2014-04-02 - Crab Buffet Nightmares

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Title: Crab Buffet Nightmares

Reports of "crab cakes" that are essentially wads of fried dough bring the interest of the Blue Ribbon, Cooking Club members, and people who just want to see inside an industrial kitchen. When it turns out that more than incompetence is involved, matters heat up.


Kuniko Saito, Gordon, Fred Burgermeister, Ami Mizuno, Mamoru Chiba, Lingshen Chao, Fuu Hououji, Ichigo Momomiya


Sapporo Crab Buffet

OOC - IC Date:

December 24th, 2013 (IC) - April 2nd, 2014 (RL)>

The kitchen of the Squirrel Lodge is a spacious one. The arduous duty of keeping the infamous crab buffet fully supplied requires materials and workspace, and no expense was spared. Gleaming metal countertops hold beneath them shelves full of dishes, while overhead runners hold hooks for every implement imaginable. The most common implements, of course, are those for preparing crabs - but variety is the spice of life, and the kitchen is well-prepared.

One wall holds a series of ovens and stovetops, while the other has several heavy metal doors leading into pantries and freezer spaces. Near the entrance there is an opening into the restaurant at large, through which orders can be submitted and dishes sent out. The main keyword here, however, is 'roomy' - by restaurant standards, there's a great deal of open space. At its height, this kitchen could easily hold twenty cooks working on twenty different dishes, with no risk of collision.

However, at present, there is but one.

Fred Burgermeister, a towering American as broad as two normal cooks, is the only one visible in the kitchen. Counterspace has been set aside for an assistant, and an open cooler door suggests that his sous-chef has simply stepped out for supplies. The rest of the kitchen lies empty, its normal chefs making use of Fred's talent to give themselves a day off. It's Christmas Eve, after all, and even a cook might seek love.

The ovens and stoves, polished to a gleam, stand cold and unused. In their place, the sole chef has filled unused aisle space with deep fryers - a dozen of them merrily boiling away, filling the air with the smell of hot oil. Before the man stand a half dozen recipe plans - imitation crab legs here, breaded shrimp there - but the bulk of the space is devoted to the now-infamous crab cakes. Crab meat, diced potatoes, and all the bread crumbs anyone could ever want.

Fred works efficiently - in seconds, he's gone from raw ingredients to a basketful of those cakes, and is lowering them into the oil. Enough food has been prepared for him to take notice of those entering, and he turns to greet them with a grin and an American accent.

"Welcome to the kitchen! If you're hungry, this batch should be ready in just a minute."

COMBAT: Mami Tomoe has fully healed herself.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has fully healed herself.

Gordon, one of the finest chefs and culinary teachers at Infinity Institute, simply had to know where things went wrong. The recent changes in the restaurant at the resort is worrying for him. The love for local cuisine is gone; the masterfully prepared food has been swapped out for quickly prepared food that, in his opinion, has lost its soul. He decided he had to check it out. As one of the chaperones for the trip, he decided to bring some of his students along.

He billed it as a chance to see behind the scenes in a professional kitchen, and took any students who volunteered along. The ones who haven't taken his courses in Gold Crown have discovered one thing: Chef Gordon is a mini-lop rabbit, with grey and white patches, and a chef's hat perched on his little rabbit head.

He hops into the kitchen, and then he looks around at the kitchen, instead of at Fred Burgermeister... at first. Then he looks up at him, with a discerning look. "Chef Gordon," he says. "It's a pleasure. This is my class. Are... those imitation?"

With a flick of his nose, he gestures at one of the trays of imitation crab leg.

Kuniko Saito had a good evening previously. She taught people a trick with icing and didn't feel that awkward about not having a date on Christmas Eve. So she's in good spirits today, carrying the little black nylon case that many a cook totes around. Inside are her favorite knives (which is only not creepy because she's a culinary student) and a couple of bottles of spice mix.

And a folded up apron in jewel tones, which is completely conventional.

She is also in her cook's whites - which is really just a white jacket (sleeves rolled down) and houndstooth slacks. No cap at the moment, though. Her expression gets decidedly smug when Gordon points something out, and she says to the small rabbit, "It looks like pretty good surimi, chef, maybe this is American style sushi?"

It was a choice between checking out the kitchen or trekking out to a matchmaking shrine, and Fuu has little interest in a matchmaking shrine. Partly because she's too busy to seriously pursue dating or romance - or at least that's what she claims outwardly.

She also has a whispering suspicion, in the back of her head and in her heart, that she doesn't need to look for a boyfriend ... although truth be told, she hasn't seen or heard from Ferio since the Magic Knights returned to Tokyo.

At any rate, she's genuinely curious about the cooking operations, particularly as she's noticed the menu transitioning from the original selection to increasing amounts of deep-fried foodstuffs. She doesn't mind tempura, but this is something else entirely - and as she enters the kitchen behind Gordon-sensei, the sight of a *dozen* deep fryers prompts her to blink a few times, then frown and start taking notes with her smartphone. There may be a photo or two as well, to document the (select: mystery/travesty) being perpetrated.

While under normal circumstances, Ami would probably choose the matchmaking shrine... it's cold. She's already sort of in sketchy territory as her constitution goes; why push it with things that might lead to exposure to the dreaded /love note/? Yes, the kitchen is the much more prudent, safer option.

She's just here for the food, though, so far, not the expansive cooking experience. She does look, because the opportunity to learn new information is never /un/welcome for our beloved heroine... but she doesn't quite have the background to really follow, extensively, what's going on with all these deep fryers and other cooking implements. She stays quiet, just taking the situation in for now.

At least one person trailing in with the class isn't actually in the class-- he's wearing the Ohtori high school uniform, he's not even from the same school! But despite the colors being visibly wrong, this super-tall guy follows them with the careless confidence of someone who can get away with a lot. It's Mamoru Chiba, eleventh-grader and, secretly, fighter of evil by moonlight! He doesn't even care if something went wrong: Mamo is here for the crab cakes and the avoiding the matchmaking temple and the amount of sly eyes and elbow-nudges.

Then he spots Ami's blue hair and veers slightly, stopping by her when everyone stops. He leans down and says under his breath, "I'm surprised Usagi isn't here. Free crab cakes, come on." He grins at her sidelong before straightening up and sticking his hands in his pockets. "I'm definitely hungry!" he calls back to Fred cheerfully.

Fred Burgermeister is, in fact, the cause of all that has happened to the menu. The man nods to the group as they enter, but abruptly his eyes lock onto the mini-lop rabbit. For an instant, his gaze is hard as steel - but the rest of the accusing students get a warm smile. An accusation has been made, and he must respond.

"Why yes, they are." The flash of a knife, to shape the meat - and into a fryer they go. "Several of our guests are simply competing to see how many fried crab legs can be stuffed into one mouth at once, and these will suffice for that competition."

Fred takes a moment to mug for Fuu's camera, then turns to Kuniko. "American style sushi? No, not today - but I like the way you think! Perhaps that shall be tomorrow's special - fish fillet, rice, fried into balls...excellent suggestion!"

So many would-be chefs have come - along with a rabbit, and Fred spreads his arms wide to welcome them. "Come in, come in - I am happy to instruct you all in how these dishes are made! There will be free samples, of course!" There's a clatter from the walk-in freezer - the chef's assistant, rummaging around no doubt.

Lingshen Chao, Girl of Amateur Restaraunteury, has a vested interest in cooking and restaraunts! And the possibility of /sins/ committed against the /holy institution of cooking/ is deeply troubling to her. And so, when Gordon-sensei, an individual she respects highly and easily accepts for his status as a rabbit, pitched around for cooking club members and others who might want to come along, she decided to join them.

Because Chao is a weirdo, she decided to bum along not in casuals (very few people ever see Chao out of some kind of uniform, it's weird), but in her Chao Bao Zi minidress, although the apron she's put on doesn't have the Chao Bao Zi logo for once, just a nondescript white.

Her eyes cast around the room with a critical flare, hands behind her back and making a bit of a show of walking around with her eyes falling on everything. "That's a lot of fryers," she muses out loud.

Gordon's nose works up in the air, while he pauses, to consider what Kuniko says. It's a good spot, he thinks, even if it isn't quite what's going on here. His nose keeps working; over there, he thinks, he sniffs store-bought bread crumbs. He can't be sure. He takes a couple of hops ahead, nose still working, before he hears that last bit about guests shoving as many crab legs as possible in their mouths. His expression falls into a sharp scowl; he frowns, and then he looks at Fred. "I... see."

Gordon does a midair hop to turn around -- a sharp, sudden 180 that comes from a lifetime of moves learned in the kitchen -- and look back at his class.

He is famously brusque. The British rabbit is known for being a tough teacher, sometimes a rabbit of few words, who doesn't always say what is proper. "I'm sorry, Hououji, Mizuno, Chiba, and you especially, Chao," he says. "I promised you a kitchen. It seems I've given you a bloody grease pit instead!"

He turns, then, and points a furious paw up at Fred Burgermeister. "Imitation crab meat, storebrought ingredients, and I think that's /ranch sauce/ over there--this isn't cuisine! You're in a place with the best fresh seafood, with true local ingredients! This is a disgrace to cuisine!" he bellows. "You're no cook. As a Master Chef of the Blue Ribbon Society, I'm issuing a challenge. We're putting this joint on the right track."

