Mostly Harmless

Participants:

Ahnika.jpg Max.jpg Nenienne.jpg

Date: 8/16/10 (IC: Midmorning on a restday)
Location: EW - Beast Caverns
Synopsis: Max and Neni talk about the jewelry designs he's commissioned her for and Ahnika walks in on them. Once initial suspicion is abated, talk turns to the strangers about the weyr and self-defense lessons.
Rating: PG
Logger: Ahnika

Eastern Weyr: Beast Cavern

Sweeping upwards from the tunnel's entrance at the easternmost end, this cavern arches well over the heads of its inhabitants; both two- and four-legged. Wooden stalls and pens have been built in rows. Two rows are built into the north and south walls and two are back-to-back down the center, leaving two aisles up and down. Each animal enclosure is spacious, well-built and solid; the whole place smells of new timber and sawdust, with the subtle undertones of leather, animal and hay. The western end opens out into the feeding pens and from there into the upper bowl. The opening is large enough to allow a decent amount of sunlight to enter the cavern, but not quite big enough to allow the adult dragons inside.


Mid-morning finds the beast cavern well into it's usually hum of activity. Herders are out moving herdbeast from one grazing area to another, and a plump group of porcine are squealing and grunting their protests at being herded outside too. As for Max? He's just come in from a hard ride by the looks of it. One that appears to have dumped him on his butt if the dust he's wearing is anything to go by. However, rather than looking annoyed about it, there's a smirk plastered across his face as he enters the caverns slapping his hat against his thigh, sending dust plumes up into the air.

Nenienne walks into a plume of the dust so created and takes a quick step back. "Is this a bad time?" she asks, in between coughs.

Restdays? Ahnika never quite could get the hang of restdays. Fortunately, there seems to be a little growing demand for Ahni’s sweetcakes lately (perhaps helping with morale both from losing eggs and the discomfort of a lockdown) and so her mornings, even on restdays, are pretty busy, much to Ahnika’s preference, really. When done, she will certainly pay a visit to the headwoman to see if she needs help this day, and if she doesn’t, then a visit to Jaya’s bar to see if she can pick up any more lessons on drinks, gambling, and the overall running of a bar, but first, today, Ahnika needs to make her last delivery of sweetcakes to one important man. And so with a light dusting of flour across her face and a smudge of glaze along one forearm, Ahni packs the last of the sweetcake baskets in the kitchen, smiling thoughtfully as she eyes the braided bracelet around her wrist, and heads off toward the Beast Caverns, basket gently swinging from one hand.

It takes a moment for Max to realize he's being addressed. Turning, he sets a wryly amused look over to Nenienne a brow goes, "And why would you think that?" Never mind that his back is covered in dust, his ass in mud, and his face is streaked with dirt. Moving toward a bucket of clean water kept for such purposes, the beast manager lays his hat down, strips off his shirt and sends a two-handed wash of water over his head. Talking as he does so, "Something I can help you with, Nenienne?" Yup, he doesn't seem too perturbed who may or may not be about as he tries to get at least -some- of the dirt and grime off of himself.

Nenienne is looking very carefully at the hides in her hands as Max strips and washes, and doesn't actually finish until he's dressed again. Occasionally she flicks the hides, as if finding an error. When he's decent again, she looks up and says "I brought you some drawings."

Traveling up the Beast Cavern tunnel now, Ahnika’s attention is focused on the ground in front of her, both to watch where she is going, and lost in thought at what she wanted to report to the Beast Manager. She nearly bumps into someone coming down the tunnel, and pauses, stepping to the side with a polite, “Pardon.” And then she is on the move again, lost in thought again as well, and emerging from the tunnel and into the stables proper. She lingers here a moment, looking around at the work being done and by whom, as far as she can see amidst the stall walls and posts in the way. Not seeing Max immediately, she asks the first stablehand she meets on the way to his “office”. “Is the Beast Manager about?”

