-The next day, early afternoon-
Throwing off a nondescript blue blanket that had been placed on her by her hostess, Victoria woke up. She had fallen asleep on the couch since Florence did not have a guest bedroom. Such a place was fine with the brunette because she had slept in places a lot worse than on a leather couch. In the bad old days she had slept in a run-down apartment complex that was hardly fit for human habitation but was kept serviceable only by the hard work and constant vigilance of "Burr." In the even worse old days before meeting "Burr" she had slept on the streets of Capital Crocus with all the discomfort and danger that sleeping in back alleys entailed.
Victoria sat up on the couch and quickly woke up. She had been a light sleeper because sleeping on the wrong street or in the wrong place was a bad idea and one needed to be ready to run or fight at any moment. The brunette had no formal athletic training, but she had become a track star in all but name thanks to all the running she had done as a child. She had to run from street gangs, the police on their periodic sweeps of the homeless whenever it was election time for a politician, and from gangs of bored rich kids looking for a cheap thrill by beating up homeless people. The brunette had become quite the runner thanks to them; running was a skill which served her well in her numerous adventures because a twiggy person like her could not outfight every enemy she came across.
"Hey there." Florence greeted the newly awakened mage. She wore a purple tank top and black gym shorts that were really short and clutched a white mug of coffee in her hands.
"I thought you were at work." Victoria remarked to her casually dressed hostess. Florence smiled.
"They owed me a couple weeks off, so I'm taking a day or two." Florence casually explained. Victoria did not say anything as the blonde walked over to her and sat down in the chair with her warm drink. Florence was brave to sit down with a cup of hot coffee in her hands, but she seemed to have a lot of practice performing such a potentially dangerous maneuver.
"So, what's going on today? Do we need to return to Grass Village or are we going on another lengthy wilderness hike to another remote village?" Victoria asked while removing the blanket from her lap and setting it to the left side of the couch. Florence smiled again.
"We're not going on another trip through the wilderness. We're sticking to civilization this time." Florence answered. Victoria was intrigued by this. What could she mean by that?
"We're going to Capital Crocus' mall." Florence declared with a smile. Victoria was surprised to hear that. She did not anticipate going back to Capital Crocus so soon after dealing with the Panty Thief, that weird guy who went around using his magic to steal women's underwear. Maybe that weird guy was one of a kind and he did not train apprentices to succeed him. She did not want to imagine what kind of training an apprentice went through and she hoped she never found out.
"Yeah? What for?" Victoria asked out of curiosity.
"I haven't been in months and I'm tired of hanging around here all the time." Florence candidly explained. Victoria understood where she was coming from. As much as the Sabertooth guild hall was a good place to live, hanging around there and listening to Ratatoskr's insults got old and the brunette wanted a change of pace.
"Eh, good enough for me. When do we go?" Victoria said, jumping up from the couch and landing squarely on her feet. She was ready to get on the road to the mall and check out Resin Monuments. Maybe they had some new figurines of the latest generation of Gods and Goddesses of Ishgar, Wizard Saints, and Rising Stars. She would find out when they got there.
"In a few minutes. We both need to get showers and get dressed." Florence replied, carting off the cup of coffee to the kitchen. The pair then made plans to get ready and go to Capital Crocus for a shopping trip. Victoria hoped that this trip would go better than the last time.
-Two hours later, Capital Crocus mall-
After hitching a train ride to the capital, Florence and Victoria strolled into the three-story mall looking for something to do. Florence wore a purple long-sleeved t-shirt and short black skirt with white tennis shoes. Victoria wore a black Steel Matron band t-shirt with a black skirt and white tennis shoes. They were an odd couple, but they were the closest thing they had to family.
"Looking for a guy?" Victoria joked about the length of Florence's skirt. It was tight enough to show the blonde's backside and men were taking notice. Teenage males certainly appreciated the view, but even married men in the presence of their wives could not help but to take notice of Florence. Even a few women around Florence's age took notice of the blonde and seemed to like what they saw. Victoria, on the other hand, went unnoticed by the teenagers, which was just fine with her.
"Not really." Florence replied.
"Well, they're certainly looking at you. They like what they see." Victoria said. Florence huffed.
"If I had known that all I had left in my closet was this black skirt, I woulda done laundry last night." Florence commented sourly. Victoria could not help but to grin at her friend's attitude. The blonde was aware of the effect she had on people and did not seem to like the attention at all. Part of Victoria would give anything to be as beautiful as Florence and have a guy actually pay attention to her like they did Gaia, Itori, Aura, or Sarah.
Victoria's boyish figure was a mixed blessing. While she could wear the Azure Armor with no alterations and had a greater range of clothing available to her, she could not get a guy friend outside the guild because she looked like a guy in drag. Guys wanted women with figures like Gaia, Itori, Aura, Sarah, and Florence. The brunette was not too upset about that because all of them were good people who deserved happiness, but every once in awhile her boyish figure caused her no small amount of unhappiness.
The pair strode into the center of the mall on the first floor and stopped to look at a map of the mall. Victoria looked at Florence, who was poring over the map and was oblivious to her surroundings. Victoria sighed. The blonde had no idea where she was going... again.
[Word Count: 1,162]
[Total Word Count: 10,120/12,500]