The rabbit claps his paws together. It, somehow, produces a loud clapping noise. He looks over his shoulder at Kuniko, then nods. "Saito! You're up."

Kuniko gives Fred a slightly smug look and a Polite Laugh. She half-covers her mouth with her hand as she does that. "Oh, well, I don't think that's gonna happen, but -"

There he goes. Kuniko puts her case down and folds her arms, looking smug. She gives the others a look, particularly Hououji and Chao. "Seriously, ranch sauce," she editorializes, because she hasn't learned yet that nobody really likes a kiss-ass.

"Yeah!" she says in echo when Gordon speaks up. It is the sound of someone who has come through everything with faith, hope, joy and -

'Saito! You're up.'

Kuniko says nothing. Her face curls in incredulity as she looks at Gordon with an expression of pure disbelief. She glances momentarily at the assembled others, perhaps most notably including that tall handsome boy. She sweats, just a bit. It's not from the heat.

"-- Oh, kay," she enunciates, before unfastening her carry case and reaching into it. The knife comes out - she holds that strange apron in her hand, looking at Gordon, then up to Fred. "So," she says. "Uhhh..."

Silently she prays for something to spare her from this embarrassment.

Ichigo's running a bit late for the cooking class, although she's certainly excited to try it out! Afterall, she DOES work for a premiere cafe now, and she's really starting to enjoy working with food. Of course Keiichiro thought this would be a great lesson for her.

She arrives terribly tardy and breathless as she attempts to slip in the back. Dressed in her cute red and white maid outfit, Ichigo is ready for cooking! But wow, what a lot of grease and heat in here!

PhoenixWind tweeted: "Got a chance to visit the kitchen at Kubota's Crab Buffet ... and no wonder my stomach has felt buffeted: look at all those fryers T.T And the man who's responsible, too." ... accompanied by a picture of Burgermeister-san posing proudly amidst the fryers.

Fuu lowers her smartphone from picture-taking to add more notes for her personal reference - which has the side benefit of letting her conceal a smile as Gordon-sensei issues his challenge and selects a champion. "Good luck, Saito-sempai!" she chirps as she finishes taking notes for the moment. If she has a blog other than Twitter, there's probably quite a bit more that will be said there ...

But for now, Fuu prepares to watch the kitchen duel ensue.

Things start to get a little weird -- at least, by Ami's estimations -- as the cookery becomes a cookery /battle/, a veritable clash of chefs. "Oh my -- is this how disputes are settled in the culinary world...?" Ami says, not so much incredulous as she is merely a touch baffled. She purses her lips slightly, looking between Fred and Kuniko, considering the situation carefully. She continues to say very little, preferring to watch.

COMBAT: Ichigo Momomiya has fully healed herself.

Fred continues smiling through the accusations thrown his way. Grease pit? He almost seems proud of this accusation. Ranch sauce? He pours out a dishful to go with the fake crab legs. But at Gordon's declaration, he folds his arms. "The Blue Ribbon society? That pompous cartel of cuisine's champions? I suspected as much."

Kuniko is to be his opponent, it seems - a shame. A chance to crush Master Chef Gordon would be the finest of Christmas gifts - but his opponent is who she is. "A young apprentice. One of the Crème de la Crème, perhaps? The Blue Ribbon continues to give false hope only to those who have talents they can use, I see. Very well - young girl, your challenge is accepted!"

There is no escape from the embarrassment. Abruptly, Fred Burgermeister smiles. "Let the Service begin!"

There's a flash of light. As it fades, it's clear that Fred has undergone some sort of transformation. The chef's hat and outfit become as grease-blackened as his apron, a billowing cape adorns his back, and steam begins to fill the kitchen in thick clouds as the smell of hot oil in the air redoubles. A culinary challenge has been made, and accepted - and a Mise-en-Place brought into play.

Cape billowing despite a lack of any breeze, Fred claps his hands once. "Assistant! Prevent any interference." Who has Fred been hiding in the freezer, anyway?

COMBAT: Fred Burgermeister transforms into Dark Fry King!

The steam makes Gordon wince. The rabbt hops backward, but he gives a final look at Kuniko -- and then he nods once, before he moves out of the way. It proves wise, too, as the door to the back opens up. The sous-chef, it seems, is also not human. Unlike Gordon, this one is also large. A crab comes out--

--except it isn't a crab.

The legs, claws, and shell are there; indeed, the shape of a crab is present. However, it appears to be composed of fried breadcrumbs and chunks of fake crabmeat. Pieces of celery and other bits of vegetable poke out here and there, a sign of an overstuffed crabcake.

And then it looks at the steam-filled room and bellows. "DEEEEEEEEP DISCOUNT!"

COMBAT: Gordon transforms into Youma Form Double Fried Crabcake!

Chao provides a faintly disbelieving pop of her eyebrows to Kuniko. "Right? Ranch? Seriously?" she wonders aloud. Her pass to Gordon is a similarly helpless shrug. "It's not like you could've known a place could fall this far, sensei..." she demures.

To her credit, she gives Gordon an equally stunned look when he declares Kuniko to be CHEF CHAMPION, but manages to get her surprise in check quickly, ambling in Kuniko's direction with unspoken intent to play sous-chef.

And then Fred Burgermeister becomes a...Dark...Fry Lord!? (slight uniform jealousy) And Chao stops mid-stride, eyes bugging out. "UHM." THAT WAS NOT THE REACTION SHE WAS BANKING ON

Her hand darts to her apron pocket, probably a lot like everyone else here, but she hesitates for a moment, fist clenched around the bejeweled bracelet she never actually wears unless it is time - for fear of it being recognized.

COMBAT: Gordon has fully healed himself. He is now ready to take on 5 opponents!

Mildly surprised that Gordon knows who he is, Mamoru resolves to behave slightly better. Except then the girl with the odd, bright apron in her hand gets put on the spot, all Iron Chef throwdown style, and Ichigo runs in, and things are generally going quite unexpectedly. He steps aside, making room for Ichigo to see the impending battle better -- one thing when you're tall, you make sure you always stand in the back -- and then calls out after Fred's 'let the service begin', "You'll do fine, Saito-san! It'll be a--"

A flash of light. And. A.

...Chef Villain.

Pretty much instantly, Mamoru sprints to go throw himself bodily at the freezer door to try to hold it shut-- and gets the opening door slammed into him for his trouble, flying back and skidding across the floor, disappearing into the depths of the now-terrifying kitchen. Physics is supposed to be his best subject, too.

Anyway the important part is that no one can see him henshin back there.

COMBAT: Mamoru Chiba transforms into Tuxedo Mask!

Fuu blinks a few times at Burgermeister-san's transformation, although part of why she's blinking is to clear her vision again after that blinding flash which accompanied the exchange of clothing, from white to black ...

And suddenly, Gordon's assistant shows up ... and Fuu's face turns roughly the same shade of pale green as the sweater she's wearing today. "That's ... I do hope we haven't been eating pieces of *that*, although I suppose it's as good an explanation as any for where 'imitation crab meat' comes from." She pauses, looking over the crab creature again. "... although if this is an imitation crab, it's a rather distressing imitation, isn't it?" she asks her companions.

Her smartphone has been tucked away by now, her left hand almost casually delving into the pocket of her skirt, and she glances around at the others. The Ohtori high-schooler has apparently been bludgeoned into unconsciousness by the freezer door, and while Fuu knows Ichigo is more than just another student, she can't say the same about the rest of the girls.

Then she has an idea. "Ichigo-san, Lingshen-san, help me with the fryers!" She heads towards some of the deep fryers that Burgermeister-san was lording over ... and tries to upend one of them on the Dark Cook. It may take more than one schoolgirl's strength to do the trick, but she *did* just ask for help.

COMBAT: Kuniko Saito transforms into Commis Kuniko!

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji transforms into Magic Knight!

"Sometimes," Kuniko answers Ami, grimly. And then!

Her eyes widen. "Wait, what?? How come - Where did you learn that stuff!? What are you doing with a mise-en-place if you're cooking all this glop!! Why -"

FOOM: He's revealed himself. Kuniko, half leaning back, points with a finger as her expression is contorted in a mixture of disbelief, rage, and a little bit of fear. "Why do you have a cape!? Aaaaagh! Chef you've sold me ouuuut!!"

But she whips out that glimmering apron and snaps it around her waist. Even as steam billows in a conveniently concealing manner, and as that handsome man is sent sprawling out behind those racks of pre-fried grease flakes, Kuniko Saito has nothing to hide. As she ties it, she slides her hands forwards, spreading them afterwards as she flicks off freshly rinsed water and raises her hands up. With her current outfit, the change is subtle - a new crispness, a higher thread count in the fabric, and a glittering hiragana 'kuniko' over the Infinity Academy logo on the right breast.

And the hat. It is crisp, clean, and made of carefully folded paper.

"Fine, you greasy clot of back hair," she says, sounding far more courageous now. "You want a challenge?? I'll show you how you should actually deal with seafood - you don't trawl it through freaking grease. BUT!"

Another flourishing gesture. "Since you're a WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?" Her rhetoric trails off in dismay as the Crab Creature manifests itself.

She then swings her arms forwards in what would be a ridiculous display if she hadn't accompanied this by yanking a five kilogram bag of glittering, rattling ice out of nowhere and hurled it towards the feet of Fred. This is to buy time as she books it forwards, aiming to dive into the cooler and grab an armful of whatever crab may have survived his crabocaust.

