2017-12-01: Nice Hat

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<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

One thing was clear after the encounter with Janus in the Den of Miasma -- Avril was a wanted woman, which meant a great deal of complication where their lodging was concerned, among other things.

So the trio, once people had recovered and gotten their bearings, had made a decision -- they needed a disguise for Avril until they could find a more permanent solution to the problem. Maybe it wouldn't work forever, but it would at least give them some time, and ensure that they wouldn't have an endless parade of bounty hunters arriving on their doorstep.

So they'd gone to November City.

"Actually -- Avril, I've got an idea," Rebecca had said, spotting a certain stall in the market.

Pictured in the short distance: a cosmetics stall, glittering as if illuminated by a golden light.

She's already headed towards it as Dean says something she doesn't entirely listen to.
Something like, 'oh, I'll take Avril to find some clothing then' as Rebecca nods. "...Oh, sure. But watch how much you spend, okay Dean?"
Rebecca's mind is elsewhere.

A fact that she will realize minutes from now after browsing the wares of the stall.

Avril, being Avril, accompanies Dean.

"What do you think would make a good disguise, Dean?" she asks, closely inspecting a hat on display at one stall as they wander the market.
This hat is a very archetypal cowboy hat. Very, very, archetypal.

<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

Things are rough when your best friend is wanted with an enormous bounty on her head, and no one in your friends group, least of all her, knows why. Still, there are things that can be done about this! Dean is a positive thinker, and Rebecca a practical one, and between the two of them, they can *definitely* help Avril not get jumped by Janus or his ilk again. Never mind that she wasn't so much "jumped" as "lured into a trap," and that Dean walked right into that trap with her. Shh.

Inconsequential past events aside, the first step would seem to be getting a new look for Avril. If she doesn't look like her wanted poster, then people won't target her, right? Right. As such, Dean and Rebecca have come to November City with Avril, reasoning that it would be easy to lose themselves in the large crowds of the city as well as find good clothes shopping places. Rebecca spots a cosmetics stands and beelines over it--a wise decision, since make-up can really change how you look depending on how you use it! And Dean, who has no interest in make-up but has every interest in helping his friend, suggests that he go with Avril over to get clothes while Rebecca does her thing.

And Rebecca gives her blessing, by every appearance, so really you have no one but yourself to blame REBECCA, so now they head further down into the market to a new stall. One with hats. Cowboy hats. The cowboyest cowboy hats you durn ever seen. Darn tootin'. Patooie.

"Well, it's not just a disguise, right? It's pretty much what you'll be wearing for now," Dean muses. "So you wanna get something that's comfortable. Something that you like!" Avril is staring at a big ol' cowboy hat. He points at it. "Something like that! That looks really cool, don't you think?" And if she doesn't think, he'll take it himself and try it on. He grins at Avril and strikes a, frankly, dorky pose. "How do I look?" At least he relaxes out of it a moment later. However, this is followed by the fateful words: "You wanna try it on? Or d'you wanna try something even bigger?"

<Pose Tracker> Matilda Whitehead has posed.

As a merchant, Matilda ends up in November City's market essentially constantly. Whether it's to buy her own Drifting supplies, to sell, or -- heaven forfend -- buy normal people things, she has reason to be here essentially all the time.

Right now... it's actually for the third. The compounder's coat is starting to get a little on the ratty side, and it is, frankly, a key component of her lifestyle. How else is she going to carry everything?

'D'you wanna try something even bigger?'

Oh, no.

Matilda hears a fashion disaster in the offing -- and with someone she knows, no less! -- and in a few short moments, she's made it a few steps down the street to the stall Dean and Avril are looking at. Raising a gloved hand, the compounder gives a small wave, saying, "Ah -- Dean, Miss Avril! It's good to see both of you... what is it you're looking for?"

Her gaze tracks to the cowboy hat. She says nothing, but one corner of her mouth reflexively jerks back in a grimace.

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

A hat, considering Avril's distinctive hairstyle/color, could be quite considerable cover in itself.
The only problem is that this hat is, in and of itself, very distinctive. It's a very considerable hat. It's large and it's very very cowboy. Almost to the degree of being a joke.

Avril considers the hat carefully, a slight thoughtful frown on her lips.

"Hmmm. Is this 'cool'?" She tilts her head to one side, a gloved hand resting against her chin. "It seems somewhat large, if sturdily made. Do people wear this sort of hat often?" She, for some reason, hesitates rather than put the hat on.
Some distant, small part of her may be rebelling.

