Complimentary Chatter

It was an unseasonably warm day in St. Canard, more like spring than winter.  Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth Gladstone Gander had decided to take his main squeeze out for a stroll.  Everything was going lovely, they were having a delightful chat, laughing to each other, just enjoying each other's company until the unthinkable happened-

"HALT you pesky primates!" 

A pair of Capuchin monkeys scampered across the sidewalk in front of them quickly followed by a gleaming mass of metal hefting... a barrel? over his shoulder? Gladstone's grip on Lilly's arm tensed as he stopped walking. 

"It's back to the zoo with you now just, stay-still-" Wham! The barrel slammed down on top of the monkeys trapping them inside. Gizmoduck leaned on it as a series of hoots and screeches started from within. HOW MANY MONKEYS WERE IN THAT BARREL.  From the sound of it... it was full.  It was a full barrel of monkeys. "Now see here-" He tapped the wooden bottom of the wildlife federation's approved mode of capture for such fugitives. "-I'm sure you're upset but there's no need to be rude about it."

A harried looking zookeeper trotted up and flashed a relieved smile to the hero.

"Oh thank you Gizmoduck! It would have taken us days to catch them all ourselves."

"Think nothing of it citizen it's all in a day's work for-" He struck a dramatic pose but his attention was suddenly drawn by a small movement. Namely someone trying to take a few stealthy steps back, attempting to drag his girlfriend with him. Gizmoduck's face split in a huge smile, lighting up like a lighthouse. "Mr. Gander! Hello! How nice to see you!"

"Hah, yes hello," Gladstone's smile was wooden. They could probably sneak off if they hurried... uh.. on no. Nope the one wheeled wonder had closed the distance.

"You're looking well! And hello Miss, I don't believe I've had the pleasure of making your acquaintance. I am GiiiiiiiiiizmoDuck~!" He sang his name dramatically striking the pose he had interrupted himself from striking before, then he leaned down to her offering her his hand to shake. "What's your name my dear lady?" 

    • Lilly Teal
      Lilly Teal

      Yes yes, I know who you are! You're the nicest, politest hero in the two cities! Lilly smiled brightly as she took his hand and shook it. Rumours were not wrong, that's such a gentlemanly greeting. And such a nice smile! The sweetest smile that was ever smiled.

      I like him!

      "My name's Lilly, sir," she chirped. "It's such a pleasure to meet you! I had no idea you two knew each other."

      But then, given Gladstone was from Duckburg, and the sheer amount of trouble he seemed to attract, it wasn't such an out of the way idea.

       

      • GizmoDuck
        GizmoDuck

        "Well Ms. Lilly the pleasure is all mine." He shook the hand that shook his warmly. "And Mr. Gander and I have only had the honor of meeting a few times in the past but I am sworn to protect the McDuck family tree all the way down to the smallest twigs! Acorns even!"  Gladstone narrowed his eyes, Gizmoduck was oblivious to the perceived slight. "It's in my contract after all! Have you two been friends for long?"


        "She's my girlfriend-" Gladstone chimed in smoothly looping an arm around her waist. It was a happy little statement but the underlying 'so don't get any ideas' was there all the same.

        "You don't say! That's wonderful!" Gizmoduck cheered throwing his hands up in the air, shooting off confetti from his fingertips. "Congratulations! You make a very handsome couple! I bet he keeps you on your toes Ms. Lilly-" He leaned in toward her with a stage whisper. "-between me and you, he seems to get into quite a few sticky situations. I hope you're up for a challenge."

        Gladstone, now covered in confetti just gave the hero a dead eyed, blank stare.

         

        • Lilly Teal
          Lilly Teal

          Lilly had either not noticed Gladstone's chilly reception or was choosing not to acknowledge it. At the loudly whispered comment she giggled, putting a hand on the gander's shoulder.

          "He does," she 'whispered' back. "So many of them. But I've been up for the challenge so far. I can only assume," this next in a more normal tone of voice, "that you've met each other on equally sticky situations. But what brings you to St. Canard, Mr. Gizmoduck? I thought you only came here for emergencies?"

          Like when the Justice Ducks need to get together?

          ... okay he also came for books signings which wasn't strictly an emergency per say...

          Gladstone was suddenly given a slightly concerned look. "Aaaaare you two currently in a sticky situation?" Should I give you two some space?

          • GizmoDuck
            GizmoDuck

            "Oh please just Gizmoduck is fine.  Mr. Gizmoduck was my father." 

