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 [Relaxed] That's No Moon

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Sailor Jupiter
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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Sun 29 Apr - 13:31



The old hermit sighed, softening. "You must do what you think is right, of course." And I am happy, at least, for the ride, she thought.

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Tue 1 May - 9:21

Meanwhile, on the partially-constructed battle station SILENCE GLAIVE...



She stood quietly behind the pair she had entered with, an imposing presence in ivory and gold. Most of the officers seated at the large, curved table kept their eyes averted from the armored warrior. They followed the will of the Lunar Empire, but she knew they were not true believers. They relied too much on weapons, like this battle station. Yes, the Silence Glaive would be a force to be reckoned with, but it all paled to the powers of the Force that the Empress served.

Darth Selene remained as still as a statue, thinking about the bickering that she and Grand Moffs Tenou and Kaiou had walked into. She stood back while the Grand Moffs delivered the important message: the Imperial Senate was no longer.

It was a message that several clearly had difficulty swallowing, but it was the will of the Empress. They would respect her bidding.

"What of the Rebellion? If the Rebels have obtained a complete technical readout of this station it is possible, however unlikely, that they might find a weakness and exploit it," asked the slimy-looking Commander.

The synthesized voice spoke out, and several of those seated at the table recoiled just to hear it.

"The plans you speak of will soon be back in our hands," Darth Selene commented.

One of the officers scoffed, smug with self-satisfaction. "Any attack made by the Rebels will be a useless gesture, no matter what data they've obtained. We control the ultimate power in the universe—I suggest that we use it."

"Don't be too proud of this technological terror. The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant compared to the power of the Force," Selene cautioned, thinking again of the simple minds of these peons.

Again, the same admiral from before rolled his eyes and sneered. "Don't try frightening us with your witch's ways, Lord Selene. Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up stolen data or given you clairvoyance to find the Rebel's hidden—"

She had only raised her hand slightly, curving her fingers inward, and yet the man seated at the table gasped as his airway restricted. His legs kicked and jerked involuntarily, and he clutched at his throat but could find no relief. Although the white mask remained unblinking, he knew Darth Selene was staring at him, watching the impact of her small display of power.

"I find your lack of faith disturbing," said the synthesized voice.

The sea-storm eyes of Grand Moff Kaiou fixed on Darth Selene, lips twisted in distaste at the behaviour of those present. "Selene. Release him," she commanded.

"As you wish," came the reply, and when her hand dropped the admiral collapsed on the tabletop, gasping and rubbing at his neck.

"This bickering is pointless," came the voice of Grand Moff Tenou. "Lord Selene will provide us with the location of the Rebel base by the time this station is fully operational."

Kaiou stepped up behind her. "We will crush the Rebellion in one swift stroke."
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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Tue 1 May - 9:29

Back on the desert planet, young Moonwalker and Old Setsuna Meiou headed towards Anchorhead...

Usagi stared at the wreckage of the massive sandcrawler, dark clouds pouring from the thing and into the sky. They had approached cautiously when they saw the smoke in the distance, but whatever had ruined the vehicle-and-home of the desert traders had abandoned it. She felt sick to see so many bodies of the small robed figures, most badly burned, others shot. Usagi had to keep looking away. Life on the moisture farm didn't isolate her from the unpleasant details of the fighting tribes, but seeing it up close like this made her stomach turn and her eyes sting with tears unshed.

"It looks like Youma did this, but... I don't know... I see the dust piles they leave behind, and tracks from their mounts... I didn't think they attacked anything this big," she commented to Plu-to, trying not to think about the remains of senseless violence around her.
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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Tue 1 May - 9:51



Plu-to crouched, inspecting the marks. "They don't," she said, brushing her fingertips lightly across the burn marks scorched into the little robes. The force tugged at her thoughts, "But we're meant to think they did. Look, Usagi. These tracks are side by side. Youma always ride single file to hide their numbers."

Still crouched, she gazed up at the girl. She's far too young to face this, she thought. "The blast points," she pointed, "They're too precise, too accurate for Youma." But face it she must. "Only Imperial Sailortroopers are this precise."

