2019-04-30: Do You Wanna Ride a Shoopuf?

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  • Log: 2019-04-30: Do You Wanna Ride a Shoopuf?
  • Cast: Ivan, Lydia Seren
  • Where: The Moonflow
  • Date: April 30, 2019
  • Summary: Lydia is on a mission to get Ivan to ride a shoopuf! Will she succeed? And how many times will we gratuitously say the word shoopuf in this log? These and more answers within.

===============================<* The Moonflow *>===============================

The Moonflow is a large river that bisects Spira's largest island into southern and northern halves. Strange flowers called Moonlilies grow on the Moonflow's banks, attracting pyreflies that gather on its surface at night, making the water sparkle. Although a beautiful area, the weather tends to be overcast more often than not, the souls of the dead providing the most reliable source of illumination.

The primary method of crossing the Moonflow is aboard a shoopuf - an elephantine creature that can swim across the expansive river. The crossing service is funded by the Temple of Yevon and is free of charge.

BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wcVnJQ-FN4
<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan volunteered for a more distant scouting operation -- in part because wandering far afield seemed like it would offer the chance to clear his head fighting fiends instead of worrying about his mission and whether it may or may not be cursed and/or partly sancioned by the supposedly respectable Guard.

At least fiends don't act inappropriately sweet and kind toward you while you're trying to murder them!

But there haven't been any fiends for a while, and instead Ivan finds himself walking along a riverbank where odd flowers are attracting the "pyreflies" that people in Spira claim to be the souls of the dead. Is that really a thing, or are they just fancy bugs? He studies them for a while, definitely not admiring their glow, just pondering this important theological question.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

There's noise in a nearby tree!

And then suddenly Lydia drops down upside down from it, hanging by her foot from a branch and swaying from side to side, looking right at Ivan.

"Hey," Lydia says, hanging upside down. "Do you want to ride the shoopuf?"

A pyrefly floats through the front of Lydia's head and out the back. Lydia scrunches up her nose at the experience.

"You should take a break and ride the shoopuf." She says. "Like, I never saw a shoopuf in Glenwood so I'm pretty sure they're only here right? But they're fucking amazing. Like...anteater elephants. Let's do it."

She points towards Ivan. "Let's ride the shoopuf."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan startles a little and does the conventional thing you do when you're surprised by a situation you don't yet understand; he pulls a knife on Lydia.

He doesn't utilize it, just kind of listens frozen in knife-wielding pose to her shoopuf-related inquiries.

Please stand by. Loading... loading... loading...

Ivan unfreezes and darts away from her without turning his back to her, pointing the knife at her now from a distance.

"I don't want to talk to you! I owe you money!"

...It might take some unraveling of the tangled and hopelessly sticky web that is Ivan's Personal Code to make sense of that one.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia says, "Huh?" Did she forget about telling Ivan about the boat that was hers that he set on fire. She fwumps out of the tree, landing on her hands and flipping over towards her feet, wobbling one leg back as she steadies herself. "How much money do you owe me??" She has the FATAL FLAW: REALLY LIKES MONEY so now she's curious about how much Ivan owes her because 'I owe you money' is music to Lydia's ears.

She jogs after Ivan. "Look I'll pay for the shoopuf ride! And since I want you to ride the shoopuf, you don't have to pay it back."

"So let's ride the shoopuf." Lydia adds. "It is a win win win situation there so there's no reason to deny it. They're amazing. It's great."

Despite the tumble she is all smiles. She is pretty attached to this shoopuf thing now.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"I don't even know, which makes it worse! Why don't you know? How am I supposed to pay it back if neither of us knows how much it is? Not that I have agreed in any way to pay it back."

It seems Ivan has gone straight for the shovel in this conversation. Fortunately(?) Lydia is singleminded about the shoopuf.

"Then I would owe you more--" she cuts off that route of escape.

Ivan stands perplexed for a moment, brows knitted. "Did you follow me? Is this a coincidence? Am I losing my mind?"

Finally, all of these questions crystalize into one, greater question. "Why the hell do you want me to ride a shoopuf with you?"

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"I don't know what you're talking about." Lydia admits. "Is this about the boat? Are you not riding the shoopuf with me because you're doing a hard negotiation tactic to get me to forget about the boat?" Lydia considers this for a moment. "Damn that is pretty clever."