            Gladstone's face scrunched up in thought. That... didn't- and what was that look for Lilly? He held up his hands toward the hero as if to ward him off. 

            "Don't encourage him." the gander muttered to her.

            "Egads, are you in need of my services Mr. Gander?  I just wrapped up what I was working on-" he motioned to where the barrel was but it had been rolled off long ago. He stared at the empty sidewalk for a moment before he shrugged and returned his attention to the couple. "-well, I'm sure it's fine.  But I could rearrange my plans if you're in dire need."

            "Oh no that's fine, no sticky situations here-" He waved his hands dismissively. "We were just taking a walk." He glanced at Lilly out of the corner of his eye. Guh... she looked so happy.  He rubbed his eyes lightly. "Why don't you join us?"

            "Oh that's very kind of you! It would be my pleasure to escort you wherever you need to go!   And to answer your question young lady St. Canard has been a little overrun with dastardly deeds I thought I'd lend a hand.  After all it's the neighborly thing to do! I mean have you seen all the jaywalkers in this city?  It's amazing anyone gets anything done! But enough about me, what do you do Ms. Lilly?"

            • Lilly Teal
              Lilly Teal

              Aww, Gladstone that's so nice of you! Again, any hesitance on his part was either being politely ignored, or she was having too much of a nice conversation to notice.

              Probably the latter.

              "Me?" Lilly looked a little surprised. Not so much that she was being asked, but because with the way Gizmoduck had been talking, she had expected him to go on a little longer. "I have a little bookshop. Second Story Books. I'm not sure if you've heard of the place? Oh, and if I'm calling you Gizmoduck, please call me Lilly."

              If you insist on calling me Miss, I will call you Mister, and that's that.

              • GizmoDuck
                GizmoDuck

                “A bookshop you say? Well isn’t that lovely? I’ve written a few books myself you know. I’m sure you did, I’m sure you had customers beating down the doors to get their copies! I’d be happy to pop in to sign a few, or even do an appearance, I’m always happy to support a local business! “

                He suddenly held out an arm to halt their progress at a crosswalk.

                “Remember to look both ways twice! And then count to ten, look both ways again!”

                “Is that before or after we eat our vegetables?” Gladstone asked innocently.


                “Hm,” Gizmoduck considered for a moment. “After.”

                • Lilly Teal
                  Lilly Teal

                  "That's so kind of you! But... ah, I don't think I'd be able to deal with the news-people that would bring."

                  You're wonderful but you're also... a lot.

                  "But I appreciate the offer, really", she added trying to look for incoming cars over his arm. There wasn't a single car to be seen, but there WAS a bluejay whistling merrily as he started to cross without even slowing down, much less looking.

                  The jaywalking problem in this city is out of control!

                  • GizmoDuck
                    GizmoDuck

                    Gizmoduck drew an impossibly large gasp that made Gladstone jump and move to sheild Lilly from the impending danger that threatened them. The robotic duck zipped over to the bird, who being a St. Canard bird didn't even react ('ey i'm tweetin' here), and pulled out a citation notebook.

                    "Alright sir, I'll have you know that you are in violation of thirty city ordinances right now! If you don't move along I'll have no other choice but to write you up for a hefty fine!" The bird cocked it's head to one side with a little chirp. "Ooh sass talk is it? That's it buddy you're on report-"

                    Gladstone's body language relaxed as Gizmoduck started dropping paper citations on the bird who tried to hop away. The hero rolled after it.

                    "...do you think those monkey's like... crossed his wires or something?" Or is he always this stupid? "What's his deal anyway? Is he really a robot? A guy in a suit? A cyborg alien from planet Goodie Goodie?" Gladstone asked Lilly quietly. 

                    • Lilly Teal
                      Lilly Teal

                      She really, really wanted to chide Gladstone with a straight face but... the man was ticketing a bird and holding a very serious conversation with it. Stifling a laugh, she shook her head.

                      "Don't be mean. Oh goodness look at- he's just... earnest about his job, that's all." And mayyyybe he takes it just a tad too seriously but it's rather endearing.

                      The bird kept hopping away, and the citations kept coming down.

                      "...  um. Do you think we should tell him he's actually littering right now? I don't think we should it might give him a heart attack."

                      The mighty Gizmoduck? Committing A CRIME?

