerating much of it, it was still a good story. For her part, Mei-Peng did not discourage it, in a way that suggested she had rather enjoying testing him back then. Given Tius' own stated reservations about pursuing women on a whim, they seemed to have assumed that he was extremely shy and in need of pointers, which had been fun in a deeply, deeply embarrassing way. Mei-Peng raised an eyebrow.

"Oh, but I would, Ivone," she said, "especially now that he is grown. I know Xi-Ling our youngest, will be particularly disappointed. She was so fond of him."

Tius almost choked on his tea, recovering well, in spite of Li-Sung's laugh. That had been an experience, certainly. Xi-Ling had been, and most likely still was, all forwards, and not a person to take no for an answer under any circumstance. It had not so much been declining her, he recalled, as much as a full on retreat. Of course, her parents would not have approved of any such liaison, for all that they liked him, but that did not stop them needling him over it.

"I think she enjoyed the challenge more than anything," he said.

Both laughed and returned their attention to Ivone.

"Proper is for public spaces," Li-Sung said, "not for tea with friends."

"I recall carrying my own children," Mei-Peng said, wistfully, "even before they are born, they find a way to make themselves known in conversation."

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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Ivone » Tue Jun 28, 2016 2:57 pm

Ivone's brows raised and she looked at the trio. Did she have to worry about someone undermining her efforts? Ivone did not think she had to worry about Tius. She trusted him enough and knew he kept himself (alluringly) apart. The near-choke on his tea wasn't lost on her either. Ivone smiled, amused. In Marn, Tius had learned to dance well with the more amorous and forward admirers. She wondered though, if that had been learned through his experience here. When the pair turned their attention back to Ivone, they would find her looking at Tius, yet again, enamored and soft.

Caught, her eyes widened at Mei-Peng's comment. Was it so obvious already? How should she respond? Ivone looked down, excited and pleased, before looking to Tius for confirmation. Should they?

There was that tell-tale flutter, her little butterfly. As if the babe wanted to be spoken of.

"Is it that obvious?" Ivone couldn't hide the smile or the love, just couldn't. Perhaps she was a fool. She would apologize to Tius for being less politic than she should be, later.

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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Vicentius » Mon Jul 04, 2016 12:49 pm

Tius nodded, almost imperceptibly, at Ivone's look, knowing that she didn't need his permission to broach the subject, but oddly gratified that she had asked anyway. Yes, if one knew what to look for, the signs were there, he thought, and Mei Peng was a very observant woman, but more than that, he had told them, which simplified the guessing game quite a bit. That was not the sort of thing one wanted going unknown in a strange land, and not a burden he would place on friends without due consideration. Idly, he stroked the back of her hand with his index finger, letting her take the reins.

"It is to a mother," Mei-Peng said, her gaze a little doting, "though my husband still does not believe. You are aglow."

Li-Sung simply laughed, taking another sip of tea. He was not a man to announce his thoughts after so long a marriage; Mei-Peng's wifely senses were highly tuned, and many an unwise word had been repaid to him with care and worrying attention. No, Tius thought; he may have suspected, but he would never say so without being sure. He looked at his own tea for a moment, then looked across at his friends.

"That she is," he said, catching Li-Sung's eye, "but how to tell the new glow from how she glows every day?"

"Truly it is mystery," Li-Sung said, "and woman's magic."

That last was punctuated by Mei-Peng elbowing him in the ribs, and he held his hands up in mock surrender, whereupon Mei-Peng primly resettled herself and lifted her tea, her serene expression lit by a small smile.

"And that is why my husband should heed his wife in these things," she said, looking at Tius, "be warned."

Tius smiled, sitting back slightly.

"I am well warned," he said, "and I respect Ivone greatly."

He turned to favour Ivone with a wink.

"I was trained too well for anything else."

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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Ivone » Tue Jul 05, 2016 2:22 am

“It is a blessing.” This in response to Mei-Peng’s “glowing” comment. Ivone’s free hand stole to her belly.
Ivone cut her glance to Tius, amused that he laid it on so thick. His ability for banter was amazing. Her eyes widened at his wink. She smiled that demure little smile of hers, looked away and back.

