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[SS] Another Part Time Job

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Post  Guy Li on Tue Apr 21, 2020 4:05 am

The girl with brown hair who looked exactly like Misaka Mikoto stopped to look at the window of the store as she passed. Something had caught her eye while she had been walking. A piece of jewelry with a simple design that sat behind the glass of the display case. The girl stepped closer, an emotionless expression to her pretty young face. It was impossible to guess from merely looking at her, but inwardly the cogs of her brain were turning in a series of logical steps.

***

"Misaka requires money to exchange for a certain item. Money is earned by performing a service in return for payment. Therefore Misaka requires a job so that she can engage in the necessary transaction, explains Misaka while asking you not to pry further." That same girl declared her purposes in a manner that was at once both straightforward and roundabout at the same time.

"I see. Well, that makes sense, I guess." Guy replied while rubbing his chin thoughtfully. "But how can I help?"

"Misaka knows that you engage in a suspiciously high number of avenues of employment. Misaka requests your advice for acquiring a job of her own, says Misaka hopefully."

"There's nothing suspicious about it. I'm just poor. You think teachers get paid well? Well maybe you're right, but student teachers are another matter." Guy didn't sound awfully pleased with her assessment. "And on top of studying, no less..." He grumbled quietly. Realizing he was going off on a tangent, Guy swiftly returned to the topic at hand. "So, what sort of job are you looking for, anyway? You must have a few skills you can use."

"Misaka is skilled in the use of military-grade firearms and tactics in a battlefield environment. Also-"

"Okay. Maybe those aren't the kind of skills to put at the top of your resume..." He noticed the small change in her otherwise stoic expression, a slight downward glance of the eyes and a downturn of her lips that signaled disappointment. It wasn't that hard to read her once you realized the expression of those feelings was just more subtle.

"Perhaps Misaka is unsuited to normal jobs, says Misaka dejectedly as she recognizes her limitations."

"I'll ask around, I'm sure we'll be able to find something that suits you." Guy reached over to pat her shoulder comfortingly.

***

Her first role had been a clerk at a convenience store. The quiet young lady had been diligent in stocking the shelves and serving customers. She was always on time and prompt with her breaks. She was polite and focused and was a quick learner.

But her aptitude at the job wasn't the issue.

"These steamed buns are 450 yen says Misaka as she advises you of the high salt and fat content of processed foods." The girl standing perfectly still behind the counter said with a straight face.

***

The next position had been as a salesperson at a downtown boutique store. It was the kind of store that served the fashion-conscious elite of the city, offering a wide range of stylish apparel for both men and women. She proved especially adept at identifying customers' measurements from a glance and within a day had memorized the entire catalog of the store.

"Why not try this shade, suggests Misaka as she recommends a heavy foundation to cover your wrinkles."

"A good choice, says Misaka insincerely as she tries to hide her disdain for your poor taste."

***

After that, they'd decided that perhaps customer service wasn't the best field for her. She was much better at clerical work, so good in fact that she managed to make herself redundant by devising a more efficient filing system that rendered her unnecessary. A cleaning gig proved a little too much for her when she spent an entire hour on one corner of the office. That corner had never looked so sparkling, but by contrast, the rest of the building had suffered neglect.

***

"Somehow I feel like things have gone in an unexpected direction..." Guy looked up from the tray of delicate china cups on the counter of the cafe and over towards the girl dressed in a modest-looking maid outfit who was busy serving the far tables. Each of the girls and boys working at the western-style bistro were encouraged to develop a specific persona and she had found her niche easily. She had found a fanbase among that special subset of customers who liked to be treated with indifference.

"It's so quiet today..." The manager sat at the end of the counter, fanning herself with a menu. The older lady looked toward Guy. "It'd be nice if your little friends from Tokiwadai came back some time. Those rich girls are always good customers."

A chill ran down Guy's back as he recalled that tense encounter. He was thankful Mikoto and the others hadn't returned if he was honest. He wasn't sure he could deal with the stress.
Guy Li
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Post  Hujisaka Natsumi on Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:22 am

If you spoke of the devil, it tended to appear.

