2016-08-30 - Taking The Cake 2/2

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Title: Taking The Cake, 2/2

A Sister Schools field trip to a cake factory is interrupted by a Cake Decorating Challenge from a rival Blue Ribbon Society magical culinary program. The Chairman shows up, to make it official. An unexpected journey to Dessert World, to gather ingredients, ensues.


Gordon, Kuniko Saito, Fuu Hououji, Inori Yamabuki, Saki Hyuuga, Azyana Konstantinov, Yumi Ohzora, Takeo Akamizu, Chika Aki

GM: Utena Tenjou


TipTap Cake Factory, the CHAIRMAN'S ARENA, and Dessert World

OOC - IC Date:

08-30-2016 - 11-17-2014

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Previously... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mm2UHRMKtic


It's a Sister Schools field trip, to the legendary and beloved TipTap Cake Factory. After a thorough tour, students are led to a demonstration room where they are separated into groups and provided the ingredients to prepare the cakes of their choice. Once the students' cakes are in the oven, they get to rest a bit while sampling tiny pieces of the factory's own products.

OOC: Not here last night? No problem! Your character was in the room anyway, working on a cake with a small group of other students (including any other characters who weren't here last night, plus some NPCs if necessary). You baked a vanilla cake with rainbow sugar candies mixed into the batter. It's in the oven right now, along with the chocolate-plum-almond, and vanilla-chocolate-marble concoctions of the other characters. Make no mistake, however: tonight, everyone is on the same team.



BGM SHIFT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXFSK0ogeg4

Misa Amakawa, employee extraordinare, smiles knowingly at the many and varied reactions to TipTap Cake Factory's samples, even as she distributes the next round -- a classic choice, and another good light pairing with the caramel cake: vanilla cake, whipped cream filling and icing, studded with strawberries. "We also have fresh fruit and creams available at the decoration station," she explains earnestly, starting to establish a bit of a theme here.

"/Decoration/ station," sniffs a voice, unimpressed. It's feminine. And nasal. And coming from near the floor.

Leading a line of identically delicately clad and coiffeured young women (two by two, they wear blue) is... a goose. She is engorged, replete with mass and with feathers, all of which seem to have been edged, filigreed perhaps, in pure gold.

Her big orange feet make soft slapping sounds on the linoleum as she crosses towards Gordon's position. The goose sniffs again, then cranes her long neck behind her, fixing the single solo student at the front of the line with a beady-eyed stare.

"Ah~ right away, Madame Roquefort," murmurs the girl, hastily raising the goose to counter (and rabbit) level, upon an embroidered pillow apparently conjured just for the occasion.

Once she's at the proper height to stretch out her neck until her face is /right in the rabbit's/, she hisses -- and geese can hiss, make no mistake -- "Gordon la Lupine. I should 'ave known I would find you here. Ze scent... it is unmistakable."

One gets the feeling she isn't referring to all the sugar.

"Surely, zis must be fate! Gather your students, for I challenge oui, on behalf of the Mille-Feuille Academie d'Patisserie, to a /cake decorating battle/!"


A goose challenging a rabbit to a battle of cuisine is an intrinsically weird thing, but magic's in the air to smooth over matters of confusion or disbelief, and the bulk of the Sister Schools students settle happily into the bleachers, which have shimmered quietly into existence when nobody was looking. Some of the Mille-Feulle students join them, and immediately strike up cheerful conversations with any of them that speak French (as well as some more stilted attempts at communication in Japanese).

The many separate work tables on the floor of the room have vanished, along with their contents -- the icings and fruits, and cake samples!! Now there are merely two long, crescent counters, including sinks, refridgerators, freezers and stoves, on opposite sides of the room. One is already being swarmed by happily chattering girls in Mille-Feulle blue. Their berets are all jauntily nontraditional, as compared to the toques of old, but who can begrudge them their charm?

There's a separate table for the judges, who, given the presence of a sound system and microphones, are also the commentators. Among the lineup is the younger TipTap employee, that sensible, friendly young man with dark hair, who gruffly introduces himself as Touya Kinomoto, and is thus outted as an Infinity High School student working a part-time job (maybe this is his study period?). His boss Miwa Amakawa is on the list as well, of course, and seems ready and able to wield her gym whistle to tweet at any contestants who get out of line. Other students may find themselves drawn to this table as well, a sense of rightness, of solemn duty, guiding them to their seats.

Abruptly, a cloud of warm, sweet-smelling steam washes over the room like a tsunami, briefly hiding everyone from view (and providing an opportunity for magical girls to transform unseen). When it fades, The Chairman has arrived, sitting casually in a shadowy opera box, eating a heels kicked up like they've been here all along.

<Pose Tracker> Chika Aki [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

There is a double blink from Chika, where she stands with her team. She is usually a pretty robust young girl, her cheeks fresh with color. Though she is a tiny bit paler now then she had been.

She speaks softly, her voice a bit flat as she gestures with a raised finger. "Oh. Look. A talking goose." The magic in the air isn't something she can easily sense, and she is still doing that subtle surreptious examination of those in the room... Does NO ONE else see this?! Poor new girl on the block.

<Pose Tracker> Gordon [Infinity Institute (S)] has posed.

"Ah, Roquefort," Gordon the Rabbit says. The bunny tilts his head to the side -- it would be /adorable/ (and perhaps is) save for the slight scowl on his rabbit-like features. "I didn't expect to see you here. Bloody right that we have a deocration station. Best they start /somewhere/, would you agree?"

There is a long frown, when she makes the challenge -- and a pause. He remembers the last time that he let his temper get the better of him. It could have been his undoing.

Could have, but wasn't. "Very well, then! You heard her!" He looks back at his students. "We're showing what we can do!"


It would be cheating -- and unsportsrabbitlike, to say the least -- for Gordon to decorate a cake himself. He hops down a row, looking at the counter that his students have been assigned to -- though there's occasional glances at the judges -- and then his eyes widen at the Chairman.

Always a hard one, that.

"All right," he says. "Remember. Your goal is to make it both beautiful and delicious. Try to consider your judges, too -- what might appeal to them. But don't let that distract you, too much. They can tell if your decorations come from the heart!"

<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"Yupp." Takeo says deadpan. "Now there is a talking Goose." This is said to Chika and he pinches the bridge of his nose. He KNOWS what's coming next, and sure enough there is the waft of magic, and the room is transformed. "In case Gordon gives me permanent Detention, please know miss, it was my honor to bake a cake with you." He bows formally to Chika.

The bowing form of Takeo is lost in the swirling mist that comes form the steam, and one quick uttered phrase later, Takeo is replaced by Lancelot. The knight looks around and then looks to Gordon, and asks with raised eyebrows and a look of concentration. "So Bacon? We decorate the cake in strips of bacon?"

<Pose Tracker> Inori Yamabuki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

How did she get mixed up in this again?

None of this seems all too strange to her. She'd just offered to help out the Infinity Cooking Club one time and instead got thrown into a kitchen stadium battle where her amateur soy tart was being judged by a professional food critic.

All she wanted to do was see how her vanilla cake topped with rainbow candies turned out. However- she had to admit that Madame Roquefort was adorable. Despite everything that screamed otherwise, she was a goose. That didn't seem that strange to her, but she still found her as adorable as the bunny she was facing off with.

A finger touches her chin, "I wonder if that cute dinosaur volunteered to announce this time." She says to noone in particular. But the room has changed- the judges are ready, and here she is, involved once again. She straightens up at attention as the cloud of sweet-smelling steam roils over the room, reminding her dry ice at a party suddenly getting dunked in a pot of sugar. But it's there to herald the arrival of- him.

There he is again.

She's quiet for a while, but eventually her nervousness catches up to her as she leans fractionally over to Saki- and murmurs out of the corner of her mouth, "It's always so intimidating when this starts. I don't think I'll ever get used to this kind of pressure."

Wait always? How many times has she done this.

But then she straightens up again when Gordon offers his expert advice, "Yes Chef!"

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

The Magic Knight of Wind shakes her head quietly, looking around the ... stadium, it looks like. "Well, this promises to be even more interesting than the field trip which had been planned. I hope our original cakes will still come out well while we're otherwise occupied here."

She did recognize the challenge that was being issued by Madame Roquefort - it's been a long time since she saw that kind of challenge, which appears to be under the auspices of the Blue Ribbon Society. The fact that so many others have been drawn into it is distinctly unusual - but the challenge was made and accepted, and far be it from her to object. She doesn't even necessarily know all of the details of what's going on, and she COULD very well be wrong in some of her surmises.

For now, the Wind Knight nods in reply to Gordon's summary instructions, and looks around briefly for an apron - the one Fuu had been wearing previously is currently in abeyance like the rest of her civilian clothes, while she's outfitted *now* in her Magic Knight armor.

Lancelot's immediate proposal for bacon elicits a faint sigh. "I don't believe bacon is that feasible as a cake decoration, Lancelot-san. It's generally too savory to make a good cake topping, isn't it? While we may not want unbridled sweetness to a fault ..." She looks at Kuniko, apparently ready to defer to the *actual* culinary arts student among her acquaintances. If Kuniko thinks bacon will work, who is the Wind Knight to argue?

