Kotobuki Stampcard Shoppe

When Asymptote was ready to report in for his mission, he would find himself in a place where he appeared to be even more a fish out of water than he had been at the casino. Hearing "StampCard Shoppe" may have brought to mind some sort of pawn store, but the genuine article was much fancier. While not especially large, the small store, sitting alongside a few other amusements in a virus-clean slice of Kotobuki, was pristine and looked to have been styled in the likeness of a tourist trap in the real world, with low windows, hard wood, a chimney and various elements of put-on hole-in-the-wall appeal. Signs and posters bearing old advertisements were all over the walls and interior, advertising Net Cola before the formula change outdated PET models, DimensionMan trading cards, Showbizz events so old they weren't shameless, and various other nostalgic treasures.

Only two things made it clear the place was a stampcard shop. One: the shape of the building itself, which was a bit like a cash register with a long stampcard sticking out the back. In this case, the "card" was a rigid banner displaying the weekly specials in jumbo-sized text. The largest read: "TOMAS DATUM'S LOST DIAMOND! AUCTION BEGINS AT 1000 PREMIUM STAMPS." The other indicator was the presence of various navis handing stampcards and pamphlets, while occassionally stopping to stamp the card of existing clientelle. Notably, said clientelle were mostly sort of stuffy, overly domestic looking folks, who seemed like the types that would rather hang around a stampcard shop than netbattle or bust viruses.

One navi would stand out: from Asymptote's angle, he could see a terribly well dressed young lady busily drawing grafitti on one of the walls between the store and the gelato place nextdoor. The graffiti, so far, depicted a giant black bird, done with a lack of artistic integrity, sticking a tongue out one side and flapping his wings. It was impossible to think that the drawing was going how she wanted, but she pressed on regardless. The artist was a short girl, made slightly taller by the presence of towering blond hair in a frou-frou doo like a poodle's. Her outfit consisted of a gold-brown dress with poofy shoulders, evening gloves, a somewhat low hem showing off a surprisingly robust bustline, a hilariously oversized train in the caboose, and a light brown undersuit beneath it all, which appeared to have a sweeping square cut-out at the neck. Additionally, she carried a purse about a fourth as large as she herself was, swung over one shoulder, which appeared to hold various colors of graffiti cans, as well as numerous papers sticking out each pocket.

Her face, with fierce eyebrows and a reddish button nose, was a mask of anger and frustration; she was muttering low curses under her breath. She would stop as soon as Asymptote or anyone else approached, standing ramrod straight and admiring her work like someone who'd made something they were very proud of. She even took the time to sign it, writing her name in the bottom right corner using the preciously untouched gold paint: Lady Goodfaith. The fact that she would sign the graffiti was more amazing than anything else in this picture. He might very well take this time to ask why she had seen fit to vandalize the side of the store and whether she knew it was only a matter of minutes before someone else happened to notice her here doing it.
Asymptote let out a wide, metal yawn as he began to slowly stomp his way towards the stampcard shoppe, the place his mission was to take place. He was getting rather used to the looks that he was getting, he was far bigger than most navis would even remotely have the right of being, not that he could change it...though those GMOs he had been accumulating were allowing for mere "recolors" of his body. But he digressed at the thought, causing him to frown, his metal face slowly matching his mood as the thoughts continued to coalesce in the back of his head. Never gonna get used to these stares. These navis would never survive in the net without spaces like this.

Asymptote mumbled under his breath, his eyes slowly shifting around as he made note of the cash register looking building in front of him, standing silently as he began to "scan" the building. Huh...Thomas Datum...I can't remember that name off the top of my head...must be a bigshot if they're auctioning off a diamond of his...lost or otherwise. Asymptote mused as he rubbed the back of his head. But he would soon catch something out of the corner of his eye, the bulky navi slowly moving towards it, practically towering over the navi that was painting it by a good several times her height and width...and finding what seemed to be his contact in between the stampcard shoppe and a gelato shop...he looked at the "art" on the wall, along with the garish gold colored paint underneath the crow.