If Max notices any discomfort coming off of Nenienne, he's not doing anything to right that situation right now. Nope, more water sluiced over face and shoulders and then he's reaching for a nearby hand towel. Rubbing it over face and head, it comes to rest around his neck, a hand holding to either end of it as he steps up next to the candidate and takes a closer look at the hides she's holding. Sounding a little bemused at first, "Drawings?" and then the penny drops, "Drawings! Go on then, show me what you got," interest high enough that he's missing Ahnika's arrival just now.

Nenienne has three hides, covered front and back. "You said you wanted to keep it simple, so these are all drop pendants with various types of filigree. One question I had, though: you wanted two, one with emerald and one with something more durable. Do you want the same design for both, or would you be looking for different designs?" She hands the hides over to Max once she's sure his hands are dry.

Directed to Max’s office, either because the stablehand simply shrugged and Ahni was headed there next anyway, or the stablehand actually directed her there, Ahni’s soft-leather boots carry her to the door of his office-stall. There she clears her throat and knocks on the post before stepping in. Not knowing if he is actually in there or not, she doesn’t speak at first. She merely lets her grey-eyed gaze travel across the stall area, and finding Max and Nenienne close together, he with his shirt off, and she holding some hides, Ahnika blinks a moment. The smile that was ready on her lips fades and she looks at the basket swinging from one hand, “Oh, I …” she begins, and then looks at them again, more curious than immediately suspicious.

Pulling the towel from his neck and wiping his hands dry on it, it gets slung over one shoulder as Max takes up the hides being held out. Dark eyes scan minutely over each design, "Different. Unless that's going to be a problem?" turning a hide over, there comes a short nod of head in satisfaction, "This one for the emerald," handing it to back to Nenienne, "and perhaps this one for the Tssavoo," damn, he's forgotten the word again! The knock doesn't have him lifting his head from his study of the last hide he still holds, just a distracted, "Come," to whoever it may be. It's only when that all too familiar voice stops and starts that the beast manager turns his head slightly, his eyes going wide and then he's suddenly shoving the last hide back into Nenienne's hand and trying (rather ineffectively) to put an innocent look into place as he takes up his shirt and shakes the dust off of it. Pulling it back on a warm smile goes to the new arrival, "Ahni," tone all kinds of pleased for her presence. "Nenienne was just showing me the…stock count she did of the porcine for me," lying smoothly as he flashes the other candidate a 'work with me here' kind of look.

Even though she's normally oblivious to body language, even Neni can interpret Max's. "Oh, yes," she says, lying rather badly but at least in a cheerful voice, "We have plenty of bacon for a while." She cradles the hides in her arm so the pictures aren't visible for the most part.

In all honesty, the explanation is pretty reasonable enough (and practical) and done smoothly enough that Ahnika would believe it – nevermind the fact of it being a restday. Unfortunately, it’s his ineffectual innocent look that has Ahnika’s brows arching briefly and then lowering, and her grey eyes narrowing at him. “My apologies for intruding, then,” she offers in a somewhat tight low voice. Then she smiles to Nenienne, “Hi Neni,” and stepping farther into the stall, she places the basket on the desk there and moves on toward the pair with her hand held out, “I’m heading to the Headwoman’s office next, and I’m sure she’d appreciate a more timely report. I’ll take them for you.” Nevermind that she hasn’t actually stated what the blazes she’s doing there, herself, yet.

"Bacon, aye. Cooks'll be right pleased," Max grins as a small flicker of relief shows in his eyes when Nenienne backs his story up. Fingers working to do up his buttons still at the narrow eyed look being leveled at him by Ahnika and he's quickly stepping forward a hand reaching out toward her forgetting the other candidate's presence for a moment, "Ba…" ahem, try again, "Ahnika, it's not what you think." Whatever that may be and probably digging his hole even deeper for having said as much. When she offers to take the hidework to Indira herself, the beast manager turns a startled look onto Nenienne with an expression that clearly reads 'Don't you -dare- give those to her!'