She has scallops, mussels, shrimp, and a dozen more obscure fish - but she'd been planning to get fresh crab here. And there's no thyme... like the pheasant.

COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has used Service - 5kg Ice Bag on Fred Burgermeister.
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has finished attacking.

What started out as an energetic cooking class suddenly turns into something quite...Bizzare! Ichigo's eyes widen in surprise and horror as a giant CRAB suddenly walks out of the backroom. "W-wait a minute, I didn't sign up for this! What's going on! Aah!"

Her first instinct is to run, but then of course she has another important mission here - was it another chimera anima? - and she nods energeticaly to Fuu, rushing over to grab another deep fryer, and following Fuu's lead, Ichigo also attempts to upend one on the dark cook.

Things go from slightly weird to really, exceptionally weird, and Ami begins to get the sense that this is not the normal method of settling disputes in the realm of cooking. As a result, she takes a second to steel herself -- before staring a touch incredulously at the giant pile of imitation crab-monster.

"... ah -- excuse me, but, I really must..." Ami starts, moving back away from the Dark Fry King and the ensuing battle. She, too, turns a corner and disappears further into the kitchen briefly -- and, much like Mamoru, has no intention of emerging as Ami Mizuno again for the moment.

COMBAT: Ami Mizuno transforms into Sailor Mercury!
COMBAT: Fred Burgermeister fails to dodge Kuniko Saito's Service - 5kg Ice Bag, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  

No one expects the Dark Fry Chef! His arms are folded, waiting for Kuniko to make the first move. However - it's a couple of the other students who move first, shoving over the fryer to spill hot oil everywhere-

Fred leaps, avoiding the spill - but oil splatters on several burners, igniting in a brief, greasy inferno. Clouds of billowing black smoke fill the air, obscuring everything for a crucial few seconds. From within the black cloud, Fred tuts. "Now, now. A Blue Ribbon challenge has been made - which makes this kitchen a Stadium. Outsiders may observe, may dine - but may not interfere."

The crab-creature bellows as Fred emerges from the smoke - unperturbed by the flaming hot oil. "This Guilty Pleasure will deal with any further interference - imitation crab meat, potato filler, and cheap breadcrumbs sufficed for all who dined here these past few days, and will suffice for you all."

And then he steps on a heap of ice, slips, and goes down with a crash.

Quickly, he stands up, face filled with fury. "Very well! Commis - let this duel begin!" Plunging a gloved hand into a nearby frier, he pulls out several wads of deep-fried dough to hurl at the enemy chef.

COMBAT: Fred Burgermeister has used Hot Off The Grill! on Kuniko Saito.
COMBAT: Fred Burgermeister has finished attacking.

"I thought he was a regular no-talent hack, not a--" Gordon yells back, but stops, as he remembers he is the chef and Kuniko is the student. "--whining never belongs on the menu! Get cooking!"

The crabcake monster waddles forward, slowly. Its claws lift into the air and clack; the noise it makes is a loud clattering noise, but it also sends off flakes of crusted bread crumbs. It begins to surge forward, walking on its fried but surprisingly agile legs, towards the fryer being upended. The master may need that!

As it does, its eyes glow a baleful red color, and then a few lines of crimson light appear in the air, and get sucked into its deep fried shell.

It bellows again.

COMBAT: Gordon has used Fish on Monday on Gordon.
COMBAT: Gordon has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Gordon accepts Gordon's Fish on Monday, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Withstand applied to Gordon!  Cleanse! All of Gordon's debuffs are cleared!  
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito narrowly dodges Fred Burgermeister's Hot Off The Grill!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Blind, Cripple, Stun, and Trap applied to Kuniko Saito!  

Chao's eyes bug out some more at the crab monster sous-chef, and her fist clenches tighter around that bracelet. If she transformed now, she could easily--

Oh, Fuu had an idea. Why didn't she think of the friers? (Because she doesn't think that much of secret identities, mostly). She dashes on over exactly as ordered, calling, "Right! Good idea!" Hot fry oil DOES NOT DESERVE TO EXIST, anyway.

This means she misses, or perhaps 'misses', Kuniko's transformation, but the intent is clear enough. Perhaps they'll figure that out later, because right now she's helpfully applying all that kung fu strength to tossing a fry machine over so that she can vanish amid the steam - pulling out the bracelet and snapping it on, twice 'round, letting it hang loose on her wrist as she holds it up, emblem out.

Steam and smoke will hide the rest, presumably.

COMBAT: Lingshen Chao transforms into Powered Suit!

Fuu was hoping to at least give Burgermeister-san some hot-oil burns to remember, but massive clouds of steam have their uses as well. It also gives Fuu (and Ichigo) (and Lingshen, not that Fuu knew she needed it) cover to enact their transformations - and under the circumstances, Fuu doesn't even bother with her usual invocation, just pulls out the glove-jewel and slides it onto her left hand.

She takes her time, not knowing how long Ichigo needs to transform ... mostly because the green-tinted whirlwind which heralds the Magic Knight of Wind's transformation was probably going to disperse the steam rather forcefully. And it does so, leaving the Wind Knight ready, her sword materializing in her hands; this may be a big kitchen, but the quarters are going to be rather too close for archery. "I think, under the circumstances, all of us are going to be helping with this 'recipe,'" she calls out to the Dark Chef. "Namely, it seems that in lieu of crabcakes, we'll have to cook your goose!"

Fortunately for Burgermeister, though, the crabcake monster is a bigger issue for the Wind Knight, and Fuu holds her left hand out towards the monster. "Imashime no Kaze!" she calls out, summoning a magical whirlwind to try and bind the walking crabcake where it stands, or at least restrict its movements as much as she's able to.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Imashime no Kaze on Gordon.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Gordon narrowly braces Fuu Hououji's Imashime no Kaze, taking 3 Fatigue damage!  Fuu Hououji is Psyched!  Gordon's Block ability activates!  Gordon's Parry ability activates!  Cripple and Trap applied to Gordon!  

All of a sudden, there's spanish guitar riff in the background. From out of nowhere, a rose flies across the acrid, smoke-filled room with a flash of red light behind it, and its sharp stem slices toward the gross stuff splattered at Kuniko. Wobbling there for a second, a few petals drifting down, this inexplicable development is almost certainly meant to be some kind of offense.

Wait, no, the offense is already taken, by the incredibly tall, more dramatically-caped man standing atop the industrial freezers. "You're a jerk, and you're cheating," he tells the Dark Fry King irritably, and rather than waste precious time lecturing an American, he cups his hands around his mouth and calls out to Kuniko, "You really CAN do it! This guy's no match for your fighting, OR for your skills as a chef! Get up and put him in his place!"

COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has used Inspirational Monologuing! on Kuniko Saito.
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito accepts Tuxedo Mask's Inspirational Monologuing!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Kuniko Saito is Cheered!  Cleanse! All of Kuniko Saito's debuffs are cleared!  

Kuniko says, with dismay, "Did you just decide to be as cheap as possible??" before vanishing into the fridge, inspired by the words of the rabbit. She comes back out - in time to see dough coming.


Her hand is full of crab - several different sizes of crab leg and even a single live, wriggling one. They start falling into silvery nothingness, which Fred may recognize as slipping into the stockhouse portion of Mise-en-place, but Kuniko herself is dismayed.

The heat of it, sticking in her face - like a horrible, greasy facemask. But then, with a flurry of rose scent, something snaps past - and the rapidly forming crust falls away, leaving Kuniko's face slightly reddened. (From the heat, from the heat!) "I --" A wondering look from her up to the mysterious figure.

She swallows once, wipes her lips off on her sleeve, and then stomps forwards. "I'll show you how you should ACTUALLY fry something in a moment. Here, to keep you busy while I work --" She snaps up a hand, with a trio of skewers between her fingers, held in a loose fist.

"Enjoy some cheese with an actual flavor. If you can still taste anything, and your tongue isn't burned black!" With that, she hurls the skewers and their burden of fresh, grilled-looking blocks of cheese towards Fred - just in time to start mangling up her supply of crabs with furious speed.

She has catching up to do, after all. "Dammit dammit ugh," she mutters to herself. "OK - appetizer... ... ha! yes," she says with inspiration. And then she, too, seems to be producing the sound of frying material, albeit a much lighter and smoke-free sort of sizzle.

COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has used Service Halloumi Grilled Skewers on Fred Burgermeister.
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has finished attacking.

Convenient clouds of steam ensue, successfully obscuring Ichigo from view, and she takes the opportunity to transform...When the smoke clears, blown away dramatically by Fuu's mystical wind, Mew Strawberry stands in her place, pointing a finger at the giant crab.

"I dunno where you came from, but I wont let you disturb this peaceful cooking contest! For the sake of the earth's future, I'm at your service, Nyah!"

When the fancy introductions are over, she summons her strawberry bell and twirls around, summoning a ribbon of magical pink energy, lunging at the crab monster with an explosion of pink energy.