                      • GizmoDuck
                        GizmoDuck

                        Gladstone blinked and with an impish grin drew in a breath preparing to shout to the hypocritical hero. But the bird flew away and Gizmoduck shook his fist at the fugitive as a small vacuum nozzle popped out of his person and sucked up the offending offenses. The gander tsked and nudged Lilly with his hip.

                        “So close. Hey Giz!” He waved the hero over who rolled over obediently.

                        “Sorry you had to see that, the wild life in this city is- well-“

                        “Wild?”

                        “-exactly! Well played! What were we talking about again?”

                        “Not important. So hey, I want to know, where did you come from? What are the origins of Gizmo-“

                        “Pardon me Mr. Gizmoduck sir! May I have a moment?” A woman in a pencil skirt and frilly blouse shuffled over. “So sorry to interrupt, pardon the intrusion.” She nodded cordially to Gladstone and Lilly. “I was hoping to take a moment of your time to invite you to participate in our Complimentary Competition!” She motioned to a small stage set up in the park across the street. “It’s our first annual Niceness contest where the most kind, polite and courtesy contestant wins!”

                        “Oh a contest?” Gladstone flashed Lilly a sly smile. “What do I-I mean what’s the prize?”

                        “Win? Oh just humble brag rights! Are you interested in participating as well sir? Ms.?”

                        “Oh not me thanks but,” he slid his arm around Lilly’s waist giving her a little shake. “But Lilly would love to play! Sign her up.”

                        “Oh splendid! Would you mind terribly if I joined as well? I think it’s a delightful idea, but I wouldn’t want to overstep my bounds.” Gizmoduck inquired politely to his possible fellow competitor.

                        • Lilly Teal
                          Lilly Teal

                          "Bragging rights for winning a politeness contest seems a bit counter-intuitive," she whispered to Gladstone, not sure if saying it out loud would be rude. Wasn't that technically snubbing the nice lady?

                          But then he volunteered her.

                          "Oh but-" ... well there was no harm in it, was there? It might be fun? Maybe? At Gizmoduck's comment, she shook her head slightly and smiled. "You're not overstepping any bounds, it would be wonderful if you joined."

                          Wait, have we started already or is this just how they are.

                          "Oh cool, more people."

                          "Darryl?" Not to be rude but-?

                          She didn't even have to say anything. Long years of being cousins meant he could read it off of her face.

                          "I can be nice! Oh hi Gladstone." Didn't see you there, I was busy being offended.

                          • GizmoDuck
                            GizmoDuck

                            "Darryl!" Gladstone beamed and went for- a high five?- A handshake?- No way brothers don't shake hands brothers gotta huuug! A chummy little hug, yes hi I'm going to hug you now, we survived a cliche monster flick scenario together, you're in the hug club, deaaaaaal with it~! 

                            "Ah good day sir! You are participating in the contest as well are you? Pleasure to make your acquaintance I'm-"

                            "Gizmoduck, Darryl, Darryl Gizmoduck-" Gladstone interrupted and the proper looking woman let out a small gasp.  If she had been wearing a monocle then it would have popped-POPPED I SAY- right out of her eye to dangle in shock at such poor manners! Well thank heavens he was not participating, they would have people fainting right away as soon as he opened his mouth!

                            "Mr. Darryl." Gizmoduck gave Mr. Darryl's hand a quick firm shake.

                            "If you'll all follow me this way we will get you signed up and we can begin. This is marvelous, thank you all for volunteering! We hope that with such a big crowd that we'll set a good example and the movement of manners will catch on and spread through the city making it a kinder place to live!"

                            She motioned to the "big crowd" of six very confused looking people, who were told there would be free food and found out that it was a single veggie platter, and more bountiful... food for thought. Gladstone 'tsked'.

                            "This won't do, this will not do at all..." He put a quick kiss on Lilly's cheek. "-I'm going to wrangle up some spectators for your sweeping victory my dear. Go along and have fun, I'll be back before you know it." The gander took a few steps but then doubled back, whispering to her with a smile. "I really am banking on you to win, 'humble brag rights' be damned I'll make you a trophy.  I already know where I'm going to put it in the bookstore-try and stop me~"  He dashed off. 

                             

                             

                            • Lilly Teal
                              Lilly Teal

                              I could try and stop you, but what would be the point?