Which is probably all the opening Dean needs to take the hat and try it on.

With all due seriousness, Avril regards her friend's fashion decisions carefully.


Then, as a certain compounder watches from a short distance away in judgement, she says:

"I think it might be too big for you, Dean."

<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

Is this 'cool'?

"Yeah!" Dean enthuses to Avril, with not the slightest trace of irony or hesitation. He takes the opportunity her hesitation provides to put it on, then, in addition to the pose, tilts the brim up and grins. "Howdy, parrrrrdner!"

Rebecca would probably die of embarrassment if she were here.

"Yeah! It's, like, *the* hat for traveling out into the wild yonder! At least, that's what it says in the penny novels I read. They show up in a lot of the illustrations, so there's no mistaking it!" When Avril proclaims the hat too big for him, though, he straightens, frowning a little. "Awww, really?" he says as he pulls his hand away.

The hat sinks down past his eyes, stopping only when it meets his nose.

"...Okay, I think you might be right," he concedes. At that moment, though, he hears someone else's voice, calling out to the two of them. It's been a while since Dean last saw Matilda, but not so long that he'd forget her. Mind, Dean's not one to forget anyone he considers a friend, and in Dean-language, 'friend' is 'everyone he's ever met and most people he hasn't, with some rare exceptions, JANUS.' He pushes up the hat, turns at the sound of her voice, and breaks into a grin of true and unadulterated happiness to see her.

To Matilda, it might be kind of jarring, all considered.

"Hey Matilda! It's been a while! How've you been?" He turns the rest of the way to face her. "We're looking for clothes! Clothes for Avril," he adds, since technically they're not shopping for him but he *does* have a big cowboy hat on. (Yes, even though it's far too big, he's still wearing it.) He doesn't notice her grimace, or more accurately, he sees it, but does not connect that it's in disapproval of his cool hat. Why would it be? It's so cool! It's not the hat's fault it doesn't fit him. "What about you?"

<Pose Tracker> Matilda Whitehead has posed.

Now Matilda is utterly certain that the hat is a bad plan, and Avril's total non-comprehension only increases that certainty. She has to stop this before it gets out of control. First, though:

"It really has been some time... I've been -- mm. Well, on the whole, but... apprehensive, about some things." She takes a breath. "I've been -- delaying, on something important to me, for worry that I must be prepared... but -- I'd rather not discuss that further." Right now, the first priority is stopping that hat.

"This type of hat, in this size..." Matilda looks at it thoughtfully for a few moments, considering how best to put this such that notorious weirdo Avril will 'get' it. "It'd be for someone much larger, and much more focused on animals than your journeys likely are. The firm material and large 'bowl' of the hat are to allow a horse or steer to use it as a makeshift bowl, or to swat such an animal..."

She waves her hand slightly, trying to wave it off. "Is there a particular reason you've got your eyes on such a... distinctive, piece of clothing?"

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

Rebecca would have, in fact, died.

Avril, on the other hand... giggles. Hand raised to her lips and all.
Perhaps Dean should also make the finger guns, and make this embarrassing episode complete so that Rebecca can really truly finally decide to disown him... temporarily.

"I see. I believe I have seem similar hats..." She furrows her brow. "I believe Greg had worn such a hat, did he not? Or perhaps something closely resembling it. Hmmm..." And she then, very deliberately, appears to be considering Greg's fashion decisions.

She is in fact attempting to picture Dean with Greg's hat. Perhaps if the hat were tilted just so--

were smaller, too


She has not, up until now, noticed Matilda. Glancing the woman over, she blinks those blue eyes of hers, then nods. "It is good to see you again, Matilda," she says in greeting, clasping both hands before her. "It has been some time. ...Since Nisan, I believe?"

She pauses a moment. "...It appears the Matriarch was correct. I have not found anything more than what we reported in my research." Which was largely scoping out the libraries, but hey.

Matilda then explains a little bit of important information about hats. Cowboy hats in particular.

Slowly, Avril tilts her head to one side, as if considering this bit of information. Then, with one graceful hand, reaches over to pluck the hat from Dean's head. "...I see. Yes, this does appear to have had a certain design in consideration." She turns it in her hands, as if to affect a bowl. "And you are able to simply pour water in here? It does appear to be stiffly made. Yes, that does make sense. Since we are not in possession of a horse or anything similar," like cows, Avril, "perhaps this is not the proper sort of hat." She, with care, puts the hat back.