You know, if you stylized it a bit, made the crow look like it's melting, it might be considered a "grunge" type of spray. Asymptote critiqued Goodfaith's "art" as...nicely...as he possibly could. You're our contact right? Miss...Lady Goodfaith? This is Asymptote, the navi who will take on this mission, I am his operator, Joseph Sine. Joseph said as he opened a contact window on his PET, his unshaven and somewhat tired face showing up on the screen next to Asymptote's head. Quick questions though. A. Why are you defacing this wall with spray paint and B. Why are you signing your name under it? Because even if you aren't here when workers find it, it won't be hard to find you with a quick lookup at a netpolice station. Not to mention it seems pretty populated today, it's only a matter of time someone finds you and it.
Asymptote had been a fish out of water on a ritzy casino floor, but at least the clientelle had been mostly mafioso, who weren't the types to judge by appearances. Here, where most of the patrons were monied tourists looking to point at things and give various "oohs" and "aahs," he became prime gawking material. That said, when he disappeared into an alleyway, no one was quite brave enough to follow him in.

The Lady Goodfaith turned suddenly as he spoke to her, pointing the spraycan towards him as though she were about to shoot him in self defense. "Wait! Don't introduce yourself yet," she insisted, before producing what looked like a frilled, gold-colored handkerchief from her pocketbook. The article was nearly folded into a triangle. She looked to the side suspiciously, then over his shoulder, looking extremely suspicious, before putting on a polite smile that could not possibly be genuine give the circumstances. "Now, let's continue. Asymptote, Sir! So good to meet you for the first time. And you, Joseph," she began leaning her cheek upon two hands as she clasped them together.

She raised one eyebrow, then turned her head ever-so-slightly, as though she didn't want to acknowledge the art as her own. "Ah. This? Well, it is indeed my work. And I am, of course, an artist. But I have no love for the subject. This, you see, is my depiction of the dishonorable HoardMan. Although I would like to see him melt she admitted, scowling down the dark alley, although it appeared to be empty.

She lowered her eyebrows, dropping the gracious act and making it look that today's chore was already too much for her. "As you likely remember from the mission parameters, I am honor-bound to fulfill certain tasks that have been asked of me. You in turn will be tasked with keeping attention away from me as I carry out these most unsavory actions," she explained, bringing out a long paper receipt. On one side was a laundry list of items; on the other side was a hand-scribbled list.

"Oh, pardon me, I forgot to introduce myself. I am the honorable Lady Goodfaith, heiress to the Goodfaith estate," she restarted, pressing one hand to her bosom and smiling proudly.

Another viewscreen opened nearby, revealing a young girl with mousy brown hair, wearing an apron over a striped orange shirt. Round glasses sat on the bridge of her nose which was overly long and flat; equine, some would call it. She looked like a store-keeper rather than an estate owner. "I'm Blanche. I feel a little weird telling you my full name... so I won't," she spoke pensively, biting one fingernail and looking as if she was alrrady reconsidering what she had just said. "No... I'll tell you. Blanche Chez-Choquette... Formerly of the Choquette estate... I lost a lot of money in bad investments... In case you're wondering why I say 'formerly.'" Another look would reveal that while the girl was small, she was not exactly young.

"Well, she is a tad morose. Do not mind her for now; she had her problems, but for now, I plead that we focus on mine," Goodfaith insisted. "Do not worry, Asymptote. I promise we will make good time on our job and present you with this promisary to commemorate the oath," she further insisted, pulling one of the slips from her pocketbook and handing it over. On it was written, in graceful gold flourish: "I. O. U. ~Goodfaith." "To make good on this promise, I have already made good on three of my other promises to begin our task."

She held up three fingers (literally up, as his head was far above a resting position for her hands). "Firstly! Per HoardMan's instructions, I have painted this crow visage onto the side of the stamp shop and signed it. I am honor-bound to leave if up for at least 24 hours. Secondly- I have sabotaged the stampcard machine, which is rigged to now give a jackpot of 200 premium stamps when used at a specific time. I am handy when it comes to... ahem... using my wits," she applauded herself with a small smile, managing to avoid the less flattering term of "perpetrating small crimes."

