Oh, hey again. Another early update because I feel like it. Onward~

"Oh, come onnnnnnnnuuuuhhhhhhhhhhh~!"

Yuri Sakazaki shouted as she frantically pounded on the door in front of her. If Pantera's The Great Southern Trendkill wasn't blaring from the other side of it she would have assumed that the tenant was either out and about or sleeping, as she hadn't responded to a single call or text message during the day, but, obviously, that wasn't the case. And, so, Yuri Sakazaki continued to hit the door with almost everything she had (everything she had would splinter the wood and eventually knock it down completely), disturbed by the events she had just witnessed not even a full hour before. It took another two minutes, but, finally, the volume of the music went down (but not by much) and an exasperated voice called, "I'm coming, I'm coming!" from inside the apartment. Within a few seconds the door was finally pulled open by an impatient Mai Shiranui, who was dressed in frumpy pajamas: There was a thin tape measure draped over her shoulders, and her hair was pulled up in a messy bun. She raised her perfectly shaped eyebrows, her ridiculously gorgeous features going from agitated to surprised to cheerful in the span of a second.

"Oh! Hey girl!" She said happily, stepping aside so Yuri could enter.
"Where've you been?!" Yuri exclaimed over the music.
"I've been here! Andy's out training, but I didn't go with him because I was having some really bad cramps so I decided to stay home and work on this new dress, instea — why do you look like that?"

Yuri took a deep breath and held it as she stalked right over to the stereo and turned it almost all the way down.

"When's the last time you checked your phone?"
"I dunno," Mai said with a shrug.
"When's the last time you talked to Céccy?!"
"I went to see her at the bar yesterday. Yuri, what's going on? What happened? Is she okay?! Are you okay?!"

Not exactly blessed with the strongest ability to handle stress, Yuri plopped down on the nearby couch while she took deep, meditative breaths in a fruitless attempt to calm herself. Meanwhile, Mai stood over her, expectant, curious, and alarmed.

"Your friend is a PSYCHOPATH!" Yuri finally yelled.
"What?! Who? Kingy?!"
"No! Mary!"
"Why? What'd Mary do?"
"She-she used a stun g-g-gun on Ryo, nearly snapped his arm in half, and-and broke two of his fingers!"
"WHAT?!" Mai yelled. "Why would she do that?!"
"Because she's nuts!"
"No no no. I mean… yeah, she does have a little Jekyll and Hyde thing going on," Mai said while lowering herself onto the floor in front of Yuri, "but she only gets that way if there's a really good reason — like, if someone hurts somebody she's close to or something. Yuri, what did your brother do?!"

At that, Yuri grimaced.

"You don't… you don't know what's going on, do you?"
"No…? What's happening?" Mai asked hesitantly.
"He said something really messed up to Céccy —"
" — so I guess Mary got real mad about it. Like… real mad."
"Oh, no... What'd he say?"

And, so, Yuri took a few minutes to fill in all the blanks for Mai, whose eyes became wider and wider with each new detail. By the time the story was finished she was completely slack-jawed, her hands gripping her tape measure.

"Woooooooow," she breathed.
"Yup," Yuri responded weakly. With a wince she placed a hand on the back of her head; she really hoped she wasn't about to have a migraine attack now.

"So… let me get this straight," Mai began. "Ryo talked to Kingy at some point last night…"
"And he told her that she's slept with too many men…"
"...So you and Robert were talking to him at Pao Pao when Mary came in, completely lost it, and attacked him?"

Mai sat back on her haunches, thoughtful.

"What a mess," she sighed.
"Tell me about it! I was ready to go after her myself but Robbie held me back. I told Ryo he should at least press charges. I mean, he's a butt, but he didn't deserve all of that!"
"Maybe not… but…"
"But what?! There's no 'but!'"
"Honestly, if somebody said that about you I'd probably burn them!" Mai declared while raising a fist in the air. "Nobody ever messes with my Yuri!"
"But nobody's messing with me..."
"No, but that's how Mary feels about Kingy, it's super cute and I totally get it. By the way, where even is she?"
"Who? Mary? Getting arrested, I hope."
"Knowing her she probably turned herself in, but I'm not talking about her right now I'm talking about Kingy! Where is she in all this?"
"I dunno… She never called or texted back," Yuri informed Mai while pulling her phone from her pocket to check the time. "Do you know if she's working today?"
"I don't remember if she said," Mai answered. "Only one way to find out…"

Yuri watched as Mai nimbly sprung to her feet, plucked her phone from the top of the nearby television console, and began navigating her contacts. She tapped the screen twice and sat down next to Yuri: The pair waited expectantly as the line rang. Two rings.