<Pose Tracker> Galahad [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Galahad's eyes glaze over slightly. "We could make candied bacon," she intones, tapping her lips with her fingers and gazing up at the cieling. "With candied pecans and walnuts and maple sugar... But flowers would be prettier! I vote for flowers." She puts her gauntleted hand down on the counter-top with a soft click of the delicate plates that make up her magical armor. "I can make sugar roses."

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Kuniko stares with a sort of numb shock at the arrival of the golden goose. She takes in a deep breath then, looks at the squadron of flanking Frenchfolk, and reaches into her hip pocket for a blue waist apron.


Kuniko Saito is still present, but instead of a blouse and jeans plus adorable Sakura-chan branded merchandise, she is in the sea-blue shimmery chef's costume of the Poissonnier Kuniko. (The bandanna has been replaced by the outfit's own black star for Infinity. REPRESENT!) She adjusts her own less than traditional fisherman's cap (also blue and slightly shimmery) and looks at her assembled forces.

To Chika, she says, "Oh, yeah - that's what they do in France, you know." She doesn't clarify, instead moving on as Takeo raises a question. "Sounds risky, and I don't know if it's going to do much for appearance." To Fuu, she says, "Savory is a good balance, but... You know, I don't know what cake we're gonna be decorating."

"Ehi, Chef!" Kuniko calls, flopping accidentally into Italian. "What's the cake we're using?" To Galahad, she says, "Hold that thought. - You can? Awesome."

<Pose Tracker> Saki Hyuuga [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Going to school at the Infinity Institute you sort of come to accept that sometimes a goose wants to fight a proxy war with a rabbit over a cake.

Still, Saki is in the process of annihilating her cake sample when the French students show up, and she is suitably baffled for several long seconds.

Then Flappy leans out of his pouch and hisses. "Saki! You should transform-lapi!"

She looks down, blankly, confident the insanity of the situation will cover for her. "Uh. For...for cakes?"

"It is a sacred ritual-lapi! Everyone knows about this-lapi!!"

"This...this isn't you falling asleep watching TV with Korone again, is it?"

"Just do it-lapi!!"

"Heck, fine!" Saki squawks, acquiescing as the waves of sweet scents washes across them.

Cure Bloom sparkles with the floral might of the earth as it passes!!!

And asides to Cure Pine, "I...think I missed the last one?"

<Pose Tracker> Chika Aki [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

When Chika gets to bear witness to people suddenly... fpoofing into other forms, her eyes half bug out of her head. Its the first time she has seen anyone ELSE do it. Ever!

So many people in magical armor! And... and other costumes. Her eyes stay widened, though the initial surprise is turning quickly into fascination as her hands clasp in front of her chest. "Oh." She says, her voice soft before she actually bounces on her toes once. "OH! There are so many of us!" Leave it to the rookie to think being a magical girl was a rarity.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

The arrival of this expert goose and her students is a surprise to Yumi, who glances between all of them with wide pink eyes. She'd been ready to look at decorations, but this...?

"G-gather your--sensei, I'm not ready! I haven't even managed to bake a cake yet!"

There's some worry as she looks to Gordon, but it's too late to back out, now. She looks to the others, and amidst the steam, there's a green light that can barely be seen. Yumi is still standing there--but now she's in black, and her hat is broad and pointy rather than emblazoned with a certain Merry Cherry.

"Um... Bacon? We'd want... maple for that? But I don't know if it..." Kuniko seems to already have it. "Right, senpai's got it! I don't know, either. But I'm pretty okay with doing icing and can help with colors! When I'm not cooking I paint, so..."

She's also leaning on a large staff, rather than on the counter. But it's fine.

<Pose Tracker> Galahad [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Galahad beams proudly, and with what her task will likely be firmly in mind, looks over at Lancelot and elbows him gently. "How many cakes have you baked for you-know-who, eh? This will be a breeze for you."

<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Lancelot blinks. "I've never baked a thing in my life!" He looks to Galahad and blinks even more. "I usually pick up a phone, call a number and food appears. Or, I wake up at home and there's breakfast, and when I get home at night? Dinner. I don't know where Mama-sama gets my packed lunches...." He leans in and whispers to her. "I think it's maaaaagic."

He is being totally serious, for those who know how to read him...

<Pose Tracker> Gordon [Infinity Institute (S)] has posed.

Gordon glances, sideways, at Takeo as he tells Chika that he might get permanent detention. At no point does Gordon correct him; after all, the threat of permanent detention is too powerful for him to give up. He puts his paws together, then he nods.

Then, he frowns. "Lad, bacon has its places. On a plate with eggs and pancakes. With any good breakfast. On a hamburger, though I find it excessive. Bacon, however," he says, "can't be on a cake."

He sighs. The rabbit glances sideways at Yumi. He listens for a moment -- and then he shakes his head. "Ohzora! We've all got to bloody well start somewhere. You can help decorate! Take what you do with painting -- and what you like. It's not just about technique. It's about what captures who you are!"

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Off to the races! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRU1AJsXN1g

Mme. Roquefort bows to the Chairman respectfully, but her focus is on the rest of this spontaneously forming CHAIRMAN'S ARENA. "Tsk, tsk, tsk! With your permission, I shall provide ingredients more suitable for zees proceedings!"

The Chairman nods, and the room instantly darkens, all the better for a spotlight to appear on the goose of the hour. She clucks and hisses and... squats... and in short order, something magnificent appears from her rear.

It sparkles. It shines. It's glorious... a sugar diorama egg, covered in delicate petals and ribbons of hardened frosting. It has an opening, though from a distance it's hard to see exactly what image has been rendered inside.

(Visual aid: https://aroundustyroads.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/easter_egg2.jpg)

Her students appear to have a customary procedure at times like this, and line up in a row in front of the egg, each taking a runner's starting position.

"Now, now, ma cherie, we must first hear the rules!"

The Chairman brings the spotlight over with a gesture, and looks out over the crowd magnanimously, magnificently. Despite the lighting, their face remains in shadow.

"Teams will enter Madame Roquefort's pantry simultaneously. They have twenty minutes to gather as many ingredients as they can, at which time they will be returned to the Arena. Cakes will be provided by our hosts -- I will see to their timely cooling. Merging multiple cakes into one presentation is allowed."

The Chairman nods at the wall of ovens on the far side of the arena, the cakes made by the Sister Schools inside them still baking away.

Then those mighty hands clap, and the spotlight turns red. "TONIGHT'S THEME IS..."

The timpanis pound.

"...AUTUMN! The season of change, the edge of winter, the memory of summer. The time of harvest, of beautiful death. One hour on the clock! Three! Two! One!"

Miwa Amakawa, at the judges' table, helpfully goes TWEEET! with her whistle.

The lights come up... and the Mille-Feuille students DASH towards the egg. As they approach it, it shines with a magical light that smells like cake flour, and they disappear inside.



The sky is a luscious white and may be overcast with whipped cream. Over the hill: crystalline candy mountains, chocolate mines, actual ripe fruit bushes and trees, you name it. Already, the Mille-Feuille students are selecting giant sacks (courteously made available at the entrance), grabbing pick-axes and shovels (same), as well as rapelling gear (ditto), and scattering in all directions...

<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Lancelot looks wounded. Terribly wounded at Gordon. "Bacon ... Bacon belongs to everybody and everything..." There might be a tear forming in eyes. He sputters and then looks to the egg. "The. Egg. Is. A. Pantry." He pinches the bridge of his nose, not for the first time today. "Of course it is."

With a sigh he looks to Galahad, "I'll follow you. I have no diea what I'm doing, and the rabbit doesn't want Bacon becuase he's probably a vege - Vege- Whatever word Eri calls people who don't eat meat." He looks at his feet. "Strange people them veges. No meat. I mean, how does one live? Vegetables are food my food eats."

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

The Wind Knight smiles patiently at Lancelot, "But your bacon cheeseburger wouldn't be as delicious without lettuce and tomato, or ketchup or mustard, or relish, as it is *with* those toppings, right? Those are all vegetables.

Further discussion of food origins is forestalled as the rules are laid out. They're starting with a footrace to collect decoration ingredients? And the Wind Knight is hardly dressed for sprinting - although she could be worse off; as substantial her armor *looks*, it doesn't weigh her down too noticeably. Still, she takes her cue and heads towards the pantry-egg as well, still wondering if the Mille-Feuille students' head start was considered 'fair' under the rules.

"If we're going with an autumn theme," she observes en route, "maple sugar may be worth considering - and sugar-leaves, if we can find them in appropriate colors. Maybe chrysanthemum and willow motifs as well?" she suggests.

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Kuniko turns her attention towards the Chairman proper. Her eyes turn momentarily towards Mme Roquefort as she lays an egg, which Kuniko admits to herself is kind of something that she would think might freak out the people not used to this stuff. When the others start lining up, she says to the rest of the group, perhaps mid bacon discussion, "Cmon--"

She bows deeply, past 90 degrees almost, to the Chairman. And then the Chairman declares the theme -- and the whistle blows! Kuniko, at least, dashes.