"Finally, I was to hand that to a stranger. Using my wits, I determined that you would be the ideal recipient, as you understand my full situation by now," she continued. "You are to hold onto that. I am not to accept it back," she continued, seeming to grow increasingly flustered. She seemed unable to stop expounding upon this task. "So just know that you were the ideal recipient because you understand the peril I'm in due to my debt to HoardMan and you won't do anything weird with them o-or judge me for-"

By this point, Asymptote would probably have thought to unfold the handkerchief and examine it more closely. What he had was not, in fact, a handkerchied, but rather, a folded, fancy pair of gold-colored panties, with white frills and cute ribbons on each side. They were even monogrammed "GF" on the tag. The size... was also worth noting. That oversized dress caboose may be exaggerated, but not so exaggerated as one might think...

"W-well, now that you understand... You can just throw those in the garbage somewhere or whatever serms most appropriate," she coughed, covering her face with one palm to hide the red spreading across it. "At any rate, Asymptote," she recovered, smiling devilishly and brushing a stray hair back into her honeycomb hair-do, "you're perfect! Such a... large... attention-grabbing fellow! You'll be the perfect diversion while I complete the remaining tasks!" she chuckled, then rubbed her hands together.

"I have three more tasks to complete before we are finished. The first is best done quickly," Goodfaith instructed. "There is someone that I must pickpocket. A woman by the name of CoalMine. I think her appearance and name combined will make her easy to spot... At any rate, pickpocketing is no problem with some forethought, but the truth is, I have no idea how long she will stay in the building. That means that we must act quickly. You distract her- and anyone else watching- and I will grab her stampcard..."

She watched him with one eye open for a moment, then sniffed slightly. "If you're feeling upset, don't... it would besmirch my honor to hold onto ill-gotten gains. The rules only say I must hold the card for 24 hours. I shall return it to her... you have my..." she grumbled, then brought out another I.O.U., smiling broadly as she handed it over between two gloved fingers. "Word! Now, do you have any quick questions, or shall we jump straight into it?"
Asymptote raised an eyebrow as she insisted he not introduce himself quite yet...but the events leading up to things could only be considered a little annoying, but he would roll with the punches taking the article he was given. Yes, you needed a large, attention gathering navi for your mission. I assume you need Asymptote to do whatever he can to keep all eyes on him, though with the size of that shop, it's like sending a bull in a china shop. He attracted quite a bit of attention just walking into the area as is. Joseph spoke, bringing up the mission parameters on his PET screen, tapping away as she continued, another view screen coming up, Joseph briefly looking up as she spoke. I understand, miss Choquette. We'll do as Goodfaith says. I do propose we set up a PM system between each other, just in case things go wrong. Asymptote spoke next, nodding at Blanche as he gently took the next slip from Goodfaith.

The navi would look down at her held up fingers, listening to her. He understood a bit more of her situation as it stood, so it wasn't a huge deal to him, as long as he could get the mission done, all the better. But looking down at the first thing he recieved...he gently stuffed the IOU against his waist, letting the card stick up from his side as he...un...folded...oh dear lord...an immediate blush washed across his metal cheeks, looking more like heated metal as even a little bit of steam came wafting up as he cleared his throat, hurriedly stuffing the panties to his other side, he wasn't sure what to do with them and figured it was a bad idea to just throw them away. As he did so, Goodfaith continued to speak, he heard the first part of their plan. What good does stealing someone's stamp card do? You plan on making him go bankrupt? Or is it about that diamond they're auctioning off?
GoodFaith nodded along with Joseph, keeping on a peppy smile. "Indeed! The more eyes on him the better. Of course... Yes, Asymptote, stand just so, blocking the whole view down the alleyway with your frame," she encouraged Asymptote, reaching out her hands to better position him square, blocking off sight from the other side. "Very good! Now, about the PMs. There won't be any problem on that front, will there, Blanche?"