Nenienne says, "That's fine; I was going to deliver them myself — that way she knows who to blame if the counts turn out to be wrong. I couldn't get some of those baby porcines to keep still, so I may've double-counted some of them." So as not to arouse suspicions, Neni does not smile as she says this, though she apparently thinks something she said was funny. "Thank you for the offer, though."

With her arm outstretched to take those hides from Nenienne should the other candidate give them up, Ahnika’s arm is easily taken by Max as he reaches for her, perhaps a bit sticky from the glaze there. But at least she wears the braided bracelet on her other wrist. She doesn’t resist his reach, or grasp, either perhaps trusting Neni that well, or too distracted to care, or perhaps both. “It’s probably even worse than I think,” she says easily at first, but then she looks away to the ground, suddenly seeming more frustrated and tired than angry or worried, all the extra hours and tasks she’d been piling up on herself, even if some were meant to be a fun learning experience like working in Jaya’s bar, perhaps finally starting to take their toll. “Everything always seems to be these days,” the last is said in a bitter mutter. She lifts her other hand to the back of her neck, rubbing there a moment before shaking her head and shrugging at Neni, “Fine. As you please.” Her voice sounding more fatigued and resigned than snappish. Then a look to Max, “I wanted to tell you something that I saw, well, and a lot are seeing, really, according to the rumors.” She glances a question back to Neni, “It’s probably nothing, but … there’s a herdsman loitering about, acting odd. Especially around the new Candidate, Isilna. The weyrwomen know, but as Beast Manager, I wanted to make sure you did too.” Then another tired sigh, and a glance for the two of them, “I’ll leave you two to your … business now.”

Max's nose wrinkles convincingly at Nenienne's comment of trying to count baby porcine, "Slippery little buggers they are. Sometimes helps to count 'em while they're suckling." That his so-called advice as he recovers from the surprise of Ahnika's arrival and gains some equilibrium in the matter. His reach having successfully captured the redhead's arm, a thumb brushes against the stickiness and he darts an amused look over to the basket she'd carried in. That is however until her opening words and the ensuing bitter edge of her mutter. A perplexed frown draws into place. Rules and propriety be damned, he'll not have her thinking the worst of him (at least not in this matter) or of her fellow candidate. Trying to catch her eyes, his voice low, "Ahni, -trust- me," a wealth of meaning in those few words. "It's nothing. Nenienne had some things for me to look over and caught me after having gotten dumped on my ass by Renegade," the new runner he was currently breaking in, "I was cleaning up, that's all there is to it." He'll leave her to mull that over, his grip still staying to her arm, as he turns his own attention to the matter of the herders seen loitering around. After a long pause, he nods slowly, "Aye, I heard there were some people in from Fort but wasn't aware they were parading as herders." Dark eyes narrow onto first one and then the other candidate, "They been giving you ladies trouble?" his expression starting to tighten for this perhaps being so.

Upon hearing Ahnika's account of the herder, Neni nods. "There are two as I've noticed. One works in the kitchens; the other calls himself a non-crafter herder. They haven't so much given me problems" slight accent on the "me", as if to note she's not speaking for all of the candidates, just herself, "As they seem really… curious about us. He even helped me with stable-mucking the first day I met him. And neither will say their names, that I can tell."