Now, how often was it that the devil was manifested as a short, teenage brunette with a very cute appearance on the outside, but very dreadful personality? Quite often, actually. In fact, most of the girls she knew were manifestations of various aspects of the devil.

The devil’s – or well, Natsumi’s – usually knee-length long, detached hair was put up in a ponytail today, with only two long strands of hair escaping the hair-tie in order to frame her face, a fairly typical look for how hot it was in the Summer.

On her face was an expression of lassitude, that of a being who had completely ceased to enjoy her existence (as opposed to the only specific occasions where she did). There wasn’t any specific reason behind it, but she felt like simply putting herself apart from the world for today and just chill in a nice place with a game to play.

And while she had intended on going to a fairly peaceful parc in the School Garden, something caught her eye on her way there.

It was a café.

Not just any café, mind you.

It was the café where she set a bunch of delinquents ablaze only a little while back.

The aftermath of that story had been quite interesting: despite her illegal usage of her ability in a public place, the owner seemed to have been thankful that the damage had been limited to the hooligans’ already terrible haircuts, and not to the store itself. So, while she and her “meddling comrades” weren’t exactly praised for the handling of the situation, she had found herself most surprised by the fact that no one had been banned from the premises either.

She snickered a little at the idea that they maybe wanted to have indirect bodyguards if this happened again.

And in that reflexion, she realised that she had never gotten a chance to actually try out the place. Was she hoping for freebies due to her contribution to the safety of their commercial wallet? Well, yes. But even if she did end up paying her drink, she at least would know whether this place had been worth defending or not.

And so, she stepped in.

It must’ve been the heat, or maybe the tiredness, perhaps the existential boredom she felt that provoked her to look for trouble… but not for one minute had she stopped to ponder that one of her “meddling comrades” might actually still working there.

Which she would quickly figure out as she stepped through the front door, the bell ringing to indicate the arrival of a new customer…
Hujisaka Natsumi
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Post  Shokuhou Misaki on Fri Apr 24, 2020 8:44 am

A single devil, however, wouldn’t be enough to sweeten this afternoon.

No, fate had decided to follow the good old credo of ‹the more, the merrier›.

It hadn’t even needed any specific reason other than boredom for this one to find its way into this part of the city, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t out for fun.

Shokuhou Misaki, much like any teenage girl during summer break, had at one point in her life fallen intro extreme boredom, given that eventually anyone would have tried everything there was to try in the city. Or at least, she had been overcome with the feeling that things were like that. While one possible solution many would take was the search for a part time job, this was hardly an appropriate solution for the Queen of Tokiwadai.

So what to do with unlimited free time and lingering boredom at her hands?

The answer was quite a cliched one for a middle school of her age.

She had decided to go visit a cafe and loiter around there for the rest of the day.

However, that wasn’t something she had simply come with up today and on a whim, but been doing for the past few days. Each and every day she had sought out a shop, set up camp there and harassed the staff with a ton of requests, all the while being surrounded by the loyalists of her precious clique.

Today, the only difference had been that she had settled on going alone. Meaning, she had carefully snuck out of her underlings’ radar and broken off to a different sector than usual. Namely, she had left behind school garden and moved deeper into the city. Clearly, it hadn’t been easy, but the privacy it had granted her was something highly appreciated.

On her way to the establishment she had dug out following a couple of recommendations and a fun sounding news story, she had attempted to figure out some possible plans to pursue while there. Yet upon arrival all these thoughts had been thrown overboard at the sight of a familiar mass of hair.

«Ara ara~! Hujisaka-sa~n~! It’s nice to see you, my dear roommate ☆»

Without any warning the devil that was Hujisaka Natsumi would find arms to be wrapped around her neck while the sensation of two soft meat cushions would press against her defenceless back. A girlish greeting on the surface, yet a first strike of mischief at the heart.

Still, who would treat being hugged by a cute honey blonde beauty dressed in prestigious Tokiwadai Middle School’s typical summer uniform as anything but a blessing?