Inside, she doesn't completely ditch everyone, though she's getting a sack and a small spade together. As the sweetness fills the air, she explains, "I'm hitting the forest - mushrooms. Maybe even a sugar truffle." CAN YOU IMAGINE?

Of course you can.

"The word you want is herbivore," Kuniko also tells Lancelot. "And he's more cosmopolitan than that. He taught me how to grill pork right!!"

<Pose Tracker> Galahad [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"You BUY her cakes? Oh, that can't do; how unromantic. We could buy her the same cake without even knowing it, and then how would she know which of us cared more about her?" Galahad wags a finger with a prim 'tut tut' at Lancelot before turning to pay attention to what is going on. "Oh!!"

Galahad gasps at the sugary fabrege that plorks with a veritable chorus of fat little cherubs out of the goose's refined little butt. Never one to shirk the value of symbolism, she grips her fist dramatically before leaping up over the counter and bounding towards it, shouting: "We must grasp opportunity!" There are a million worse things she could have said, but Galahad is rather singularly ungross in many respects. She vanishes into the egg...

...And finds herself in this fabulous pantry garden. She looks around, then turns her gaze straight up to the sky above them, and narrowing her green eyes grins. "That's what I need!" And crouching down, she springs straight up like a rocket, propelled by a fumarole of swirling white petals and snowflakes under her shoes. A moment later she bursts through the belly of a fluffy sugar cloud and shakes her head, sending wisps of it everywhere.

"LOOK FOR SOME gREENERY!" She shouts down at Lancelot. "GOOD IDEA!" She shouts at Kumiko.

<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"THE LAST PERSON WHO SAID THAT TOOK A WOODEN SPOON THE BACK OF THE HEAD!" Lancelot calls to Galahad as she zooms off. Then he pauses as he watches her /fly./

"God Damnit. I'm the only Knight who can't fly..."

Then he takes off to find something ... Mean? Spleen? Ewww. Why would somebody put a spleen on a cake?! It was time to just find some Bacon. Becuase this Rabbit doesn't know what he's talking about. , bacon goes on EVERYTHING.

He looks to Fuu and just blinks at her. "Lettuce is apart of the Cow isn't it?"

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"...Right, sensei!" They've all got to start somewhere. Hopefully not with something bloody for /cake/, though. "Put in what I like! I can do that!" ...Maybe not everything she likes. Cake is something she likes already. But that's not helpful. Some things, though. Some things that capture...

Yumi stares over, pink eyes shaded by the brim of her hat, at Madame Roquefort brings forth. "Did she just..." Headtilt, as she watches. "...That is /so cool/!"

She's certainly not having problems with enthusiasm. Though when Kuniko bows, Yumi takes a moment to do so herself. But the theme... "And I love autumn! OK!" Grabbing up her staff--she's not going to just /leave/ it--Yumi is the next to dart in. To see...

She grabs a back to hoist over her shoulder. "I'm gonna get colors for our icing!" She hefts her staff, "This is enough tool for me! ....I guess some sugar too..."

She darts towards the rainbow quarry. "Grasp opportunity!" she calls back to Galahad, "Great idea!"

<Pose Tracker> Gordon [Infinity Institute (S)] has posed.

Gordon hops along after them.

He isn't taken aback by the dessert world. That's not to say that he devalues it -- no, rather, Gordon has seen this before. It's familiar. Indeed, for a moment, he might look... happy, as he reminisces. But then, he snaps to attention.

They have a job to do!

"All right!" he calls out. "All of you, spread out and be efficient. I hear some good ideas for the theme! But this place can be distracting -- and remember that the Mille-Feuille students have seen this place before! Keep focused and find what you think you'll need! And remember..."

He smacks a paw into another paw. "...Don't hesitate to let the ingredients inspire you!"

<Pose Tracker> Cure Pine [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Cure Pine watches as the pantry is produced - nevermind that it came out of Madame Roquefort's rear. It's gorgeous! The theme- it gets her thinking.

But then they're off! She doesn't think twice of heading into the egg pantry. Into the dessert world. Her eyes filled with quiet awe that causes her to immediately be at a disadvantage compared to the Mille-Feuille students. All of this gear- she considers, and eventually only picks up a woven basket out of what's left. Kuniko says she's heading for the forest- to look for truffles.

"Oh! I'll come with you. I think I see apple trees over there."

Actual golden apples would be quite a coup wouldn't it? Wouldn't that show off the transition between summer and autumn well? So long as she didn't have to fight a candied serpent for them or something. "Yes chef!" She calls again as he tells her to be focused. But inspire her? What inspires her?

She starts to dash down the trail, kicking up a cloud of cinnamon in her wake, it mingles with whatever magic she has, leaving the faint scent of Pineapple in the air. "How are we going to find flour and butter?" She asks the other girl on the way.

<Pose Tracker> Galahad [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Galahad shimmies intently untill the cloud releases its grip on her, and doing so plummets back to earth. She can't FLY, precisely, but she can jump like a frog from hell. She impacts with the fragrant grass in a cloud of spray that smells overpoweringly of green apples, having collected a swath of fluffy cloud in her basket, and takes off running again for the river.

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"Get colors?" Kuniko asks Yumi as she finishes gearing herself up. She sounds intrigued. "How are you gonna do - No, explain later. For now we have to hustle!"

She attends to what Chef says, because those few seconds are, in Kuniko's mixture of arrogance and team spirit, /way more important/ than possibly fussing around. She does take a moment to futz with her phone, which was still in a pocket. (The advantage of having pockets in her magical attire.) Then, she books it, with Cure Pine coming along. "Yeah!" she says, encouraged at the apple trees.

The smell of pineapple makes Kuniko think for a moment, but, she decides, that's way more suited for a tropical theme. "Hm? They're gonna give us the cakes. I can spot you a little from -" A glance towards where Yumi is heading, as Kuniko has a fond memory, "in my purse, if you need it... What's your plan?"

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

If the Magic Knight of Wind weren't so focused on gathering prospective decorative ingredients, she would almost certainly stop to facepalm at Lancelot. As it is, though, the prospective lapse in dignity and focus is averted as the Wind Knight grabs a sack, a pick-axe, and a shovel, gives the rappeling gear an uncertain look (she doesn't know what to do with it), and sets off in search of what appear to be maple trees.

Gordon's parting instructions are taken to heart - keep an open mind and open eyes, and if something looks promising, bring it back. Nobody said they HAVE to use everything they come back with, after all; they'll probably be able to use everything that does get retrieved from the 'pantry' with a little imagination and a lot of cooperation. She's largely looking for the three (or four) things she mentioned, but anything else that looks promising, she'll at least try to collect a sample.

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Sugar trees seem to be the order of the day; Galahad spots the forest from the air, and gets a clearer view of its massive magnificence and inspirational diversity than the others. Still, running gets the job done too, and soon everyone can gape at the marvel that is the Black Forest.

Because of course it is.

Despite its name (helpfully supplied by an artfully glazed donut that stands up like a sign), it is anything but black -- a rainbow of options are available. Some look normal, like the gloriously colorful maple trees, but are all edible, tasting of spun sugar and other flavors. Others look totally bizarre, like translucent trees of jello that wobble in the sweet breeze.

However, there's something in the way: a river. Of milk, because of course it is. It's quite wide, quite deep, quite swift; a significant issue. Even magical people will have to come up with a solution, though they are many and varied, from 'fly across' to 'pry some giant cookies off the shore to use as -- very temporary, because they'll get soggy!! -- rafts', to 'fell one of the giant chocolate trees on this side of the river to make a precarious bridge'. There are undoubtedly other ways to handle this issue as well.

There are blue-uniformed rivals in the forest already, though no sign of how they circumvented this challenge. Among other considerations, they seem to be picking every apple in sight--!

<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Lancelot gets to the edge of the milk river and actually considers just wading across. However in a moment of marginal intelligence he stops himself. Then he spies the blue in the forest, and his eyes narrow. "Those cheating cheats cheated their way across the river."

He rests a hand on Arondight. He could jsut ZAP them. One lightning bolt. BOOM. A bit of thunder, done. He says over his shoulder, "Rabbit? Can I lightning bolt them?"

He doesn't wait for an answer, because we're on the clock, and instead cuts a tree down with Arondight. Then A second, and a third. Trying to make a little more stable chocolatte bridge. He leaps onto the truck, hopeful that Chef says: "NUKE EM FORM ORBIT!" His eyes glancing around for anything Baocny that might exist as he gets to teh otherside.

<Pose Tracker> Galahad [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Galahad catches up with the others, extrordinarily light on her feet for short sprints, but digs little trenches with her heels in the deep chocolate crumb of the riverbank. Once there she helps Lancelot get the trees into place, rolling them securely against one another and lashing a few gummy vines about them to keep them in place.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Aha, THERE are the maple trees. The Wind Knight alights from her latest jump and sets to work, actually materializing her sword and attempting to harvest several sprigs of leaves, and maybe a couple of smaller branches; she's not quite sure how to collect any of the sap, but she inspects one of the cut branches to see if there's anything liquid within, or if the branch itself is made of solidified maple sugar. Then she tucks her acquisitions into the bag and turns her attention to the river.

