Lights! Camera! Gala!

The Canardian Museum of Art Benefit Gala was at the tippy top echelon of all  the city’s socialites calendar. Anyone who was anyone was there. Movie stars, millionaires, entrepreneurs, artists of all mediums were drifting through the rooftop venue. The tall white columns were awash in purple colored floodlights, the ceiling glittered with extravagant chandeliers that sent prisms glimmering across the floor with the dancers.  Tables were piled with exotic flowers and crystal cut glassware that seemed to twinkle all on their own.  Banquet tables boasted the finest food cooked by the staff of the celebrity chefs in attendance.  Gordon Rammzee was even there, laughing at a well told joke no less.  Everything glittered, everything sparkled, most of all the glamorous beauties in attendance. Every dress out did the next. Sequins and glitter.  Diamonds and pearls. Precious jewels paraded around like peacock feathers.  The violin quartet was humming a waltz that seemed to fill the room with romance and delight.  Everyone was enjoying themselves, commenting on how much better it was this year than previous years, trading stock tips, playing a game of who has the biggest boat by flashing cell phone pictures and raising their voices. You know, rich people stuff.

 

The fact the gala was being held on the elite roof of the museum itself made for an interesting waiting area.  The attendees would gain entrance only after a strict security team had cleared them. Walk the red carpet as photographers abused them with directions and questions then they were ushered off by overly kind and helpful staff wearing stunning tuxedos. They would lead them to the glass elevators that would shuttle them through the floors of the museum at a leisurely pace, allowing glimpses of the exhibits as the floors passed.  There seemed to be a lot of penguin exhibitons this year. Seating was not strictly assigned but each pass had been registered under a name.  Gladstone had been dumbstruck when the waiter had asked if he was interested in waiting for the rest of his party before ordering a drink.

Rest of his- he had only won this ticket two days ago by pulling a number out of hat outside. Wait- hadn’t he had two more at one point? He eyed the empty chairs beside him.  Huh. Well... guess he could stretch out his legs? The table sat six and it currently held three, an attractive couple were whispering sweet nothings to each other directly across from him. The woman kept eyeing him and he self consciously shielded his face.  Of all the times to have a stupid black eye...

Out of all the things that had happened to him since he came to St. Canard... that was the worst. His spirits were low.  Was it poor taste to dine and dash at one of these things?

    • Lilly Teal
      Lilly Teal

      Of the pair currently making their way through security, one of them was wondering the same thing. More accurately she was wondering if she could still make a break for it right now.

      "Oz this is silly. Let's just go before we're inside," Lilly pleaded. It'd be too embarrassing to leave once people can see us do it.

      "I don't believe you, I really don't. Tickets to the party of the century just fall into your lap and you don't want to go. I need to replace you with a new friend." Needlessly dramatic as always, the bright green quetzal adjusted the lapels of his deep red tuxedo with sleek black tie, ran a hand over his even brighter blonde hair, and smiled his way through the security guards, flashing the tickets like a badge.

      "We don't belong here," she said in exasperation, finally realising the futility of tugging at his arm. For such a slender man she was amazed she couldn't move him an inch. "We don't know anyone here, what are we even supposed to do or say?"

      "What better place than this to scope out a better class of clientele. Or maybe a few rich patrons. Or an attractive fling?" Or all three in one?

      "Oz, please don't start advertising when we're there..."

      He snorted. "I'm not going to burst in and start announcing myself, throwing out business cards and headshots. What am I, Darkwing Duck? I'm just going to socialise. Network."

      "Then why am I here?"

      "Because," pausing inside the elevator, he turned around to give her a critical once-over. He'd donated, or practically forced, a deep blue gown on her with sheer lace sleeves, the fall of which he adjusted with no regard to her personal space before giving her hair a final fluff and re-centering her necklace. Flawless. As you would continue to be if you would only let me control your even fashion decision and do your makeup all the time. "Because a gorgeous plus one does a lot for one's image at a place like this."

      "Ah. I'm an accessory."

      "Always, honey." The gown shimmered, just slightly. He wiped away a pretend tear. Was she the most glamorous, most sparkly, most fabulously dressed person in the entire party? Of course not, even he didn't have the wherewithal to compete financially with the fashions of St. Canard's glitterati. And while he might have been able to match up to it to a very large degree, for all his bossiness he knew that it wouldn't have suited Lilly. But for all that, in his eyes she was flawless. He had made her the best she could be while still being her. Wasn't he just a fantastic fairy godmother?