COMBAT: Ichigo Momomiya transforms into Mew Strawberry!
COMBAT: Fred Burgermeister fails to brace Kuniko Saito's Service Halloumi Grilled Skewers, taking 19 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Kuniko Saito is Psyched!  
COMBAT: Mew Strawberry has used Ribbon Strawberry Blast on Gordon.
COMBAT: Mew Strawberry has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Gordon narrowly counters Mew Strawberry's Ribbon Strawberry Blast, taking 4 Fatigue damage!  Gordon's Reverse ability activates!  Gordon's Tactician ability activates!  Stun applied to Gordon!  
COMBAT: Gordon's counterattack, Crunchy Claw, partially gets through, doing 12 Fatigue damage to Mew Strawberry!  

Springing forth from the innards of the kitchen, it's none other than Sailor Mercury! As fried food starts flying and war-cries are shouted, she takes up a pose, calling out, "People cook with love each and every day! Pushing deep-fried treats as the only real meal is unforgivable!" With a quick twirl, she calls out, "In the name of Mercury -- soak your head and repent!"

Bubbles roll off of the sailor-suited warrior of intelligence in waves, moving toward both the horrifying imitation crab monster and Fred himself. They don't particularly sting, nor are they even that cold... but they might add a nice, cool flavor to the battle ahead.

She glances over to Kuniko, watching her find that sudden splash of inspiration. Just what does she have planned...?

COMBAT: Sailor Mercury has used In The Name Of Mercury on Fred Burgermeister.
COMBAT: Sailor Mercury has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Fred Burgermeister narrowly braces Sailor Mercury's In The Name Of Mercury, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Mercury is Psyched!  Fred Burgermeister's Block ability activates!  Fred Burgermeister's Parry ability activates!  Exhausted and Stagger applied to Fred Burgermeister!  

The Dark Fry King pays little attention to his 'crab cake' monstrosity - its role is to prevent others from interfering in this match. The sounds and smells of bubbling oil get even stronger as he raises his hands, increasing the temperature as he turns to his own preparations. Now, where is his opponent-

High-quality cheese. Well played. Fred crosses his arms, but cannot refuse the Service. He bites into the cheese, and screws up his face in disgust. "Halloumi. You would turn such a thing against me? There is only one use for such a thing-" Even as the skewers strike home, he catches one and plunges it directly into hot oil. "A high melting point. Easy to bread and deep fry - but that is all the value it has."

The dark chef's attitude to his ingredients is much more swift and brutal than Kumiko's - smashing a crab with a hammer to get at the meat, mixing it roughly with a handful of grains and vegetables. Blatant filler, just enough egg to hold the thing together. "The tourists who have come here do not care what the true quality of the meal is - they are gluttons, seeking to fill their bellies with what they believe is crab, and no more!"

Somehow, Fred's creation looks a little like a crab - vegetable sticks standing in for the legs. Enough to fool the average tourist, anyway - and just as quickly, he's created half a dozen more. Into the fryer they go.

In spite of Fred's creation, however, some individuals seem to wish to take part in things. That blast of cool water staggers him, and he frowns. "This is a culinary battle, ye who dare interfere. Only those who can handle the kitchen's heat may take part!" Flames roar as the hot oil fryers turn up the heat, and the Dark Fry King stands undeterred through the heat waves.

COMBAT: Fred Burgermeister has used If You Can't Stand The Heat on Sailor Mercury.
COMBAT: Fred Burgermeister has used If You Can't Stand The Heat on Kuniko Saito.
COMBAT: Fred Burgermeister has finished attacking.

COMBAT: Kuniko Saito fails to brace Fred Burgermeister's If You Can't Stand The Heat, taking 19 Fatigue damage!  Fred Burgermeister is Psyched!  
COMBAT: Sailor Mercury narrowly braces Fred Burgermeister's If You Can't Stand The Heat, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  

The crabcake bellows loudly again, while magical wind comes rushing out from the Magic Knight. The wind blows back its roar -- and sends huge breaded flakes off its well-fried shell, blasting the nearby wall with them, and covering the back counter and sink with the foul stuff. It clatters forward, slower than before; the wind, clearly, was a bit startling. They're indoors. He is used to working in air conditioning and taking it slow during the evening rush.

The ribbon of magical, pink light hits the fried shell. It doesn't make it crumple, but there is a bright pink flash, and some of those bits of fried breading fall off to the ground and begin to crumple apart. The youma lifts its fried claw up and swats it down at Mew Strawberry, trying to knock her to the side.

Then it swings that claw around, driving it down for Fuu. The claw strikes down at her -- but the tip hits the floor, instead of her, as the double-fried crabcake tries to smack her with the front. The result spills bread crumbs everywhere. The monster then bellows loudly, and oily-smelling ranch dressing fires out like a jet, washing across the kitchen. Some of it strikes into a few side salads on a counter.

Somehow, it finishes them.

COMBAT: Gordon has used Crunchy Claw on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Gordon has used Ranch Dressing Spray on Lingshen Chao.
COMBAT: Gordon has used Ranch Dressing Spray on Mew Strawberry.
COMBAT: Gordon has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji fails to counter Gordon's Crunchy Claw, taking 19 Fatigue damage!  Gordon is Psyched!  
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji's counterattack, Sword Strike, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Gordon!  
COMBAT: Gordon has adjusted his boss levels. He is now ready to take on 3 opponents!
COMBAT: Mew Strawberry fails to dodge Gordon's Ranch Dressing Spray, taking 14 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Lingshen Chao narrowly dodges Gordon's Ranch Dressing Spray, taking 14 Fatigue damage!  Lingshen Chao's Flash ability activates!  

"Don't insult my cheese! What the hell!" Kuniko says to the Dark Fry King with evident displeasure. She gestures as if flipping something in the pan. "That stuff is delicious - the flavors are delicate and the high melting point makes it versatile as hell! I did a kung pao serving of it, Chef said it was good!"

More or less.

She grimaces at the use of the hammer. Filler is stuffed together in with a mockery of a crab as she says, "Well MAKE them care, you lazy ass! You're not going to inspire anyone with more deep fried slop - you're just wrecking that stuff! Did you even pay for it??" She sounds anxious, almost.

But then she flips the skillet she was playing with. And another plate catches what she had -

"Here, if you're so hot for frying something, THIS is how you do it - you take something and carefully craft it. Then you heat the ingredients just right, and you finish it off to a perfect consistency, instead of just glopping it into a mesh basket!"

She sets the plate down, as it fully enters the reality of the visible. Sitting on it are three perfect compass-rose shapes -

"Crab rangoon," she says. "Maybe it'll /fill you up/ while you wait for the finale." And she flicks the plate across the table with a fingertip.

It sails that way. Spinning gently, it then rises, miraculously, to present itself in front of Fred - confronting him with the challenge of the Lafayette Exemption: Will he dine upon the offerings of this sassy commis, or will he face the risk of /detonation/?

COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has used Service - Crab Rangoons on Fred Burgermeister.
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Fred Burgermeister narrowly counters Kuniko Saito's Service - Crab Rangoons, taking 17 Fatigue damage!  Stagger applied to Fred Burgermeister!  
COMBAT: Fred Burgermeister's counterattack, Quick Service - Fried Junk, partially gets through, doing 4 Fatigue damage to Kuniko Saito!  

"Don't insult my cheese! What the hell!" Kuniko says to the Dark Fry King with evident displeasure. She gestures as if flipping something in the pan. "That stuff is delicious - the flavors are delicate and the high melting point makes it versatile as hell! I did a kung pao serving of it, Chef said it was good!"

More or less.

She grimaces at the use of the hammer. Filler is stuffed together in with a mockery of a crab as she says, "Well MAKE them care, you lazy ass! You're not going to inspire anyone with more deep fried slop - you're just wrecking that stuff! Did you even pay for it??" She sounds anxious, almost.

But then she flips the skillet she was playing with. And another plate catches what she had -

"Here, if you're so hot for frying something, THIS is how you do it - you take something and carefully craft it. Then you heat the ingredients just right, and you finish it off to a perfect consistency, instead of just glopping it into a mesh basket!"

She sets the plate down, as it fully enters the reality of the visible. Sitting on it are three perfect compass-rose shapes -

"Crab rangoon," she says. "Maybe it'll /fill you up/ while you wait for the finale." And she flicks the plate across the table with a fingertip.

It sails that way. Spinning gently, it then rises, miraculously, to present itself in front of Fred - confronting him with the challenge of the Lafayette Exemption: Will he dine upon the offerings of this sassy commis, or will he face the risk of //detonation//?

As this occurs, she says, "Mercury?? -- Like the metal, or the --"

The feint pays off for the crabcake monster, as the Wind Knight tries to parry, misjudges, and gets swatted instead of slashed - which sends her flying over a counter in a horrifyingly undignified tumble, culminating in landing upside-down with a pained yelp, with said counter (in)conveniently between her and the monster.

She doesn't stay down for long, though, quickly regaining her feet and taking a moment to size up the situation. Dark Chef vs. Saito-sempai and a Sailor girl with light blue ribbons accenting her fuku, and the rest of the group taking on the crabcake ...

Well, if the crabcake has to get split up, somebody needs to cut it, right? She vaults over the counter again (much more elegantly this time), and charges with her sword at the ready, trying to cut deep into the animated giant crabcake on her way past - and ideally, cutting right through it. Maybe not all the way across to cleave it in half, though ...

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Sword Strike on Gordon.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Gordon narrowly counters Fuu Hououji's Sword Strike, taking 2 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Gordon's Reverse ability activates!  Gordon's Tactician ability activates!  
COMBAT: Gordon's counterattack, Crunchy Claw, partially gets through, doing 17 Fatigue damage to Fuu Hououji!  