The sales clerk looked like she was distracted by something happening at the back of her store; she was glaring out over the counter suspiciously at someone or something off screen. Turning her head back down to her PET, she pushed her glasses back up the bridge of her considerable nose. "I don't know... I'm not sure if I should open it up... Should I? Okay, I'll do it," she complied, then turned her eyes back up to the store.

"See? No problems," GoodFaith reassured the two of them. She watched Asymptote pocket her I.O.U. and gave a nod of approval, then watched him pocket the panties and lowered her eyebrows, matching his red face. "Y-You're holding onto those? Fine... But tuck them in! I don't want anyone seeing you're carrying those around!" she instructed him, flustered. The good lady was busily smoothing down the folds of her bell skirt, which might make one wonder whether she'd thought to replace the panties after taking them off...

"Ahem! Back to business," she continued, coughing into her fist and watching him out of one, as she paced slightly to the left. "We aren't 'stealing,' merely pickpocketing with the intent to 'borrow!' The key difference is that I shall return the stampcard at a later date, without using any of the stamps, of course. Besides... I know a little about CoalMine and I've never seen her once buy anything here! I highly doubt she has a considerable stock of stamps," GoodFaith chuckled, a little judgmentally. "As for the diamond, I'd imagine a lot of the folks here care about it quite a lot, but I'm not among that number. The top prizes here are all 'pie in the sky', as it were, and the only way anyone would have enough stamps is if they acquired them through unscrupulous means! Seeing as I do not use unscrupulous means, I am never even close to in the running for those top prizes!" she boasted, pressing one hand to her broad bosom... although, that wasn't quite something to boast about. 

"As for why we're taking the stamp card, it's for no other reason than that contemptible HoardMan ordered me to do it as part of my lost wager. I must uphold my vows! That's my number one guiding principle... even if I don't understand the logic behind them. Rest assured, I have no plan to actually use any of her stamps or damage the stampcard," Goodfaith shrugged. "Now let's get to it! Keep a distance at least a few patrons behind me... we don't want to be seen too close together."

Having said that, GoodFaith bid Asymptote stay back a while, then proceeded to join the line heading in. After a while, Asymptote would have the all clear to join the line as well. Most of the customers ended up giving him a wide berth, however, he would notice that the one directly in front of himself, as well as the one directly behind, were exceptions. The one in front was a lady with a white, glittery dress, wearing a white veil with interlinked diamonds around the upper hem about the nose; the cloth hid the lower part of her face, but it was apparent she was smiling just from the curvature of her blue eyes. Her hair was black and cropped into a short bob; she wore diamond earguards, as well as a diamond necklace. Her arms were covered with long, close-fitting white gloves, and her feet with open-toed, white, high-heeled sandals. If they were picking their pickpocket targets just on basis of apparent wealth, she would be the one to go for. She said nothing to Asymptote, but smiled back at him, seeming as if she didn't mind his appearance. If he was in the mood, it'd be hard not to notice the sway of her hips and her hourglass figure as she walked.

As for behind him, he had a much less pleasant view of a man with either a crow or raven's head- it was a bit hard to tell without being an avian expert, walking with a tall, black, bird-headed cane held in two curved talons. Although his hands and head were bird-like, the rest of him appeared rather man-like. He wore purple armor with white trim making it look like a waistcoat, including a red, velvet ascot at the neck and a high collar, nearly enclosing the back of his rounded bird's head. Although his head was a bird's, his cheeks seemed to give his beak an annoying, persistent smirk and his eyes were two sneering crescents. Besides the waistcoat, he wore a black navi-suit with tall, purple boots. He looked rather well-to-do himself, even without wearing tons of diamonds. Perhaps to Asymptote's surprise, he began speaking once their eyes met, opening his mouth to reveal the pink inside of a bird's beak, including a short, triangle-tipped tongue. A man's voice in baratone came out, rather than a bird's chirp.