That might not be what Ivan is doing Lydia.

"Well yeah I'm following you. Because you keep moving backwards. And in a distinctly non-shoopuf related direction." She points behind Ivan. No shoopufs there! "A coincidence? Uhh... I'm not sure what you mean by that. And I dunno, personally I think you lost your mind a while ago but I don't mind, okay?"

She crosses her arms. "Because shoopufs are fucking awesome, that's why. Also you cheered me up when we last talked even though you just happened to coincidentally be there and didn't actually come to see me."

She blinks a few times. "Did I get that right?"

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan puts the knife away and stops retreating, for the time being, but folds his arms and looks away from her slightly, harrumphing. "You don't have to thank me for cheering you up accidentally." Is thanking even the right word? Are shoopuf rides some kind of currency of gratitude?

"I'm still trying to kill your friend, you know. I didn't give up."

He frowns harder. Out loud, that just kind of underlined how badly he's doing at it. Having a flare lay him low like an act of divine intervention kind of got into his head a little bit. He doesn't take it as a sign from the Goddess to clean up his act and strive for redemption--more of a sign from the Goddess that she, too, thinks he's a loser.

And all of that is before even taking into account his target's reaction to the incident. He hasn't gotten the nerve up to try again yet. It's not like he's failed three times in a row. Only... twice.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Well my friend isn't here." Lydia says. "So you don't have to kill anybody? Isn't that great?"

She smiles again. "And I already thanked you so it's too late. It happened. Because I felt like it. Such is the power of the Caravan Kinship."

She doesn't mention that Ivan failed to kill her twice largely because she only knows he failed to kill her once and that was a close enough call that she doesn't feel like encouraging the guy to try again for a second (third) time.

Third time's the charm Ivan! Though Lydia would probably get nervous at that and say 'two is enough ok??'

"Can we at least walk in the direction of the shoopuf?" She asks. "Have you even seen one yet?"

Maybe she has a nefarious reason for wanting to get Ivan on the shoopuf!

And she does! She thinks it would be fun. That is her dark reason.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Walking toward the shoopuf seems like a slippery slope toward riding the shoopuf, but Ivan finds himself shrugging in exasperated agreement anyway.

"All right, we can... look at it. Because, no, he hasn't seen it yet. And Lydia has really sort of hyped it up at this point, even if riding it for fun and socialization is absolutely off the table.

But he did hear about it before she brought it up; the people giving him directions said it was the way to get across the river.

"I don't trust an animal that's a boat, though."

Why can't they just use regular boats that don't have their own free will?

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Well I think they have an advantage that boats don't. They probably don't combust as easily, I mean." Lydia says.

Lydia makes her way towards the shoopuf. She already figures this is going to happen because she too has considered the possibility that walking towards the shoopuf, and looking at the shoopuf--is definitely a slippery slope towards riding the shoopuf. Ivan has her figured out! But Lydia has found two things about Spira that she likes now which is double the amount of things that she liked about Spira before. Look--blitzball is cool, death whale attacks and ludditism is not! They don't even seem to have that many books!!

The duo arrive at the Shoopuf Station where one goes to ride the shoopufs. A Hypello is manning the station, no doubt selling rides for the shoopuf. This doesn't stop Lydia from approaching one of the shoopufs, one that has a long scar on its right hind leg, and quasi-hugging it by faceplanting into it and wrapping her amrs from side to side against its hide.

"It's a shoopuf!!" Lydia says.

She shoopuf curls up its long ... nosetongue? Look Lydia doesn't know the terminology for shoopuf biology either.

"So eh? Eh? Whatcha think?" Lydia turns around.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan follows Lydia sullenly to the shoopuf station, determined to be unimpressed by the shoopuf. When they arrive, he looks at the shoopuf, and he looks at Lydia hugging the shoopuf. It is quite a creature. Big. He's seen his share of monsters and fiends, so it's not exactly blowing his mind as weird giant animals go, but the experience of seeing a weird giant animal standing around serenely enough to get an unhurried look at is...different, he'd have to admit. He doesn't know how he feels about it. He lets out a sigh.

"Won't Talia ride a shoopuf with you? This is not an appropriate thing to go and get the evil twin for."

