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She missed being home.

Mei had never been one for socializing, especially with complete strangers, but tonight was different. She’d moved to Karakura almost a week ago and, in that time, had been outside her apartment for all of three hours- two of which had been spent walking there in the first place. And so she found herself at an impasse; everything she could have possibly done to stave off boredom in the tiny safehouse the Committee had gifted her had already been done a hundred times over, yet she couldn’t just leave. Not when it was her job to watch over the place while he was away.

That she was utterly unfamiliar with the city itself was no help either. It wasn’t like Beijing or even the small villages near the compound; there were people, people actually wanted to talk to her just because they could, people who knew nothing about the spiritual world. And their outfits! She had thought her clan uniform was revealing, but some of the things she’d seen women wearing were downright scandalous.

Still, as much as she loathed to admit it, even she couldn’t keep herself entertained inside a one room apartment forever, and so soon found herself dressed and ready for a night on the town. She’d started simple- just a quick walk across the street to the convenience store to pick up some much needed supplies- before taking a risk and making a reservation at one of the restaurants the internet had recommended to her. “La Mazzaro” hadn’t sounded like a particularly impressive place, especially not with such strange description (what was italian/thai fusion cuisine, exactly?), but it was at the top of the list as far as Google was concerned, so she figured she’d give it a shot.

For once, she was glad to be wrong.

It was beautiful; polished Venetian floors lined the restaurant proper, and every chair seemed hand-crafted to suit every kind of patron possible. There was even a bar and grill for those who couldn’t afford the regular fare, though she stayed far from it as she slipped inside.

“Hello, do you have a reservation?” The maitre de, a woman about her age, asked, voice sharp but friendly.

“Ah, yes,” she said as she reached towards the small black purse on her arm, fumbling with the clasp. “Yes, um… Rowan. Mei Rowan.” A moment of furious typing, and a swipe of her card, later and she was being escorted to a small table in the far corner of the restaurant, just beside the door to the kitchen.

“Anything to drink ma’m?” her waiter asked, his hands already moving her silverware to their proper places. He was young as well, and his voice was deep, with a rich baritone that made her want to laugh.

“I will have whatever the house special is, thank you.” She said, smiling slightly as he hurried off to fill her request.

What a wonderful place.

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Looking at her cellphone, a single text message read on her screen to meet someone at the restaurant known as "La Mazzaro", and to come prepared to enjoy the night. Zhū Lóng had no idea of who the number was, or who had the desire to meet her in the human world. She was willing to oblige, however, to perhaps make new friends outside of the academy. Perhaps it was another division mate, wanting to break the ice at a fancy place and make her feel welcome?

Dressing her Gigai appropriately, Zhū Lóng ended the period with a pair of black dress pants, a white blouse that had a frilled collar and a single pocket for her cell phone. Over the blouse, she wore a solid black coat that made her nearly alabaster hair stand out even more. Pulling her heels onto her freshly pedicured feet, the woman looked into the mirror, a small smile on her face. She took the ties out of hair, instead gathering her lengthy hair into a single ponytail and tying it off with the same fabrics. She looked in the corner, where Kagutsuchi resided safely and away from her. If this was a safe meeting, she had no need for her weaponry. After all, she could control the flames of the human world just fine to protect herself if need be.




Arriving in the human world, some half mile away from the restaurant itself and away from eyes that would see the Senkaimon open to reveal her stepping out of it, Zhū Lóng brushed her coat free of any dirt. She began to walk, messaging the phone number in return and delivering her message. I'll be there in a few minutes, I just arrived. Once the trek was completed, the doors to the glorious restaurant before her, Zhū Lóng made sure she was, at the very least, presentable. She supposed she was fine. As she pushed the doors open, she was given a name to state to the staff. Her reservation, she supposed.

"Do you have a reservation?"

"Yes. Ren Rowan?"

The maitre de smiled softly, nodding and beginning to take Zhū Lóng to the appropriate table. In the innocent staff's mind, she assumed the second Rowan was to accompany the other, perhaps arriving late as some tend to do. Leading the Firedancer to Mei's table, she held her arm out to the Quincy. "I believe your guest has arrived, Miss Rowan. Were you expecting a Miss Ren Rowan to accompany you tonight?"

Zhū Lóng's auburn eyes lingered on the other woman, noting the expression change slowly and her... also alabaster hair colour. Well, if this was who she was to meet, she certainly could pass as a relative to the person.

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Surprise.

She jumped, just a little, when the stranger spoke. She’d been so absorbed in picking her meal that she hadn’t even noticed her approach. “Umm… Yes?” she asked, gaze darting up and down her frame as she leaned ever so slightly away from the woman. She was tall and lithe, though not unhealthily so; her physique spoke of someone not used to the physical side of life, and her clothes seemed to back that assumption up. A pair of well fitting black dress pants, a white blouse with a frilled collar, a long black overcoat and a set of stylish black high-heels showed she preferred style without sacrificing too much function.

That she was also goddamned gorgeous didn’t hurt too.

“I didn’t… You’re not… I mean...” Heat flushed her cheeks as she turned her head away from the woman, words spilling from her mouth in near incoherent babble. She took a deep breath and, slowly, turned her gaze back towards the stranger, voice only a tad more restrained as she finally answered the waiter’s question, obviously flustered but managing to contain herself despite that fact. “Yes. Yes, I was. Thank you.”

Great first impression Mei- really making yourself look good there.

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With the approval of the attendant, the maitre de walked away, leaving 'Ren Rowan' to her fellow dinner friend. She sat across from the white-haired woman, a small smile on her face as her cheeks began to slowly turn pink against her porcelain white skin. She looked down at the violet and black cell phone, taking it out briefly. A small sense of awkwardness spread through her body as she sat quietly in front of Mei, fiddling with her phone's charm.

"So what is it you wanted to talk to me about... uhm. I don't believe we exchanged names, seeing as how you seemed to just... text me out of the blue, madam." She spoke from behind her phone, directed at the Rowan across from her. Her voice was quiet, extremely shy, and slightly rugged from trying to raise her voice above what her usual volume was, trying to speak above the ruckus going around the restaurant.

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