And then:

"...What's up?"
"Kingy!" Mai exclaimed. "Kingy, I heard what happened — can you talk to us?!"
"Yuri's here, too."
"Hi, Céccy," Yuri said with a wave despite not being on a video call.
"Oh. Hey. I'm out so it's not a good time."
"Oh. Well… are you doing okay?" Mai inquired, her tone a little cautious.

Yuri could hear King draw in a very deep breath from wherever she was. Knowing her she was probably pressing her lips together because she always did that for whatever reason.

"I've been better," came King's reply. She sounded tired; robotic even. "But I'm with Jean right now, so can we just talk later?"
"Of course!"
"Okay, bye Kingy!"

With that, Mai ended the call. She placed her hands in her lap and shot Yuri a pointed look.

"She's really upset."
"So am I, thanks to Mary," Yuri huffed, her brother's beating still fresh in her mind.
"Oh, forget about her for a second," Mai told her with a well-timed eye-roll. "We should do something nice for Kingy!"
"Like what?"

Mai fidgeted with the tape measure as she thought carefully, her brow furrowed.

"Normally I'd want to make a nice dress for her, but —"
"But we helped her burn all of her skirts and dresses after…"
"Yeah, so that's no good."

Both women stopped talking so they could each give it some real thought. Something nice for King that would take her mind off of things… what would that be? She'd dig a bottle of fancy wine, but Yuri really didn't want to enable her drinking, as she had used alcohol as something of a coping mechanism way too much since the kidnapping and was consciously trying to cut back. So that wouldn't work…

"Ooh, I know!" Mai suddenly declared.
"We bring her some roses and junk food, and have an old-school sleepover! Movies and popcorn and all that stuff! Take her mind off of it and show her that she's loved no matter what!"

Yuri considered Mai's suggestion and quickly realized that there was a fantastic way to expand on it.

"I can bring her some of my 'medication!' She gets all giggly and relaxed, and she needs that right now!"
"But what happens when it wears off?" Mai asked seriously. "I mean… it doesn't change the fact that your brother said what he said, and crush or no crush, that's still really insensitive. It's going to stick with her no matter what we do you know..."
"I know," Yuri replied sadly. "But…"
"But you know what?" Mai said after just a moment, "We'll be there to remind her that she's a dynamite gal!"

Yuri snickered at Mai's enthusiasm, but instantly fell quiet. King had gone through so much — she had come really far, and she was actually okay on most days (now) — but being thought of in such a negative light by someone she had kindasorta been into on some level was definitely going to have an effect on her. However, there was no doubt in Yuri's mind that, with a little gentle reassurance from her friends, she would overcome this little hiccup, too, and when she did… not only would she be stronger, but she'd probably kick Ryo's ass herself.

Dynamite gal indeed.

I think this chapter is pretty straightforward but here's some stuff just in case:

* Mai canonically listens to heavy metal music.
* One of Mai's hobbies is making dresses, hence the tape measure over her shoulders. A little factoid here is when she becomes manic ("Kingverse" Mai has bipolar disorder) she can bang out an entire dress or two in the span of a few hours.
* Another "off-screen" moment: After the events of MLS King had Mai and Yuri help her literally burn any skirts or dresses she owned.
* Yuri's medication for those who are new: edibles! Even though she has a massive pain tolerance (like her brother and father), she gets severe migraines that even she can't really handle. Hence the more... natural remedies that she'll sometimes share with King for recreational use. (It's totally legal in Southtown okay.)
* Dynamite Gal is just... Mai being cute, but that phrase is also used in the movie Wreck-It Ralph.

Alright! That does it for this installment! For all you Mai fans wondering where she's been: there. There she is. She's been chillin' at home. With cramps.

Until next time! Cheers~