Lancelot is already cutting down trees for a bridge, so that's more or less handled. The Mille-Feuille students definitely have a leg up on the Sister Schools, and that doesn't sit terribly well with her ... but then, there are things the magical girls (and boys) can do that the Mille-Feuille contingent can't, right?

Rather than taking Lancelot's bridge, the Wind Knight gathers her magic, and propels herself not merely across the river but up into the apple trees via a powerful 'tailwind' behind her leap. It's a bit of a bumpy landing, but if she can grab some apples from the upper branches - apples that the Mille-Feuilles team can't necessarily reach, she hopes - then she'll do so. Just in case those might be useful.

Still on her preferred target list: chrysanthemum and willow, or candied representations thereof. Maybe they'll just have to be represented in appearance, without finding specialized materials for them, but - she's still looking. And she's consciously keeping in mind to look for other possibilities beyond her specific ideas (or she wouldn't have bothered trying to grab some apples).

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

'Distracting' is a common hazard for Yumi Ohzora, magical or otherwise. But so far, so good; she's staying focused, and where she isn't, it's because it's important!

The sugar trees that are all around them prove a good, if short, detour, as Yumi reaches up and makes sure to pluck some for later, just in case; if there's /powdered/ sugar growing on any, she grabs that first, but then she's off towards the Black Forest again, running along with a hand up on her hat and her staff out enough that it's a good thing she isn't actively running /with/ anyone.

She glances to the colors, judges quickly that she can't just use them for coloring her icing. But..

But there's the river. "...Times like this I wish I'd mastered flying already..." The witch glances to her long staff with a sigh. And then--ah!

"Got it!" She looks for a huge enough branch along one of these trees, big enough to stand on and support her weight, and with rays of green magic she saws it straight off the tree and drags it towards the river. She pushes it in and hops on, and surfs across, using her priceless artifact staff as an oar.

...It's a really good thing her cat isn't here.

Once she's across, she grabs from some of the colorful leaves, red and yellow and orange, for decorations, before trying to charge forward. She needs the sorts of colors she can /mix/ for what she's after.

<Pose Tracker> Gordon [Infinity Institute (S)] has posed.

"A milk river," Gordon muses. He looks at it, frowning thoughtfully, and then calls out: "Be careful! Good work, with the bridge. Doubt you'd be in danger if you fell in, but it might make this job harder!"

He starts to hop across Lancelot's bridge, himself. There is, however, a look of dismay. Some of the other school's students beat them here! And those apples might vanish fast, if they don't move fast.

"If you want apples, you may want to hurry!"

<Pose Tracker> Galahad [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Galahad runs across the bridge. "Get some apples, Lancelot, hurry! Up in the branches!" And because this is a fantastical egg world of sugar and spice (she smelled cinnamon somewhere on the wind, she's sure of it!) she adds, kindly: "Perhaps pigs fly here." Because she believes in his gross bacon dream. And she draws her sword, throwing herself into the undergrowth and charging straight through, ignoring the trees and listening for the sound of birds. There! She leaps up and catches an anise crow in her hands and puts it into her basket, draping the clouds onto it so it doesn't get hurt or fly away. What says 'autumn' better than crows?

<Pose Tracker> Cure Pine [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

The first obstacle! The river of milk! That's too wide for even a Pretty Cure to jump over. And it's going too fast to swim. Others have solutions but they have to make it faster. The Pretty Cure frantically scanning her environs, already seeming flustered by the sight of their opponents on the opposite shore picking apples. "What should we do? What should we do. We have to get over there fast-"

Then she sees it. Her eyes growing wide. "Oh!" Suddenly she's glad Love isn't here because she just sighted the one thing that would possibly stop her participation in this contest cold.

The Donut tree.

Piled high with every kind of donut. Cream, jelly, frosted, cake, powdered, it makes for a colorful trunk. Its branches seem to be lined by chocolate strands with hold together many smaller donuts as it leaves. She's not even sure how it stays up- but she doesn't try to make sense of this world. She turns to Kuniko, "Alright. I think I can get us over quickly."

Dashing over to the tree She kicks lightly near the base of the trunk. And the whole thing shifts sideways just fractionally. Each donut shifts to near the edge of the others to create a giant stairway, but it's top heavy, it's already creaking over and the frosting glue holding it together won't last for long.

"Okay this way."

Putting her arm through the basket so it hangs near her shoulder, she gestures for Kuniko to run up in time with her, the two of them hot-footing it up the overbalanced staircase of donuts. It's starting to topple- at the top, she grabs onto the final donut picking it up in one arm, then puts an arm around the older girl's hip. That's when it falls, raising a giant cloud of powdered sugar which the two disappear into...

Until she comes leaping out with Kuniko in tow, legs working in the midst of her leap, donut leading. The two splash down somewhere just over halfway across the river, raising a giant cloud of milk on the donut inner tube. Pressing up with one arm so that her hips just move above the rim of the donut, she uses her opposite arm to toss Kuniko the rest of the way with the strength a Pretty Cure can muster- "Go on ahead! We're all counting on you!"

It's more important that Kuniko get there first and fast! She's the chef in charge after all!

But the motion overbalances her, sending her head briefly under, clinging to her donut inner tube desperately that's rapidly becoming soggy- as the white rapids of the milk river threatens to sweep her away without intervention-

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Kuniko gives Lancelot Incredulous Glance #1. There will be many of this. He's knocking down trees, though, which, despite the waste - though hm. "Get some of the sap if you want it!" Kuniko announces, before craning her head to see Fuu do that sick leap.

"Man, I wish I could do those huge jumps," she says. "I can only get like, to second stories and I have to run to do that. But I guess she's got her own problems," Kuniko continues musing aloud, "and I shouldn't - Right??" This to Yumi. And then Buki is on the case. Kuniko CAN run vigorously, and she follows the kohai. "Got it--"

And then --

"Hey! What?! Don't sacrifice yourself like this!" Kuniko says, before -- FWING!Kuniko goes flying, tumbling in the ground and getting some smears of green nougat on her uniform, tumbling for a moment. One hand reaches out towards Cure Pine--!!

"But... I have... to go on, the clock's ticking!" Kuniko says aloud, before coughing out a little cloud of sugar. Pushing herself upwards, she staggers into the forest, shaking her head and regaining her footing. "Cure Pine... I won't forget you...!"

<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Cure Bloom arrives last because Flappy had to convince her that this was really going to work. She's seen men made of leaves and a lady who turns places into cakes, but an egg you jump into is a whole new level, man.

...she wishes Egret were here.

She arms herself but skips the rapelling gear because she has a secret plan. As she romps along after the others she is staring in wide-eyed delight at this magical place which she is managing to navigate ENTIRELY by the fact that every few seconds Flappy yells "FOCUS-LAPI" at her so she doesn't try to eat the scenery.

She eyes the river with some concern, squaring her feet and testing the feel of the spirits. Can she...Maybe? She spreads out her senses and draws in the golden power of the spirits. Everything has a life inside it, her father told her. Is that true of weirdo egg pastry dimensions??

Answer: Yes, as soft gold light filters up her form, answering her call. She barely notices Cure Pine crashing around with the donut tree, and grins to herself - She can tease sempai a little! She BOOSTS into the air, sailing high and far. With Egret here, she could probably reach the other egg shell. The far shore's nothing!

But then: "Ah! Bloom-lapi!!"

She looks down, and sees - Pine struggling in the water below. "Ahhhh! I can't...!"

She remembers - what she did fighting Phantom, what she did against the Vertex. She swings her weight around, putting her feet above her, and sparking motes of light gather at her soles. An explosion of light in the air accompanies Cure Bloom suddenly rocketing down toward the river of milk, until she flips end-over-end, just before crashing directly into Buki, to brake enough that when she reaches down to pluck Cure Pine from the milky river, it is with an only /slightly/ ungentle strength. "Got you!"

Bloom's feet touch the milk, but spirit power lets her get a few dashing steps in before she has to jump back up, golden power carrying her the rest of the way to the far shore.

She touches down, huffing and setting Cure Pine down gently. She huffs, a little. "That was close, huh?" she laughs, having apparently forgotten about apples.

<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"I can jump... Like... A lot less than however high two stories is..." Lancleot says and then begins searching for the objects he most desires. His eyes scan the area and he sighs. At Galahads remark he looks to his fellow Knight, "If you want apples why don't we call someone?! They always show up when you call someone!"

He begins to hunt the area for the most precious of items. It was a forest. SOmewhere in here, there had to be the items. Forests where were Bacon roamed wild, so there had to be a mighty bacon beast somewhere in this desert wonderland. (Becuase somehwere, Lancelot was certain, Bacon is considered a desert.)

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> THE SECOND OBSTACLE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egCnmxi6ep8

The Wind Knight lands in an apple tree, and the whole thing shakes. THWAP! Every apple around falls down, out of reach, into the waiting sacks of two rivals below. It seems they are making a determined effort to contest every single apple in the forest. The question is -- is it worth fighting over? Or is time best spent finding an alternative ingredient?