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Tue 1 May - 11:45

Usagi raised an eyebrow at Plu-to's comments. She couldn't wrap her mind around what was being suggested. Skirmishes happened all the time between all the different creatures and tribes living out in the desert area here, but... nothing so serious as to warrant Imperial attention. After all, the Empire almost never even visited this place, it being so remote and desolate. That assessment just didn't make sense to the blonde farmgirl, but with her eyes she could clearly see the accuracy that Old Setsuna mentioned. The marks didn't have the haphazardness of a rough fight.

She noticed something else, as well. A few of the destroyed droids she had definitely seen before.

"Hey, these are the traders that sold us Loo-nah and Arty," she said. "But why would Sailortroopers want to kill them?"

When she looked over her shoulder, she saw the two droids moving the bodies of the dead robed creatures. The girl shuddered at the gruesome sight. She then remembered cleaning them, looking over all that carbon scoring. And as her thoughts continued... the blood drained from her face. She remembered the secret message. She thought of what Old Setsuna had invited her to do. What else could the Imperial troops possibly be looking for, except... those two droids? Her entire body felt frozen, both in motion and in temperature.

"If they traced the robots here, they could have learned who they sold them to," she whispered, her voice hoarse. "And that would lead them... home!"

Usagi was already running towards her speeder before she finished speaking, the hermit alongside her completely forgotten. Uncle Kenji and Aunt Ikuko... they didn't know anything about this! They were in danger and it was her fault! The girl revved the engine, oblivious to anything else, abandoning the droids and her companion, and peeled out across the sand towards the Tsukino moisture farm.

She could see the smoke from the distance, but she tried to convince herself it was something else. It wasn't like what she had seen with the destroyed sandcrawler—that was just her imagination. Maybe it was because she hadn't taken the droids to perform maintenance to the vaporators on the south ridge. One of them could have burst a pipe and leaked moisture across some circuits. That would definitely cause a fire. If it spread to a few more, the fire would be even larger, right? That could explain what she saw.

Even when she reached the farm and saw the damage, buildings and machinery laced with blaster shots, framed by the reddish glow of the setting suns, Usagi couldn't really believe it. The wind whipped at her hair and scratched her face with sand as she ran unsteadily towards their home.

"Uncle Kenji! Aunt Ikuko! Uncle Kenji?"

The blue eyes fixed on the smoldering piles of ashes and bone in front of her, but her brain couldn't comprehend it.

When she realized what she saw, the girl fell to her knees on the sand, sobbing.
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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Tue 1 May - 11:52

On the SILENCE GLAIVE, there is one very precious prisoner in the Detention Cells...



The doors slid open with a hydraulic hiss, and the Sailortroopers and Imperial guards entered before her, yet all eyes were on Darth Selene as she strode purposefully into the room, her white cape billowing behind her. Beside her floated a white orb, this a droid of a particular nature, most useful for certain... discussions that prisoners might be subject to.

She smiled, although the mask remained impassive, as Princess Minako's expression turned from defiant to frightened, the girl's blue eyes fixated on the robot. She knew what it was used for. The young woman's alarm only increased as the orb separated and began to unfold its myriad of arms, each equipped with unique and essential equipment. The light glinted on sharp tips, fine blades, and other such delightful features.

"And now, Princess, we will discuss the location of the Rebel base," came the static-overlaid alto voice, the armored figure gesturing for the droid to approach.

It extended a long, jointed arm tipped with a hypodermic needle, steadily beeping at a low pitch.

When the doors to the cell closed, the screams were hardly loud enough to disturb anyone else in the detention area.
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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Tue 1 May - 11:56

Back on the desert planet, Usagi rejoins Plu-to and the droids, still at the sandcrawler site...

She came back because it was all she could think of. She couldn't stay there. It was too much. The landspeeder decelerated almost as though it felt the girl's own sorrow, slowly halting near the massive ruined vehicle, at a thankful distance from the mass grave of robed bodies. Usagi slowly climbed off of the speeder, hanging her head. The tear streaks on her cheeks were so fresh.
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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Wed 2 May - 10:46



Plu-to stood, the sand whipping her ankles as L0-N4 helped to burn the last of the bodies left in the sand. The smell was dense and acrid, blown on the breeze and Plu-to covered her face with the sleeve of her cloak. Any evidence that Sailortroopers were here needed to be wiped clean, lest other unsavory parties begin poking into the happenings of the small, desert planet.