And as the smoke clears, and the initial barrages rain down, standing on the remains of the fry machine, because she /still/ thinks secret identities are bogus, is...well, she didn't turn the recognition inhibiter /off/, so 'not Chao??', but c'mon, context counts for something. She's in a uniform patterned much the same as Chao's Chao Bao Zi minidress, except it is covered in faintly circuit-like gold piping, and covers her entire body below the neck. The chest is a blank white, because someone finally convinced her subtlety is more important than branding. This isn't American superheroes, anyway. The material has the texture of nothing so much as silk.

"Honestly," she mutters. "Friers and crabcake. You're for real! I can't believe you!" She jabs a finger forward, defiantly, at the crabcake monster; a spark of electric blue light trails between the glove's finger tips. "And before we can improve anything about this, you're gonna have to go!"

And then a glob of ranch is hurling at her. She jukes to one side, boots propelling her away, but her eyes turn to watch the glob shoot past, a little wide. "Pressurized ranch cannon. Just.../really/ not OK."

She spins to a halt, adjusts her footing fractionally - and then looks up. "Sailor Mercury?" she wonders, almost breathless. Her eyes track the blue-haired girl for a second, and then she shakes her head. Not now, Chao, not now! She's not even the senshi of a cool planet, like Mars.

Chao lunges, bolting across the distance in one lunge! Her feet touch down on the fallen frier, vaulting her into the air. "If you like frying so much...!" she shouts. "Try this!" There's an electric kwwwwEEEEEN, like an old-timey camera flash charging up times a thousand - and then she slugs her fist straight toward the crab/cake monster, releasing a startling electric CRACK!!.

COMBAT: Lingshen Chao has used Machine Kenpo Strike on Gordon.
COMBAT: Lingshen Chao has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Gordon narrowly braces Lingshen Chao's Machine Kenpo Strike, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  Gordon's Block ability activates!  Gordon's Parry ability activates!  Tangle and Trap applied to Gordon!  

Burgermeister scoffs. "The flavor matters not - the solidity under heat. Mozzarella is far cheaper, and more easily breaded. Such is all that matters." He pulls free the halloumi skewer - the cheese has remained wholly intact, despite the lack of breading, and has gained a crispy outer layer. Without a second thought, he tosses it onto a plate for some ravenous student to devour.

"You put time and effort into your cooking. Clearly, you have learned some skill from your mascot - but what difference does it make? When some glutton comes to you and orders thirty crab cakes - do they care what your technique was, or merely that the meal is hot and crunchy?" The basket of crab cakes from before the challenge began is drawn from the oil - they've been left in too long, and are fried to a crisp. Nonetheless, Fred dumps them into a basket, sliding it down the counter to sit next to the salads.

The Dark Fry King looks down at the meal set before him. He takes one forkful, examines it - and with disdain, dumps a portion into hot oil. Once he has made it crispy, he returns it to its original chef - the remainder of the plate detonating in fury at its treatment.

"The masses of Tokyo do not care about your skill, girl - they care only that they have something hot as fuel. No more, no less." Sizzling, the fake crabs finally emerge - fried brown, but a spray of ketchup turns them sufficiently red to pass. All but one go on a platter for the buffet at large - but the last goes on a small plate for Kuniko to behold.

COMBAT: Fred Burgermeister has used Service - Ketchup-Soaked Fake Crab on Kuniko Saito.
COMBAT: Fred Burgermeister has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito narrowly dodges Fred Burgermeister's Service - Ketchup-Soaked Fake Crab, taking 17 Fatigue damage!  

Mew Strawberry sweatdrops as she listens to the constant bantering between the two chefs. Would it be a bad time to point out that she actually enjoys greasy foods, even if they ARE supposed to be bad for you?

"Eheheh..." she laughs nervously, distracted enoguh by the two chefs to get hit with a spray of ranch dressing. "Eeh, what is this? What a bizarre monster.." She murmurs, trying frantically to wipe the stuff out of her eyes...Mmm, would it be bad to say it tastes pretty good, if a bit greasy!? Erm, right...

But if it is a Chimera Anima as she suspects - perhaps wrongly so - she'd better return it to normal!

Turning to face the giant crab, Mew Strawberry rushes at it with a series of kicks and punches, accentuated by burst of pink energy from her bell as she does so.

COMBAT: Mew Strawberry has used Ribbon Strawberry Blast on Gordon.
COMBAT: Mew Strawberry has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Gordon fails to brace Mew Strawberry's Ribbon Strawberry Blast, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  Stagger and Stun applied to Gordon!  

Ami is rather forcefully discouraged from staying in the kitchen through raw heat; she shrinks back from it, throwing up her arms in mild pain. It's not too bad, though; she quickly proves that she /can/ take the heat, and is indeed allowed in the kitchen. ... on the other hand, it /has/ successfully discouraged her from meddling in cooking in any meaningful sense.

Her attention turns more directly to the imitation crab, her hands raised in front of her. Thrusting them out, she calls out, simply, "Sabao Spray!!" What follows, thus, is... more bubbles. Bubbles are kind of Mercury's thing.

"Not like the metal!" she calls back to Kuniko, feeling the need to clarify.

COMBAT: Sailor Mercury has used Sabao Spray on Gordon.
COMBAT: Sailor Mercury has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Gordon fails to dodge Sailor Mercury's Sabao Spray, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Blind, Cripple, Stun, and Trap applied to Gordon!  

Well-- Kuniko's holding her own with grace and style, and Tuxedo Mask is, in the intervening time, actually distracted by the lesson she's giving in the process. It's hard not to stop and learn things when you love learning!

But with the battle raging over there between the other girls and the crab demon whatever-it-is, he's not distracted for very long. Tuxedo Kamen flips overhead in the enormous kitchen, jumping from the top of the industrial freezer to the space behind the monster, landing on one white-gloved hand and spinning around to whack at the youma's feet with his own, and then--

--as Mercury's kicking it in the face with bubbles, he flips back up (capebillow!) to lash out with his cane and try to tip Crab Jerk over. "Like the planet!" he supplies helpfully.

COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has used Tuxedo Mirage Hurricane Sting on Gordon.
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Gordon narrowly counters Tuxedo Mask's Tuxedo Mirage Hurricane Sting, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  Gordon's Reverse ability activates!  Gordon's Tactician ability activates!  Diversion and Exhausted applied to Gordon!  
COMBAT: Gordon's counterattack, Crunchy Claw, partially gets through, doing 6 Fatigue damage to Tuxedo Mask!  


The crabcake monster's rather graceless cry shoots through the kitchen, making utensils shake. The right claw drives forward as Fuu strikes with her sword; the blade cuts through the breading, crumbs flying, and hits the harder material underneath. Sparks fly, but the monster pushes the claw forward, and tries to knock Fuu backward with a single mighty swipe.

That motion leaves the crabcake distracted, though. Chao flies in from the side, and then the punch slams into it. It sends a wave of dislocated breading flying off it -- and then a bolt and jolt of lightning across the food monster, which makes its spindly insect-like crab legs stumble.

This leaves it wide open for Mew Strawberry. She comes down, smashing into the crabcake; the punches and kicks hit, pink blasts of light and bits of breading flying up into the air. And then, worst of all: /bubbles/. The Sabao Spray washes over the monster, slowing it from rampaging forward. More than that, the cleansing effect makes some of the breading loosen and slough off.

Its step is shuffling, and uncertain. As some of it moves, it shoots out a glob of hot grease -- a spray of it fires for Sailor Mercury. It's sticky, and has that lovely fried, day-old stink. But worse is the rancid /smell/. The smell thickens, growing to the point that the air grows thick as molasses. But far worse smelling, something magical and dark inspiring it. It grows thicker, even when Mamoru rushes up, and then jabs his cane into the crab. It doesn't tilt over, entirely, but it does slam back into a table. The counter wedges under its shell, lifting it up. Its claw swipes out, trying to knock Tuxedo Mask out of the air.

And then, the crabcake crab's mouth opens -- and the true nefariousness of this dish becomes apparent. A huge glob of molten, thick mozarella cheese fires out directly for Chao's powered armor.


From beneath one of the cooking tables, Gordon stares out; the rabbit's eyes look at Kuniko. He keeps quiet; focus is important, right now.

COMBAT: Gordon has used Hot Grease Trap on Sailor Mercury.
COMBAT: Gordon has used It Smells Like Deep Fried on Mew Strawberry.
COMBAT: Gordon has used It Smells Like Deep Fried on Tuxedo Mask.
COMBAT: Gordon has used It Smells Like Deep Fried on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Gordon has used Improperly Used Mozzarella Product on Lingshen Chao.
COMBAT: Gordon has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Sailor Mercury narrowly dodges Gordon's Hot Grease Trap, taking 6 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Sailor Mercury's Fade ability activates!  Sailor Mercury's Flash ability activates!  Exhausted and Tangle applied to Sailor Mercury!  
COMBAT: Mew Strawberry perfectly counters Gordon's It Smells Like Deep Fried, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Critical Counter!  
COMBAT: Mew Strawberry's counterattack, Strawberry Shell, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Gordon!  
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji narrowly dodges Gordon's It Smells Like Deep Fried, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Fuu Hououji's Fade ability activates!  Fuu Hououji's Flash ability activates!  Stun applied to Fuu Hououji!  