Yes, society’s consensus would have described this as a truly fortunate occasion.
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Post  Guy Li on Mon Apr 27, 2020 2:20 pm

"Welcome!" Guy gave the standard greeting and looked up from the coffee machine. He stopped still, like an animal catching sight of a predator approaching.

Hujisaka Natsumi. His natural enemy.

His blood turned to ice water in his veins as fight or flight took hold. An extreme reaction normally, but this was a sensitive situation for him. This was like being caught behind enemy lines or cornered in hostile territory. The ground beneath his feet felt unstable.

Okay... Time for damage control. The situation could still be salvaged. He just needed to...

Another complication occurred. A second variable that threw off all the precise and precarious calculations he had been constructing in his mind.

Golden hair. White gloves and a full bodied figure and a look in her eye like she knew all the world's secrets and was just waiting for the right moment to spill them for maximum effect.

Shokuhou Misaki. Tokiwadai's Queen.

This was the worst possible situation for him. All damage control was now meaningless.

"Welcome!" He greeted Misaki with the same enthusiasm, though it was now tempered by the forced smile he wore to cover the pain and fear in his heart.
Guy Li
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Post  Hujisaka Natsumi on Sat May 16, 2020 7:06 pm

The moment she had stepped in the little café was the moment she was filled with the purest sense of regret, of understanding that she had immediately embarked herself on another day of pure annoyance from simply opening a door.

How dreadful was life when you encountered two of the people who pissed you off the most?

Well, of course, in Natsumi’s eyes, everyone who ever graced this Earth naturally pissed her off. But this was special.

Facing her was Guy Li, a man who had somehow broken the social ladder and became a teacher in an all-girls school, just like how he tended to break the confines of logic of what a man was and wasn’t supposed to do.

Behind her was her forcibly assigned roommate, Shokuhou Misaki, the very reason why she tended to avoid her dorm room like the plague. A mind reader whose mind was completely unreadable, two of the elements Natsumi detested more amongst others, all gathered in a short but meaty stature.

She simply sighed in an uncharacteristically defeated manner, and decided against acknowledging Guy's greeting.

“…Shokuhou. Get off me.” She groaned, hoping that it wouldn’t take long for the woman to lean away from her.
Hujisaka Natsumi
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Post  Shokuhou Misaki on Sun May 17, 2020 5:01 pm

An annoyed yet exhausted groan.

A smile so forced and fake, the mental suffering behind it was already breaking through.

Mission accomplished!

«My my my! Is that you, Li-sensei? Your part time job ability never ceases to surprise me ☆»

Of those three, Shokuhou may have been the only one to exert true bliss and joy. And she did in a way that’d rub that very fact into the others’ faces mercilessly.

At least, she’d listen to what she was told, did she get off her beloved roommate’s back right away. However, instead that blonde queen of mischief moved into the spacial centre point of attention, right between the two.

Of course spitting more sugar sweet venom while she was at it.

«Hujisaka-san, aren’t you happy to see me? It’s been a while since we had the opportunity ability and that’s really strange for roommates, don’t you agree? Shouldn’t all girls schools’ dorm roommates be like best friends? Like sisters? Spending all of their day and night ability together ☆ Gossiping ☆ Sharing secrets ☆ Bonding ☆»

As she spoke, the honey blonde once more came dangerously close to the brunette.

«So, I have an idea ability! Let’s use today to make up for all that ☆»

Striking a cutesy pose she underlined what was a display of overflowing and irresistible enthusiasm. A tool she carefully wielded to entrap her prey.

But, a single one wouldn’t suffice.

«And with Li-sensei as our personal steward I’m sure we’ll be spoiled appropriately ☆»

She declared, now forcefully tucking her arm into the poor teacher turned clerk's.
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Post  Guy Li on Sun May 24, 2020 6:22 am

«And with Li-sensei as our personal steward I’m sure we’ll be spoiled appropriately ☆»

Guy's forced smile remained, but he didn't resist. He would maintain his pride, recover his footing and wrestle back some semblance of control.