"I have not seen you at the shop before.
Nor humble square, nor gelato store.
Enjoy a stamp, or maybe four.
Quoth the raven, by name of Hoard!"

His smirking beak made him look very smug and pleased with his rhyme, as he tapped his cane along behind the advancing Asymptote. While they spoke, the bewitching lady in white had progressed past, and it was now Asymptote's turn to enter. An attendant greeted him, a non-custom navi with a parchment-colored waitress uniform on and a helmet that looked like it had a cash register's tab sticking out as a visor. "Greetings, sir! A first time visitor? Please accept this stampcard! For each visit, you'll earn one stamp. By making purchases, you can earn premium stamps, which each count for ten regular stamps! You can use your stamps to participate in our auctions. We have our top prize auction for the day starting soon: one of Thomas Datum's rare diamonds! Besides their lustrous appearance, they are said to hold secrets, both in the form of a master coder's work, along with coordinates to a secret treasure!" she giggled, obviously selling him on a pitch. "You're visitor number one-thousand, nine-hundred, ninety-nine today!"

Asymptote would likely want to accept his stamp card, even if it seemed unlikely he'd ever have a use for it. However, he had more pressing matters to be concerned with than his inability to spend with the bigwigs here. It seemed GoodFaith was going at this with what could generously be called "nervous energy" and critically referred to as "reckless abandon." She was already headed towards the back, where a navi in a fully black, hooded coat was waiting. The coat was huge and completely formless, to the point that he wouldn't know CoalMine was a woman if he hadn't been told. The only other article of clothing visible was a pair of heavy, black work boots with steel toes. She was carrying an over-sized mattock reminiscent of a certain familiar virus's. Her face couldn't be seen, other than two large, black eyes glinting deep inside the darkness of her coat's hood. Her outfit begged the question how anything was going to be pickpocketed off of her...

Surveying the layout of the building, Asymptote would see that he was currently in a narrow entrance hall, with the punchcard lady to the left and coats hanging to the right (even though everyone he'd seen with a coat so far seemed content to keep wearing theirs). Ahead was a main room, well populated with various guests, who were browsing several of the more ordinary items. Despite being "more ordinary," the items were behind glass cases and priced starting at 20,000 zenny for the cheapest items. To the left was a staircase leading to an upper floor; he could see a balcony area, but nothing else of what might be up there. To the right, there appeared to be the setup for the auction that had been mentioned; not many people were in this area yet, although he could see the lady in white among them. Forward, there appeared to be an area with some higher value items, where CoalMine was browsing and GoodFaith was rapidly approaching.

For Asymptote, the pressing concern was how best to draw attention. His operator had originally envisioned a "bull in a china shop" approach, so the questions now were where to stage it, who would be bothered by it, and when best to spring it? And also, was there a way to sustain it without being thrown out the shop in some fashion or ruining GoodFaith's chance to keep her promises?
Asymptote sighed as Blanche began to connect the two of them to PMs, he could soon feel them connected to each other's PETs and at the very least he could contact the two of them privately before doing anything...rash...but the fact of the matter was, despite everything, he had some trips with how Hoardman was doing things...and what he wanted Goodfaith to do. Even as she avoided calling a spade a spade in the most basic of ways and just avoided every possible way she could to call it stealing. Asympote shook his head. I know he's making you do this and all...but there's some reason to who he wants you to target. I'll do the mission regardless of what happens, but...I don't want the two of you "holding the bag" at the end of the day if at all possible. He continued, a bit of worry on his face, even his own facial features starting to sag at the idea of her doing wrong. She was too good of a navi to do this sort of thing...but then again, maybe there was something he wasn't seeing while his emotions got in the way. With a resigned sigh, Asymptote moved out of Goodfaith's way so she could line up with the rest of the navis. Though he would likely wind up having a "talk" with HoardMan after all was said and done.