      She was his friend, and she looked beautiful. That's why she was flawless.

      Also because the dress and makeup was his work. That's mostly the real reason she was flawless.

      "And it gets you out of the house" he added more gently as they stepped off the elevator, linking a comforting arm with hers. "You don't have to talk to anyone, alright? You talk to me and I'll talk to everyone so loudly they won't get a chance to make you feel shy. The food will be amazing. We'll dance, just you and me. I really did want you to come with me, you know that."

      She sighed. "Alright, honey..."

      "Look, I think I can see our seats. Let's start this night off RIGHT and order something strong."

      "No."

      "Aw."

      • Gladstone Gander
        Gladstone Gander

        Something strong had already been hand delivered to Gladstone, at his table, then nearby  those seemingly uninterested supermodels, and then in the center of the dance floor.  The light purple bruising around his left eye was going to be the least of his worries if he kept this up. The waiter tried to leave but Gladstone held his finger up halting him as he drained his glass before putting it heavily back on the drink tray. The server looked scandalized.

        "Get me another one of-" he waved his hand at the spinning cup, was it really spinning? Who could tell?"-whatever wuz-in zat un." The server wandered off in huff. Gladstone rubbed his temples he had been in the middle of a story with, someone, anyone honestly would have done. A woman raised her eyebrow at him,scowling at her empty glass. "Oh-" he turned to see if the gentleman was still there, he wasn't. Gladstone shrugged thickly. "nnneway. As I was sayin'-"

        • Lilly Teal
          Lilly Teal

          Oz was loud. Not in terms of the volume of his voice. He was just... loud. Attention grabbing in his gestures and expressions. And that's just how he liked it. Picking up a drink, he gave the waiter a glittering smile and a wink before looking around in approval.

          "Gorgeous place. Almost as gorgeous as we are."

          "Oz, please remember we came here in your car."

          "I will be responsible. Although it looks like someone's already started partying way too early." A laugh, and he gestured with his glass towards the slightly... unsteady fellow, before taking a deep drink himself. "I think we all have some catching up to- hm?" Distracted mid-drink, he cocked an eyebrow at her surprised expression. "People get drunk. It happens."

          "No no, I think I recognise him, she said, brightening up. Friend, hello, hi!

          Now it was Oz's turn to look surprised, and he turned back to the floor, giving the drake a once-over. Nice hair. Nice suit. Good feathers, he takes care of himself. Charming look. A bit of heavy drinking but nobody's perfect.

          approve.

          "Lilly." He sounded deeply betrayed. "You know a well turned out-" if currently tipsy "man who can afford to come to a swanky place like this and you don't introduce me?"

          "You never wait for me to introduce you to anyone, you push yourself in front!"

          "Well that changes now." Giving her a devilish grin, he pulled her forwards. "Today I'm pushing YOU in front."

          "What are yo-" With a suppressed squeal, she pitched and stumbled forward, only barely keeping on her feet. Mortified, she cast around to make sure nobody had been paying too much attention to that, and gave her grinning friend a despairing look.

          Go. Say hello.

          I was going to do that anyway. I hate you.

          She raised her voice just a little, not wanting to draw too much attention, but wondering if that would be enough to get his attention in the chatter and his current... state, she waved a little.

          "Gladstone? Hello!"

          Wait.

          "You might not remember me, I'm Lilly from the bookstore. We met a couple of weeks ago!"

          • Gladstone Gander
            Gladstone Gander

            Out of the corner of his eye he caught sight of a faint shimmer, once he looked a beautiful woman was waving at him. He was about to give a confused little wave back but recognition blossomed across his face and he beamed with the fires of a thousands suns.  

            "LILLY!

            The violins screeched to a halt and everyone turned to look at him.  You were saying something about loud?  He cleared his throat and smiled around nervously.  After a few disapproving moments of judgement the ball carried on. 

