Chapter 10:

Duwang the Hustler


Today’s Fireday of the Redmoon, the second day of the third month of the 102nd year of the Aoelian calendar. It seems quite rudimentary to mention, but I figured that it’s important to set the tone and serve as some sort of prelude to what is to come.

I mean all grand things need some setup right? If you’re the president, you get accompanied by slick black limousines and a red carpet beneath your feet. If you’re the Emperor, you get trumpets blaring and royal guards decked in full armour.

And if you’re Azama and Rainee on their first day of school, you do this.

“Yo, Whitelad yo, aren’t you excited for school, yo?”

“I think I’m gonna die Azama.”

The voice is that of a barely-trying Rainee filtered through leather, who despite ten minutes of coaching, still sounds largely like his regular self.

“Azama? Who’s that, you mean Duwang the Hustler?”

“Yeah, I meant D-Duwang.”

As for me, I’m speaking two octaves lower, while accompanying each word with a bobbing of my head while throwing random hand signs. That’s just for the vocal department of course, cause I made sure to add some additional adjustments to the clothes too, yo.

It just so happens that I’m also wearing a traditional Elvish robe yo, a distinctively purple semicircular cloth that droops to my ankles yo, accompanied by a pair of sunglasses all the while yo.

Thankfully yo, in spite of his lack of vocal skills, Rainee more than compensates with his outfit.

Which, having been acquired through one-day drone shipping yo, is in fact a full body Raegnor cosplay, giant sword, armour and all. 

“Weren’t we supposed to integrate into the school community?” Speaks Rainee, gently prodding me. “What about this screams integration?”

“Trust me Whitelad”. I reply adamantly. “Everything’s going according to plan, yo.”

“Are you really gonna add yo to everything yo?”

“Yo are you judging my way of speech yo, that’s kinda not egalitarian yo.”

Maybe he’s right though. Adding yo to the end of every thought does get kinda repetitive yo. Though I do feel like it adds some charm when spoken, maybe just maybe, I should cut back on the frequency.

What do they say, less is more sometimes?

Anyways, there’s still a bit of time to ponder over things. Sixteen seconds to be precise. Sixteen seconds spent behind a tree, just short of a lunch break, waiting.

We decided prior to our arrival that we would just worm our ways into the cafeteria and get a grasp of the situation there, while preparing in the meantime.

People are more friendly when eating after all, something about the taste of food that just settles in a sense of ease.

How should I describe it?

Something like ‘even animals, separated in species and ranking, unite at a singular drinking hole, sharing with it, the spoils of water.’

Mhm, could be better, but I think it gets the point across.

The reason I’m thinking about these things of course, is because everything else is already finished.

So it’s not like we’re skimping on any details. No no, me and Rainee are actually taking this somewhat seriously, despite the seemingly absurd getup.

We talked plenty about what would happen, planned things out, and even ran a few test trials!

At this point, I don’t exactly feel like burdening Rainee with any additional pressure. Our little mage has already come far in exposing himself in full on cosplay, so a little leeway is in order I think!

Waiting with bated breath, I hear the bell ring.

It’s at the same time a prompt to action manifests.

I jostle to action and slightly shove Rainee, forcing us both into a calm strut towards the cafeteria as a result.

It’s a large complex, big enough to house the entirety of the student body, while being accessible indoors and out. You could think such a magnificent display of gastronomic ingenuity would be the only thing people looked at, but you would be wrong.

Rather than fixate on their next meal, a certain proportion of the student body instead diverts their attention to us. No more then a minute out of a bush and we've already garnered quite a bit of looks.

Already, we've received about nineteen glances from all directions, some lasting for a ephemeral moment, and others for seemingly forever.

“Yo, Duwang manifesting, yo.”

I take this opportunity to offer my greetings and brush past a student with a welcoming hand sign.

There’s not so much a response as there is a crease of brows, but honestly, it’s going pretty well.

Without being disturbed or physically mauled, we manage to arrive at the famed school lunch queue, stopping short behind dozens of other students in front.

“Yo, I’m thinkin’ the vegetarian set of the variation b, yo.”

Rainee doesn’t reply, instead choosing to linger in despondent silence.

Hanging his head low, then high to read the menu, then low again causes me to affirm what I witness is a clear act of social ineptitude.