And Matilda asks an important question.

Avril is silent for a moment, her expression a mask.

"I am seeking a change of clothing. This weather has made what I wear somewhat inconvenient."

It isn't the weather that's the problem. But to speak the real reason aloud here...
Bit by bit, certain realizations have made themselves known to the young lady. She cannot afford foolishness.

<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

With the power of Avril's giggling egging him on, Dean not only *absolutely* makes with the fingerguns, he also goes, "Pew pew pew pew!" Embarrassing or not, they're having fun. And that's what counts. The mention of Greg gets an enthusiastic nod. "Yeah! But his was even bigger! It had that big floppy bit in front that was always falling down in front of his eyes and he had to push it up!" Dean pauses. He frowns, folding his arms. "I wonder if he's okay with seeing...? Well, he never seemed to hav a problem with it, so it must be okay."

Then Matilda approaches, and: Apprehensive? Delaying? Judging by the way Dean's eyes go blank as Matilda talks about her Thing, he's not really following what she's talking about at all. The only thing he *does* understand, in fact, is that despite bringing it up, she doesn't want to talk about it more, so his response is, "Oh. Okay." A beat. "Well, I hope it goes well, whatever it is you're worrying about! If you need help, just let me know and I'll come running!" Because if it's something that's got Matilda worried, maybe he could help her out with it!

First, though, it looks like *she's* going to be helping *them* with fashion advice. First off: informing Dean about the purpose and function of a cowboy hat. "Wow," he breathes. "I never knew that!" Avril reaches over then to pluck the hat off his head, which is just as well, because he was about to return it to its hat-hook at the stall next to them. It's true, they don't have any animals... Dean looks a little disappointed when Avril puts it back, but he gets over it.

Matilda asks a question. While Avril is a mask, Dean casually blurts out, "Not really! Avril was looking at it, so I looked at it too. We don't really know what we want." He pauses. Then he looks at Avril. "Or, actually, *I* don't know what *she* wants. We're getting stuff for her, after all."

Then Avril says something about the weather, and Dean's expression goes blank for a second, before turning briefly embarrassed, before he rubs a finger under his nose and nods to Matilda. "Y-yeah! What she said." A good thing Avril's got a better head on her shoulders than Dean does...

<Pose Tracker> Matilda Whitehead has posed.

"I haven't learned much on the topic since Nisan either, I'm afraid..." Matilda frowns, shaking her head. "Perhaps this mystery's conclusion lies elsewhere. There is, after all, still much ground we could cover..." She looks to the carts rather than Avril, though, even as Avril explains their reasons for being here -- and Dean follows up on it.

"Ah -- yes, or you can take it from a stream if you know the stream is relatively clean. It's an effective scoop, and a treated hat dries easily, too... the smell of wet leather isn't great, but it tends to edge out dehydration." Matilda looks thoughtful for a moment, before adding, "My father had a very similar hat -- for taking shipments from Krosse to Salva, mostly. It's very practical if you travel with livestock, obviously, but otherwise it doesn't help terribly much..."

She looks to the market again, musing. "A hat isn't a bad idea, though, for the... weather, of western Ignas." Matilda knows subtext when she hears it. For areas like Krosse and November City, Avril's outfit is just fine, so it's more likely -- she reasons -- a question of discretion. "Fortunately, November City is something of the frontrunner in brimmed hats... I've considered picking one up myself. Do you have a preferred colour?" There's a beat, before she adds, "Though I suppose you'd want it to match everything else..."

And just like that, it's time to aggressively overthink things. She glances to Dean, adding, "I really don't understand how to color-coordinate things. I stick to neutral tones for a reason, ahah..."

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

Which, predictably, provokes a little more giggling from Avril. She's having a good time, it seems.

Something she, however briefly, becomes aware of...
Along with the fleeting sense, before it's snatched away again, that she's laughed like this before. With a friend, a loved one?
Before she can do more than pause the sensation is gone, leaving only a briefly off-kilter Avril. She recovers swiftly, as easily as someone might right themselves on stumbling, and mentions Greg's notable hat.
It isn't the first time she's had that feeling, and by now, she doubts it will be the last. And so we all carry on.

Matilda appears soon after, giving her little space to think or even dwell on it.