            "Lilly-" he started again, this time in a kind of stage whisper, and pushed past the woman who had been talking to him his arms rising to hug her but stopped.  His eyes searched her, fancy hair, fancy dress, fancy everything.  "-I really want to hug you.  But I might crush your hairdo.  Also... wrinkles?"  He wiggled his fingers in anticipation.  Hugs, hugs, hugs. "An' of COURSe I re'mber you.  Yer my asskickin' lil Lillypad!"

            • Lilly Teal
              Lilly Teal

              If she was mortified before, it was nothing compared to how she was feeling now as she tried for a moment to pretend that the name being yelled out was not hers.

              Oh but he was so happy to see her, how can you remember embarassment in the face of that?

              She held out her arms, looking amused, and pulled him in for a warm squeeze. You want hugs? Let's have hugs. A moment later she pulled back with her hands on his shoulders, wrinkling her nose.

              "How much have you had to drink?" I think I can figure it out just from the smell.

              "And what was it?" Oz put in. "If it encourages public cuddling it must be something."

              "Oh OZ." Please don't be embarrassing. "Oh yes. Gladstone, this is my friend, Ozymandias. Oz, this is-"

              At which point she noticed something far more serious, and gasped.

              "What happened to your eye?!"

              • Gladstone Gander
                Gladstone Gander

                "Yay!" he squeaked and hugged her back, harder than he probably should have but relenting when she held him out for inspection. 

                "I had... some pink-ish... something. Uh... annuther one tha' looked like lemminade" He gave her a serious look. "It  wasn' lemminade. And maybe a blueish thing? That was pretty good." ... Gladstone. Did you get drunk by accident? Why yes.  Yes he might have.  He leaned in and whispered to her with a wink. "I shink I might be drun' shh. Dun tell." 

                Mums the word.  

                "Friend! Hullo-" He started in a bright greeting to Oz about to extend his hand but froze when the question hit him. He groaned and rerouted the hand to cover his abused eye.  "Oh- I'm so ugly-" He wailed sullenly. "What mus' you th*hic*nk of me?" 

                 

                A waiter walked by with a tray of gem colored drinks. Gladstone's attention followed them. 

                "Ooo, whazzat one?"

                • Lilly Teal
                  Lilly Teal

                  "Whatever it is, it's not something you're going to try," Lilly said firmly, keeping a firm grip on his shoulders. Oz, on the other hand, picked up a glass and gave it a sip.

                  "Mm. Not something you'll want, Glad." Because it's mine. "And what's this about being ugly? You're almost as beautiful as me."

                  I swear he's helping. Lilly shook her head, torn between amusement and exasperation. "Gladstone, why don't you sit down with us, alright? We'll get you some cold water and something to fill your stomach with."

                  And don't you dare try to wander off after drinks, I will hug/hold you in place.

                  • Gladstone Gander
                    Gladstone Gander

                    "Ha! I love dis guy." The sound of sitting down had a nice ring to it. "Ah, there's like... assigned seating or whatev-" Eyes widening he pointed to each of them, one... two. He smacked his forehead lightly. "-yer at my table. Did I like..." Through the fog that was swirling through his brain he recalled and snapped his fingers. "When I emppied my pokits I totally forgot. Oh- oh-" he teetered toward Lilly conspiritorily. "Th- pieces of the whatsit are in a safe place by th' way. I got it alll unner control." Halfway across the city three pieces of a silver ladle were stewing in a hotel ice bucket. In this current location Gladstone tried to wink, but just wound up blinking both eyes at the same time.

                    Yes. Master of control here.

                    "Would madam like a drink?" A tuxedoed man had swooped up silently holding a tray of cocktails as well as a some innocent options like water.  One of which was placed primly in Gladstone's hand without asking.  They had your number buddy. In fact there was a good chance that they'd be waited on hand and foot so that the staff could make sure this menace sobered up before he  started climbing the statues. Lucky them. "Perhaps sir would care to take in some fresh air? The view outside is lovely." 

                    "My view is already lovely." Gladstone grinned at Lilly before sucking back the glass of water, before he could even remove it from his lips the empty glass was snatched away and another forced upon him.   The waiter shot meaningful looks to Oz and Lilly before bustling away. "Sheeze... pushy." 

                     

                    • Lilly Teal
                      Lilly Teal

                      "My view is already lovely," Oz repeated with a grin, earning him a smack on the shoulder.