Ahnika looks quite a bit startled at Max a moment, and then her expression softens, “I – do – least ways about you and,” she glances at Neni a moment, and then back to Max, “other women.” Her tone speaks of earnestness as she more or less makes her claim on the Beast Manager clear to the other candidate, not that it wasn’t clear already with Max’s behavior over the hides that there wasn’t something of the sort going on with them. Yet she told Max she believed in him, in both of them, and she still does. “But that don’t mean you’re not up to some mischief of some kind, hmm?” Now that teasing mirth is back in her eyes and smile, running off some of the fatigue in her face, and she steps a bit more into his personal space and tries to turn her captured arm a bit to gently rub his with her knuckle before relaxing her hand. She nods to Max, and then to Neni on her own accounting. “They’ve not hurt any of us, true. But with everything going on? It’s pretty unsettling, really. If they’re here to spy on our work as candidates, I’d just wish they would just watch us and not pretend to be something they aren’t.” Politics is definitely not Ahnika’s bag. She is far too direct. As if to prove the point, just simply talking about being ogled like that under false pretense sends an uneasy shiver through her. “And Isilna and I caught the one staring at us while we were working in the lakebed yesterday. Even she admitted it was … . creepy.” Then drawing a more practical line, she says, “With everything else going on, it’s probably affecting some candidates’ ability to work.” There, she put a practical spin on it so that perhaps something could be done about it. She looks at Neni, as if to invite the other candidate’s opinion of the work being done.

A warm smile when Ahnika speaks to her trust in him. Well, at least when it comes to other women. Her smile and tease have him turning a slightly sheepish look onto the redhead and giving her little but a wink in return and a conspiratorial look being sent Nenienne's way. Yup, he's up to something. And no, he's not going to tell her what it is. Yet. Max's expression darkens by increments with each word of the telling of the two strangers to the Weyr. Flicking over to Ahnika, "And you say they arrived around the same time that…" having to bite his words off and rephrase, "the new Bendenite candidate did? And that the Weyrwomen know of their presence?" Brows furrow into a deep line and he's finally releasing Ahnika's arm to finish doing up his shirt muttering low, "You ain't going nowhere!" Back to the situation at hand a glance going Nenienne's way again, "Something ain't right. They shoulda told me," flickers of anger for being kept in the dark starting show up as he shoves the tails of his shirt into his trousers. Suddenly his hands still and he's turning a narrowed look onto the redhaired candidate, "At the -lakebed-?" something about that sitting very ill with the man if the tension in his shoulders is anything to go by.

Nenienne, somewhat like the old uncles who recite bloodlines, says in a business-like tone, "They arrived just before the lockdown occured, after the… murders. When they were brought up to Weyrwoman Alara in front of Fort's Weyrleader and the Masterharper, she decided not to send them back unless they caused actual trouble. I haven't seen much of the female, but the male has only been helpful, and yet I get an odd feeling from him, maybe not as strong as Ahni's or Lad… Isilna." In all of this she misses any conspiratorial looks and, in fact, seems quite unaware of the hides at the moment.

With a small sigh and shake of her head, Ahnika just smirks at Max and his charming little wink, and it develops into a wry smile at his low mutter, but it fades quickly as the talk of the strange Fort folk resumes. Her arm released, she rolls the shoulder a little. Not that he had hurt her, but she’s feeling tense with the conversation, not to mention she’s felt more than a little uneasy just walking some of the drudge halls lately at night. Though there’s no real explanation for that, and it remains left unsaid for now, suspecting it could very well just be Ahni working herself a little too much with her extra-curricular activities lately. “Odd feeling,” Ahni repeats of Neni, nodding in agreement, “I just hate the secrets and lies and pretending. If they want to watch, sharding watch, but don’t pretend to be something you’re not. Especially if you’re doing it badly. He didn’t even have his herd with him. Was just standing there … staring.” Then another little shiver goes through her and she rubs her upper arms before she nods to Max. Sensing his stillness, the redhead straightens a little, giving him a questioning look before saying, “Right. We were assigned to digging duty yesterday. The brownrider F’min was there, though, and when the herdsman left, he sent his brown dragon to follow him for a spell. He’s the one who told us that the weyrwomen know about the herdsman.” A look to Neni, “Probably means the one in the kitchens, too.”