Behind her, a speeder whirred to a stop, and Plu-to turned, finding Usagi deflated and tear striken. In her absence, Plu-to had thought hard about what to say. She had never been the best at comforting, and the long years spent alone certainly hadn't improved her skills.

"There's nothing you could have done, Usagi," she reassured, "If you had been there, they would have killed you too, and the droids would be in the hands of the Empire."

Lucky. Plu-to didn't say it, but Usagi had been. Extremely, extremely lucky. Lucky, or destined for greater things... To escape such a fate? There could be little question it was the work of the Force. There was, after all, no such thing as coincidence.

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Wed 2 May - 11:47

She didn't really hear Old Setsuna's attempt at consolation. Her mind raced with thoughts that drowned out the world around her. The reality of her aunt and uncle's deaths left her adrift—she had been an orphan all her life, but now she had no one care for or be cared for. The simple life on the moisture farm, which she had hated so much... it was no longer an option for Usagi. If she went back there, whatever had killed her relatives would finish the job and do the same to her. The only things she had were her speeder and the two droids—the only person this wizened desert hermit.

What could she do now?

The blonde turned to look up at the robed woman, meeting those wise garnet eyes with her own.

"I want to come with you. There's nothing for me here. I want to learn the ways of the Force and become a Guardian... like my mother," she replied.

Like my mother, she thought. I've lost everything else, but maybe I can find her legacy.
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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Tue 8 May - 13:56

Later, across the desert...



Usagi took the helm of the nondescript little speeder, and soon the unlikely quartet was silently speeding across the vast desert. As they crested a ridge, a dusty, brown city with square buildings and domed roofing came into view.

"Mos Eisley Spaceport," Plu-to grimaced, "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy." She had placed extra emphasis on the words. "We must be cautious."

In no time at all, the city was upon them. As if on cue, a line of Sailortroopers appeared. Plu-to calmed her breathing as two broke formation and approached the craft. "Halt," said one, holding up her hand up to indicate they should come to a stop. "How long have you had these droids?" The Sailortrooper's helmet distorted her voice, making her sound static-y and robotic.

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Tue 8 May - 14:17

Usagi took a deep breath, trying not to tighten her grip on the controls of the speeder. They had been through this. She knew what she was supposed to do. She tried to keep the blank, carefree expression on her face, but she felt intimidated by the armored Sailortroopers. That was the point, wasn't it?

"Three or four seasons, I think?" she replied, doing her best to keep her voice steady. "Not really sure."
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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Tue 8 May - 14:37



The two Troopers faced one another, presumably exchanging glances beneath their helmets. "Let me see your identification," said one.

Plu-to lifted her hand, passing it from left to right in a subtle arc. "You don't need to see her identification."

The trooper paused. "We don't need to see her identification."

Plu-to repeated the gesture. "These are not the droids you're looking for."

The Trooper responded faster this time. "These are not the droids we're looking for," she said, turning to her companion.

"She can go about her business," Plu-to intoned, a slight mischievousness in her voice.

"You can go about your business," parroted the Trooper.

The old Jedi turned to Usagi with a wink. Still got it, she thought. "Move along."

"Move along," said the Trooper.

From the back of the speeder, L0 let out an impressed, mechanical whistle as the craft moved away.

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Tue 8 May - 15:35

When the Sailortroopers asked for her identification, Usagi obediently fumbled for it. She had it in her hand, and then somehow they were ushered on their way. The blonde tried not to gawk.

She glided the vehicle to a halt alongside a rag-tag crew outside a battered-looking cantina. She barely had it fully shifted before a hooded desert trader had appeared alongside the thing, cooing and petting it. As 4RT3M15 grumbled about it, the girl attempted to shoo it away. Her attempts were slightly half-hearted; she couldn't stop thinking about the Sailortroopers they had so narrowly avoided.

"Go on, move along!" she fussed at it. The robed figure hesitated, but finally obliged. Usagi leaned back against the speeder, musing aloud.

"I don't know how we got past them. I thought for sure we were done for!"
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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Sun 20 May - 18:46



Plu-to couldn't help but smirk at the scene of Usagi and the droid fussing at the little creature. It felt good to have something to smile about again. Alone in the desert for all that time, and now I'm laughing in the middle of a busy space port. How fast things change. She felt a piece of herself stirring that hadn't for some time.

"I don't know how we got past them. I thought for sure we were done for!"