                      "He's drunk, he doesn't know what he's saying." Don't make fun of him for that, it's not fair.

                      The meaning of the meaningful look was a little lost on both of them, as Oz seemed a bit disinterested in finding a solution to what was happening, and Lilly was too busy worrying that Gladstone was going to topple over onto the ground.

                      "I don't know what you're complaining about. A cute guy gives you compliment like that, you damn well take it, or I'll take him off your hands."

                      "He's not-" okay technically he's in my hands. His shoulders are, anyway. But not like that. Stop that. "Maybe outside is a good idea after all."

                      "If he's okay to walk that far, sure." Turning to look at the exit, he gauged the distance they'd have to cross, and then the distance from them to their seats. "Sitting down is closer."

                      "Gladstone," she said gently, trying to get him to look her in the eyes and therefore away from any other potentially shiny and pretty drinks. Just focus on your support and the glass of water in your hands. "What do you want to do?"

                      "Enjoy the vie-"

                      "Oz not now."

                      • Gladstone Gander
                        Gladstone Gander

                        Something about this current change of beverage added to the comments directed around him started to dull the giddy euphoria of dying brain cells. Oh what a mess. First the black eye, now this? He didn't need babying, ...did he?  It was embarrassing. 

                         

                        "Stop, talkin' about me lik' I can't hear you. I can walk." He said a little shortly. "...jus fine. I learn'd atta early age.. an' kept it up on a daily bassess. Jus-" He drew a deep calming breath smothering his temper and took a step back out of Lilly's grip.  "-you guys have fun. I'll uh..." His eyes focused on the door. "Imma go clear my head."  And off he went focusing very hard on walking straight to the open glass doors.  Once outside he found an ornate bench with a stunning city view, threw himself down on it, and instantly put his head in his hands, his lovely view consisting of the marble floor. 

                        Sober up you moron, you're making an idiot of yourself.

                        • Lilly Teal
                          Lilly Teal

                          Look at him, he went in a completely straight line!

                          Proud of you, man.

                          Considering the problem seemed to have solved itself, Oz shook his head and set aside his now empty glass. "He's a bit of a mess, huh? You sure know how to pick them."

                          She didn't respond with an exasperated comment this time, just looking low as he walked away. It had been so nice to see him, but now? Something was up, and it wasn't an easily exorcisable ghost.

                          People are hard. Where's that 'social interaction for dummies' book so many folks seem to need?

                          "I know you want to go talk to him, but I don't think he wants to talk to anyone right now. Give him like, ten minutes at least," Oz advised, steering her towards their table to get her mind off of things.

                          She gave him as long as she could stand, which she felt probably wasn't long enough, and ended up quietly standing by the glass doors, knocking on the side of them as if she was entering a private room.

                          "Is there room for one more or is this assigned seating too?" she smiled. "I'd like to sit with a friend. Or if you want to be left alone still, just say the word." Clear instructions are good instructions, remember? I'll get out of your hair if you tell me to.

                          • Gladstone Gander
                            Gladstone Gander

                            Gladstone motioned her over to join him. Once she had settled he leaned back on the bench with a sigh fiddling with the water glass in his hands.

                            “Firstly, I’m sorry, I’m sure this would have been a perfect reunion if alcohol hadn’t interfered. (Ooc:goddam wine) I don’t really like these kinds of things. Too many snooty rich types. Secondly, I know I am a mess at the moment but it is... very nice to see you. Sorry I haven’t been by the shop, everyday has been-“ the series of recent events flipped through his mind. “-exhaustingly active.”

                            Well hey at least he wasn’t slurring any more.

                            “This city is nuts, you know I got socked in this same eye twice? TWICE in less than an hour! I didn’t even do anything fun to deserve it!” He sounded scandalized. “I don’t know how you city folks get anything done with the chaos that happens on every corner.” He shook his head. “I’m rambling. How are you? You look beautiful. How was the show, what was it, Republic?”

                            He tried to give his empty glass to a passing penguin server but it waddled past ignoring him.

                            • Lilly Teal
                              Lilly Teal

                              Rude waiter, much? Who even hired you?

                              Ooh. Well that certainly explains the black eye. Poor lad.