One does wonder what the girls are going to do with all their apples, though. A bylaw of the rules suggests that any resources taken out of Dessert World must be used, and though it isn't applied evenly, that bylaw tends to be /enforced/ whenever someone starts playing denial games like this.

Whether by raft or bridge, everyone else is across in short order. Yumi notices that the trees all have /sap/ oozing out of them, and not all of it is sticky; there are a variety of textures and an absolute smorgasbord of colors available. Flavor-wise, they're all baseline sugary.

There are mushrooms of many varieties, but true truffles, in the dessert sense, appear to be elusive. A golden pig (keeping score at home? it's not made out of bacon, but it /is/ made out of chocolate, with foil skin) comes snuffling along, snout to the ground. The leader of the Mille-Feuilles, who has long blond hair in bountiful curls, and a broad smile, beckons the pig with... an apple.

There may be only moments to spare to get that pig on the team before he's working for the enemy! And there are no other pigs to be seen!

<Pose Tracker> Gordon [Infinity Institute (S)] has posed.

"Gck! Pine!" Gordon exclaims, midway through hopping along Lancelot's bridge. He grimaces, but there is little he can do. Fortunately, though, there is another Pretty Cure on hand. He pauses, then he stares, as Cure Bloom (he doesn't know that one, actually...) extends a helping hand, to extract her. "Good job, Cure Bloom! Now, let's get those ingredients!"

He finishes hopping down the bridge. He slows to a stop -- and then hops away from a falling apple -- before he sees the pig. His big, brown eyes light up.

"Why, what have we here!"

<Pose Tracker> Cure Pine [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Cure Pine doesn't really expect another Pretty Cure- shining like a sparkling flower on the wind, to pluck her out of the milk. She'd just been desperately trying her best to stay above the surface.

But then extraordinarily strong arms make it a moot point, and Pine looks up to see her vision filled with glittering pink on the other end of her arm. Instinctively she clings on her for dear life, as they make it to the other side. The dripping girl beside her Pretty Cure kouhai. Bloom begins to laugh, Pine still staring at her in undisguised gratitude, looking surprised by the laughter. Then she too out of nowhere begins to giggle, "V-Very!"

A hand quickly goes to her mouth, but her whole self is shaking until she can calm down that she can answer her without breaking out in laughter, "Thank you for your help- I don't know how I would have gotten myself out of that without you. It's- Cure Bloom isn't it? Passion told me about you." She clasps her hands together and bows her way, "I'm- Cure Pine. It's very nice to meet you like this." Her smile shines like sunlight in the summer through a tropical tree.

But then something comes to her- the realization that Gordon just said get those ingredients, "Oh. We really should catch up shouldn't we?" -she starts dashing towards the forest to try to make up for lost time.

<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Lancelot lands not far from the Pig. the rabbit, and the girl. He looks to the pig and tilts his head. "Chef." He says evenly. "Do. Do I electrocute the pig?" He looks seriosuly confused here. "Oooor does the Chocolatte Pig produce chocolatte bacon? Becuase seriosuly, that would be amazing...."

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Into the forest. Kuniko can hear the stentorian lapine shouts of Gordon, and is reassured that Cure Pine isn't probably being drowned in a Cleopatran bath of sheerest luxury. Probably. Coughing up a little sugar, Kuniko sees with suddenly widened eyes that the Mille-Feulle is in fact being a total Mille-Feuille and attempting to bribe the golden pig with -- an apple?!

That's absolutely apple-ing.

"No," Kuniko answers Lancelot grimly as she reaches into the OTHER pocket of her uniform. She has things in Mise-en-place, yes, but Kuniko actually isn't a sugar maniac, so most of what she has is stuff like 'ten different kinds of obscure/inexpensive fish from Tsukiji', 'harissa pepper paste,' 'pita bread,' and 'eggplants.' The eggplants aren't perfect for this purpose.

But earlier, she was carrying a bag of almonds, and she didn't pour all of them off for Hibiki to chop up. Those remaining almonds - not many, a generous handful though - come out, her hand tensing slightly as she draws on that hand-warming massage which is so often used to evoke the inherent 'Terroir' of ingredients. It's a small touch, but there's a roasted almond smell in the air, on Kuniko's hand, now.

She glances towards Fuu for a moment, tilts her head at the pig, and hopes that this suffices. And then she tosses the almonds forwards, a couple of tosses aimed to produce a handy path towards perdition. (The role of perdition is played by Kuniko.)

<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Cure Bloom, with her big, eager smile, just giggles along happiily with Pine at their narrowly-escaped peril. When Pine introduces herself, Bloom's all wide smiles and white teeth, hands arrayed casually on her hips. "Hee. I didn't do anything you wouldn't have done for me, right?" she chirps. "Yeah, I'm Cure Bloom! We've fought together before! You guys are amazing! Cure Passion's been really great to us, so, I'm more than happy to help." Her smile is an ungentle thing - a megawatt of pure bright energy, eyes squinted shut in raw delight.

"Bloom-lapi! They're going to eat without you-lapi!"

It's a lie, but it gets Bloom's attention, and she whips her head around in an immediate panic several times before she realizes the group's already moved on. "Oh! We were doing that, weren't we! Ahhh let's catch up!!"

She dashes off, loping alongside Pine with forceful strides.

<Pose Tracker> Galahad [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Galahad goes bolting by where Kuniko tempts the pig, sees the girl from the other school trying to lure it, and goes "OH!! Lancelot you stay away from that poor pig!" And whips up the blanket of cloud from the crow in her basket. It caws and batters in the basket and then explodes out of it in a big mess of feathers and beak and candy feets in the poor girl's face. Galahad gets some of the feathers stuck in her braid and sputters as she blows past, spitting one out.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

The shaking of tree boughs underneath the Wind Knight's landing isn't particularly a surprise; the way practically *ALL* of the apples abruptly fall out of that tree, on the other hand, *is*. "What ...."

And the Mille-Feuilles girls simply CATCH all of those apples in their sacks, as if they were expecting such a bountiful harvest at so little effort on their parts.

"I'm not entirely sure if that's even within the rules, but it *certainly* isn't fair - !" the Wind Knight protests before she notices the golden pig, and the girl who's trying to lure it with an apple. She also takes note of Kuniko's actions ...

And the pieces click into place.

The Wind Knight simply gestures, conjuring a gentle breeze to carry the scent of roasted almonds towards the golden pig. That should also help to dispel the scent of the apple, making the almonds stand out all the more as a treat for the pig to seek out and - well, really just to seek out, truth be told. Given how the odds have been going so far, the Sister Schools team really DOES need any advantage it can lay claim to.

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Forest Wonders https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rapf3g_XvCc

The pungent smell of Galahad's anise crow is more than enough to cause the Mille-Feuille leader to immediately plug her nose -- "Sacre bleu!" -- which causes her to drop the apple. The pig is startled by this, jerking back; a moment later, however, the soothing smell of Kuniko's almonds wafts over it, driven by the Wind Knight's magic, and that's all it takes for the creature to happily cavort over to the Poissonnier, snuffling eagerly at her hands.

Once fed, it's hers for life, or at least for the next ten minutes -- time in DESSERT WORLD is already half gone, and then some.

The Mille-Feuilles salute their rivals and depart, having taken every apple from the place, except for the one that fell, which is a little bruised. That one they leave on the ground, as they embark for higher reaches. There's a chocolate cliff looming on the far side of the forest, and their eyes are as intent as their grips are on their climbing gear.

There's no way they can mine it all, though; that's not a significant risk. And there are still all manners of fruits and candies in the forest. Some even /sound/ delicious, tinkling leaves of sugar crystals, bell-like blossoms of caramel. There's undergrowth, too; sugary grass and brush, certainly, but also gorgeous and delicious mosses, ferns, and flowers.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"I wish I could too," Yumi admits over to Kuniko. "And I dunno. Maybe?" Yumi sort of shrugs, "I think it's fine!" But there's Buki, and Yumi has turned her attention forward once again, forward across the river. There's got to be something happening behind her, but...

It's hard to see until there's all the noise. But with it all behind her, she's on the way into the forest before she sees it, only noticing from certain shouts. "...Senpai, is she going to be..."

Oh. Yes, apparently.

"Whew." But there's the forest, and the first thing Yumi sees is all the... colors. The pig registers for her, but only absently; the prize /she/ sees is the one she's going for already. Offering the girl from the other team a friendly wave, the witch sets to the next tree, and pulls out a little bottle from her sack. She repeats this process; she has a lovely set of colors to work with, and chooses red, yellow, orange, and gold, suitably autumnal colors that remind her of the past years in this season. She's fairly quick at this, once she gets the hang of it, and with the pig occupying others...

"Ooh," she says as she looks up, "Caramel!"

<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Lancelot rubs the side of his nose as he considers what to do next. He's been barred from pig assault, barred from rival electrocution, and to make matters works, this appears to be a dessert wonderland devoid of BACON. Or Soda. I mean honestly. With a sigh he collects some of the sap from form the felled chocolatte trees, and then moves to locate something else he might be able to use to help win this contest. He then iddly picks some sugar leaves, and ferns branches. Mostly so he can look for that bacon while he does so...