Unable to put words to the sickening incident, Max merely nods grimly to Nenienne's first, the barest edge of a satisfied look pulling into place as she goes on to outline their presence being known by both Eastern's senior and Fort's Weyrleader as well as the Masterharper. Leaning against his desk, arms folded across his chest, dark eyes flicker between the two young women, "What sort of an…odd feeling? Like he might threaten you, or that he's gathering information to report back to someone with?" The matter of the hides now set to one side in his mind too as his gaze narrows onto Ahnika perhaps sensing that air of unease about her. Another place, another time, he'd have tried to soothe her wariness away, but now is neither the time nor the place to do little other than to send a telling look her way. Brows go up and stay up as the redhead tells further of the man at the lakebed, his jaw tightening until one might imagine you could hear his teeth cracking under the strain. It's a long while before he's schooled his sense of foreboding away enough to be able to make comment, "I'll have Indira," not using the familial term for the headwoman, "Look into this one that's been seen around the kitchens. As to the other one," a dark and cold smile flickers at the edges of his mouth, "I think I'd quite like to have a few words with him." Whiiich doesn't sound like it could end well. Straightening now, some or other mental decision obviously having been taken, the beast manager looks almost back to his normal self again. Almost. One who knows him well enough, might know that to be a warning sign. "Put the word out amongst the candidates that if he's seen about, to send someone to call me, would you?" there's even a smile tacked on at the end there. Harmless right? Riiiight.

Nenienne ponders Max's question for some time, then says, "Maybe some of it is the feeling of being watched, but not all of it. After all, there are plenty of people watching us, especially when we're supposed to be working. But I don't get the same vibe from them. It's not quite sinister, but just… odd." She may not even notice Max's expression, as she's staring at a spot on the ceiling by now, but she does answer, "Will do." when he asks them to spread the word.

Nodding to Max’s first question, Ahnika says, “Gathering information. But more. I mean, Andi was open about her reasons for hanging about the galleries. She was reporting back to her father about what was happening here.” Ahnika shrugs, either not finding fault in that, or just not bothered by it. “And she never skulked about while she did it. Suddenly there or suddenly gone, or followed you around the tunnels. She never acted like it was …” Ahni frowns thoughtfully, “something bad or to be afraid to be caught doing. I think,” she pauses, looking at Neni and nodding, “I think that’s what makes it creepy and unsettling.” If she is missing having Max’s arms about her to comfort her and soothe her uneasiness, she doesn’t doesn’t show it. Another time. Another place. But she meets that telling look he gives her, and a breezy, reassuring smile of her own crosses her features briefly, yet doesn’t reach her grey eyes. She nods to Nenienne saying she’ll put the word out, and agrees, “Sure. I would have confronted the herdsman myself yesterday if I wasn’t knee-deep in muck and rocks and knew that by the time I could have climbed out of the hole he would have been long gone.” Oh boy. Wouldn’t that have been fun?

Sinister or not, it's gotten two normally sensible and level-headed young women rattled and that's enough for Max. His now carefully held expression flickers only briefly at mention of Andi reporting back to her father, the Lord Boll, but that has personal issues to it and has nothing to do with the current situation. Also realizing he can't be everywhere at the same time, a slow inhale is taken and then he's setting his attention between the two, "You ladies be sure to let Zen know about this too, aye?" trusting the man completely to keep an eye on his fellow candidates where he can't. The short edge of a colorless smile greets the redhead's attempt at re-assurance and then he's setting the discussion aside, probably in an attempt to try and turn the girls' thoughts away from such unsettling matters. With an open look to the basket, "So, what did you bring me?" making assumption through a light grin which snaps off at Ahnika's last, his tone brooking no argument for the warning, "I hear you've gone after him," this staring stranger, "And -I'll- come after you myself and kick your ass all the way back to the barracks," his eyes flitting to Nenienne next, "Either of you." Protective much?