Tsk tsk, is our poor wizard ashamed of associating with me in public?

Honestly, the more time that passes, the more that I think this whole ordeal is a wonderful idea.

Being thrust into uncomfortable scenarios and whatnot really does help one grow.

Whether student, or thirty year old man masquerading as a student, one can never really stop learning!

Take it from me when I got stranded in the Walpan jungle, and had to learn how to communicate with intelligent apes!

Well, no matter what Rainee wants his first trial is coming pretty soon. It should be relatively easy given that it only involves communicating with a lunch lady, but then again, it is Rainee.

Incidentally, as I think this, I see something important.

Ahead, a few steps away, appears a divergent point. A split into four transits, a place of harsh moral quandaries, and a ground of farewells and goodbyes where we must separate. Although highly dramatised, in truth what we’re confronted with is the choice to decide what food we want to eat.

In accordance with our corresponding tastes, I head down the vegetarian passage, and Rainee down the meat. It takes a few more minutes or so of walking but eventually I meet face to face with the lunch lady.

Who might I add, instinctively sets off a sense of uncanny awe.

There’s a fraction of a second where I lay confused, before I realise a very interesting detail.

Clearly, in her two eyes, exists a very visible digital interface. A rotund blue iris, evidently shining and metal in nature, literally spinning as I stand. Eye implants like these exist sure, but predominantly in Alpha-One where cybernetics were common, or amidst those with disabilities and lots of money.

However, let us be realistic for a second, and consider the possibility of Rainee happening to hire a worker with cybernetic eyes as a lunch lady over him commissioning or building androids.

Not going to lie, the latter seems far more probable!

What happened to Article 391 Rainee?

Thou shalt not make a machine in man’s image that may take their place and potentially conquer the world!

What happened?!

Thespian inclination aside, there’s really a lot to appreciate here. Mages like to fear monger too much anyway, always afraid of technological advancements, tsk tsk.

I say let them be made! Let more android machines in the likeness of human, elf, and dwarf be born into this world!

Seriously though, if I was a impressionable, desperate, and lonely teenage boy with no friends I could definitely envision myself falling in love with her. Her, or any of the other lunch ladies behind the serving counters. Of the seven visible, it’s evident that each one shares a distinctly different aesthetic, and placates a different want and fantasy.

Whether it be the cute long haired blonde with an unobtrusive maid outfit, the tall elf in a frilly gothic dress, or just a aproned dwarf kitchen worker. There’s no thematic coherence among the clothes or races, and yet, it still presents with it a distinct sort of charm.

Or to be more specific, that is the charm. The wonders of possibility and choice.

“Variation,” I say. “B,” I continue, and enunciating it further “yo” I finish.

Scooping out my desired food onto a segmented metal plate, the lunch lady smiles, pushes it to me, and beckons me along with a sway of her hand.

I make a note of conversing with her in the future, but otherwise begin to walk out. 

It's then during my stride that there appears a as of yet unoccupied table.

Located in the utmost right corner of the room surrounded by none save for a few wayward students, it seems like the perfect place for a duo of social deviants.

Naturally, I give Rainee who’s still in the queue a wink and seat myself there.

All of this eventually amounts to him rendezvousing with me, darting his head around for any sight of potential enemies and us beginning to have a conversation.

“So.” He declares, straining his voice like a smoker. “What next?”

“We have ourselves a lovely meal and wait, sooner or later, some people will notice us, approach, and bam, something Azamazing will happen.”


“Sure as the Azamazing Duwang can be.”

Rainee pauses and offers a somewhat soft-spoken concern.

“You uh realise you’re saying your name every time you repeat that word right?”

“Yo the Duwangamazing Duwang has no idea what you’re saying yo.”

“You could at least try to keep it somewhat consistent.”

Don’t worry Rainee, I’m only doing it intentionally to torment you.

I wouldn’t let the plan be compromised by stupidity, pinky promise!

That is unless some extremely unprecedented and peculiar variable were to erupt out of nowhere, of course.

“Greetings gentlemen”. A voice says, considerably warm. “What is this I hear about something… Duwangamazing?”

Wow, and just in the nick of time!

Steward McOy
Kya Hon
Hungry Sheep
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