Asymptote would watch her go get into line and waited for as long as it took, as soon as he got the all clear, Asymptote would begin to lumber towards the line, leaving the alleyway and almost immediately he could almost feel the eyes begin to...burn onto his skin. His skin positively crawling as he would soon enough stomp into the back of the line and keep his cool as much as he could. Though there were navis that kept their distance from him...the two that he could notice that didn't, custom navis to boot. The one in front...was quite lovely, all things considered. She had an air of...what was the word? Grace? Dignity? Whatever the word was, he noticed her smiling at him before long, not seeming to mind his...apperance. He gave her a simple smile back, his facial features stretching like an anamatronic's to give the uncanny-looking smile as well as a nod her way. And then he noticed the navi behind him...an avian-like navi, head certainly not neccesarily holding an air of smugness to it, it was probably the cheeks that did that, but all the same...he wasn't the most unpleasant navi to look at regardless. Then he spoke and caught Asymptote off guard just a bit, the baritone of his voice certainly not matching his phsyche, but the rhyme was good, Asymptote had to give him credit for that. I recently heard about this place during some talk on a mission. Figured I'd see what all the hubub was about before going on another busting run. Maybe I'll get lucky and find something nice for myself. He spoke simply to the navi behind him, before finally coming to the front of the line. He was given a brand new stampcard by the attendant to the front not that long after, her trying to upsell the bulky navi on a pitch. Thank you. Hope I can find something that catches my eye. He simply spoke, the navi gently taking the stampcard between his fingers from her and slowly walked inside.

He would soon find himself inside the shop it's self, his steps gently rattling around things as he moved forwards to let people in and make room for everyone else to get inside. Before he began to make his way towards his target, he took the time to look at the stuff for sale. Various ordinary items lining the shelves behind glass...wait 20,000z? The fuck? That was highway robbery for such products. Hell, he was pretty sure Joseph could get this shit for less than half that price! Well, with these "auctions" there was no way past the price hikes. But still, good thing they didn't have the cash for that kind of stuff, otherwise Asymptote might be forced to buy something just to keep up apperances. But soon enough, he would spot his target. She had a pickaxe, probably the same "CoalMine" that Asymptote was tasked with distracting. But...how could he get her attention? Well...there was always "Bull in a China Shop" but...there was a lot of ways he could simply get kicked out. And gods knew he didn't need the NetPolice on his ass JUST yet. But...he figured he could just...strike up a conversation first. He would begin to slowly stomp his way towards the navi as his "designated target", looking into the case next to her before speaking. Howdy. Nice day today, though I've not seen a navi like yourself before. You do work in Okuden?
GoodFaith knit her brow as she listened to Asymptote, as though this was the first time she'd considered that HoardMan had anything other than embarrassing her in mind with all of these promises he was holding her to. As the two of them entered, it was hard to tell whether she was dismissing the idea or thinking about how much sense it made given what she knew of that acquaintance. Either way, she didn't verbalize those thoughts.

In line, the bird-headed fellow regarded Asymptote with a nod and continued smirk that made it look like, while he was civil enough not to ignore his new acquaintance outright, his mind was upon something else. Perhaps he just couldn't think up a new rhyme that fast. Either way, there was no more conversation between the two as Asymptote came up to the gate and received his punchcard. 

"Oh, no worries there! There are all sorts of curiosities and wonderful items on display here. We just know you'll fall in love with our selection! And if you don't have enough, don't worry; we cycle our selection all the time. There's sure to be something you're looking for if you save up!" the employee beamed, selling their racket extra hard, almost as if she saw Asymptote lumbering through as some sort of challenge she needed to rise up to. She wouldn't have any luck there, since Asymptote recognized the prices for what they were: exorbitant.

Asymptote opted for the direct approach for creating CoalMine's distraction, namely speaking to her directly. She watched him out of the corner of her eye as he approached, but seemed surprised when he began speaking. For that matter, GoodFaith, barely visible behind the coated navi's large frame, looked pretty surprised he'd gone that route as well. Perhaps she really had pictured him running around like a bull, smashing over cases and trying to avoid capture. Either way, she seemed encouraged as CoalMine returned dialogue.