<Pose Tracker> Gordon [Infinity Institute (S)] has posed.

"Well done, Saito!" Gordon calls out. He hops after the pig -- slower than before -- and then he looks to the side, to where Yumi is. He watches her move towards... "Caramel? Best get it, Ohzora. That could be very useful!"

<Pose Tracker> Galahad [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Galahad comes upon a sunny glade of sorts in the midst of the black forest. She pauses at its edge and takes a deep breath, utterly delighted with what she sees: A whole slope of gorgeous flowers, waving in the fresh breeze! She walks down into it, careful not to lose her footing, and finds a bunch of bright red anemones. After picking one and crunching it up, she brightens, and fills her basket up with them along with the cloud and the couple of crow's feathers that she picks out of her hair.

<Pose Tracker> Cure Pine [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"Oh! That's right-" Bloom gets a sheepish smile, as she wrings milk out of her sidetail. there's the slightest flush of pink in her cheeks, "-ah sorry, you just seemed. Different." She clears her throat, "Somehow."

Pine certainly looks flustered from her rescue, doesn't she?

By the time they catch up to the others, they've already seduced the pig over to the dessert side-

Up the cliff side, and suddenly she regrets not bringing climbing gear. Her eyes spy the caramel blossoms as Yumi calls attention to it. "Hrmm. I think you're right. It'd really show it off wouldn't it? I can- hold the end of someone's rope if they want." She suggests, given her lack of forethought.

"I'm stronger than I look, promise."

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Kuniko saved a few almonds for last, and happily gives them to her terrific, radiant, humble suid friend. She rubs behind its ears, more for a lack of anything better to do. "Come on, buddy," she tells it: "We have to find the truffles fast. I'll split the take with you after the first one, what do you say?"

She looks up to the forest roof for a moment, taking in the sights of this sugary realm...

But only for a moment. Long enough, so to speak, to take a picture. Her pig is already snuffling the ground. "Yeah! Dig it up! Dig the heck out of this ground! - Is this chocolate shavings?"

Soon enough Kuniko is scooping up fat truffles of chocolate and white chocolate, her spade coming into play to separate them from tree roots with something resembling grace. She keeps to her stated price, too -- unless the pig doesn't want any!

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

With the pig 'recruited,' the Wind Knight gets back to work - mostly harvesting flowers and other sweet flora; she works carefully, delicately, but deftly, doing her best not to damage any blossom in the plucking. She's still keeping an eye out for particular things, but at the moment, it's more targets of opportunity than staying focused on her goals. And besides, some of these can probably be arranged to pass for the hanafuda flowers she was specifically thinking of.

At least she procured a modest supply of maple leaves and sugar; that was the most important one, and hopefully she can grab some more on the way back if it seems necessary. She's wondering whether it'll work to try and make miniature momiji manju as part of the 'decorations' ... she should probably confer with the more skilled cooks about that. It's probably not feasible.

"Is there anything else we need to go looking for specifically?" she asks her allies/teammates after collecting a fairly generous amount of sugar-flowers and other plants.

<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Bloom seemed different because she's a good five levels higher!

Still, by the time they arrive, the other team is clambering a chocolate mountain and the others have scattered a little, Kuniko chasing truffles while the others contemplate some of the blossoms above. Yumi's handling the treetops, and Cure Bloom...

Cure Bloom has a great idea. "Hang on, I can get us something!" she says, with a big grin, and then she squares her stance and leaps again, powerful jumps caring her up straight at the chocolate mountain.

Her hand holds a pinpoint of light, which she jabs into the side of the mountain, then pushes off, backflipping away before the cracks in the mountainside briefly shine with inner light, and then a chunk of the side near where Bloom touched explodes outward, sending shards of chocolate raining down across the group. "Catch!" she calls down, as she arcs in for a landing.

Remember kids, blast mining is only unethical when you aren't an ordained champion of the world. Or something.

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> The Light At The End of the Tunnel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unU8SdLtd3E

And there it is.

Deep in the forest, veiled behind the soft, feathery sweetwillows, the glorious marble maples, beyond whole curtains of edible flowers of every variety...

...the bacon tree.

It is questionable whether or not this tree has ever existed in DESSERT WORLD before, or if it will again, after today. But it's here now. Here in all its glory, with candied bacon bark, raw prosciutto leaves, and limbs heavy with bite-sized bacon bits that are still steaming from the frying pan of life. Some are chocolate-coated. Some are maple. Some are simply pure, unvarnished expressions of themselves, untainted by all other considerations.

"One minute!" warbles Roquefort, her voice emanating from the heavens. The way back is further away than that, but it seems that another portal has opened, halfway between the positions of the two groups. The Mille-Feuilles, their hard-mined chocolate gains in hand, are already streaming through.

Better hurry -- it's also starting to rain. The cream-heavy clouds are rumbling, and crumbling, sending -- incongruously -- gumdrop hailing downwards. Well, no one ever claimed DESSERT WORLD physics made sense.

THE FINAL OBSTACLE: Stop Lancelot from bringing the tree back... since whatever is taken must be used. Or, alternatively, help him and figure out a way to make it work!

<Pose Tracker> Galahad [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Galahad catches up to Lancelot beneath the bacon tree, her jaw dropped and her basket overflowing with spicy red sugar anemones. "Oh wow-- Lancelot! Remember what I said about the candied bacon? Up there!" She points at where, near its crown, there are gloriously sparkling, brown-sugar encrusted bacon petals.

<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Lancelot jsut stops, and despite the rain, a golden light descends upon him and somewhere a choir of angels sings. The fern leaf he has simply falls from his hands and his wides just go wider than a two year old's on christmas morning. A single tear falls. "So. Beautiful..."

Despite the distance suddenly Lancelot is hugging the tree. "It's okay sweet heart. Daddy will take you home with him, and I'll have Mai make something wonderful out of you." He sighs happily, enhaling the fragerant smell of the tree, and he whispers to the tree: "I love you."

<Pose Tracker> Gordon [Infinity Institute (S)] has posed.

Gordon sees the bacon tree.

His eyes -- cute, brown, and adorable -- narrow as he regards it in disbelief. Then, he yells: "You have to be--"

A pot crashes from somewhere in the distance, somehow. The clatter of it covers up whatever word was going to follow.

"--kidding me!"

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

So there WAS a bacon tree. And they're due back in the Stadium in just under a minute - well, at least there's a more convenient portal than the one they came in by, but the bacon tree isn't going to fit.

Fortunately, the Wind Knight is well armed (she hopes) to prevent a catastrophic overload of bacon for cake decorating. She lands maybe a meter behind the Knight, rising from her crouch. "While I'm not averse to collecting a few samples for decorating cakes with, Lancelot-san, I need you to keep something in mind. While this certainly resembles bacon in all the ways that would seem to matter ... it's a *plant*. It's not exactly 'meat' as you know it, because it's growing directly out of the ground. Therefore, it's not 'bacon' as you normally think of it."

Behold the dreaded logic bomb.

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Kuniko straightens up with her sack of truffles and frowns as Lancelot steps forwards and declares his love for the Bacon Tree.

She gives the pig a guilty look. She's bonded with the pig, a little.

But the Magic Knight has a solid point. "Yeah! It's like that kelp that tastes like bacon!" Kuniko attempts, sidling towards the portal.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Gordon's words reach her as she smiles up at what she'd seen, and sets to work, beginning to gather up caramel blossoms and set them in her magic sack. She glances to the sugar, but the sugar she's already gathered should be enough for this. It's actually very pleasant, as gathering goes. She thinks she really likes this place.


Deep within...

"Huh. I didn't think there'd be meat here." Pause. "...Like, regular meat. This place is really fascinating." Pause. Look up at Gordon. "...I guess he didn't expect it either."

Yumi turns to Lancelot as he's hugging the tree, and steps closer, tilting her head thoughtfully up at it. "You know..."


"They're not going to let you keep it anyway. I don't think they'd let you take it home, either."

A gumdrop falls on her head. "...?"

<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Cure Bloom is still marveling at just the idea of this place. She wants to eat it. She wants to eat all of it. Bucket List: Put Entire Candy Egg Universe Into Face.

The bacon tree dazzles her for almost as long as it dazzles Lancelot, but then Lancelot sort of...teleports. Uhm. Hm.

And they have a minute to get out of here!? ahhHHH. "Uhm! We can't take the whole...uhm...my friend, told me you can, like...grow another one...if you keep a tiny part of it...? So we don't need the whole thing! Y, yeah!"

Mai explained growing trees from cutting once but Saki was lost in her eyes.

<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Lancelot slowly turns to look at Fuu, mouth full of bacon and hisses at her. Kind of like a cat. "Don't ruin this for me." He says with pleading eyes. He then hugs the tree harder, and snuggles it. "I'll come back for you... I promise!" He rests his forhead against the bark and sniffles sadly before he whispers, "Wait for me..."