Trained? If Tius were trained, it hadn’t been she who trained him. Tamed him temporarily perhaps, but trained – no, he was born that way.

“I think the truth is just that you are a clever man with keen observation skills.” Ivone’s gaze held Tius’ for a moment. Her thumb moved against his. Ivone’s gaze turned toward Mei-Peng and Li-Sung.

“After all, with examples as fine as you, how could Vi-cen not see how a good and happy marriage works?” Ivone inclined her head in deference to the pair’s longevity and obvious happiness. She wondered briefly how much longer the talk would continue. Pregnancy and volumes of tea were taking its toll.
"Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything, but I'm still waiting."


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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Vicentius » Tue Jul 05, 2016 5:55 am

"It is also a curse," Mei Peng said, with a knowing smile, "I shall show Ivone around until you two finish swapping stories."

With a quick kiss for her husband, she rose gracefully and crossed to offer Ivone her hand. Tius too rose quickly to offer her a hand, his keen observation skills allowing him to pick up on subtle signals. Of course, Li-Sung still grinned, his eyes twinkling; he wasn't one to miss a trick either. Helping Ivone up, he bowed slightly as was required, offering his thanks to Mei Peng for her help and hospitality, before relinquishing Ivone to her care.

"Now," Mei Peng said, "perhaps the facilities would be a good place to start."

As they began to move off, Tius sat down again, looking across at Li-Sung.

"A fine woman," he said, "and a fine choice. She will be an amazing mother."

"She will be," Tius said, "and, thank you again for agreeing to help."

"Of course. You did not need to go to all this trouble."

Tius smiled, sipping his tea.

"Yes I did," he said, "I could do no less and still call you friend."

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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Ivone » Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:08 am

Taking advantage of Tius' bow, Ivone busked a kiss to his cheek. Mei-Peng had done it, so she could, too! Mei-Peng tucked Ivone's arm into her own, patting Ivone's hand.

"That would be greatly appreciated, Madame Mei-Peng."

The men's voices were low, genial. Even without understanding the words, it didn't matter. Ivone liked the timbre of Tius' voice; hearing it.

"And, thank you for allowing me to be part of your home as we work on new ventures."

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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Vicentius » Sun Jul 10, 2016 2:53 pm

Mei-Peng chuckled, patting Ivone’s forearm fondly. Vi-Cen kept to himself too much, she felt, even now, but he had wonderful judgement in people. She liked this woman, though she sensed that there was more to this story that she had not heard. She suppressed another chuckle; that too, was typical of Vi-Cen, so mysterious; and he wondered why the young ladies were so fond of him.

“How could we not?”

It was true, Vi-Cen had been very good to them and their business, and they had made so many new friends in so many interesting places. He had been such an interesting house guest too, with so many wonderful ideas. She had been sad to see him leave, though Li-Sung had been relieved not to have to keep Xi-Ling away from him any more. She didn't really understand the fear; Vi-Cen seemed like he came from money, for all he tried to hide it, and he was quite well educated. Frankly, she thought, Xi-Ling could have done far worse, but that argument had come and gone. She stopped by a doorway, opening it for Ivone.

"The facilities are in here," she said, "and, please, it is no trouble."

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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Ivone » Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:27 am

Ivone smiled graciously.

"I'll only be a moment." And, that was a true enough statement. Whens he emerged, Mei-Peng was waiting.

"I think Vi-cen traveled quite hard to arrive at the same time as I. He is an amazing man. Would you tell me about him - the him that stayed with you years ago?"

Ivone smiled gently.

"He is a quiet man for all his ability to banter and talk. But, he is also my most favorite subject. Will you indulge a new wife?"

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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Vicentius » Tue Jul 12, 2016 9:13 pm

"He often says that a few, when travelling, can take a faster path," she said, "but in my experience, fast means dangerous. If the winds favoured them, they may have crossed much of the distance by boat."

Mei-Peng smiled, gesturing for Ivone to follow, and lead her out through the ornamental gardens. The breeze was pleasant, and the aromas of the flowers washed over them both as she tried to recall, chuckling.

"What can I say that you do not already know?"