                              Lilly expression as he ran off was a mix between embarrassment, adoration, and exasperation, a very specific cocktail of his own creation. Somewhere behind her Darryl accepted the handshake with a grin and a "Mister Gizmoduck" before he turned on his heel to follow the lady, Gizmoduck and Lilly trailing behind.

                              Past the six very confused people, at the foot of the small stage, there was a table with a clipboard and a pen placed just so.

                              Name, profession, contact number... height? Coffe/Tea/Other? Allergic to Nuts?

                              What kind of sign up sheet was this?

                              "It's so we know what refreshments to give you afterwards," the woman whispered as Darryl stared at the sheet in some confusion.

                              "That. Makes... sense?" The rising tone indicating that no, he really didn't feel as if it made sense. But he was in this now, so he shrugged and finished filling in the form, getting out of the way for the others to take their turns.

                              "So... how does this work?"

                              • GizmoDuck
                                GizmoDuck

                                "I am very glad you asked, Mr..." she looked at the name he'd written. "...F-" She picked up the clipboard and looked at it. "Flaversham." She nodded, yup. Got it. Nailed it. She looped her arm through his and lead him to an assemblage of very polite looking people.  They all nodded in greeting to him, as well as to Gizmoduck when he'd arrived, and there were even forelocks touched and slight bows to Lilly when she joined them. "These are your friendly competition. We're going to send you up in pairs to start and the judges will give you a feature to compliment on your opponent and the most thoughtful and prolific one shall progress to the next round. Doesn't that sound fun?"

                                There was a murmur of agreement from the collected competitors. 

                                "Excellent now... if you're all prepared let's see about starting-"

                                There was a loud squeal of ill kept brakes as a bus slowed next to the park.  The passengers started flowing out of the bus and filled in the rest of the seats. A handful of couples skipped over too, laying down picnic blankets and baskets, settling in for a show.  The six people had quickly become five dozen, and front and center already lounging in a metal folding chair was Gladstone, grinning from ear to ear.  He flashed Lilly a thumbs up then shouted to her.

                                "You got this babe!"

                                The contestants  glanced at him then her then him again.

                                "My what a supportive young man you've got dear girl." Said a sweet elderly lady, gently patting Lilly's arm. "And such a handsome boy for a pretty young lady. You make a very smart couple."

                                HEY. SLOW YOUR ROLL LADY. THE CONTEST HASN'T EVEN STARTED YET GRAMMY.

                                "I agree, look at how pleased he is! I've never seen Mr. Gander look so happy." Giz.  You too? What is this the warm up round?

                                 

                                "Oh my goodness! Look at this turn out! Oh! Look the orphans are coming out to join the crowd too, how lovely! And... gracious! Is that the mayor? My word! Okay everyone let's strike while the iron is hot!" The coordinator reached into a hat and pulled out two names. "Mrs. Odenbach and Mr. Flaversham! Please take your place at the mics."

                                The little old woman who had been flexing her skills just moments earlier adjusted her shawl and shambled up the small set of steps, with the help of every other contestant it seemed like, until she was at her microphone.

                                One of the judges picked a card from a pile.

                                "Contestants. Your subject is: Hair."

                                The heavily bespectacled eyes turned to assess her opponent her wrinkled face spreading in a warm smile.

                                "Young man, you have such lovely hair.  It's so wild and free and flowing like a cheerful mustang through a summer glade. And what a glorious shade, it glistens like happy little dewdrops in the morning sun."

                                There was a small round of applause.

                                Gladstone caught Lilly's eye and made a dismissive little motion with a wink. Child's play. You could sink her immediately.

                                 

                                You're up Mr. Flaversham,

                                • Lilly Teal
                                  Lilly Teal

                                  "Finnegan," Darryl objected, but any insistence on his name was driven out of his head quickly enough by her frankly, in his opinion, over-the-top compliment. He had to restrain himself from rolling his eyes, or this would be over before it even started.

                                  Lilly winced slightly. She had no problems with being nice to people and complimenting them, but were they really supposed to lay it on that thick? She wasn't sure she was comfortable with that. It would sound silly enough in private without having to do it publicly.

                                  On Darryl's part, the problem was not being public, it was the topic itself.

                                  Her... hair?

                                  Now, contrary to all popular belief, Darryl could be nice, and he was sometimes polite, and he knew how to pay a compliment when it felt it was deserved.

                                  It was just she had this fluffy little old lady hair and he didn't know what to say about it.