"Well, you must not have been around here much," she spoke in a quiet voice, slightly muffled by her tremendous coat. Even at this distance, it was impossible to see anything but inky shadows and dark eyes looking out from the hood. "I come in here every day. Not cause I like it in here. I'm after a particular deal, myself," she further elaborated. "My name's CoalMine. Now, I should really be saying you look like the fish out of water here, shouldn't I? What's your name?" Surprisingly, and for whatever reason, she seemed to feel some sort of feeling of fast friendship with Asymptote. "I actually work in HadesNet during the night hours. I wish I worked in Okuden..." Her voice exuded "down on her luck", which all the more begged the question of what she was doing in this store.

From over the shoulder, GoodFaith gave a nod and a thumbs up, then pointed to the other side of the room. Where she was pointing, he would see two bookshelves full of incredibly unfitting topics: one ancient net history, the other "classic adult fiction". The books had little pricetags too, indicating they were for sale (though their prices were little better). Two cases were over in that corner too, one containing what looked like a necklace with a large gold plate hanging off (140,000 zenny) and the other some sort of carving blade with a brown, leather-gripped handle and a nasty, curved blade, green, a color of metal you'd only find on the net (150,000 zenny). There was also what looked to be a broom closet, slightly ajar and looking mostly empty other than brooms.

A little bit more reasoning would clue him in on why she was pointing in that direction: it was the best corner for staying out of the view of the the entrance that Asymptote had come through where all the other guests were, as well as the other exit to the room at the back right corner. Right now, if they could get her out of sight, they probably had the best chance they were going to get to steal from her, while the room was empty apart from the three of them.
Asymptote heard CoalMine speak, he didn't expect such a quiet voice from her, but he heard her just the same and he nodded at her. Recently learned about this place, myself. Figured, why not give it a look between busting runs. Nice place, all things considered. He would speak in turn, trying to keep his own voice down, if just a bit. Asymptote. Like the curve. Granted...I was named before...I became this. It's a long story. He would respond with his name, giving CoalMine a nod, raising an eyebrow at her sudden downness. I have not been to Hades myself, CoalMine, but I have seen pictures of it. Not the friendliest place out there, but neither is most of the net. He would respond towards her, looking over the objects. But would give CoalMine a gentle, comforting pat on the shoulder with his hand, doing his best to not accidentally tip the coat wearing navi over with his muscle.

But out of the corner of his eye he saw GoodFaith, and...she was pointing towards...something. His eyes following the finger pointing, a pair of books (And extraordinarily expensive items on shelves near them) and...a broom closet. Of course. That would be the best way to get her card off of her. Say, CoalMine, want to walk together? Something's caught my eye, but I don't want to leave our conversation just yet. Towards that green hued blade and necklace. He would speak up finally, gently giving his new friend a nudge in that particular direction. I almost forgot to ask. What is that particular deal you are looking for? If I had to hazard a guess, might it be that diamond they are planning to auction off later today?
"Like the curves...?" CoalMine repeated back with quiet indignity, mishearing the statement. "Oh. An Asymptote is a curve? Okay..." she corrected her statement, understanding just a bit more clearly now. "Yeah, well, the unfriendliness is one thing, but the heat of a data mine in HadesNet is hot enough to make a fire navi sweat." She looked a little suspiciously at his hand as he patted her heavy coat. Perhaps to his surprise, there was no danger of tipping her over. Her shoulder felt so tough beneath the coat, she might very well be made of coal herself.

Slightly surprised, she turned dragging her matlock noisily across the floor for a moment, and stared at the items in the corner. "You're into stuff like that? Hey, no offense, Asymptote, but the dagger is sorta like a toothpick for a guy like you and the necklace, er, isn't really your color," she joked. "Alright, alright. What, you see a book over there you like?" Thankfully, it didn't seem like she had read the titles or genre of the books on those shelves.

She walked slowly, now raising her matlock so it rested easily upon one shoulder. "Well, if you gotta know, it's the diamond. Why, you interested? Sorry, pal, but that one's mine," she chuckled. "I've spent my whole life in the data mines trying to pull up something worth that kinda bank and now I'm about to get it for free..." She seemed pretty pleased with herself.