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Well," Lydia says. "I don't think that asking her to ride a shoopuf with me is a good idea for a few reasons and I don't think you want me to start listing them."

She looks away for a moment rather than look directly at Ivan, hand shaking slightly before hse curls her fingers inward, hand tightening just so before relaxing again. She doesn't want to think about all the ways she's embarrassed herself either. "And... I don't know. I probably should talk to her first about...stuff."

How descriptive!

"Anyway!" Lydia says. "You can pet the shoopuf if you want. I won't tell Leo."

Does Leo have something against petting shoopufs?? (No)

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"What does that mean? What secret reasons can't you ride a shoopuf with Talia? Does she have an allergy that I don't know about because we haven't spent as much time together now that we're estranged? Did she have some kind of terrible Incident with one...? Did a shoopuf step on an animal she thought was cute, and she hasn't forgiven them since?" Ivan is letting his imagination run away with him a bit.

But then Lydia offers to allow him(?) to pet the shoopuf.

"I don't want to pet it! Why wouldn't Leo approve of me petting it? What else is he hiding?!"

Ivan, Leo was not even hiding the first thing you discovered, you just didn't think to ask anyone until now.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"It's just weird! You know why I told you--" Lydia says. "And I don't... think?...you get new allergies like that? Though I guess if she's allergic to shoopufs then she wouldn't know until she ran into a shoopuf!"

Lydia blinks a few times. "What else is Leo hiding?" No wait she shouldn't be entertaining that!! It's probably just more of Ivan's weird thought process! Not that Lydia is any position to judge!! But that's not the point here okay. "And Leo is fine with you petting shoopufs. I was making a joke. I bet if Leo were here, he'd be totally okay with you petting a shoopuf. He might even pet a shoopuf himself!"

"So don't let Leo down." Lydia says. "Or at least ride one with me, then you don't have to pet the shoopuf."

~~* LYDIA SEREN - MASTER NEGOTIATOR *~~

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"If you think I understand half of the things you've been saying to me, I've got some bad news for you..." Sadly, Ivan still averages about 22 percent Lydia comprehension on a given day. Although he's trying a bit harder, even if he's not about to go and admit it.

"I still don't even know why you dragged me here. Trying to... trick me into something, I guess."

Right, like to trick him into having fun. But maybe that's what exactly he's afraid of.

"I'm absolutely not riding it," he says, resolutely. "It seems like it means something to you that I don't understand. Like I'm signing a contract and it'll be used against me after I agree to it."

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"...Does it really feel like a contract?" Lydia says, tilting her head. "...Well, yeah, I guess... I guess if it felt like that, I wouldn't want to ride the shoopuf either."

She exhales stepping away from the shoopuf to sit on the steps to the shoopuf station rather than renting one out or anything like a true monster. "I just thought it would be something nice to do with someone I liked. And I guess the contract would be 'try to enjoy it'?" She scrunches up her nose again before shrugging both shoulders.

"I mean...there really isn't a lot to do here and I guess I'm pretty bored of like there being blitzball or...sitting on my ass? That's kind of my options here. I might as well sit that ass on a shoopuf."

"But okay, yeah, you don't have to ride the shoopuf if you don't want to. You really worry about keeping everything squared away huh?"

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

If Lydia turns to look at the right time, she will find Ivan silently mouthing an incredulous and seemingly offended echo of "someone I like."

"Do I have to tell you the knife thing again? You made fun of me the last time I told you the knife thing."

Just the same, he finds himself uncomfortable and guilty to imagine she might have tailed him all the way to this shoopuf only to be turned away and have to trudge all the way back to civilization minus whatever pleasant shoopuf experience she had envisioned. The main problem here is that she mistook him for a person. Can you ride a shoopuf with a knife? Like in self defense?

Damn it, now he's doing it to himself.

"Okay, what if you... hired me. As a bodyguard. For your shoopuf ride."

He offers this with the flattest expression possible.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Well... I mean... if someone told you they were a knife, how would you react?" Lydia asks Ivan, continuing to mistake Ivan for a person.

Though wait, what would a knife tell a knife that told them they were a knife? Wouldn't they just ask why a knife was talking to them? Actually they wouldn't say anything because knives are inanimate objects. Lydia immediately decides to stop thinking about this, possibly forever.