                              That's the problem with St. Canard. The more attention you attract, the more trouble you get into. And in Gladstone's case, the luckier you are, the more attention you attract, and the more trouble you get into. It's hard to follow along with the local policy of 'get out of the way, get under the radar, and get away.'

                              Now that he sounded less drunk, the compliment sounded more sincere, and she flushed with pleasure. "Thank you. And you can ramble if you want. The city is very overwhelming on your first time." Or second, or third. All the way up to fifty and counting.

                              I've been here a while and that ghost was still out of nowhere.

                              Here's the thing though. You've asked the question that will ensure you won't get much chance to ramble. She perked up, and her tail started to wag again as she turned to look at him properly.

                              "It was amazing! I can't, can't thank you enough, Gladstone. It was magic. The music, the songs, the singing-"

                              Hand on shoulder to emphasize point, as if she needed to hold onto something or she would float off into the atmosphere. That singing though! But before anyone could get too comfortable with the unconcious motion, she unconciously took it off again and waved them in the air a little.

                              "I don't know if you like musicals at all, but I think you would have loved it."

                              • Gladstone Gander
                                Gladstone Gander

                                Her elation was infectious.  He felt himself smiling with her, the light touch on his shoulder may have had something to do with that too.

                                "I'm very happy you enjoyed it. I'm glad I could help."  Another penguin scurried by, this one with a tray with a parcel upon it. Gladstone seized the opportunity to plop his empty glass on top of it before the thing could get too far.  The penguin shot him a nasty look and continued on.  "...this is a very strange party. Anyway, musicals are fine," when your life was more interesting than what was on stage it made it hard to be super interested in things. "-Oh wasn't there like... a party or something?  I hope they didn't hassle you too much."

                                 

                                "Gander! There you are!" A boisterous voice cut through the air and a chubby mallard swept up to them laughing. "Last man standing! Hassleback was caught snoring in his soup bowl, McNair started a conga line to a foxtrot before passing out cold, and Sipperstein is stuck in the modern art wing.  He wandered in there and fell asleep against the door, they can't open it." He laughed again. "They're watching him on the cameras though, he's out like a light.  So! Your luck has won again," here he eyed Lilly as if appraising her before giving her an approving nod. "-and then some. Enchanted Miss."

                                Gladstone's felt heat rush through him and snapped his fingers to get the duck's attention back on himself.  He swallowed the urge to clobber him.

                                "What do you want? What are you talking about."

                                "The bet my boy! Of course!"

                                "...it was a drinking contest." Gladstone breathed in horror snippets of memory were sewing themselves back together in his mind. Somehow this made him feel less like a complete screw up.  This made sense. In it's own Gladstone kind of way.

                                "Indeed it was, last man standing wins.  I thought we were going to lose you for a minute there.  We should have known better. You should have seen the shade of green he turned after the third shot Ms, but then again green is your lucky color isn't it champ?  We practically had to beg him to drink them, couldn't let this opportunity pass by, who wouldn't want to see how they faired against the luckiest man alive? Well with out further ado-" he dropped three sets of keys in Gladstone's hand. "They're all moored in the marina. Titles will be along tomorrow.  If they don't I'll be sure to prosecute them. That's what being a lawyer is for after all right? Enjoy your evening, Miss." he nodded to Lilly again and walked off.

                                Gladstone stared at the keys in his hand. Marina. He groaned.

                                "I don't want three boats."  He looked at her desperately. "  What am I supposed to do with three boats?! Do you want a boat?" 

                                 

                                • Lilly Teal
                                  Lilly Teal

                                  "What am I supposed to do with a boat?" she objected. Just because I'm here doesn't mean you dump boats on me! I ask this again, but Gladstone Gander, what is your life?

                                  Strange though. She'd assumed that if he didn't want the boats, something would luckily turn up that would mean he didn't have to deal with them any more. Maybe that's not how the luck works? She gave his desperate expression an equally desperate 'I don't know! Don't look at me!' expression, before staring back down at the keys.

                                  Who even bets their boat on a drinking contest?!

                                  "Ah..." This may be a very stupid idea, but it's all I have. "This is a benefit, isn't it? Can't you just... donate the boats? The museum could probably sell them to make some extra donation money."

