"We should take a vacation," Kaname said.
Sousuke looked up from his cards; they were all gathered round a table in one of the parlors in Helgramways, playing poker at two in the morning. "What's a vacation?" he asked.
She stared at him mindlessly.
"That was a joke," he said. "I know what a vacation is."
Kurz laughed. "Man, you should have seen the look on your face," he said to Kaname. He stared at his cards. "I still think we should try strip poker."
"Having seen you naked, I wish to save everyone else's eyesight from that horrible fate," Melissa said to him.
"Nudity is best saved for a private rendevous between a man and a woman," Munchausen said. "But yes, I think a vacation would be good."
"Says a man who went to school in a soft-porn shadow," Kurz said.
"Now, now, the Monde-Hisame school provides a very good education in all the arts of the gentleman," Munchusen said, taking a sip of his wine. "Which one of us is asking the ladies to take off their clothing, hmm?"
While Kaname was reluctant to admit it, she had to agree with Munchausen. For all that she couldn't approve of a school like that, Munchausen certainly had impeccable manners and was a graceful gentleman, rather than being a lech like Kurz or completely oblivious to such things like Sousuke. If it wasn't for the fact that any romance with him would inevitably involve things like bobsledding down Kolvir in a coffin into the Gulf of Amber, she would have been willing to respond to his periodic flirtations with her. She did not feel up to surviving anything which would require regular, prolonged contact with the man, however.
"I think a nice vacation would be good," Melissa said. "Except that we'll argue endlessly over where to go."
Kurz said, "How about, after this hand, we each draw a card. High card picks where to go."
"Alright," Melissa said. "Just everyone remember we have to pick somewhere that won't take shapeshifting to survive, so no shadows full of interesting lava." She looked over at Sousuke.
"Lavarafting is very enjoyable," Sousuke said. "I simply forgot Kaname couldn't adapt to it."
Kaname sighed. "Let's not argue over that trip again. Alright, we'd best resolve this hand, then."
Melissa won the hand with three aces and two tens, then raked in her winnings and shuffled the deck. Kaname got the eight of hearts, Melissa got the six of diamonds, Kurz got the two of diamonds, Sousuke got the ten of spades, and Munchausen drew the king of hearts. He smiled. "Ahh, I think I know just the place. A nice quiet beach, a town nearby to visit when bored, fresh ocean breezes and interesting ruins to explore."
"Oooh, that sounds great," Kaname said.
"Will it have scantily-clad women?" Kurz asked.
"Depends on what Melissa and Kaname choose to wear," Munchausen said. "Although the city itself's beach likely will. But I was thinking of a nice little private cove I know there."
"Is it good for fishing?" Sousuke asked.
"Of course," Munchausen said.
"Well, I think we can all get leave by the weekend," Melissa said. "Well, those of us who actually have to take leave."
Kaname said, "Hey, I don't just lie around all day. I'm studying hard, you know."
"I'll make some arrangements for this weekend, then," Munchausen said, rising. "I will see you all later."
Kaname yawned. "Hmm, bed is probably a good idea. Goodnight, everyone." She pulled a trump card out and trumped away.
"Just no man-eating yaks this time," Kurz told Munchausen. "Or I'll throw you to them."
"I would be very surprised to find any man-eating Yaks there," Munchausen said.
Kurz looked down from the edge of the gondola. "Looks to be completely yak-free," he said.
"Better double check," Kaname said, casting a spell as she gazed over the side. Grudgingly, she said, "No yaks."
"See, I told you," Munchausen said. "The locals are very friendly, the beer is very good, and the weather is always delightful."
"Until it's time to be sacrificed to the volcano god?" Melissa asked.
"It is difficult to have a volcano god with no volcano," Munchausen said.
The cove they were descending towards seemed to be on the western side of a long ridged and wooded peninsula, dotted with small fishing towns, secluded coves and ancient ruins. One such, a huge tower surrounded by a crumbling keep stood up on a ridge top, overlooking the beach they were settling towards. The ocean around the peninsula was dotted with fishing boats, hard at work.
"It looks very peaceful," Sousuke said.
Munchausen smiled. "The fishing is very good."
"Good," Sousuke said. "I've been looking forward to it."