Nenienne nods. "I'll certainly not approach him. He's not shown much interest in me since," and here she realizes the timing, "Since Isilna got here. I hope he doesn't have it in for her; she's been through so much already."

“I think Zen knows, already, but I’ll catch up with him about it next time I see him,” Ahnika says with a nod, and then her grey eyes settle on the basket, and she says, “Information, primarily.” She moves forward and opens the lid to reveal freshly made and glazed sweetcakes within. “About the herdsman,” she adds, then says, “I’ve been making more and more sweetcakes on request lately, so I thought I’d bring some to you so as not to be empty-handed. Well, report on the herdsman aside, that is.” She gestures to them both, including Neni, “Go on and enjoy,” and smiles. It fades a little with Max’s warning, though. Ahnika being Ahinka, she’ll argue whether tone suggests it will be tolerated or not, if there’s a point to be made anyway, and it’s important to her. She sighs and rolls her eyes, saying, “Max, I’m not going to stand around and let some lout try and intimidate me or my other candidates. Besides, it affects our work.” Then as if in concession, she adds, “But more than likely if it happens, there will be other people around. Like that brownrider, F’min, was yesterday.” Then she nods to Neni, “Well, if he tries anything on her with me around, he’ll get a sound cuffing.” Yeah. That’ll show’im.

"You should start charging for them," Max comments, his tone and posture easygoing as leans over making as if to take a closer look, a hand reaching for one of the tasty treats. The minute that Ahnika steps up closer, he lunges at her, hand snapping to her wrist and lightly twisting her arm up behind her back (neither action done roughly enough to actually hurt her), while a riding crop that had been lying on his desk has appeared in his hand and is held at her throat in much the same manner that a knife might be. Tone low and to her ear despite Nenienne's presence, "It's that easy, Ahni." Taking the risk that the redhead might never speak to him again, to prove his point. Dark eyes flicker over to the other candidate at mention of Isilna, "We got to roll with the punches life deals us," not a whole lot of compassion for the former Lady's current situation there, "but if they're here for her…" that's an entirely different matter and one he'll pay attention to.

Nenienne starts at Max's quick motions, nearly dropping her hides in the process. Although the words weren't meant for her, she asks "What's that easy?"

“Whatever for?” Ahnika asks to his first suggestion, “I’m using weyr bought ingredients and—“ and the rest of whatever she was about to say is cut off with a startled squeal from the redhead as she is whirled about and forcibly disabled in the blink of an eye. Of course, Max has a riding crop and not a real knife, and so flushing furiously Ahni grabs at it to try and yank it from his grip. If it was a knife, she’d just have sliced up her hand, of course, but either that doesn’t occur to her, or she is more interested in regaining some measure of dignity here at this time. “Max!” She hisses, “Cut it out!” And she struggles with his restraint on her, hard if she has to, to try and break free. The situation with Isilna is complete forgotten as Ahnika is more concerned with being released at the moment. More than likely she has the option of elbowing him, considering he’s not really holding a knife to her throat to keep her from resisting, but that is not Ahni’s way. Not yet. She’s never been in a fight for her life before to know to use every option given her.

Being as how its -not- a knife and he would never willingly do anything to hurt or embarrass Ahnika, he releases his grip on the crop and lets her have it, but doesn't let her go just yet. Jaw tightening a fraction, Max answers Nenienne's question quietly, "For someone to get the better of a person that doesn't know how to properly fight back or handle themselves. And why you never take on a situation you're not sure you have a good chance of getting out of." And no, he's not mocking the redhead. If anything it's his very real fear of her putting herself in a dangerous situation, that's at play here. Holding onto her firmly as she struggles, likely expecting a good elbowing, the beast manager eventually lets her go, with unseen touch of hand to her back and a quietly spoken, "Sorry, baby," in her ear, heedless of whether the other candidate overhears or not at this stage. Chances are having relinquished the crop into her care, he's likely to get a smack across the head with it, but oddly enough he'll probably take that as a positive thing.