                                  That failing there's got to be a boat selling who'll take second hand things for cheap, we live by the bay after all. Or we can always upset the Liquidator and hope he'll sink them. Maybe that last one wasn't a very good plan.

                                  Midway through musing the effectiveness of using a supervillain's anoyance to one's benefit, a very un-St. Canardian thought, another penguin waddled past them, this time with a tray covered by a thick cloth that obscured the shape of whatever it was hiding.

                                  "This is a very strange party. There was just supposed to be food and dancing and now there's boats and I swear there weren't these many penguin waiters" or any, really, "when we first came up."

                                  And I haven't even danced or eater yet, what kind of party is this.

                                  • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                                    Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                                    Suddenly... the sound of trumpets? Followed by a red carpet rolling itself out atop the already pre-existing red carpet. 

                                    Please, hold your applause as I enter. BAM. There she is. Strike a pose! Look at me. Look at yourself. Then back at me. Back at yourself. You are now an adoring fan. 

                                    Malicia Macawber had literally burst on to the scene, only to freeze, place her hand on her hips and pout at the cameras. Was there even cameras? Who knew! Better do a few more poses just to be safe.

                                    Once she was satisfied that her beautiful face would no doubt be gracing social media accounts the world over, she caught up to a tray of drinks. Plucking the stem of a wine glass gently between her claws with one hand, then fisting the rest of the drinks with the other. This is true class right here, folks. 

                                    She scanned the room momentarily, looking for familiar faces. It was time to socialize. That's what you do at these things, right? Talk and laugh incredibly loudly? 

                                    Pause. Squint. Wait, is that...

                                    "Lilly, darling!" 

                                    Oh my god Lilly just don't make eye contact. Pretend you didn't hear her. Oop, here she comes, right over to the table. 

                                    "I never thought I'd see the likes of you here!" Said with a jovial tone that was utterly clueless to just how rude and insensitive that might sound. In other words: Standard Malicia fare. 

                                    "How are you doing these days? Not digging up anymore possessed demon puppets, I hope!"

                                    • Lilly Teal
                                      Lilly Teal

                                      (OOC: That was a beautiful entrance. Full marks, would watch her enter a building again.)

                                      "Hm?" Looking up from the Gladstone to the demonness currently towering over them, friendly fangs flashing, she perked up and got to her feet.

                                      "Miss Malicia!" Of course she pulled her into a warm, loving hug, though she was kind enough to make it only a brief torture. We buds. Bud hugs. "It's so nice to see you!"

                                      More familiar faces were always nice! Especially when they weren't currently being evil! At these casual observations, she nodded. "I didn't think I'd be here either. My friend dragged me."

                                      Almost sensing he was being talked about, Oz waved from their assigned seating, and she waved back. "That's him. I think you'd like him Miss Malicia, I should introduce you."

                                      But first, other introductions!

                                      "I've been doing well. There... was another possession problem in the shop, a very angry ghost, but Gladstone-" she put an arm through his warmly "helped me get rid of it! This is Gladstone, he's been nothing but kind to me. Oh Gladstone, this is Miss Malicia. She's been very kind to me as well. But... um, I think she sells weapons to people. Right Miss Malicia?"

                                      • Gladstone Gander
                                        Gladstone Gander

                                        Gladstone appreciated a good entrance and that was a damn good entrance. He glanced around and deposited the keys in a planter.  There. Perfect. Not his problem anymore.  Before he could begin to feel properly pleased with himself an arm slid through his and he was presented to the enchanting creature. 

                                        "I would shake your hand but..." He made a vague juggling motion. "... yours seem to be full of precious cargo.  Pleasure to meet you regardless.  Any friend of the lovely Lilly is okay in my book." 

                                        • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                                          Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                                          Judging by the way Mal tried to scrabble out of that hug faster than a feline in a toddler's clutches, Lilly's generous description of Mal's strength of character may have been questionable.

                                          "Let's... keep that weapons part on the down-low, shall we?" Said in a hushed tone to the smaller woman. "These folks are not exactly my target clientele."

                                          Attention on Gladstone now, she smiled firmly. The drinks were quickly drained and the glasses tossed at a passing waiter's tray, possibly to shatter of-screen.