"Oh, I don't know. I'm supposed to be working at the bar, so I think-"

"It's fine. If one of our valued customers makes a personal request, then we should try our best to meet their expectations." The manager stepped in. Guy's smile didn't fade.

"Of course. I'd love to be your steward for the day. How can I serve you, my ladies?" He immediately swapped tracks and assumed character. From across the room he saw the clone turn to him with an unreadable expression. Was that pity or disdain? Or something else entirely? He honestly couldn't tell.

He led them to a table by the window, drawing out their seats and presenting the menus with a dignified flourish.
Guy Li
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Post  Hujisaka Natsumi on Tue Jun 09, 2020 10:58 pm

Natsumi had, in quite a surprisingly docile manner, let herself be guided to a table by the two local headaches of her life.

"Of course. I'd love to be your steward for the day. How can I serve you, my ladies?"

And though she had accepted the fairly agreeable view that he had offered to them, as well as the menu he had handed over, Natsumi couldn’t help but have a growing sense of dread being in his presence. Something, whatever it was, was going to happen and she wasn’t too fancy to participate this time.

“Wow, what a fantastic experience, having you as a steward of all people… I’ve got a great idea. How about you start by not putting meatrack and me at the same table?” She scowled, making no effort to at least disguise her contempt at her newly found company. Turning her attention towards the target of her displeasure, she then continued.

“What’s up with you being alone? When are you ever alone, without being followed by that creepy cult of yours?” She tentatively asked, a tinge of fear behind her words at what the Queen of Tokiwadai, notorious for being an absolutely unpredictable individual, would be up to on such a seemingly simple day.
Hujisaka Natsumi
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Post  Shokuhou Misaki on Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:31 pm

To her own pleasure, events had unfolded perfectly according to Shokuhou’s will.

«Now now? Isn’t a queen allowed to relieve herself of her duty ability once in a while? Leaning back and enjoying moments of simple entertainment away from the eyes of the public surely isn’t anything out of the ordinary ☆»

And any attempt at altering the status quo – even the ones outside of people’s awareness – would be squashed like annoying flies.

«More importantly ☆ What leads you to this fine establishment, Hujisaka-san? You never struck me as the kind of girl that’d frequent this classy a place? Don’t tell me there is some dormant ojou ability buried beneath that grumpy cynic meathead facade of yours???»

There was no stopping her. There was no slowing her down. There was nothing one could do when that queen of mischief caught fire. That bombardment of questions spoken in all kinds of cliched cutesy intonations was testament of this.

However, she wasn’t intending to leave it at just that in the first place.

«My curiosity ability has been sparked ☆ You know what? I will help you unfold yourself, Hujisaka-san ☆ All your girlish desires shall be fulfilled today ☆ May you blossom, unkempt princess of Tokiwadai ☆»

This was the direction she had decided to take this into. This was her game.

«Li-sensei, fetch us the cake, milkshakes and biscuits any middle school girl would kill for these days ☆»
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Post  Hujisaka Natsumi on Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:15 pm

Natsumi frowned slightly at the pure speed at which Misaki’s nonsense came out of her, it was impossible to follow her attempt at a conversation – if you could even call it that – much less reply to it. She knew of folks that had a tendency to make you feel left out of your own interactions, but given that Natsumi always tried her best to avoid them… well… It was a complicated matter to deal with it without resorting to being kicked out of this café…

…Again.

Thus, Natsumi resorted to her fate, however temporarily, until she found the next socially acceptable way of getting away from this assortment of weirdos. She sighed and gave a worryingly almost despaired look at Guy.

And, well... She couldn’t necessarily deny a little craving for free sweets, anyway.

That part of her pride would surely kill her, at one point. It was, in fact, surprising that it hadn’t already.

***

A sigh came out from the small lips, puckered in annoyance, of a middle-aged girl. Not very recognisable from her appearance, given that she was probably the most normal-looking girl of most of her surroundings, but certainly from her temperament and capacity.