"Oh, I see... Then, I hope whatever is troubling you resolves swiftly," she states, clasping her hands before her. "As Dean says, however, if you do need any assistance..."
Even in spite of being rebuffed by other friends, she still makes the offer. What else should she do?
Kindness is important. She's learned that, as surely as she's learned that self-interest and cruelty exist from all walks of life.

"...I see." This is in regards to the Nisan question. "Then perhaps something might turn up in time. I know it is only an ancient fragment of history and there are other things to be concerned about, but I cannot help but wonder after it. Perhaps because it is not of immediate concern...?" she wonders aloud, only to shake her head, sigh.

It's a pretty impressive improvisation, even if Matilda can readily see that something is Up, as it were. Particularly for an amnesiac and generally tactless girl like Avril. But perhaps, things are always changing, and she did have a catastrophic encounter recently.

Avril, well, considers what it is she wants. "Hmm."
She tilts her head to one side as she thinks it over carefully.

"If that would be sufficient for this weather, then I think that's what I would prefer." Would a hat be enough? Should they add something else? ...Well, it's perhaps not the worst place to start, Avril considers in silence.

"White might be prone to discoloration," she comments. "Perhaps a darker blue?" she says, glancing down at her attire.
Largely white, green, and blue.

<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

"Wow...! That's really useful! You sure know a lot, Matilda!" Dean remarks, looking at her with new respect. The topic of Nisan, however, gets him looking back and forth between the two women. He doesn't interrupt at first, but soon his curiosity gets the best of him, and when there's a pause in the discussion, he asks, "What's this about Nisan again? That's that... city with the people who believe in that one god guy, right?"

Never introduce Dean to someone of the Granas faith. Alternately: definitely introduce Dean to someone of the Granas faith. Actually, between Elena and Rosa, he's already met a couple...

"Hats are good," he opines, meanwhile. "I should wear hats more often. Maybe if you wear a hat like Greg's, it'll flop down in front of your face and then--uhhh--" That was Dean, absolutely about to blurt out, 'people won't recognize you,' in front of a people. Sorry, Matilda. "--the... sun... won't get in your eyes...?"

Dark blue seems nice enough to Dean, too. What grabs his attention, though, is Matilda's more specific comments on why the colors would matter, beyond the fact that Avril might like it. "Match?" he thus echoes. He doesn't understand any better when Matilda starts to self-consciously explain herself. "Coordinate?? I always just wear the colors I like best! I thought everyone did that!" He is legitimately, genuinely bowled over by this revelation. "Does that mean you don't like the colors you're wearing, Matilda?" This seems a true shame to him, so he adds, "What color *do* you like, then?"

<Pose Tracker> Matilda Whitehead has posed.

"Hmmm... a blue would work for you. I think you would also look impressive in black, but the reality is it might make you look too pale... you'd need..." Matilda pauses. "... honestly, I don't know. That's as far as I can take it." Matilda has hit the limits of her knowledge on that end -- she knows why you'd need a cowboy hat and knows that these two knuckleheads would look ridiculous with one, but doesn't actually know how to offer anything constructive.

Matilda looks a little helplessly at Dean at the mention of Nisan; she eventually manages, "Yes. Their holy city is... not very large, or well-defended... I have some concerns about their library, in the long term." She shakes her head, before offering, on Dean's comment, "... Quite. A broad brim does help with that, too."

The question catches her totally off-guard; she actually seems physically knocked back by it, a little. "I -- well... to be honest, I don't really know. I feel like blue would be a little -- excessive, on me. ... Green is very nice, though. I think there's a certain charm to red, too, though it often marks poison..." She ends up thinking entirely too hard again about this, and goes silent.

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

Avril, on the other hand, just nods at Dean's... summary of a religious faith. "Yes, that's right, though their beliefs appear to be somewhat distinct from the Granas faith, as I've gathered. I traveled there to ask about the letter we found. If you like, we could travel there together sometime." It might not even be a bad idea as far as safety concerns go, as it's a sure bet that -- lack of military or not -- hiding out in the midst of a holy city might be good choice.

There might be some Drifters who would risk even the wrath of God for a bounty, but it might be a stone too far for others.

"In black..." Briefly, Avril glances down at herself, as if imagining it. "...You may be right. I have a rather pale coloration, do I not?" Between hair, eyes, skin...
Avril is definitely a winter.
"Then it must be blue," she determines at length, having apparently made her decision.
Now the real problem: finding the right hat. The right hat, that provides the most, er, coverage, isn't too striking, and isn't expensive. It's a tall order, but perhaps somewhere in this marketplace...