"There is much the Force can do, Usagi. It's a powerful ally. One shouldn't overuse it, but in a pinch it can have a great use... especially on the weak minded. You will find it helpful in future, I'm sure."

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Mon 21 May - 8:30

All of Plu-to's talk about the Force had yet to make a real impact on Usagi. She still wasn't sure what to think of the old woman. On the one hand, she felt a desire to be polite and respectful—Aunt Ikuko would have been so disappointed if she acted differently. But she couldn't but Uncle Kenji's warnings out of her mind; she didn't really know Old Setsuna. People said the hermit was "crazy". Usagi didn't know how much she should really trust her... even though she wanted to trust the forest-haired woman.

"Do you really think we'll find a pilot here?" she asked, looking around. Mos Eisley wasn't exactly a welcoming place.
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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Sun 27 May - 20:31



"Believe it or not, most of the best freighter pilots can be found here." Because the fastest pilots are also the most unsavory, she thought dryly. "But, do watch your step. Mos Eisley can be a little... rough."

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Tue 29 May - 9:50

At this, Usagi spoke more from bravado than anything else. She flipped a ponytail over her shoulder.

"I'm ready for anything."

Behind her, the silver 4RT3M15 turned back to his cylindrical companion.

"Come along, Loo-nah," he said, ready to follow Usagi and the desert hermit.
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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Fri 22 Jun - 10:21



Plu-to leads the group, stepping through a nearby door.

The atmosphere inside is a sharp change from the wind battered dunes of the dusty city. Vibrant, staccato music pierces the air as all manner of aliens mill about. Long-tentacled, furry, several-eyed and clawed beings all litter the cramped establishment. Some drink at a long, metallic bar. Others dance seductively or chat quietly at their tables, throwing furtive glances as they nurse their mugs of interstellar alcohol.


A hard voice cuts through the din-

"We don't serve their kind here!"

The old Jedi slides her eyes to Usagi, gently moving her hand to her holstered weapon. She watches and waits, saying nothing.

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Fri 22 Jun - 10:33

It took more than a few seconds for the comment to reach Usagi's ears. Wide blue eyes surveyed the interior of the bar, her excitement growing as she adjusted to the different lighting. She couldn't believe the array of creatures she saw. Before this moment, Usagi wouldn't have thought she was unfamiliar with different people. The moisture farm was remote, sure, but they interacted with a variety of traders and merchants, and she came into town whenever she could. Now she slowly understood just how little that represented.

When she turned and met the hard eyes of the waiting bartender, the blonde blinked.

"What?"

He jabbed a finger in the direction of L0-N4 and 4RT3M15. The smaller droid beeped quietly to her companion.

"The droids! They have to wait outside. We don't want them here," the bartender snarled.

Usagi glanced over at Old Setsuna for guidance, nervous at the hostility.
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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Sun 8 Jul - 13:59



Her stance relaxed as the bartender's intentions became clear. She decided it would be a good opportunity for young Usagi to exercise her skills in diplomacy and turned away, instead trawling the bar for the least parasitic looking "trader."

She roamed past a few pairs of obvious looking pirates, her gaze halting on a large, furry creature far taller than herself. A wookie. They could be a temperamental race - their anger bordered on legendary - but they were also fiercely loyal and, as a group, still largely devoted to the Republic... and by association, the rebellion.

She arranged her features into their calmest looking display, and tapped the bandolier brandishing wookie on the back.

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Mon 9 Jul - 9:30

The woman was off elsewhere, already mingling among the patrons. Usagi sighed, taking a deep breath. They'd be okay. Other people might think that Old Setsuna was crazy, but the blonde doubted that the woman would drag her into danger. Usagi leaned over and gave a small nod to the silver droid.

"Could you wait outside? Together?" she asked 4RT3M15. She licked her dry lips, blue eyes glancing nervously around the bar. "We don't want any trouble."

The pair acquiesced, the taller and more vocal of the two making a quiet comment about "uncultured" persons that thankfully the bar patrons failed to hear.

Usagi squeezed closer and drummed her fingers against the surface of the bar, trying not to stare at anyone. This place was so strange. She hadn't been in an establishment like this in her entire life—and it was making her realize just how little she really knew, even of her home. Her uncle would never have allowed her to... She felt tears prick her eyes and hastily caught the attention of the bartender, ordering... something. Having a cool glass in her hand made it easier to not think about... those things.
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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Wed 15 Aug - 20:26



Before long, the two were speaking in earnest.