With real tears in his eyes, Lancelot explains to the tree as he stuffs a sack quickly with bark strips and leaves into wherever he can put them. "I sort of ... There's this girl, and I told her I loved her more than bacon." He puts a finger to the tree like it's lips. "Shhh. I know. I know. But it's true, and I have... Have to return to her. So I cna't stay here." He looks away, this is clearly a tender moment. "You - You still mean so much to me." He puts a bacon leaf in his mouth. "And you always will. But we'll be together again. I promise!" He turns, and weeping REAL tears makes his way toward the portal with armfulls of the candied bacony confections.

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"This is where we part ways, I guess. I'll never forget you," Kuniko informs the pig, crouching to give its gold-wrapped trotter a brief shake before she vamooshes through the portal!

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

That's .... still an awfully huge amount of bacon Lancelot is taking away, and the Wind Knight can only hope that what he ate on the spot doesn't get counted towards 'must use this amount' quotas. That would be ... awkward.

She double-checks the contents of her sack, then heads through the portal - leaving shovel and pickaxe (both unused) next to the base of the portal, for good measure.

<Pose Tracker> Cure Pine [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Pine raises her basket to catch- as many shards of chocolate as she can. Going this way, and that way- and back again in the chocolate rain that results. "Good work Bloom!"

But then the bacon tree. It goes against all sense but-

The way Lancelot looks at it. The way he speaks to it. It almost brings a tear to her eye.

-At least until he talks about his romantic feelings where he told a girl he loved her more than bacon. "Ah- that doesn't sound like- you actually- told a girl that?" Sweatdrop. Silence.

Pine suddenly turns- "Ah- wait up Bloom!"

<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

...Saki doesn't love anything like this guy loves bacon.

Somehow she feels like she's missing out on something important. She watches in a sort of mute awe and ambles dumbfounded after.

<Pose Tracker> Galahad [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Galahad folds her arms and nods approvingly like a guardian angel, hrm hrming to herself solemnly. Then with her basket, when she's sure that Lancelot is not going to be stuck up a goose's butt forever, runs for the exit.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"...So does he /actually/ love bacon more than her, or...?" Yumi isn't very clear about this. "...Oh, well. I'm sure it's fine. Maybe she's a really easygoing, relaxed type?"

Yumi hefts her bag over her shoulder, and walks with her staff right back through the portal.

<Pose Tracker> Galahad [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"I'm bound to keep his not-very-much-a-secret love secret," says Galahad, earnestly. "But bacon isn't a good kisser, so I think she'll win out."

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> On The Clock https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imamcajBEJs

Back in the CHAIRMAN'S ARENA, the cakes are out of the oven, ready to be stacked, layered, chopped, reorganized, or whatever! It seems that various other groups' cakes have been donated to the Mille-Feuille team, but available for use by the Sister Schools team are (inevitably) the chocolate-plum, the vanilla-chocolate, and the vanilla-rainbow.

There are some basic non-dessert ingredients available here, too; flours, sugars, milks, creams. The arcana necessary for making basic icings, and so forth. But, on the whole, the bulk of what's available is whatever's been brought.

The sugar egg has dissolved into a pile of powder, which Mme. Roquefort munches up casually. Staying behind might have been... ugly. Or maybe this is just the key, the lock, and the door, but not what's behind it. Do chocolate pigs cavort around bacon trees when there's no one around to appreciate them? These are the deep mysteries. The deep secrets.

Even the Jewels of Cuisine might not know.

"Forty minutes!" yells Misa Awakawa from her spot at the judge's table. "Hurry!" Touya calls, encouragingly.

The Mille-Feuilles seem to be doing a chocolate-and-apples theme, which... makes a certain sense. They also have unearthed a cider press from somewhere and seem to be using it liberally. There'll be a bunch of extra cider; perhaps they plan to serve it on the side. Or maybe it's going to be the base of an icing?

<Pose Tracker> Gordon [Infinity Institute (S)] has posed.

Gordon stares at Takeo for a moment. Perhaps, on some level, he understands. He can remember some dark days standing outside of the French Laundry in Napa and what things he would have done to eat there again.

He gets it.

But he has a job to do. So he, too, hops back through the portal. They're out, then, and he turns to his team. He stares at their bounty -- and their cakes -- and then he nods. "Remember what I said! Your decoration should appeal to the judges. But, more than anything... it should appeal to you! A cake decorated with heart will always win!"

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Chocolate and apples, Kuniko thinks with a glance at them. She curls her lip up for a moment. It's basic and simple... are they going to prevail through sheer technical excellence??

Not if she has anything to say about it.

Kuniko hastens towards the cakes. In particular towards the one she had some authorship of, but as she does, she speaks. "OK, so: sister schools, right? We're all in this together, but I was thinking we should kind of try to bring out... like..."

She struggles a little. The idea is in her head clearly, but the words aren't coming right. She can /taste/ them, see them in her mind. Frustration is in her tone when she says, "Like, what it's like, there, in autumn! You know?? Like the feeling of the campus!" She thumps down her bag of truffles then. "That's what we've got!"

Kuniko draws out a truffle and starts cutting it into star shapes. THIS, at least, is eloquent. She even sets the cut-out bits aside - perhaps for someone else to use? They would make good little bits for house or building shapes...

<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Nodding to Kuniko, Lancelot taps his chin in thougt. "I could try to do something for Juuban, since I don't think any of us are current students." He shrugs a shoulder. "I went there until year before last, so I know a little about it." He looks to the bacon pile and sighs, he's not going to be able to eat all of that. They wont' let him, and he has to help win.

Becuase he KNOWS Gordon will murder him wiht a butcher's knife while he sleeps, and death by rabbit just doesn't feel like a good thing to be on your tombstone.

He runs the back of his neck. "I'd like to try anyway. I'm ... Not very good at this stuff, but I think I cna capture the Juuban feels."

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Chocolate and apples? It sounds like it might be good, but..

But they have to hurry here. Even the mysteries of the egg-pantry have to wait in the face of this here. What is it that they can do, though? Gordon's advice gets her attention, but Yumi frowns a little as she thinks what? ...Maybe it depends on what they all got. Maybe...

"Oh! ...Because we're all in this together! Like how we're a team right now!"

Kuniko seems to be having trouble, but Yumi can understand her she thinks. "Yeah... And there's always something going on in autumn. A lot, really! It's one of the most packed seasons we get!"

Not that that's specific. "...I'm not sure which thing to use, though. But... I got a bunch of stuff for autumn colors in icing. We could use that as a backdrop, kinda unify our different ideas, right?" A smile over at Takeo as he mentions, and Yumi starts setting her stuff on the table. Then she has to get some bowls...

<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Kuniko takes the lead - well, she's an ace from the cooking club, after all!! But...Cure Bloom has her own skills!

"Ah," she says, holding up her hands at Lancelot's uncertainty. "I get to decorate cakes sometimes at home. I can help!" Kuniko will more than have Infinity's part covered, right...?

<Pose Tracker> Galahad [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"Alright!" Galahad beams at the other people on her team, clapping her hands together with a CLANK from the one lightly gauntleted hand when it hits her ungloved left. "Here's what we'll do!"

After a quick description of her idea for the Ohtori cake and encouraging the ideas she gets in return, she takes some of the candied bacon from one basket and some of the cute little mushrooms from the other and spreads out the spicy sugar anemone flowers out on their section of counter so that their workstation is bordered with bright, vibrant reds and blacks and browns and oranges.

At once she whips some of the precious caramel into her cloud till it froths up into a golden sunset. This she spreads onto the three layer cake itself as a base frosting layer, as light and fluffy as you'd expect. Then she starts applying the sugar anemones, arranging them with the mushrooms and flowers of candied bacon in a gorgeous sort of boquet. The black centers of the flowers are almost blaringly dark against the vibrant reds and oranges and the cute peeking caps of the mushrooms.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

The Wind Knight nods, "Decorating the cakes to represent the Sister Schools does sound like a very good idea to me. Not merely autumn 'foliage,' but school events as well ..."

She looks at the bulging bag of bacon that Lancelot brought back. ".... bonfires," she suggests. "I fetched a number of leaves and plants that are in autumn colors, but a bunch of those could be used to suggest 'flames' with bacon for the 'logs'. We wouldn't want to overdo it, but the bacon is mostly savory, which would - hopefully - balance against the cakes' sweetness ..."

She retrieves a plate, some bacon, and some of the maple leaves, and puts together an example of what she was thinking of. The bacon may be a bit more red than wood-brown, but it could work.

"Did anyone happen upon something that could represent a willow tree, like on hanafuda cards?" the Wind Knight inquires as she arranges a couple more 'sample' bacon bonfires. That's ... still going to be more bacon than she wants to decorate the cakes with, but she's too busy trying to engineer ideas to direct any death-glares at Lancelot the bacovore. Or would it be 'bacophage'? ... eh, whatever.

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"Try tracing with thin lines of frosting," Kuniko calls to the Wind Knight. She isn't trying to do the building of Infinity since that would be, you know, taller than the cake itself; instead things are getting spread out like a constellation, with something like the Pleiades in the center.

