“Best keep quiet and stick to the walls,” warned Snow. “Sometimes it gets a bit crazy in there.”
Mia was confused by her words, but soon discovered their meaning as Heptin and Gargrom pushed the double doors open. They’d just entered a large ballroom. But there was certainly no ball going on. No ballgowns swished about the marble floor, no aristocrats cavorted to violin music. Instead, in the center of the room, a young woman was engaged in the heat of battle with two dwarves.
The woman wore a light blue tunic cinched over brown breeches with boots, leather gauntlets, and a metal helmet. Only the curves of her bosom and womanly hips revealed to Mia that this was indeed a female. Mia watched in fascination as the woman, wielding a single sword, fended off the pair of formidable dwarves, armed with a sword each. They looked much younger than the other dwarves, and for all their lack of height, they were quite stocky and far more physically imposing than the woman they did battle against. However, this did not seem to be a detriment to the feminine fighter as she not only held her ground, but even gained the upper hand.
Mia stood beside her father and Snow with her back against the wall, watching in fascination. The clanging and clashing of steel echoed throughout the ballroom chamber.
“Ah,” said Blair, a smile coming to his face. “Formidable as ever, Cindy is.”Mia’s eyes widened, though she could not take them off the swordswoman, even as she questioned her father in disbelief. “Cindy? You mean… that’s Cinderella?”
Cheers and applause erupted throughout the cafeteria as the platform was once more plunged into darkness. Figment, along with a few others, chanted the woman’s name. “Bonnie! Bonnie! Bonnie!”
Mia applauded politely. The woman was good, but Mia was still left feeling somewhat confused. She glanced at her father. “Uh, so is this like a regular occurrence at mealtimes around here?”
The Dreamfinder leaned close to speak over the sounds of the cheers. “Oh, just you wait,” he said. “They’re only getting started.”
Mia quirked an eyebrow. “They?”
Soon, it was revealed just who they were. Lively percussion began to play, and from the darkness Bonnie called out, “Okay, Crackpots! Let’s… get… cookin’!”
The platform was fully illuminated once more and Mia’s eyes were treated to the sight of a full band, but it wasn’t so much the fact it was a band that had Mia startled. It was the fact that the band was made up of anthropomorphic fruits, vegetables, and kitchenware – and they were playing a kicking ragtime tune. Mia’s jaw dropped and a bit of scrambled egg fell from her fork onto her plate.
“What the fu—”
“Yay!” Figment exclaimed happily. “This is my favorite part!”
Bonnie reappeared, dressed in a completely different outfit. She was now sporting a sparkly blue showgirl tuxedo jacket and a surprisingly formfitting skirt behind a short, frilly apron with fashionable stockings on her long, shapely legs, ending in a pair of high-heeled shoes. Her hair was no longer in a bun, but hanging freely just above the base of her neck as she sang with the musical accompaniment of the instrument-playing food and cookware. Her expression had certainly changed to a livelier one, beginning this new tune with a sassy, almost seductive smile.
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Mia, herself, wore a similar suit, quite formfitting, but with white circuits, exposed shoulders, and – of all things – a diamond-shaped opening in the front of the suit, just over her cleavage. She glanced back up at Flynn, pointing at her bust and lifting a cynical eyebrow.
“Seriously? A bit gratuitous, don’t you think?”
“What? C’mon, now. You think I did that? Like on purpose?”
Mia noticed that despite his words, he didn’t outright deny it, and there was no hiding that sheepish grin on his face.
“It just… randomly generates, man,” he said with a laugh.
Current Residence: Genocide City Zone
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