She gestured vaguely towards the main gate, looking pensive.

"Vi-cen wandered through that gate, oh, many years ago now," she said, "looking for work. I do not know how long he had been in our lands by then, but he had already been travelling for some time. I think he came from the south."

Had it truly been so long?

"Not that that was unusual, you see; we get seasonal workers all the time, but he was not them," she said, "he was him. Worked hard, very friendly, managed to annoy every clever so and so for miles."

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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Ivone » Wed Jul 13, 2016 2:00 am

"By Boat? You mean across that lake that's so large you can't even see the other side?" Ivone's eyes widened. She was glad she hadn't known. She wasn't sure how well she would have reacted to going by boat, or what sorts of things might live in a lake that large. There were monstrous creatures in the Ofriyu Mar, or so people said.

The worry gave way to amusement.

"Yes, I could see him doing that. Did he debate philosophy in his off days?" Ivone chuckled. Another wave of what she could only call love washed through her. Maybe it was infatuation and love would come as they knew each other. Certainly, this feeling was vastly different than the love she'd felt Tianthalus.

"I am a lucky woman." The comment was a verbalized thought, couched on a doting smile.

"Are there creatures in that lake? It seemed so large."

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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Vicentius » Thu Jul 14, 2016 10:25 pm

Mei Peng raised her eyebrows in surprise, then smiled, shaking her head. It was strange to think that some people had never seen a body of water that big, but then there were parts of the Empire that she would never see either, so who was she to judge

"My apologies," she said, "I forget that it is your first time. It is not so much a lake as an inland sea, as it is salt water. One of the largest on the continent I am told. I do not know if I should be proud or not."

She shrugged, stopping amid some of the displays to think.

"Vi-cen did not have the same reaction, as i recall," she said, "I think he was accustomed to it by then. He always liked the sea though, and he said that it was very different to have water one could swim in."

She chuckled, thinking on her question.

"I do not know," she said, "one hears stories from sailors, of course, but I cannot swear to their validity. I'm sure there are some things there, out where the water gets deep and where the fish are plentiful."

For a moment, she had a flashback to one such discussion, and she laughed aloud, putting a hand to her mouth to stifle herself.

"If one could call it debating," she said, "though he certainly went about it differently than the local scholars. Very enthusiastic in his search for enlightenment. Some could say too enthusiastic. It has been so long since we have seen him though, I can only think you know more of him than we do."

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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Ivone » Tue Jul 26, 2016 12:34 am

Ivone nodded.

"We have the Ofriyu Mar, a very large river that runs the length of the continent. Near to Marn, the river is wide and deep, though you can see the other side. The current is fast and we have some unusual flora. The most fascinating is in Spring. Bioluminescent fish migrate upstream on Spring nights. A most amazing thing to see. There's also a fairly large something that fishermen swear by, though I haven't seen that. But, coupled with the treacherous current, swimming is not highly recommended. I think I'd like it, though."

Mei-Peng's laugh was infectious. Ivone smiled in return, eyes sparkling to hear any story of Tius.

"I can see that. He does have a tenacity to him, does he not?" Ivone slipped her arm through Mei-Peng's as they headed back to where the men sat.

"I hope you like the other things I brought with me. Shall we collect Vi-cen and Li-Sung and go see?"
"Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything, but I'm still waiting."


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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Vicentius » Tue Jul 26, 2016 9:21 am

Mei-Peng nodded, her expression full of wonder.

"Really? That sounds wonderful! There is something similar that happens near the eastern temples," she said, her eyes alight, "when the sun carp make the Climb. They say it can be seen for miles! I have always longed to see such."

She chuckled at Ivone's nervousness about swimming, and shook her head.

"It is not as dire as it sounds," she said, "I assure you. Just a very different kind of bath. I found I needed it more and more as I carried my own babes; it was the only time they were not sitting on my bladder."

Coughing to clear the laughter from her throat, she favoured Ivone with a conspiratorial look.

"That is one word for it," she said, "though not the word that was used. Yes, we should get back. My husband likes to talk when he has tea, sometimes too much, and Vi-Cen was ever too polite to interrupt him."

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