"Just me and the farm girl, the one with the pigtails, just there," Plu-to said, pointing. The hairy creature gave a roaring laugh, exposing his pointed teeth and shook his head. I expected as much. "We are prepared to offer you payment for our passage." She was a hermit, not a fool. Money greased many palms in the wide expanse of the galaxy, and she had little doubt that it would be of use here, too.

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Thu 16 Aug - 8:22

Usagi startled visibly when the creature Old Setsuna spoke with let out such a booming noise. She tried to cover it up, tried to look like she wasn't unsettled just being here. She thought she knew what this place was like, but her Uncle Kenji never would have taken her to a place like this. Now that she was here, she would have regretted asking to go. Blue eyes glanced up, wondering if she was the only one in this whole bar who felt this way.

Another patron at the bar shoved into her, howling and laughing in some unfamiliar language. Usagi tried not to tremble, tried to turn so that her back would face the rowdy stranger. When she did so, another hand tapped her shoulder, two more grubby strangers vying for her attention.

One of them spoke her language, but that wasn't much of a benefit. "He doesn't like you," the masked thing said, jabbing a thumb at the creature who had bumped into her first.

"I'm... I'm sorry," she stammered, trying to back up. There was nowhere to go. She knew the rest of the bar was watching now, amused at the entertainment.

"I don't like you either."

The large beast-like thing with many legs howled again, a string of noises that meant nothing to Usagi's ears. She tensed.

"You better watch out. We're wanted men. I've got the Pure Heart Crystal sentence in twelve systems!" the group's volunteer translator hissed.

"Um... okay. I'll be careful," she replied lamely, feeling tears start to gather in her eyes.

"You'll be dead!"

They were moving back now, the rest of the bar clearly space. Usagi tried to quell the rising panic in her chest, but she knew this was bad. The three strangers, all foreign to her in so many ways, surrounded her. A variety of hands reached slowly for their weapons.
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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Fri 17 Aug - 8:03



"This girl isn't worth the effort," came Setsuna's soothing voice. She had moved to Usagi in a flash and was now making a small, discrete motion with her hand. "Come, let me buy you something." She gave a gentle, encouraging smile.

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Fri 17 Aug - 8:19

She didn't have a moment to feel relief at Old Setsuna's reappearance. The creature, rather than being appeased by the robed woman, struck out instead. Usagi barely had a moment to gasp, eyes widened in shock, as an arm swept her off her feet and sent her flying into one of the tables.
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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Mon 20 Aug - 8:23



Everything seemed to happened at once. The patron leveled a blaster at Plu-to, the bartender screamed, "No blasters! No blasters!" and with a sizzle, a purple beam shot forward and an arm landed with a sickening splat on the bar floor. Plu-to sheathed the weapon just as quickly as she had engaged it, and stood, peering calmly around the room.

Those who had seen anything quickly pretended they hadn't, turning back to their chatter and their drinks as the band picked up their tune. She didn't want to reveal any more about her identity than was necessary, but, she reasoned, it had been necessary. This meant that she and the young farm girl needed to move even more quickly than before. The sooner we're off planet, the better. She turned to Usagi. "This is Makoto." Plu-to pointed to the Wookie. "She's a first mate on a ship that may suit our needs."

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] That's No Moon   Mon 20 Aug - 8:38

Usagi scrambled to her feet, shocked, mind-reeling. She knew that Old Setsuna had rescued her from the creatures in the desert, but she hardly expected to see the ancient woman actually fight someone. Not only that, the dark-haired woman in the hooded robe had acted with a grace hardly anticipated for someone of so many years. What had she called the weapon she gave Usagi? Elegant. Seeing it handled by someone else, Usagi suddenly understood the descriptor.

She dusted herself off and dutifully made her way back to Plu-to, looking rather like a worried puppy. She was going to be very happy to get out of this place.

"Hi, Makoto," she offered shyly, trying not to seem as intimidated as she felt. Blue eyes looked up at Old Setsuna again, feeling—given how popular she seemed to be among the patrons here—that the older woman ought to lead the rest of this conversation.
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[Relaxed] That's No Moon

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