                                          "Pleasure to meet you, Gladstone. A ghost you say? Without any magical assistance?" He looked like your average Normal, surely he was not capable of such a feat. Then again, Lilly's definition of a 'ghost' could have simply been a pair of tighty-whities tangled in a tree outside her house or something. What did these Normals know about the mysterious forces of the supernatural anyway?

                                          • Lilly Teal
                                            Lilly Teal

                                            Clearly Normals didn't have Malicia's special... touch when it came to exorcising demons and ghosts. But books, as we all know, are incredibly helpful things.

                                            "We found a magic book!" she chirped happily, still hugging the gander's arm. "Someone donated some old books that don't work anymore from Eldritch Academy" wait what "and it turns out there was a working, useful book on exorcisms in there! He was amazing, distracting the ghost lady all over the place!"

                                            AND this might sound cheesy to you but he technically defended my honour when the ghost lady called me a hussy!

                                            Tell her Gladstone!

                                            • Gladstone Gander
                                              Gladstone Gander

                                              Eldritch who to the the what now?  

                                              "Well I mostly just bought time.  Do you know much about haunted ladles?"  He asked Malicia as if it were a line of dishware at every Sur La Table. "Found it on the sidewalk.  This one was possessed by a lunch lady.  She turned the ceiling to cheese." he shrugged lightly, you know typical. "Seemed to really have it out for librarians which put Lillypad in quite a pickle, I wouldn't stand for that so I threw myself out of the brining pan and into the fire." He pat Lilly's hand that was so snugly wrapped around his arm.  "She did all the heavy lifting, reading out incantations like a Wiccan on Wednesday! I think she's got a real knack for it, she could start a business. You could call it 'Ghosts and Roasts'," This was all said with a smug little grin, "I could be your dashing  consultant."

                                               

                                              There was a bit of a ruckus inside, a wave of feed back screeched over the P.A. system.  There was a moment of calm where there was no doubt a serious discussion being had somewhere behind the scenes before the quartet started playing again.

                                              "Shall we go back in ladies?" He offered his free arm to Malicia, what a gentleman.  

                                               

                                               

                                              • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                                                Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                                                As Lilly rambled on, Malicia simply smiled and nodded as an adult would when listening to the wild imaginative tales of a young child. Oh you stopped a ghost all on your own without the assistance of an experienced sorceress? How adorable. 

                                                That brief mention of Eldritch Academy texts however, was filed away for later reference. She would be paying this bookstore a visit at a later date...

                                                A derisive snort escaped her at the very concept of a Normal having a 'knack', natural or otherwise, for the arcane arts. She said nothing more on the subject however, and gladly hooked her arm with Gladstone's.

                                                "Let shall, good sir." 

                                                • Lilly Teal
                                                  Lilly Teal

                                                  Nothing wrong with a dashing consultant. Speaking of dashing, their approach even halfway towards their seats summoned the presence of Oz, who entered their space as if he was entering the building for the first time.

                                                  It's a pleasure to meet me, I know.

                                                  "A lovely lady on each arm? Some people have all the luck."

                                                  He raised his eyebrows, giving Malicia an approving look. "I leave you for a week and you make all these gorgeous friends without telling me, Lilly."

                                                  Yes yes, I'm very sorry about that. "Oz, Miss Malicia, she's a sorceress. Miss Malicia, Ozymadias. Oz runs the Coatl Club downtown."

                                                  "Pleasure, absolutely," he grinned charmingly, taking her hand. "What an entrance. And what a dress. Here I thought St. Canard was boring and unfashionable."

                                                  Turns out it still is, but you certainly aren't!

                                                  "Well come, come, they're setting out more drinks at our tables."

                                                  • Gladstone Gander
                                                    Gladstone Gander

                                                    ((Ooc: long post is long))

                                                     

                                                    If one were stare into the sun for ten minutes with no eye protection it would rival the effect of any poor soul who might happen to glance at Gladstone with a gem on each arm grinning like a madman.  It seemed his luck had had a big old upswing over the course of the last twenty minutes and if he wasn't mistaken things were only going to get better.  

                                                    He lead them back to the table and helped each lady into her seat, then paused, why the hell not, he pulled out Oz's chair for him too.  Once everyone was seated he took his place at the table nestled  between Malicia and Lilly.  There was a champagne flute placed at each seat and he eyed it wearily.  The night air and sudden boat ownership(s) had sobered him considerably, he wasn't sure he wanted to test fate again.  The musicians let the last chord of the song they were playing die away and a bit of movement caught his eye.  