Nenienne gives a solemn nod, her frown betraying nothing, and says simply, "Understood." She eyes the two and, in a rare instance of discretion, says, "I can go… turn this in to the Headwoman, if you want to be left alone.

Ahnika was embarrassed enough as it was, useless and weak at the easy disabling, but the mini-lecture just makes her feel even smaller and more foolish and inexperienced, even if it is done out of love and protection. As he releases her, she steps away from him quickly, the apology just making her more indignant and upset and feeling patronized. Her whole face is practically crimson now, and she throws the crop down on the ground in disgust, eyeing the stall door for her retreat before fixing Max with a glare and crossing her arms over her chest. “Fine,” she says at long last, her mouth working like she’s tasting something bitter, “So, you know how to brawl better than I do. Big surprise. You’re a weyrbred man, and older than me.” And she jerks her chin up at him, “Then teach me, Beast Manager, if you’re so concerned.” Challenge in those grey eyes flash briefly, and then she looks to Neni, shaking her head, “Doesn’t matter … . anymore.” Anymore? She sighs, her shoulders relaxing a little, and the weariness in her expression returns. “I’m sure the Beast Manager has work to get to, and I’ve … things to do myself anyway.”

It may not be in Max's expression, but it's there in his eyes - the unhappiness for having to do what he did and the ensuing hurt and embarrassment coming off of Ahnika. Lips pressed together in a discomforted line he stalks a step closer as she breaks a distance between them, "And so could he be too," the stranger in the Weyr that's been watching everyone and everything so closely. The challenge sent him has an approving smile curling out of the one corner of his mouth, "I'll teach you and anyone else who wants to learn," eyes flickering over Nenienne's way to include her too if she should be so interested, "everyone should know how to defend themselves." Especially considering the rather uneasy political climate of things across the two continents. Following on her words to her fellow candidate, the beast manager nods, "Need to get back out there and teach that runner whose boss." Under different circumstances, he might have tried to hold the redhead back for a moment to try and make right. But all things considered, he'll let the two of them go with a faint smile being sent Nenienne's way for the hides she holds.

Nenienne says, "That might not be a bad idea; the self-defense lessons." She doesn't return the smile but she does acknowledge it with a bob of her head. "And who knows, maybe it would help us be more alert on the sands. Or something."

As Max moves a step closer, Ahnika moves a step back, coming up against the stall wall. Not for fear he will just try to prove his point again, but because she’s feeling hurt and isn’t ready to stop being mad at him yet. Teenagers. Feh. She nods mutely at the ground with his agreement for self-defense lessons, and Neni’s support. She takes in a breath and then exhales, rubbing the back of her neck, “Right, well. Good luck, Max,” said all too lightly. “Enjoy the sweetcakes. I’ll see you later, Neni,” And with that, still redfaced, but looking more worn out and tense than fired up, she makes her way for the stall exit.

Max nods in agreement with Nenienne's assessment, "Certainly will help to make you lighter on your feet in getting out of the way if you need to." His gaze lingers on Ahnika backed up against the stall siding, and his eyes shadow before he's stepping aside so that she can make her get-away without having to push passed him to do so. Taking up his hat and stooping to retrieve the crop and put it back on his desk, he simply nods to enjoying the sweetcakes left behind. To Nenienne, "You'll let me know when…those two new piglets look ready for their new home, aye?" the now accepted euphemism for jewelry. And then to the redhead a short twist of a rueful smile and a quieter, "Later Ahni." Which if she's listening closely, might have a hopeful lilt to it. He'll wait politely until both women have moved through the doorway first and then he'll follow and probably spend the rest of his day taking out his pent up frustrations of various sources on bending the rangy stallion to his will.

Nenienne nods to Max and hurries out, clutching the hides and waving to the porcines as she passes them.


Closing Credits Theme Music: Pat Benatar - "Love Is A Battlefield"


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