Mikoto held a damaged flyer in her hand; one that advertised of Gekota-shaped pastries.

Whenever she looked at this flyer, she felt alarmed because she always ended up recalling the circumstances of her last visit in that café. Yet… Yet…!

“I want to taste them!” She suddenly let out a whine that surprised and shocked two boys that were barely passing by her.

Unaware of her surroundings, Mikoto had hyper-focused on this simple element: regardless of who worked there, and whether she was considered as a troublemaker in that little café, she had to go there. Just once more. Just to at least try to get a taste of those sweet, mascot-shaped delicacies!

“Wait for me, Gekota! I will definitely get a taste of you!”

Ignoring entirely the very awkward statement that would be helped by no prior context, she pushed open the door to what was, unbeknownst to her, an even worse fate than what had previously occurred in this place…
And as the small customer bell chimed…
Hujisaka Natsumi
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Post  Guy Li on Tue Jul 14, 2020 3:46 pm

Guy stood back and tried his best to blend into the surroundings. It would be his best chance at escaping the crossfire. Maintaining his ever professional, fixed smile he listened to the two girls trading insults. He would have been lying if he said he wasn't enjoying this at least a little.

Meatrack.

Unkempt.

Shots had been fired and first blood had gone to Natsumi. But she was very clearly on the defensive. It struck Guy now that he had finally found Natsumi's weakpoint. Her natural enemy. In the same way that Natsumi herself provided a hard counter to Mikoto, it seemed Misaki carried out the same function for Natsumi. Like a game of rock paper scissors, the trio formed a kind of equilibrium.

«Li-sensei, fetch us the cake, milkshakes and biscuits any middle school girl would kill for these days ☆»

"Right away, Miss." He tilted at the waist in a slight, formal bow and turned away from the table, offering Natsumi a mildly sympathetic look as he did so.

Of the seven Level 5s in the city, Guy was aware of 6 and personally acquainted with 3. But despite having personally felt the wrath of the no 1 unparalleled might and the repeated sting of No 3's infamous ability, if one were to ask him which was the most dangerous, his answer probably would have come as some surprise. Because despite the 'lowly' position...

Shoukhou Misaki was by far the most dangerous Level 5.

She could tear a person apart at their very core and rebuild their heart into whatever shape she so desired. If the power to control a person's immortal soul existed, it would have resembled Mental Out. And that was what terrified him.

The power to manipulate the minds of others was simply too strong.

Returning to the table with an array of fine treats splendidly arranged for viewing as much as consumption, the young man set a silver tray down on the table between the two girls and stepped back out of the firing line once more.

Almost immediately he felt a tug at his arm. Glancing down he was met with the stare of the Misaka 10031 who looked back at him with a concerned expression.

"Misaka requires assistance, says Misaka as she reminds you of her presence." Like a clingy child demanding attention, she had clasped onto his arm.

"Everything okay?"

"Misaka requires your aid in preparing a milk tea, says Misaka as she hastily concocts an excuse."

"But I showed you this morning." Guy raised an eyebrow. It wasn't like her to forget these things. "How about I show you again?" He was about to lead her to the bar when the bell chimed once more.

"Welcome." Guy greeted the new customer cheerfully before recognition could drain his positivity.

Misaka Mikoto.

Were it any other day he would have welcomed that familiar face but today that girl risked becoming the catalyst in an already volatile mixture.

Guy's theory was about to be put to the test. He had to hope they cancelled each other out. The alternative was the cafe becoming ground zero for an unprecedented catastrophe.

No fear remained. He had passed the threshold of dread and entered into a realm of serenity as he accepted his fate.
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Post  Shokuhou Misaki on Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:37 pm

Spoils. Spoils as far the eye could reach. Say what you want about Li-sensei’s lack of qualities, that which he had delivered was the finest goods. So fine even, that the star pattern in Shokuhou Misaki’s eyes began to sparkle vividly. Nearly drooling over the high quality pastries, only her sense of self-esteem pulled the break the very last moment.