                                                    "Ladies and gentleman, on behalf of  the Museum, I would like to thank you all for your generous donations and for joining us this evening. " A mass of glittering jewels was in the center of the dance floor holding a microphone on a small platform. If anyone had the wherewithal to dig through them they might find a petite poodle faced woman underneath all the glitz.  There was a polite (read: bored) round of applause. "I know this year has been very taxing for us what with the butler shortage,  the drought of sparkling mineral water, and of course the-" her voice cracked with emotion. "-the closing of the Millionaires club for renovations-"  Someone blew their nose wetly.

                                                    Gladstone checked out. His eyes rolled so hard they almost made a full ocular orbit.  "Rich people." He complained to Lilly. 

                                                     

                                                    Whatever other hardships were experienced by the one percent were not divulged much longer however as the microphone was taken away from the sobbing woman by a rather large bearded person.  

                                                    "Yes my dear friends and associates, it has been a dismal year for the arts-" The treble in the voice wobbled dramatically. The fat creature in a rhinestone encrusted navy blue suit and top hat who commanded the room paused with his hand held aloft as if posing for a painting.  He just stood there for a moment until one of the rude waiters waddled over quickly, holding a video camera on his shoulder and centered the posing in it's sights.  The Walrus snapped his fingers and a spotlight fell on him as a champagne glass was offered to him by yet another penguin.  "But we shall overcome!  This night will go down in the cast roll of history as one of the most profitable for the most elegant, classically handsome, and distinguished member-er- members of society.  A toast!" He lifted his glass, the other attendees did as well, a little too eagerly as if their compliance would shut him up.  "To swelling bank accounts and an abundance-oohoohoo- of culture!"

                                                    There was a murmur of agreement and prissy sips of the champagne were enjoyed.  Gladstone, not one to stomp on superstition, took the smallest possible drink.  It-tasted a little, bouncy, upbeat,....down right catchy.

                                                    The walrus tipped his glass over and the luxurious libations liberated themselves on the floor. 

                                                    "Now then it's time to set the scene!" The walrus ripped the false beard from his face and there were gasps, probably a few dropped monocles and fainting spells too.  "I am your dirrrrr-"  the 'r' rolled on like a fat puppy on a treadmill. "-ector this evening the legendary auteur Tuskernini!  And you are all bit players in our big musical number! Your motivation? Why, you're going to dance your way to all off these fabulous exhibits editing out the priceless props and presenting them to me and my personal assistants!  And of course any jewels you'd like to donate to the production will bloat the budget now without any further ado-" He motioned to the last penguin, who had set up a makeshift DJ booth at the far end of the room. "-Maestro!"

                                                     

                                                    Gladstone was totally lost. Was this some kind of... performance art?  Music poured through the speakers, a jazzy classical tune ringing through the room.  His fingers tapped the table rhythmically, what a peppy tune for a quickstep.  He watched his fingers as if they were alien to him was he making them do that?  

                                                    "What the-" His body convulsed and he sprang to his already tapping feet. His arms seemed to have a life of their own but he managed to grip the table. "-what's happening-"

                                                    He was seized from behind by a terrifying looking budgie woman and without a second's hesitation he locked her into form and began dancing. 

                                                    Tuskernini giggled to himself as the spontaneous dancing erupted across the room.  His plan was a rousing success so far.

                                                    • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                                                      Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                                                      Was it, Tuski? Was it really?

                                                      You thought Karaoke Mal was a weapon of mass destruction? Get ready for toe-crushing, elbow-cracking, table-turning Dance Mal.

                                                      And not like, the cool DJ kind of table-turns. The dinner table Gladstone, Lilly, and Oz had been seated at was quickly sent flying from that dangerous swinging booty. 

                                                      The veracity of which this was done perhaps had something to do with the fact Mal had greedily helped herself to more than one bubbly toast during the speech -- Lilly hadn't seemed interested in hers anyway, and we can't let it go to waste now can we. My generous bit of community service to you all. 

                                                      Woe to any partners who came within grabbing reach of this terrifying tango. The community would be needing more than a little service by the time she was through.