                                  "Your. Hair. Is." He paused, staring at her. "Really white. Fluffy. Cloud-like. I mean... it's little old lady hair. And you're a little old lady so it suits you right down to the ground."

                                  It was... broadly a compliment? He said it suited her? Although it was along the lines of 'that whale tail really suits you, because you are a whale.'

                                  He wasn't trying to be sarcastic, really. He'd reduced the natural sarcasm in his tone by half.

                                  • GizmoDuck
                                    GizmoDuck

                                    "Oh, she's good isn't she?" Gizmoduck whispered to Lilly at the poetic compliment and then Darryl spoke and... well there was another smattering of applause. "I say that was rather direct and sincere. This might be a tough one to score."

                                    And by the way the judges were huddled together it seemed it was.  Maybe it was something about that Irish brogue that made it sound so charming? Or maybe they just couldn't understand what he'd said?  It was a tough call all around.

                                    "Contestants, we would like for you to have a tie breaker." 

                                    "Oh dearie me-" said Mrs. Odenbach sounding slightly miffed. "-was it really that close?"

                                    "I'm afraid so! We shall draw another card. " They did. "This topic is: posture."

                                    To say that Mrs. Odenbach more closely resembled a plump candy cane would have been kind.  Her shoulders were hunched with age and scoliosis, probably riddled with arthritis as well. She smiled at him again, this time the smile of a fierce competitor who was one victory away from nap time and she was sleepy. 

                                    "After you my dear boy, it's only fair that you have first crack at it this time."

                                     

                                    You could have heard a pin drop. This was intense.

                                    • Lilly Teal
                                      Lilly Teal

                                      Oh sure, wouldn't want to give out an easy topic now would you?

                                      Darryl stared blankly again, trying to find something good to say about her posture. But it was just. So hard. It seemed to take forever as he struggled to come up with something. Was there a time limit on this? There must be, although nobody had started a countdown or was tapping their watch meaningfully. Maybe he just felt like it was a long time.

                                      "Your posture is... not... bad...? Consideriiiing?" He drew out the last word and aimed it upwards like a question, not entirely sure where he was going with this. Catching a judge's eye, he grimaced and shrugged. Sorry, that's all I've got.

                                      The little old lady was going to destroy him, of that he was very sure. But oh well, he'd had a good run.

                                      • Gladstone Gander
                                        Gladstone Gander

                                        There was a pained "ooof" from one of the spectators as silence fell after Darryl's spectacular failure.  Well there goes this round, he lasted longer than he probably should have really.  May as well just drag him off the-

                                        "Not bad?!" The sweet old lady suddenly became another kind of old lady. "NOT BAD? SONNY!" She waved her cane at him.  "Have you ever heard a compliment before you lock jawed lout!? And how do you expect people to understand you if you mumble like that?  Also what's with that accent, this is America, speak English you limey Brit!" 

                                        Ah.  Well.

                                        Or that could happen.

                                        "My word." Interjected a judge weakly as another fainted and the last had to fan themselves with the cue cards to keep from doing so as well. "Mrs. Odenbach you are out, such blatant rudeness will not be tolerated! Mr. Flaversham we are terribly sorry for such a vicious attack.  You are progressing to the next round, please take a seat and compose yourself.  If you need anything let us know, gracious we are truly sorry."

                                        "I'm not!" Said the cranky old lady who was gently lead off the stage ranting and raving about immigrants.

                                        A slow clap started from the gander in the front row that spread through the audience until it was a sincere congratulatory round of applause to the victor.  

                                        "Up next we have Ms. Teal and Mr. Engleberry."  There was a loud whoop of enthusiasm from an embarrassing but supportive cheering section of one.

                                        "FLATTER HIS SOCKS OFF SWEETIE!"

                                         

                                        • Lilly Teal
                                          Lilly Teal

                                          "I'm Irish," he shouted after her, and he deserved a prize immediately for not appending that with 'you old bag'.

                                          The applause was gratifying, though, and he shot Gladstone a grateful grin for kicking it off as he stepped off to get himself some complimentary coffee.

                                          Gladstone's support continued. And it was so loud. Lilly needed to take a moment to bury her red face in her hands because of how embarrassing he was being. It was definitely sweet but... oh my God Gladstone.

                                          Clearing her throat, she walked up to the stage, still red, and inclined her head to Mr. Engleberry, a painfully thin man made even thinner by the black colour and cut of his suit. He didn't look like he was visible sideways, but he gave a gentlemanly little half-bow before the standoff began.