My mascot? Kuniko thinks. But - Is it Chef?? I don't have one yet -

Fortunately, before she can put two and two together, realize what she just might be, and get a swollen head, a crab cake is being prepared. "Who gives a crap! If I didn't cook with authenticity, /I/ would feel awful - and if someone ordered thirty crab cakes I'd wonder what the hell was up!!"

But then - she's confronted with service of her own. As Ami explains that this isn't about contaminated seafood, Kuniko is relieved and gives the blue haired girl a firm, acknowledging nod. Then she's faced with a puck of fried bread with crab corpse inside of it.

Her lips set together. She isn't eating it. And she knows that means she has seconds before the fat man detonates it! She ducks low, snatching up a saute pan that hasn't been used since SOMEONE implemented Operation: Mega Fry, and slams it on top of the plate, laying atop it a moment later.

There is a greasy burst, like a grenade going off. Kuniko looks as though she had been punched in the gut; staggering backwards, the saute pan rattles off the work table, its non-stick lining /completely obliterated/.

And yet...

"The masses... I don't care about the masses - every mass is just a lot of single persons, right? So if I can move even one person with a dish -- all of it's..."

She slams both palms down on the table. "All of it's worth it!! Here - I'll show you what crab REALLY tastes like!" She crosses her arms as if moving to embrace herself warmly, but then twists things around - assembling the complex plating in front of her.

"Here! You talking about grease and salt?? Try something with an actual flavor profile!! Three kinds of crab that you were letting molder in that walk in, King, snow, and Hanasaki... I've united them with bony fish that I've been boiling since I ran into that walk in. Now, in a creamy Provencal mixture with white potato - that would be enough to wash the taste out of your mouth."

"BUT!!" And a larger plate clatters. "That's not all there is. You see the bread sitting in this broth? Crusty and fresh; the real face of what you've been pretending to eat. I've coated them in a hand-mixed mayonaise and added a little dashi to the mixture. The broth itself is now the purest crab stock I could manage."

The two dishes gleam. And then they slide across the table, towards Fred. Spoons are arrayed. "The only thing missing is the wine... and you'll provide that in a moment," Kuniko says, through tight held teeth. 'Come on,' she thinks. 'Even if he turns it down, I can blast him to Russian territory with the terroir in that Hanasaki crab...'

COMBAT: FINISHER! Kuniko Saito has used Service - Bouillabaise au Japon on Fred Burgermeister.
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Fred Burgermeister fails to brace Kuniko Saito's Finisher, Service - Bouillabaise au Japon, taking 54 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Lingshen Chao perfectly counters Gordon's Improperly Used Mozzarella Product, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Counter!  Lingshen Chao's Reverse ability activates!  
COMBAT: Lingshen Chao's counterattack, Blip, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Gordon!  
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask narrowly dodges Gordon's It Smells Like Deep Fried, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Tuxedo Mask's Flash ability activates!  Stun and Trap applied to Tuxedo Mask!  

By contrast to Sailor Mercury, it would seem that the Wind Knight is not particularly well-suited for a kitchen battlefield; the aisles between the counters may provide plenty of room for numerous cooks at work, but it's not as much room as a Magic Knight needs when she's constantly switching between melee combat and throwing spells. So while Fuu manages to cut into the oversized (and overblown) crab cake, it's not the clean slice she was after, and when the monster smacks her away, she plows into another stainless steel counter with a loud *CLANG* from her armor taking the impact.

On the other hand, she's clearly nowhere near ready to give up - even when she gets a faceful of the most god-awful overcooked *STENCH* of rancid grease. She doubles over, fighting not to gag as she leans on her sword, but her other hand comes up as she wheezes, "Iyashi ... no Kaze ..."

The Winds of Healing answer her call, ragged as it may be, and a most refreshing breeze blows around the Wind Knight herself at first before reaching out to Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Mercury, blowing the rancid stink away from both of them and letting them breathe easier. They may notice some of their other incurred injuries from this fight are slowing them down less, too.

Fuu straightens back up, catching her breath and bringing her guard up. The monster won't be happy about that; the Dark Chef probably won't, either.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Iyashi no Kaze on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Iyashi no Kaze on Sailor Mercury.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Iyashi no Kaze on Tuxedo Mask.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji accepts Fuu Hououji's Iyashi no Kaze, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cleanse! All of Fuu Hououji's debuffs are cleared!  
COMBAT: Sailor Mercury accepts Fuu Hououji's Iyashi no Kaze, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Cleanse! All of Sailor Mercury's debuffs are cleared!  

There's a moment's silence as Kuniko's words echo in the kitchen. Before Fred sits a masterpiece - the epitome of seafood, the pride of Sapporo. But, even beyond the pure essence of cuisine before him, it is Kuniko's passionate words that seem to give Fred Burgermeister pause. Without even speaking, he takes one of the spoons, dipping it into the bouillabaise, examining the morsels of seafood that Kuniko has prepared.

"I will not deny, [young chef], that you have skill. Passion for cooking, the ability to turn quality ingredients into a masterpiece. You have the utmost Terroir represented, high cuisine truly represented." He lifts the spoon, taking in the odor...

And hurls it to the floor.

"And I declare it WORTHLESS!" The light of cuisine's power shines, and an ear-shattering detonation shakes the entire kitchen - Fred Burgermeister at the heart of the blast. Dishes clatter, two more of the fryers are blasted into a wall with a crunch, a cloud of delicious-smelling smoke obscuring where the dark chef stood...

...and then he emerges. His outfit is tattered from the blast, but his eyes burn with fury. A dull roar can be heard, palm oil heated to a rolling boil. "You can put your heart and soul into your cooking all you like, young Commis - but it will not change the fact that the world's tongues will not appreciate it!"

The smoke clears - and where the counter was is now a massive deep-fryer, large enough to hold an entire cow! From it, Fred draws something - a round shape, crispy golden covering a melange of cheap seafood meat, grains, and potato filler. A single crab cake the size of a dinner table.

"At the end of the day, something hot and fast will appeal just! As! Much!"

And the item is hurled - Kuniko must contend with the Ultra Crab Cake.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Fred Burgermeister has used Today's Special! on Kuniko Saito.
COMBAT: Fred Burgermeister has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito fails to brace Fred Burgermeister's Finisher, Today's Special!, taking 62 Fatigue damage!  Kuniko Saito is unable to keep fighting!  Kuniko Saito is Quipped!  
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask accepts Fuu Hououji's Iyashi no Kaze, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Cleanse! All of Tuxedo Mask's debuffs are cleared!  

Mew Strawberry cant help but peer over at her fellow magical girls for the first time since this craziness started. The suave tuxedo guy, and more importantly, the sailor senshi stand out the most in her mind. Of the others, only Fuu, the Wind Knight is familiar to her however.

"Sailor Mercury? Are you related to Sailor Moon and Sailor V?" both of whom she's never met since becoming a magical girl, having known them only by reputation. Then there are more than one sailor senshi? Wow...

However, back to the fight..She stares over at the giant crab, bringing up her weapon in front of her to brace for impact. A moment later, a pink shield of energy surrounds her, nullifying its hot cheesy breath. "Phew...I like cooking, but that's a little hot for me! Here, try this on for size! Ribbon Strawberry Check!" Twirling around as if dancing on the counter tops, she unleashes a swirl of rainbow energy orbs upon the crab king.

COMBAT: Mew Strawberry has used Ribbon Strawberry Check! on Gordon.
COMBAT: Mew Strawberry has finished attacking.

Chao's punch lands, and then she, in full Dragon Ball logic, rebounds off from the force of her own hit, landing a few meters back. She huffs, once, twice, catching her breath from the heavy opening hit. She watches that initial volley of attacks fly around, considering her next move carefully, when--

Calling Chao's 'powered suit' an armor is a little awry; formfitting and the texture of silk, it fits in quite nicely with all the other magical girls around. It looks like the kind of thing you might expect an /ultra/-soft sci fi space suit to look like. That is because that's exactly what it is: Modified from a Martian space battlesuit, circa 2114. The white chest piece looks vaguely harder, like firm plastic, and into the back, there is mounted a circular object about the size of a large pocket watch.

And when that glob of mozarella comes at her, Chao looks left, looks right - sees it's too fast, and in a gut instinct, hisses, "Casseiopia!"

The machine on her back emits a brief, thundering T O C K - and then Chao is just, gone in a flash of faintly spiraling particles, like the world bent around her.

At the far end of the kitchen, Chao (WHEN DID SHE GET THERE) stands with one hand on her hip and a wry grin on her lips. "You're really not gonna hit me with something like that," she says, self-amused.

COMBAT: Lingshen Chao has used Smarm on Gordon.
COMBAT: Lingshen Chao has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Gordon fails to brace Mew Strawberry's Ribbon Strawberry Check!, taking 18 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Gordon narrowly braces Lingshen Chao's Smarm, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Gordon's Block ability activates!  Gordon's Parry ability activates!  

"No! We're not going to buy your special!" Ami shouts, even as she tries to leap out of the path of the grease; she doesn't clear it all the way, unfortunately, and gets some of that rancid, sticky stench all over her. Needless to say, she hates it. Sailor Mercury takes a second to glance over to Mew Strawberry, even as she tries to get the stench out of her sailor suit, saying, "... sort of!" That's really all the answer she can give on that front.