After all, a queen had to keep face in the presence of the peasants.

«I suppose the staff’s confectionary ability is not half baked.»

Correcting her back as she said, the honey blonde attempted to fake assuming a lady like position to brush over any possible hint at a crack in her facade.

She couldn’t allow to falter here. She had to make sure to keep face. So much so that it ate up all of her focus.

«Come. Take one, Hujisaka-san. You’re my guest. You go first…☆»

So much so that she had to beat down all her inner longings for a certain cupcake her eyes had been fixated on ever since it had first entered her sight. So much so that she bit in the sour apple of waiting it out.

«What are you waiting for?»

So much so that drops of beads of sweat formed on her forehead.

Couldn’t that girl hurry up already…?!
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Post  Hujisaka Natsumi on Fri Sep 11, 2020 1:25 pm

In the face of this mountain of sweets and baked goods, even an aficionado of unhealthy eating habits like Natsumi was breaking out a cold sweat. And despite her status as a “lady” of Tokiwadai who no longer knew the meaning of financial trouble, she felt her eye twitch at the thought that she wasn’t even sure how many digits would be on the receipt.

In fact, it was likely they’d be paying off that idiot’s salary for the month by themselves at this rate.

What had been intended as a slight outing was now becoming a test of (calorie) endurance, and, aiming for the victory as the hopelessly prideful girl that she was, she continued her observation by looking at Misaki herself.

And that’s when she noticed it.

That slight, almost imperceptible but present intense stare, not at the table itself but at a certain element on it.

The smile of the person who, obviously, did not mind if you took anything on the table. They did not mind at all. There was nothing in God’s name that they actually, specifically wanted to eat.

It was not a certain cupcake, wonderfully glazed with handcrafted decorations that would put professionals to shame.

“Well, if you insist…” Natsumi smiled a genuine smile – always a terrible sign for those facing her – as she reached out for Misaki’s object of longing and before the girl could even say anything, dug all of her teeth right into it before reaching out her hand to invite her to go next, sadistically taking pleasure in the fact that she had forfeited this cupcake in her show of pride.

One could argue that she was completely misusing all of the behavioural analytic skills she had obtained from being part of Academy City's underdogs, but clearly, this wasn't the current debate.
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Post  Shokuhou Misaki on Fri Oct 23, 2020 5:19 pm

Insults. Violence. Torture. Whichever of these inappropriate and entirely un-lady-like things Shokuhou Misaki had come up with that very moment, they would have all been perfectly appropriate.

However, she was a true lady. And these things were entirely inappropriate and un-lady-like.

Thus, instead of grabbing a fork from the table and taking a jump on the mean spirited thief, she instead gave her a smile as sweet as sugar, but also as crumbling as that cupcake’s frosting.

«Now…does it…taste good…Hujisaka-san…~?»

Her attempts to keep face were entirely in vain, did each fibre of her very existence scream bloody murder at the other girl. So sweet and yet sour.

With that being said, the end of the line had not yet come.

No. Hujisaka Natsumi was too evil a being to simply leave it at just that. Instead, she would urge her to take her turn. She put her on the spot. Highly intent on unleashing further humiliation.

Remaining in inaction was like admitting defeat. Yet, simply pretending to be an adult and move on was too little. It was queen’s duty to retaliate.

Instead of focussing on the table, Shokuhou Misaki threw aside her pride as lady and switched into the form of a cuddly teenage girl. Simply leaning over to her adversary, she could stretch out her arm to pick up a crumb sticking to Hujisaka’s cheek between her delicate gloved fingers and reroute it back between the lips of her own. Releasing a very pleasant hum upon arrival.

«Mhm~ splendid ☆»

Having squeezed out any hint of sourness, the queen was sugar sweet once more, smearing that venomous honey all over the defiant peasant.

«Surely, it was benevolent to protect figure with your noble sacrifice, Hujisaka-san. Without you, I’m sure I’d have downed the entire thing and wallowed in regret the next health check-up day ☆»

The war had only just begun.
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