Her expression goes briefly deadpan at the idea of paying smoeone to do a friend activity with her but the larger part of her says 'Well if that's what it takes. She's not sure how to think about it. Is this how they were raised? To live through transactions and to balance their lives perfectly in the end? Is this Arakawa Under The Bridge??

Well with Lydia here it might get to be about that weird so she does eventually say, "Okay. You know what? Okay!"

She nods slowly. "Hiring you as a bodyguard. Sure. Let's do it. I mean, it makes sense to have a bodyguard! After all there's an assassin on the loose so I can't be too careful."

She stands herself up and walks over towards the Hypello to (finally) get tickets. "What are your rates?" She asks.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"I'd let them be a knife in peace!" Ivan says.

Ivan and Talia were affected a little... unevenly by their upbringing, though there is some overlap. Ivan has his own reasons for obsessive transactionalism, however misguided those reasons might be.

But he and Lydia seem to have found some tentative balance between their ways of operating, so he follows her to get tickets, before she queries him about his rates.

Struck by a sudden inspiration, Ivan replies, "Ten percent of what I owe you for the boat."

There is a flash, then, quick enough for plausible deniability, of a smile. Maybe just a 'will you let me get away with this' smile, but a smile nonetheless.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

This kind of brand of crass opportunism...

...is not something Lydia dislikes.

"Five precent." Lydia says automatically, almost before she even realizes he's talking about the boat's cost here. But haggling is in her nature.

She buys the tickets. "It's the finest boat I've got after all!"

This is true!

.....Because it's her only boat. She's smiling too but she tries to be chill about it to avoid startling the knife here.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"That still leaves ninety five percent...! That's practically the whole thing!"

He wonders how much this mystery boat repair cost even is, anyway.

At this point she's got him pretty well locked into the shoopuf ride, though, in terms of mental commitment if nothing else. But as they approach the creature, he realizes at that moment that having let his pride make the decision for him originally, he didn't actually bother to think about whether he really found riding a shoopuf appealing or not. Those seats on its back do seem precariously perched over the water...

Well, now it doesn't matter if we wants to, because it's work! Or..."work."

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Oh, yeah, I mean--I figured you'd haggle up to like seven percent at least. Maybe eight." Lydia says. Now it's pretty confusing just how much of this boat is being paid off here but to be totlaly honest...it's not as if Lydia knows the cost of repairs.

Because...sure, she said it's her boat and all but Captain Harken is actually not technically her employee. She did create the 'guild' that he works for, but she stepped away because someone (Jacqueline Barber) beat up someone (Leo's sister) and she didn't want the Guard (Leo) to throw all her new friends in a gulag (Neo-Vane's slave mines) over it. This does not stop her from acting like it's hers though now that it's convenient to. That's how life is sometimes. Sometimes you act like the boat is yours even it's only kind of yours in a trust or something. Lydia doesn't know howo this stuff works.

She gets on the shoopuf! Thanks to Ivan being obstinate for so long about it, now that she is here, she's on cloud nine! And it only cost here 5-10 percent of boat repairs! More importantly, she has a better idea of how Ivan ticks.

"You know, someone hurt this shoopuf once. Who does that?? To a shoopuf?? It's not right."

Once everybody is on the shoopuf.

The shoopuf...starts moving! Over water even!! Does Ivan slip? Will Lydia have to jump in after him?? Or does Lydia fall in? Maybe nobody falls in!

"Hell yeah. Shoopuf adventures."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"Oh. Is it too late to do that haggling...?" It seems to be too late to do that haggling. They at last board the majestic shoopuf, and Lydia wonders about its injuries.

Ivan shrugs, glancing down at the shoopuf near where he remembers seeing the scar, but mostly just seeing the water wobbling below, from this angle.

"I don't know if I'm in a place where I can judge people for slicing up shoopufs."

As the shoopuf departs, Ivan... has little trouble staying in his seat; the wariness of the water is just extra motivation to keep his balance, if nothing else. After the first few plodding steps, once he is sure he won't miraculously lose all of his coordination in the presence of a potential drop into the river, he turns to Lydia to assure her:

"Don't worry, I'll make sure that the assassin count aboard this shoopuf stays steadily at one."

A task he'll probably succeed at, unless Lydia fancies a career change...