Once again raising her hands in front of her as bubbles roll off of her in waves, Sailor Mercury shouts, "Mercury --" and then thrusts her hands out with immense force, letting loose with a spray of magical water with a cry of, "Aqua Mist!" Mid-thrust, Fuu's winds wash over her, and she breathes a small sigh of relief; she'd be lying if she said she didn't /really/ appreciate that.

COMBAT: Sailor Mercury has used Mercury Aqua Mist on Gordon.
COMBAT: Sailor Mercury has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Gordon fails to brace Sailor Mercury's Mercury Aqua Mist, taking 19 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Stagger applied to Gordon!  

Worthless, Kuniko thinks, gasping. How dare he--

The huge burst of smoke and flame and grease, and then the bursting forwards of that palm-fried giant crab cake. "Oh what the hell!" Kuniko shouts. "Novelty dishes are cheating!!"

She attempts to stab it with a knife as it comes towards her. This sort of works, in the sense that she sinks the blade into it. All that it does is send hot oil splattering up her sleeve as she's thrown back against a rack, and she lets out a sudden shriek - one not of anger but genuine pain.

As she rips herself partway free of the huge greasy mass, the reason becomes clear. A large shard of shell had slashed through one of her cloth buttons and lodged in her flesh at an oblique, evidently painful angle. The stretch of skin along her collarbone that this blow had revealed is the glossy pinkish-brown of not very old scar tissue.

Her face contorts. She is unable to counter Fred's arguments, save in her soul, where denials and passion still burn hot. She is too busy trying (trying her damnedest, and with some success, at least) not to give him the satisfaction of hearing her scream again.

"Oh cr--" starts Tuxedo Kamen as he's sidelined by a giant crunchy claw, and the smell starts getting overpowering. He falls unevenly, bracing himself against a counter as he raises his cape to his face, eyes tearing behind his mask. And this STUFF. Is CLINGING. To his SILK.

He starts to rise despite it, brandishing his cane, but then-- oh then! The blessed enchanted wind of cleansing purity just blows the greasy stench away, clearing the miasma and allowing him to stand tall, refreshed!

And then, the echoing silence of events of great import. The words, ringing in the air.

The tasting.

The praise.

Tuxedo Mask begins to relax, to smile, even, as it seems the villain has begun to repent--

And then THAT.

"BASE TREACHERY!" he bellows, leaping up onto a counter and continuing, feet light and chiming against the metal surfaces as he soars toward Fred. "How dare you waste excellent cuisine! How DARE you seek to destroy the dreams of a young maiden dedicated to bringing the delight of gourmet cooking to appreciative palates! You are a CHILD, throwing tantrums at the idea of losing! And you will ALWAYS lose in the end!"

He stands on the counter (god, the slippery counter) where Fred's been 'preparing' his 'food', cape drifting down, and glares down at Fred in righteous fury. "I, Tuxedo Kamen, am your opponent! Prepare for a salt--"

One foot kicks up a saltshaker and he grabs it in one hand!

"And BATTERY!" he yells, his other foot stamping down on the counter next to him, flipping up a big bowl of batter for frying, toward the Dark Fry King. And then he brandishes his cane as he whips the salt shaker at the big American's head!

COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has used A Salt and Batter on Fred Burgermeister.
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Fred Burgermeister accepts Tuxedo Mask's A Salt and Batter, taking 14 Fatigue damage!  Fred Burgermeister is unable to keep fighting!  

The crabcake monster is most certainly /not/ happy with Fuu. It roars, again, bellowing loudly in her direction. The crab gets punched backward by the swirl on rainbow orbs, which slam into the shell. Breading is blown off in chunks, showing the hardened and overcooked crab meat inside. A large piece of celery snaps off and flies through the air, splattering on the wall near the freezer.

One of its eyestocks looks at Chao, balefully, as she just... teleports. How is that possible? The overdone sous-chef rumbles its annoyance -- and then trumpets it, loudly, as Tuxedo Mask directs his attention and wrath on Fred. It bellows loudly, before it opens its mouth; the mandibles clatter, and then something bubbles forth. Something orage. Viscous. Something...

...Thousand Island flavored.

The sauce explodes from its mouth like a geyser, spraying across the room. It slathers the walk-in freezer; it obliterates the salads. The utensils are coated in the goopy orange filth. Gordon barely ducks in time, as it sprays the table over him, and then he emerges his head, slowly, as rivers of the special sauce run across the floor.

Gordon's eyes turn to Kuniko's discarded masterpiece, and then up at Tuxedo Mask as he makes himself known. "The finely dressed bloke is right!"

That's when he jumps out from under the table. The mini-lop rabbit leaps into the air, doing a backflip, before he lands on the rolling steel counter. Somewhere in that, he picked up a fresh carrot, which he picks up in his hand and points at Fred.

"Maybe people would eat that food," he says, his voice quiet, at first. "But if you think something hot and fast is the same as well-prepared food..."

He jabs the carrot in Burgermeister's direction. "...then you've lost sight of what cooking really is! You're wanting to feed the customer, not please them! If all you can think of is how to make a quick quid, then you can never cook from the heart, Burgermeister!"

Then he bites the end off the carrot, because seriously, it's a carrot. That's delicious.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Gordon has used The Special Sauce on Sailor Mercury.
COMBAT: FINISHER! Gordon has used The Special Sauce on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: FINISHER! Gordon has used The Special Sauce on Tuxedo Mask.
COMBAT: Gordon has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask narrowly dodges Gordon's Finisher, The Special Sauce, taking 32 Fatigue damage!  Tuxedo Mask's Flash ability activates!  
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji narrowly braces Gordon's Finisher, The Special Sauce, taking 12 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask covers Sailor Mercury for Gordon's attack, The Special Sauce, taking it upon themselves instead!
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask perfectly counters Gordon's Finisher, The Special Sauce, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Counter!  
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask's counterattack, Tuxedo La Smoking Bomber, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Gordon!  

Fred is breathing heavily from the exertion of cooking and hurling the Ultra Crab Cake - all magic aside, physics made that no small feat. Still - that seems to have been decisive, novelty food or not. "All that this world desires are these nov-"

...ah. The young chef is down - a lucky shot, or an old injury? How...dissatisfying.

The Dark Fry King scowls, considers his next words to the girl who challenged him...and then a shakerful of salt and a bowlful of batter bean him in the head, knocking the black chef's hat loose to fall into the salad dressing that covers the floor. He turns to glare balefully at Tuxedo Mask for interfering...and then back to the rabbit with even more ferocity.

"Money? You do not understand." Fred turns with a huff as the rest of the room unloads their fury on his Guilty Pleasure, ignoring the fallen hat that even now is crumbling to ashes. With one hand, he picks up a discarded chunk of crab, and tosses it into one of the few fryers still standing. "It is that ideal of yours - to make pleasing food, to cook from the heart - that I will destroy!"

The Dark Fry King storms out, pausing for a moment at the doorway. "I tire of crab - and so I relinquish this kitchen. Challenge me another day if you have the will, Commis!" He turns his head, and smiles as he departs. "And a Merry Christmas."

For a second, Tuxedo Mask just stares down at what just happened. Because... that really just happened. Um. PRIORITIES! Kuniko--

But there's that roar from behind, and reflexively, the caped and masked defender of justice leaps up and out of the way, letting the horrible special sauce splatter on probably the opposing wall--

--but he keeps going, tucking into a midair somersault, hat remaining firmly on his head and cape covering his tuxedo from the increasingly dangerously smelly air. He lands in the space of a heartbeat in front of the blue-haired Sailor Mercury, one (somewhat) white-gloved hand coming up, palm facing outward as the volley of special sauce heads their way. "TUXEDO--" he yells,

"La Smoking," and his hand starts to glow,

"BOMBER!" he cries, and an incendiary ball of crackling light shoots through the air to meet the special sauce halfway, burning it entirely out of the air. And then he jumps aside. "Sailor Mercury! NOW!"

COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has used Inspirational Monologuing! on Sailor Mercury.
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Sailor Mercury accepts Tuxedo Mask's Inspirational Monologuing!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cleanse! All of Sailor Mercury's debuffs are cleared!  

"That's right!" the Wind Knight shouts, even as the crabcake monster sprays ranch dressing all over the kitchen - but she brings her arms up, along with a silently-conjured wind barrier, and minimizes how much of the dressing actually splatters on her. The look of disgust crossing her face would be plenty to give away that some of the dressing got through ... but it could have been far messier.

"Anyone can dump ingredients into a pot and heat them up, on a stove or in a microwave ... but to weave the ingredients together into a truly delicious meal requires skill and patience. And it's not enough to be able to do just one thing in the kitchen, either - too much fried food is bad for your health, not to mention your complexion and your figure."

Is she talking to the monster or to Burgermeister ... assuming the latter is even still conscious to listen?

"Eat anything too often and you'll get tired of it," the Wind Knight continues as a breeze rises around her, ruffling her skirt and hair. "So enough deep-fried everything - crab may be delicious, but I don't want to eat nothing but crabcakes for the rest of this trip! It's time to air out this kitchen .. MIDORI NO SHIPPUU!"