Her statements raised several questions. First: how was she so confident she was going to win? Secondly: how did she get enough stamp punches to outbid the others here? Finally: how does a lady who works as a coal miner in a job she hates make enough money to afford the most expensive item in a very expensive store?

None of those questions particularly mattered, however, next to the most important one that Asymptote would have to answer himself: how would he manage to get the stamp card off of CoalMine (to be returned at a later date with all punches in tact, per GoodFaith's promise), preferably without her noticing until he was well out of the way? GoodFaith herself watched curiously from the shelves in the opposite corner.
Asymptote staid somewhat quiet as she went through the idea of the Asymptote curve, his own face making a curve like his namesake as she got it before too long. Then as he pointed towards the necklace, dagger and books, the quips came, and he only rolled his eyes.

"Eh. The Necklace I could do without, it's a nice piece though. The dagger looks like it could potentially break in any real combat though, do like the emerald green color on it. No, I was thinking more the books over there. I think one of them details "Anicent Net History" which, personally, outside of math I find interesting." He explained himself briefly. "Though I think you might look pretty good with that necklace around your neck." He complemented with a chuckle.

Then as she talked about the diamond. He could only shake his head with a grin. "I highly doubt I could compete against you CoalMine. It sounds like you're a regular here. And have been accumulating stamps for far longer than I can hope to think. Though I'm sure you might have some stiff competition from some of those with deep pockets."
"A history buff? Man. I guess we're, uh, a little less alike than I thought," CoalMine admitted, scratching the back of her hood with one oversized glove. This produced an ordinary hair scratching noise rather than the sound of nails on charcoal, thankfully. "If I was better at math and history I could probably change my name and do something else..."

It was hard to tell if the compliment made her expression change, but she let out a very dry laugh. "Me? In something like that? That's pretty rich!" she chortled. "I, uh, don't have a dress that matches, I can tell you that much."

As the two chatted, the lady GoodFaith made her way around the edge of the room with practiced speed and silence. Amazingly. Within seconds, she was nimbly searching through the pockets hidden in CoalMine's coat, matching subtle shifts in the other girl's movement to avoid detection. It was almost comical to observe CoalMine continuing to banter without noticing the thief's presence.

"Haha, well, I did say you couldn't compete on this one," she agreed, rubbing a thumb against where the bridge of her nose presumably lurked beneath her coat's hood. "And I meant it! These other jerks may be rich, but they also have a tendency to spend their premium stamps. Not me! I saved em up for something just like this. They say all the diamonds together form some kinda treasure map... can you imagine it?! And uh, if I need money quick, people will pay bucco bucks for the diamond! It's my way outta the life, I'm tellin' ya."

CoalMine was almost tragically excited as GoodFaith finished searching the last of her coat pockets. GoodFaith's expression showing growing vexation as she shook her head, still unnoticed by their target.

At first, Asymptote may interpret to mean that she was giving up, but it soon became clear that was not her intention. Instead, Goodfaith grabbed the hem of CoalMine's coat and with seemingly reckless abandon, began to lift it up past the legs and up to the waist. With the folds lifted, Asymptote would see his conversation partner's lower body clad in a navi suit of gray cloth, fitting about her thick, muscular legs and wide hips. Dark, black worker boots covered her feet. In a moment more, while securing the coat up with one hand and her teeth, the so-called noble lady was busily rooting through her pockets and the utility belt around the other girl's waist. The garments were stained with black soot... one might guess the whole coat was, but it was already jet black, so it was hard to tell.

"Hey, you look distracted," CoalMine pointed out ironically. "How about you? If you were saving up stamps, what would you wanna buy?" she asked with ridiculous calm given the situation. Whatever answer Asymptote came up with, it'd need to be pretty darn distracting, considering no punch card had been revealed yet.
(Abandoned after eight months because of lack of ability to write and RL shit, wonderful, ain't it?)