                                          "And your topic," said a judge, drawing a new card, "Is: Eyes."

                                          Eyes! That was a good one, almost everyone in the world had wonderful eyes! Lilly perked up somewhat at the topic. Even the crane opposite her looked optimistic. Eyes was easy. He gave her blue eyes a professional once-over and nodded, a small smile flicking across his face before it went to sleep again, tired from all that overwork.

                                          "Miss, your eyes are like twin pools sparkling in the moonlight." My my, the poetic compliments were sure in full force in this competition, weren't they? "They light up with your smile."

                                          Oh... oh my. Now she was a little red for a different reason, as her eyes lit up with her smile and she stifled a giggle.

                                          "And your eyes are spectacular," she said sincerely. His were a sort of hazel, brown flecked with bright yellowish green. Easy pickings! "Absolutely eye-catching, like sunlight through the trees on a warm summer day."

                                          Gosh that was embarrassing to say. But also surprisingly easy!

                                          It was a very, very close call, and the judges went into a huddle that seemed to go on forever, but in the end they decided to award the win to Lilly, for the sincerity of her tone (Mr. Engleberry had sounded just a tad too clinical), and the unintentional 'eye-catching' pun.

                                          The crane took it in stride, giving her another rare smile. "Well played."

                                          "Thank you!" They gave eachother sportsmanlike nods again, and Lilly practically dashed back off stage, suppressing the urge to bury her face in her hands again after the whole public performance.

                                          • GizmoDuck
                                            GizmoDuck

                                            While she had been debating hiding her face the decision could have been made in the moments after her victory.  There was a loud celebratory whistle from Gladstone alternating with hand numbing applause.  His enthusiasm seemed infectious and soon half the crowd was roaring.  Luckily the crowd wasn't easily influenced or they would have joined in the rhythmic chanting of her name-oh wait.

                                            "Lilly! Lilly! Lilly! Lilly!"

                                            When she reached her fellow competitors even some of them had joined in.  Most notably Gizmoduck. He paused when she drew near to offer his sincere congratulations.

                                            "Well done, very well done! The crowd loves you!" Well, one person in it did at any rate.  "That will be a tough act to follow and no mistake!"

                                            The cheering had gotten so out of control that the emcee had to get on stage and use a microphone to calm them before she could announce the next contenders.  

                                            "Our next pair will be Ms. Michaels and-oh ladies and gentleman, it's my deepest pleasure to announce that the greatest hero of our time has joined us, please welcome Gizmoduck to the stage!"

                                            The crowd exploded into a wave of sound as the hero graciously waved and bowed his way onto stage beside a beautiful brunette canine who was blushing furiously, taking coy glances at her opponent.  

                                            "Five bucks says she doesn't even get a chance to talk." Muttered a voice in Lilly's ear.  Gladstone had snuck  into the competitor area in the frenzy and he gave her cheek a little pinch. "You were amazing. Although I'm not surprised, not at all, I already know you're the sweetest person alive, it only stands to reason.  I will admit though that your guy was a chump. 'Twin pools sparkling in the moonlight't? Pfft." He waved a dismissive hand. "Bright as the morning sky in June? Yes? Stereo rhapsodies in blue? Naturally.  Sapphire depths any man would willingly drown in? I mean...duh."

                                            "Sir you can't be back here, if you could please just take your seat-" 

                                            "Okay okay, I'm not coaching her or anything." He blew her a little kiss. "You're killing it darling. Knock 'em dead."

                                            The dull roar had died a second time and the judge announced the next topic: "Voice"

                                            "Ladies first-" Gizmoduck offered her the microphone.

                                            Ms. Michaels shook her head shyly and motioned him to go on. 

                                            "My dear I will not be able to comment upon your no doubt musical tones if I don't hear them first." Ms. Michaels just giggled. "Very well then.  Just seeing you I can make an educated guess, your voice could be a flower bending in the breeze, strong but flexible, sweet and lovely.  It could be." Gizmoduck nodded and then seemed to consider for a moment. "But it would not do to pigeon hole you, it could be lively and robust like a marimba rhythm, or dark like rolling thunder,  or soft as a sigh,  it could be high pitched or deep in your chest.  The sound of your voice could launch a thousand ships or be lost in a crowd of two but what is important-"

                                            The crowd was hanging on his every word, the melodic vibrato of his own dramatic over enunciated dulcet tones seemed to have them hypnotized.