Which, speaking of, she flashes a brief, warning glance Dean's way-- but he's already covering his tracks as best he can.
Feeling suspicious, watching out for potential threats...

This is also familiar.

Dean flips the conversation slightly in the next moment, away from Avril. As if seeing her for the first time, Avril considers Matilda's attire.

"Yes, as it is, your clothing is... hmm." She pauses, resting a hand against the side of her face. "...I hope it does not offend, but it reminds me of the coloration of a hare in summer or winter. Colors to blend in rather than stand out."

There is only the briefest of pauses.

"A bold color would suit you. A strong green, or a powerful red. A flash of something brighter as an accent... Perhaps, consider it as rather than blending in like the rabbit, instead the display of a redwinged blackbird."

<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

"I think you'd look great in blue *or* black!" Dean chimes in with Matilda. He scratches his head at the idea that it might make her too pale, and she'd need... something else. He sure doesn't know anything else on that line, either. Instead, he nods at her explanation on Nisan. "Ohh, huh. Okay! I hope they'll be okay." He looks over at Avril when she makes her explanation too. Telling him that there's a difference between Nisan and Granas only makes him more confused, though. That being said-- "Sure, that sounds neat!" he says. Dean sure won't turn down a chance to explore the world and possibly run into more Golems along the way.

As far as the near-fumble goes, Dean shoots an apologetic look Avril's way. Fortunately he was able to cover himself. More importantly, Matilda! And colors!! Or lack thereof. He looks thoughtful at both Avril's comments and Matilda's, mulling them over. One word makes him mentally stumble, though.

"Excessive?" he echoes, in that oblivious way Matilda might be coming to recognize. At least he looks up at her hair and then down at her eyes at that. "Green's a nice color," he agrees--but when she talks about red having charm, he perks. "What, poison? Who cares! Red's a great color!" Obviously, since he's wearing a big long scarf that's bright red, himself. He looks thoughtful when Avril suggests that a bold color as an accent would work well for her.

"Yeah, I think so, too," he says, although this talk of camoflage and warning signs is a little over his head. "In fact--" He lifts the loop of his scarf from around his neck, and, unless Matilda's quick enough to sidestep or something similar, dumps it around her shoulders. "There!" he beams, taking a step back to admire his handiwork(?). "I knew it; you look great!"

<Pose Tracker> Matilda Whitehead has posed.

Matilda gives an awkward smile to Avril at the comment on her coloration, but seems to take it in stride for the most part. "That's very much it, I think -- I don't really... like the sensation of -- drawing, every eye." She shifts a little uncomfortably, glancing off into the carts and stalls again, saying, "But thank you. Perhaps someday I'll find the... confidence, to attempt such a thing."

Dean's question gets a continued helpless look before Matilda explains, "Dark hair, blue eyes, blue clothing, comparatively pale skin -- all at once, such a thing can create a sot of... pallor. It's striking with the right look, but more often it's just -- well, as I said. Excessive."


Matilda actually physically startles at having the scarf looped around her. She doesn't panic and she doesn't scream, but her eyes visibly widen, her right shoulder jerks back with some force, and her jaw twitches just a little bit. It takes her a second to respond to Dean's comment on his good work, too; when she does, it starts with a nervous, slightly shaky laugh. "Ah -- yes... I think I see what you mean. The contrast is very bold, and it -- well, I imagine, at least -- does a good job of sort of... setting my head off from the rest of the look..."

She takes a few breaths, then adds, "I think you may have better luck looking for a hat and other accessories that suit you at a boutique than at a stall, ultimately, Miss Avril. It'll likely be a little pricey... but nothing an expedition or two won't cover... aheh. ... heh."

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

"Red is a strong color," Avril affirms, dipping her head in a shallow nod. Her glance, once, tracks to Dean's scarf.

And Rebecca likes pink, she's fairly certain.

Having made her observation -- that, essentially, Matilda needs a little more color in her life and needs to stop relying on protective coloration -- Avril falls silent again, her expression pensive as if she's continuing to give this thought.

Dean, though, has a more active means of demonstrating this:

He drapes his scarf over her shoulders.