<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"I like it!" He says to Fuu with a grin. "It's like the bonfires we do sometimes at the end of evnets. It's like.... Our thing!" And with that said, it was time to get down to business. While there were no Juuban's there, Lancelot, a former Juuban student before being accepted on scholarship to Ohtori takes the Juuban place. He moves to the directed Juuban cake and stares at it. "Oh crap. I don't know what I'm doing..." He closes his eyes. Gordon said go wiht your heart! A Cake decorated from the heart will always win! He takes a deep breath, takes up the ingrediants and looks again to his cake. He gulps but he gets to work.

This cooking thing might be harder than facing a Knight of Whatever ... He'd have to thank Mai later. Maybe he'd actually bake her a cake.

Using the orangey sugar leaves he picked earlier he decorates the bottom of the cake in an attempt to make it look like leaves have fallen there. Then he places the Sugary Fern leaves around the top and places a few of the Sugary Orange ones, to try and make it look like tree branches with the leaves turning. Then he takes what bacon strips arn't being used for the Bonfire, to make Bacon Stick Figure People, some of which even look like they're holding bacon boog bags.

The effect is an image that looks like an elementry school kid drew it on a piece of construction paper, but to Lancelot it is a piece of art. He grins and looks to Kuniko, "How's this?"

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Hurry Up! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4htHVgz_XA

The Mille-Feuille side of the room looks like a kicked anthill. They're cutting roses out of apples, doing something with the apple peels, dipping apple pieces in various chocolate concoctions and studding them before they harden; there are apple shreds and chocolate shreds and apple-chocolate shreds. There is also something beginning to look like... a building of some kind. Like a Jenga tower, almost, all of apples, cream, and chocolate...

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"Like a willow...? I dunno about like a willow, but I've got got a bunch of leaves over here in a few colors. I thought they might be handy." Yumi gestures to the set as she finishes setting it down, "Aand, a bunch of sugar here," she says. "Go through whatever you think works!"

At that though, she has to hurry up, and hurry she does; she gets out a set of bowls, and gets the powdered sugar ready to go in each, along with the saps and all the things she needs in order to handle the icing. This at least she's watched done, but stirring things is still in her blood. She's got to hurry, since each of the four colors might be useful in something else, might be useful to set down so something else sticks. Red, gold, orange, and yellow soon fill the bowls so cakes can get iced.

<Pose Tracker> Cure Pine [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Cake Battle - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKGAq-2X3SM&index=57&list=PL2D68B3BCAB0950B8

Cure Pine wasn't exactly the sort to get fired up. However- they'd all tried so hard. Their struggle had been a real one. And now at the finish line, with so little time left, she could dig deep within herself in order to give it her best effort. She listens to Galahad outline the plan for the Ohtori cakes after Kuniko gives the strategy. "I dabble some at baking pastries- but I'll give it my all to help you with the Ohtori cake.."

Maybe she didn't always feel the most welcome at Ohtori- but school pride can surge up during times like these. The essence of Ohtori in autumn? When it starts to become cold and chill, the transition between summer and Autumn. The feeling upon campus-


She goes along completely with Galahad, following her lead like the Knight was the Knight of Confectionery wonders. Quickly she starts to add her own touches, the two working together like they were performing Ikebana with cakes.

Despite the rapidity with which she's trying to work, she doesn't make too much haste in forming the delicate fans of petals out of a few precious maple leaves and shards of white chocolate that Bloom's cliffside excursion had granted them. Gooey touches of caramel make up their centers. A tiny spot in each, since Galahad nears the lion's share between the layers. However this touch causes the light that strikes each blossom to turn golden.

The angles she tries to form with them are those that don't take away attention at all away from the Anemone flowers, but instead seem to enhance how they capture attention, to complement and bring out the richness.

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Kuniko looks over her shoulder - are they - "You've gotta be kidding me," she says, though she says it in Italian. Just like dad did when /he/ swore!

"They're doing a tower!" Kuniko says. Her hand tightens - maybe she could put something together with the truffles - stack them -

No, she decides. No. She does take the stars off, though, and moves over to collect a sample of each of the icings on -- something - a cutting board? - she pulled out of thin air -- like a painter's palette. To Takeo she looks and speaks with honest swiftness: "It's great!"

"Rooftop sunset," Kuniko muses to herself. "Rooftop sunset..." Because HER goal is going to involve transitional color blending. Bloom may figure this out and may need to tag in, because from Kuniko's expression, cakes are not her focus.

<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Lancelot is so taken with the spirit of creativity that he doesn't notice the actual baker('s daughter) offering to help him.

Fortunately, Kuniko /also/ does this, so Cure Bloom hustles over and gently puts her hand into her field of view. "Ah, that's...not how it works with icing," she advises her. "Here, want me to try? Give me some guidance."

<Pose Tracker> Galahad [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"That looks really good," Galahad is saying to Pine across the cake, humming to herself like she's not in a competition. If this is how she is with screaming and lights and announcers and cameras in her face, cool and pleasant and not terribly concerned with the outcome, she must be kind of upsetting in battle with horrible monsters. She looks over at Lancelot now and then like she's checking on him and making sure he's not just eating the cake. "Can I eat some of Juuban's cake?" she calls, brightly.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

"They're going to have more apple-based decoration than cake by the time they're finished," the Wind Knight remarks as she glances at the Mille-Feuilles team's efforts. Other than that observation, though, she continues to assist with decorating - adding 'bonfires' to each cake, if that's compatible with what those who are focusing on individual cakes have come up with, and arranging some additional leaves and icing to 'spruce up' the Infinity cake's edges with a leafy branch of maple, a few strands of willow, and one carefully-constructed sprig of chrysanthemum ... again, assuming she and Kuniko are able to coordinate that.

It's while she's in the middle of arranging some of these elements - visual and culinary at the same time - that she realizes how much she's enjoying this. Partly the thrill of running headlong into an unanticipated challenge and coming up with a solution on the fly, but also the process of putting together something that somebody else is going to enjoy.

"It's probably best to wait until after the judging for that," she answers Galahad with a cheerful smile.

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"Make it like a little swirl like it's the wind," is Kuniko's advice to Fuu mid-cakecoordination. And a soft, impassioned, "/thank you/" when Bloom gets in there. "Just - blend it - like a sunset, you know? On a cold day. Like how the sky gets all colorful."

<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Cure Bloom's smile is faintly wistful as she applies her knowledge of - well, icing, and dully-remembered talks with Mai about how colors work - to the process. "Yeah, I know just what you mean," she says.

<Pose Tracker> Cure Pine [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"Oh? Do you really think so?" Galahad gets a smile as they work together. "I'm just trying my best to make your idea really come to life."

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

As luck would have it, the Wind Knight was doing exactly that, putting a 'swirl' of wind and a swaying of 'foliage' into her arrangements of fire and branch. But she still nods in agreement to Kuniko.

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> La Marseillaise https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4K1q9Ntcr5g

"FIVE," booms the Chairman, as people but their final touches on their cakes. "FOUR!" The whole crowd joins in, laughing and cheering. "THREE!" Misa and Touya, too. They lean forward eagerly in their chairs, excited to see the presentations. "TWO! ONE! TIME!"


The Chairman was about to bang the gong, but Misa beats them to the punch. That's okay. There's a clear sense of a Chairman grin underneath that shadowy lighting.

"First, the challengers, Mille-Feuille Academie d'Patisserie! Bring forth the cakes!"

It takes all dozen girls, corded biceps stark beneath their uniforms, to drag forth the massive silver platter upon which three cakes have been arranged as the foundation of an immense... TOKYO Tower made of apples, icing, and chocolate. The differences are subtle, but they're there. This is obviously a big wet sloppy kiss to their judges, but there's more to see -- each of the cakes is coated in elaborate fleur-de-lis icings, which are cradled by fallen leaves.

"Ve call it... Tokyo een ze Fall," says the leader proudly.

Misa and Touya confer quietly with each other, then give it the thumbs up. They seem unwilling to taste it, for now, apparently wanting to view both presentations side-by-side. They lean forward to take in the Sister Schools' offering next.

Touya promptly gets the imagery and instantly recuses himself. "Sorry, I'm compromised," he mutters, before getting up from the table, finding his pushbroom, and going about the business of cleaning up this mess. There's no malice coming from him, though, just a clear sense of appreciation.

That leaves only Misa Amakawa -- Misa, who's had to put up with the Sister Schools all day, in their beauty and their... difficulty. She surveys the cakes thoughtfully, then shakes her head. "They're all so beautiful. I think what the Mille-Feuille girls did with the tower is really impressive, but this is all good too, and so varied and intricate. I guess there's only one thing to do."

Helpfully, the Chairman flicks her a serving knife, which embeds itself in the table between her hands, quivering. Misa grins and grabs it, and starts plating with enthusiasm, cutting small enough slices that everyone here can have a little of both.

Roquefort stands back, grinning a goosey grin at Gordon, as students converge on their hard-earned desserts. Sounds like victory would just be icing on the cake, at this point. Misa may never even be able to choose.

"Ve'll half to do thees again sometime," the good Madame says to the rabbit chef with an eyebrow waggle.