                                            "-is what you say with that no doubt rich voice of yours.  Your voice is your own and if you say what's in your heart, then it will be perfection."

                                            There was silence. Gizmoduck looked around confused.

                                            "...that's all. Please madam it is your-"

                                            But she was bright red and staring at him misty eyed and when he turned to face her she let out a squeak and ran off the stage. 

                                            "Well," The emcee sounded staggered. "...I think we may have just witnessed history being made.  Ladies and gentlemen Gizmoduck has achieved a flawless victory! Congratulations!"

                                            The crowd erupted into a earsplitting din.

                                            Oh dear. Looks like the competition has just started.

                                            • Lilly Teal
                                              Lilly Teal

                                              Honey. Sweetie. Can you not. His embarrassing enthusiasm kept building, as did her desire for the ground to swallow her so she could disappear from the face of the earth forevermore. Gizmoduck's comment was given a nod from behind her hands, as did most, if not all, of her interaction with the culprit in question.

                                              Could someone actually die from public embarrassment? Because if it was possible, they needed to call a hearse soon. Lay out the flowers. Read the will.

                                              God. It was an effort to pull her focus back on the competition, but it was absolutely worth it.

                                              Oh my goodness!

                                              "That was so sweet!" Lilly squealed softly, holding onto the arm of the lady next to her, who just sighed and fanned herself. Both of them, or most of them really, had gotten a little pink. Or rather, Lilly would have, if she wasn't already so red from embarrassment. Good golly gosh, can you imagine being on the receiving end of that compliment? Oh my...

                                              Slow down, girl. Your boyfriend is right there.

                                              Okay yes, but consider.

                                              She had to let go of the lady's arm so she could have her turn. The graceful swan, even still slightly overwhelmed by Gizmoduck had no trouble winning her round, even if the topic of 'grace' had given her opponent so much to work with.

                                              The next pair was a slightly quiet looking lady and a man who... shone. His teeth glinted in the sun, he was bright and shiny and enthusiastic and he looked as if a breeze should follow him around to ruffle his hair. His compliment was long, poetic, beautiful, and by the time they got to end of it, nobody could remember what the topic was.

                                              "Next, Mister Flaversham-" "Finnegan!" "-and Mister Masterson!"

                                              Applause, applause. Mister Masterson glinted at the audience, having not moved from the stage after his victory. But with a topic of 'smile', there was no way he had a chance. Right? Right. It was too easy.

                                              Darryl had a nice smile of his own, friendly and charming in a 'I'm not actively trying to be charming' way, but the man looked like a spotlight.

                                              "What is this, a duel? Death by spectacular smile at fifty paces?"

                                              That got a laugh out of the audience, and the drake grinned. Sure, Darryl wasn't poetic, and nobody could match up to Gizmoduck, but his bluff sincerity and sense of humour had definitely won the crowd over. Not that anyone actually expected him to win. He just didn't have that natural niceness. But he was a bold competitor!

                                              Mister Masterson smiled, glinted, and flexed. A brief pause, and then he smiled, glinted, and flexed again, his hand drifting up towards his ear.

                                              "Flaversham-" "Finnegan." "The sheer charm in that smile of yours is head and shoulders above anything as conventional as spectacular. It's a smile with character, with personality, a smile that's as much a joy to smile as it is to see."

                                              Oooh, good one!

                                              • Gladstone Gander
                                                Gladstone Gander

                                                Gladstone heard Masterson's compliment, then he heard Masterson repeat the compliment. His brow creased and he slowly turned in his seat to look at the man behind him.  He was one of the original six spectators and had on a wide scarf that covered most of his face and a hood that hid the rest. Gladstone narrowed his eyes.

                                                "Are you feeding him lines?" He said loudly.

                                                "What? No! I would never!" Said the man... and apparently not realizing the danger Masterson also said the words while flexing. 

                                                "YOU'RE CHEATING!?" Gladstone shot to his feet his eyes wide... and... grinning madly. "SERIOUSLY? YOU'RE CHEATING AT A NICENESS CONTEST?!"

                                                As Gladstone dissolved into hysterical laughter the judges came to investigate and, heavens above it was true! The man in the audience was using a wire to make suggestions to his vain and attractive friend thinking that with their powers combined they could win.  But there was nothing lower than cheating and the round defaulted to Darryl... again! Hurray! The crowd cheered enthusiastically all on it's own for Darryl this time.  No one liked a cheater!