Avril's eyes widen slightly. "Dean, that's your..." She lapses into silence for a moment, as if taking it all in. And here, she nods at last. "...The contrast in colors is stunning. Perhaps you should consider it, Matilda. I believe it suits you."

It's here that Rebecca, making her way through the crowd with some minor difficulty, arrives on the scene. "Dean--"

For a moment, the expectation of what she think she's about to see is writ plain on her face:
She's expecting some kind of fashion disaster area.
But instead what she sees is Avril, as normal. Dean, without his scarf. Matilda, with Dean's scarf.
And the pigtailed girl sort of stares for a long moment.


I didn't know Dean liked them older...


"Umm... Hi there? Have we met? I'm Rebecca, Dean's friend." And she might take a step forward... but only a step, as her internal critic screams out at her that this is SO SO STUPID and she pulls up short. "A, anyway, we were out shopping here today and... I guess we lost sight of each other, huh... Thanks for looking out for him," Rebecca says, making the totally logical leap that Dean might have needed a minder.
...Well she has been Dean's minder for most of his life, so...

"We have been traveling together since I awoke," Avril explains. Cryptically, as usual. "In any case, thank you for your assistance, Matilda." She ducks her head in a short bow. "I appreciate your input, and I shall see what I can obtain."

<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

Huh. Matilda really is shy and nervous, isn't she? If Dean were perceptive enough, he might put that together the things he's seen of her when they raided the Gob Hideout for a bounty together a while back. Unfortunately, he's not quite *that* attuned to other people's feelings, so it goes over his head. "Ohhh," he says instead to her explanation. "Maybe if it was, I dunno, a different shade of blue? But I definitely think red would look great on you."

And he proves himself right! "My what?" he asides to Avril--but she segues into agreeing that red suits Matilda. Except... Dean's beaming praise fades into concern when he realizes Matilda's reaction to her en-scarf-ening is anything but glowing. "Oh. Sorry, did I scare you? I didn't mean to," he tells her, contrite; by the time he saw her physically startle, he's already dumped his scarf around her neck. He doesn't understand her reaction, but then, he doesn't need to. "You can give it back if you don't like it! You can always do something else instead, if you want."

Maybe it was a little too much, too fast. He feels a little bad now. At least he can let her give his scarf back on her terms instead of barging in on her personal space again! Rebecca would be proud. Or maybe just yell at him for being clueless enough to necessitate it in the first place. Either or!

"A boutique, huh," he muses. "It's definitely worth it, Avril! Gee, though, I didn't realize this all would be so complicated. I thought we could just... you know, drop by a stall, pick up some clothes, and that's it." He scratches his head, then looks around. "Say, where's Rebecca? Is she still at that other stall? You don't think she got lost, do you, Avril? Maybe we oughtta look for--"


"Oh hey, Rebecca! We were just talking about you!" he says cheerfully, waving her way. If she has a problem with Matilda wearing his scarf (haha "if"), he's oblivious. "Rebecca, this is Matilda. I've told you about her, right? Matilda, this is Rebecca. She's my childhood friend!"

It looks like it's time for them to move on, though. "Yeah, thanks for the help, Matilda. It was nice seeing you again!" Dean will wait long enough for Matilda to return his scarf--or, perhaps, express a desire to keep it--before waving good-bye and walking off with Rebecca and Avril to get these accessories. Clothes shopping is hard!!

<Pose Tracker> Matilda Whitehead has posed.

Oh thank God any distraction from being complimented and also from the feeling in her gut. Matilda turns immediately toward Rebecca when she arrives, starting to get the scarf off of her. "Ah -- first, thank you, Dean, but... I couldn't take this, ahahaha. It's -- very much yours. The two of you have given me an incentive to -- reexamine, some things, however. At any rate -- ah, yes! Right! Rebecca. I'm Matilda Whitehead, as Dean said -- it's, nice, to meet you. I've gone on expeditions with both Dean and Miss Avril in the past... it's, erm. Nice to meet you. I sort of stumbled on these two by accident today..."

She finally remembers to take a breath, and the group is starting to break up. "Ah -- right. I should get back to buying reagents -- most plants are much cheaper in November City than anywhere else in west Ignas, so... I suppose this is where we part ways. It was good to finally meet you!"

And like that, the group begins to disperse -- our intrepid adventurers to get accessories for Avril, and Matilda...

... to glance briefly at a deep crimson scarf at another stall a few down, thoughtfully. ... hmmm.