The Emerald Typhoon is called forth - but not truly 'unleashed'; the Magic Knight of Wind is keeping her attack under tight control, so that the rending winds only wreak their havoc upon the crabcake monster itself.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Fuu Hououji has used Midori no Shippu: Focused on Gordon.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Gordon accepts Fuu Hououji's Finisher, Midori no Shippu: Focused, taking 36 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  

Mew Strawberry seems to have been missed by the crab monster's next attack, and she takes the opportunity to run towards Kuniko, checking on her. It seems the cooking battle has exhausted her, or has Fred Burgermeister caused her more damage than that?

"H-hey! Are you alright? Dont let him get to you, I think your cooking is amazing..And your words are inspirational!" However, the crazy cook has left the building..and left his crab monster behind!

"Okay...Let's take care of that crab already!" Leaping onto a nearby table, Strawberry twirls around as she generates power once more, this time releasing an explosive pink bomb of energy upon the monster. "Strawberry Ribbon...Surprise!"

COMBAT: Mew Strawberry has used Ribbon Strawberry Surprise on Gordon.
COMBAT: Mew Strawberry has finished attacking.

How indeed!? Well, one's answer might be found in the way Chao attempts to subtly stand out of the fray catching her breath, because apparently teleporting takes a LOT out of you. "Casseiopia," she mutters, "Wind down."

There's a faint clicking sound as locking mechanisms click in on the back of her suit. And then she clenches her fist tight, wheezing a little from the drain. It's hurt, ever since the other day. Like fire in her veins. She takes a deep breath. Focus through the pain. Her glove makes a low, ominous hum, rising up to a high-pitched, screaming, electric shrill.

"I'm sorry, Chef," she declares. "I do not think I'm going to waste perfectly good shouting at a fake fried monster crab."

And then she lunges - it's not a teleport, this time, it's analogue, jumping from safe point to safe point amid the dressing on the floor, before she leaps up right at the back of the Dark Crab Cake! Her arm is trailing sparking flicker sof electric light, the piping on the suit glowing with power! And she punches it-

And everything conductive in the room briefly arcs, from the electrokinetic power released! Enough to tip over a car - so hopefully it doesn't blast the monster through the wall! They have enough to clean up as is.

COMBAT: Gordon accepts Mew Strawberry's Ribbon Strawberry Surprise, taking 49 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  
COMBAT: FINISHER! Lingshen Chao has used Overload Punch on Gordon.
COMBAT: Lingshen Chao has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Gordon accepts Lingshen Chao's Finisher, Overload Punch, taking 103 Fatigue damage!  

Kuniko hears someone calling at the enemy. Her face colors as she's called a maiden, and then she grits her teeth, grasps the shard, and pulls - with a gasp, it's over. The anticipation is always worse.

Nonetheless, she seems enervated. Also a little bloody, though she is able to make her fingers fold her jacket back up. Chef isn't mad at her.

She rises up, slowly, nonetheless. Fred is gone by the time she's reached her feet, and even then she's swaying, her gaze intent on the ground.

Tuxedo Mask throws himself in the path of the imitation crab, and Mercury's eyes widen a little. She hops back a half-step as Tuxedo Mask's power clashes with its -- and when he calls to her to move, boy, does she. Raising her arms to the sky, Ami calls out, "Mercury..." In a spray of icy water, she swings her arms out to either side in a quick twirl, finishing, "Shine Aqua Cutter!" When the spray clears, she's surrounded by several ice-cold blades, whirling about her midsection.

Leaping forward, she lands directly in front of the crab -- only to oh-so-delicately walk forward, hopefully slicing the crabby monster down to a much more manageable, controllable set of portions.

COMBAT: Sailor Mercury has used Shine Aqua Cutter on Gordon.
COMBAT: Sailor Mercury has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Gordon accepts Sailor Mercury's Shine Aqua Cutter, taking 30 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Gordon is unable to keep fighting!  

The magical wind from the Magic Knight slams into the crabcake monster, blowing it backward. Pieces of fried breading pop off; chunks of crab meat are torn free, and its body begins to sag as it pushes forward. Then Mew Strawberry rushes in, loosing that pink energy blast that blows up. It goes rocketing backward, and that leaves it open for Chao, already staggered by both Fuu's blast of wind and the energy blast.

She looses electricity into it, the blue lightning bolts ripping through it; they arc off other parts of the room, flying freely, blasting pieces away, and leave it stumbling back to its feet.

A swath of the special sauce is burnt away, courtesy of Tuxedo Mask, before it can ever get to Sailor Mercury. Just as the crabcake begins to rise back upward, she lands in front of it; the ice cold blades begin slashing through its body, and tear it to pieces. Chunks of fake crab meat rain down. Some land in nice little piles, as the monster falls.

It lets out one, final shriek: "EAT... AT... JOE'S!!"

The Wind Knight lets out a breath of relief as the crabcake monster is finally reduced to hors d'ouevres, not to mention hors de combat. "Good job, everyone ..." She closes her eyes, concentrating.

"Iyashi no Kaze!"

The Winds of Healing blow through the kitchen once again - and now that the battle is over, the Magic Knight of Wind turns her full attention to healing the injuries that everyone has collected. She particularly focuses on Kuniko, opening her eyes again to study the culinary student's injuries and control her healing magic more deliberately. That one injury could have been very bad indeed ...

That-- is an /awful lot of hurt/ unloaded on that crabcake. Tuxedo Mask, leaning against a counter and panting a little from the exertion of his last attack, watches in pure admiration as the collected wrath of lovers of good food and justice slice and dice and generally punish the monster to a fare-the-well. This is only made a sweeter victory by the return of the cleansing winds of the Magic Knight, cooling the heat of the fryers and the fires and the battles and refreshing the fighters.

Taking off his hat and disappearing it somewhere in his cape, the black-clad man of mystery pushes off the counter. "That was brilliantly done," he tells the girls, grinning behind the shimmering white mask. And he looks across the room to the staggery Kuniko, and the grin fades. "Let me help you clean up, Saito-san!"

"... thanks," Kuniko says a little shiftingly as Fuu's magic eases her pain. She still looks a little drained, but, well: that was a pretty rude shock she just had to deal with.

The mysterious man is given a long look, and then a slightly flustered, slightly grumbly, "Thanks for covering for me... uh... Sure, if you... want, to, help clean up... What should I call you?"

Strawberry seems to have taken less damage than most, although she doesn't have any healing magic to aid the others. Fortunately, Fuu comes to the rescue again, healing everyone of their wounds and perhaps that breeze helps clean up some of the mess too!

"Phew, it's all over! I guess it wasn't an Anima Chimera afterall..." Well, whatever it is, Strawberry suddenly doesnt feel hungry afterall..But who's gonna clean up this mess!?

......What, the girl in the maid outfit!? Darnit!

"Eheh..." Strawberry comes over towards Kuniko, sweatdropping, "Do you need...Help?" Seems most of her wounds are healed, although Strawberry pulls out the conveniently placed first aid kit, offering it to her, just incase. "so, where do we start?" a smile and a bow, "Mew Strawberry at your service! Nyah!"

"..." says the masked guy in the cape, brought up short by the question. "Tuxedo Kamen," he admits, giving a little shrug and a tiny, lopsided smile. He takes off his gloves and sticks them in his pocket, then rolls up his sleeves, determined to do this. "I'd, you know, transform. But a) secret identity, and b) I don't want to have to dry-clean my uniform." He holds his hand out to Kuniko, then. "And are you okay, or still injured?" He grins over at Mew Strawberry. "Dishes!"

"... I'll be OK," says Kuniko, still kind of mumbling. "Just... yeah, the dishes and - stuff; ugh... Thank you, though - Tuxedo Kamen, and... everyone."

She rests a hip against the table. Ah, relief!

Chao's megaton blow zaps the shit out of the thing, blasting it apart enough for Sailor Mercury to hack it to bits. Chao lands on one knee, gloved fist punched into the ground, wheezing visibly. It's like fire, she thinks dully. How appropriate. The suit's not complete; the connections aren't perfect, the energy transfer isn't right, and using Casseiopia for that was reckless after the stunt she had to pull the other day.

She just kind of sits there rather than rushing around to offer help, and doesn't particularly seem balmed by the healing winds Fuu always seems eager to conjure. It's not that kind of injury. Like pulling a muscle, except the muscle is in your soul. After a few seconds of heavy breathing, she stands up, tapping a few invisible buttons on her suit's wrist. She'll have to look over that data later.

Instead of leaving, for once, her pride as a chef requires her to help clean the kitchen like everyone else, and so with little more than a casual high sign, she joins the effort.

It's not too long before voices can be heard approaching the abandoned kitchen.

"...just as suddenly, the guy just quits? Who does he think he is?"

"Look, we got a paid day and a half off, and now it's back to the work we're being paid to do."

"Yeah, well advanced notice for the whole thing might have been nice. Not that I mind having a break from feeding those black holes called students, but I couldn't even get a date on this kind of notice!"

"Guess you'll have to put that romance into your cooking, then."

"Ah, shaddup."

Those who opposed Fred Burgermeister's rule have plenty of time to make themselves scarce - and whatever mess remains in the kitchen in the wake of the struggle does fall under culinary cleanup duties. There'll be grumbling among the staff, but they'll get to work with admirable efficiency.

Dinner might be a bit delayed, though.