                                                 

                                                 

                                                • Lilly Teal
                                                  Lilly Teal

                                                  Darryl was beside himself with amusement at having gotten this far through sheer default. Well hey, it wasn't a bad way to progress.

                                                  That is, of course, until he heard his name again, and his next opponent.

                                                  "I had a good run," he said with a good natured shrug.

                                                  "Darryl, we haven't even started yet," Lilly pointed out, as the judge pulled out a topic of 'accent', and small ripple of laughter went through the crowd at how appropriate it was for the only two contestants who didn't sound American to get that topic.

                                                  Ah, we're all having good fun.

                                                  He gave her a humorous look. "Well see, we've finished before we even started. Everyone's a fan of a posh British accent."

                                                  "Oh Darryl," this sounded like an old conversation. "The other man may have been cheating when he said you were effortlessly charming but that doesn't mean it was a lie, you're adorable, and your accent is too, everyone should be a fan of it-"

                                                  "We have a winner! Is anyone surprised?"

                                                  ... oh wait, we were still competing, I was just trying to talk to my... cousin...

                                                  Darryl, in the background, was bursting with laughter at her startled face. Ah, worth it.

                                                  • Gladstone Gander
                                                    Gladstone Gander

                                                    The crowd went wild.  There was a bit of an upset as there seemed to be quite a few people on "Team Darryl" who demanded a rematch, but the cheering for Lilly was deafening.  Almost everyone in the crowd had come into this feeling like it was silly and really it was but... but... then they saw how enthusiastic that handsome gander was about his girlfriend's lovely manners and well... if they just weren't charmed by the pair.  They were invested now dang it.  It would just be so nice for her to win, he very much wanted her to.  His energy was infectious, it was a joy to join in.  Although, no one would argue that Gizmoduck was real fierce competition.

                                                    Which he demonstrated in his semi finalist round  effortlessly.   The topic had been "outfit" which had caused a ripple of laughter that the hero had joined in on.  What a pleasant laugh he had, my this was just... such a NICE way to spend an afternoon.  

                                                    The older woman who had been paired with him made a valiant attempt to cover all her bases.  His suit was a modern marvel very sleek and eye catching so it wasn't a very hard thing to compliment.  It was a strong bid for the win until Gizmoduck had his turn. He worked his magic again, drawing attention to the perfectly accessorized woman,the colors, the patterning and but most importantly that it was a reflection of the very colorful and lively heart that beat in her chest. The creative and clever mind that piloted her as he did so literally for his own attire. Inner beauty and all that.  It was a theme.

                                                    It was a cut throat theme.  

                                                    Even Gladstone had to applaud that one. Gizmoduck had won again.  Oh dear.  That means...

                                                    "Ladies and gentleman! It is now time for our final round! And what a match it is! Ms. Lilly Teal versus Gizmoduck!"

                                                     

                                                    • Lilly Teal
                                                      Lilly Teal

                                                      After the ear shattering cheering, the silence should have been a relief, but it was absolutely deafening. People were so invested now, so interested and on the edge of their seats, you could have heard a pin drop if any pin would dare to interrupt the tense scene.

                                                      There was a soft rustle as a piece of paper was lifted. People seemed to hold their breath. Lilly and Gizmoduck seemed a little... confused on why everyone looked so nervous. Wasn't this supposed to be a nice, fun thing? There was a mutual exchange of shrugging glances, but also oh hello how are you so nice to see you again!

                                                      "And your final topic, constestants," even the judge's voice was reverently hushed. "Is..."

                                                      Okay, don't draw it out any more than it really needs to.

                                                      "Laugh."

                                                      Lilly brightened up immediately.

                                                      "Gizmoduck has a wonderful laugh," she said to the judges in response before turning to her opponent with an enthusiastic smile. "I'd be only too happy to compliment it!"

                                                      Not even for a competition! She gestured in the air vaguely, trying to find the words for all her feelings.

                                                      "It's just so open. There's a sincere joy in doing what you do, and it comes out in your laugh. It's not restrained or apologetic about anything, just like you. Strong, like you can laugh off anything that comes your way and it's vibrant and happy and I wish I could laugh like that and-"

                                                      ... ah... closing up her hands, she dropped them and gave an embarrassed smile.

                                                      "Sorry, that got away from me. But I do mean it!"