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SCENE 3 Dilly-Dally

The icon of St Michel gazes with blank, unjudging shale eyes amidst the square, like a kind of rorschach mirror, and Utena sees the little details embroidered in the shale, life-size statue on the pedestal. All the wrinkles on St Michel's face correctly reproduced and the drooping folds of his robe's fabric, down to his knees. Andrei Valken says St Michel is one of the patron saints sent over to watch the community's wellbeing – see, the plaque there mentions it.

He seems like a nice and polite l'homme, that was Utena's first impression of him. He's soft-spoken, his voice rarely a pitch higher than his interlocutor's, and he has a shy gait that seems to all but suggest he'll do whatever it takes if it makes you happy, my good madame.

When Utena and Robin had left with him, he'd brought up the idea that to be able to smoothly go with the flow in Strasbourg, they needed to get in touch with the moods and feel of the streets. At least, that is how he would manage to orient himself when visiting a new place. Why not? The EU offices aren't open to the general public until it's past afternoon, and he can buy them yogurt-fraize ice cream in the meanwhile.

Utena makes a meek attempt to peer up St Michel's dress to see if he's wearing any fancy underwear. “Wouldn't you have it,” she says after relenting. “Apparently it's supposed to be so dark it's solid underneath.”

When the sky had cleared to a serene blue, you could just feel the briskness on your nose's tip and your cheeks – it's the enlivening briskness of standing by a flowing waterfall without the wetness. It resonates well with the tones from an accordion being played somewhere, and the noise seamlessly blends in with the rest of the colours seen.

A little later, Andrei decides to show the girls to the Rhein-Ruhr Zentrum shopping outlet – a place where there's mostly groceries in frozen aisles and some snackerals, such as baguettes, chocolate, ice cream and roasted beef. It'll just be a brief spout of shopping.

“You have to buy some stuff for yourselves!” Andrei goes, toting a shopping cart. “It might be souvenir, it might be in case you go hungry. Hey, I'll pay for it even!”

So they fetch groceries, baguettes, some of the chocolate (especially some of Timmy's brand), yogurt-fraize ice cream and freshly made, chopped roasted beef – all in the span of 25 minutes.

Now it is 11:58 AM. To the tongue, the ice cream has the tenderness of vanilla milk with strawberry fruitiness.

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June 2017

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