Backgrounds of Fate: Prench Roast (Imcomplete)

AMedicalKrabbyPatty Jan 22nd, 2016 (edited) 177 Never
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  1. “My name is Prench Roast and I can do this.”
  2. >You look at yourself in the mirror.
  3. >A look of determination falls over your features.
  4. “My name is Prench Roast and I can do this!”
  5. >The brown shirt you wear is neat, tucked and professional.
  6. >Honestly it made you look good.
  7. >The brown shirt (that was really more of a tan) complemented your brown coat and made your hazel eyes pop out.
  8. >And that went without saying how it stopped at a utility belt just before your hips which only made them more pronounced.
  9. >...
  10. >Okay, yes.
  11. >You’re checking yourself out in the mirror.
  12. >Normal ponies can do that.
  13. >Your eyes travel from you flank to your barrel and come to rest on the red around your foreleg.
  14. >That red band...
  15. >It’s wonderful to be wearing his mark.
  16. >You are part of something bigger.
  17. >Your curly mocha mane is just the right amount of unmanaged and you feel good.
  18. >Damn good.
  19. >Sexy even.
  20. >You smile at that thought.
  21. >If your mother caught you calling yourself sexy....
  22. >That actually got a giggle out of you.
  23. >You aren’t really sure if she'd scream at you, faint or start trying to give you... ugh...
  24. >...'advice.'
  25. >To be honest, she would try to talk about you being in uniform and that thought gets a grimace out of you.
  26. >Mom means well but she just doesn’t understand.
  27. >That doesn’t matter, though.
  28. >The most she’d do is dance around the subject and try to make you say something negative about the brownshirts so she doesn't have to.
  29. >As if.
  30. >You are going to be a Black Hand one day.
  31. >You love Mom to death but she wasn't ready to accept the fact that you're almost an adult and that you could make your own decisions.
  32. >She'll just have to deal with it.
  33. >You looked resolutely at the mirror one last time and took a breath.
  34. “MY NAME IS PRE-”
  35. >The door opens suddenly and you scream.
  36. “DAD!! GET OUT!!”
  37. >You feel yourself blush furiously in embarrassment.
  38. >He looks surprised at first but then amused.
  39. >”I'm sorry I was just making sure you weren't being savaged by a manticore or something.”
  40. >You huffed in annoyance.
  41. “Dad, I could have been getting out of the shower or something! Don't barge into the bathroom like that!”
  42. >”Screaming 'I'm Prench Roast and I can do this' all the while?”
  43. >You stomp your hoof.
  44. “T-that's not the point! Just knock next time ok?”
  45. >"Right, that was rude of me.”
  46. >Your father turns and starts trotting away towards the stairs.
  47. >”But speaking of rude, customers were getting concerned about all the yelling upstairs so I came to check on you.”
  48. >Oh geez, ponies heard that?!
  49. >You know, you can just drown yourself in the bathtub to save yourself the embarrassment.
  50. >You forgot you and your family live above the coffee shop.
  51. >”Also your mother thought you'd like to know that it's 2:47. She said you had some kind of meeting to go to.”
  52. >Oh Manos, save you... you’re late!
  53. >Today a representative of the Black Hands is coming all the way from Ponyville to oversee the meeting and talk about what it takes to be a Hand.
  54. >You can’t miss this for anything.
  55. >Taking one last glance in the mirror, you galloped out the door straight past your father.
  56. >Down the stairs and out the door with that annoying bell that dings every single a pony goes in or out.
  57. >You stopped and yelled into the shop.
  58. “Bye Mom! Bye Dad!”
  59. >And with that you took to the streets and realized you had about ten minutes to get halfway across town.
  61. >You can’t do this.
  62. >There’s no denying you’d be late but for the love of Fate you had to stop.
  63. >If you didn't stop your lungs would catch on fire.
  64. >You stop and leaned against a tree panting hard.
  65. >Manebridge isn’t a small town by any means and to think you could gallop through all of it was foolish.
  66. >It dawned on you that you were sweaty from that gallop and therefore got your uniform sweaty.
  67. >You half growled, half groaned, and half huffed which drew the oddest sound from your throat.
  68. >After catching your breath you make your way towards a nearby fountain and look at your reflection.
  69. >Overall, you’re still presentable thankfully enough.
  70. >Taking a step back you turned and continued your journey.
  71. >Trotting this time.
  72. >You’re not going to get anywhere if you drop the moment you made it to the meeting but you already know you’re gonna hear it from Midnight, head of the Manebridge Brownshirts.
  73. >Heck, you didn't get your uniform until recently because Midnight didn't think you serious enough about being a Brownshirt.
  74. >The truth was nopony in this town was more devoted to Manos than you.
  75. >It’s just tough finding a good balance between the needs of your family and the Brownshirts.
  76. >Whether or not she saw true devotion in you or not, in a year and a half it wouldn't matter.
  77. >And you can round that half down to just a year because that was close enough.
  78. >Only a year until your birthday and you are your own mare.
  79. >Only one more year until you can finally move to Ponyville.
  80. >Just one.
  81. >You continued walking and took pride in some of the looks you were getting.
  82. >Occasionally as you moved a pony would look at you curiously.
  83. >It is a fact that ponies don’t normally wear clothes.
  84. >Usually clothing is reserved for special occasions but what you are wearing is clearly a uniform of some kind.
  85. >Ponies will wonder what it’s for, who that pony is who is wearing it, and why.
  86. >It was nice knowing that by just wearing it somepony might just look into the Brownshirts and Manos himself even if they don't come to you and ask for themselves.
  87. >Granted most who weren't Brownshirts attended the Church of Manos that recently went up but that was besides the point.
  88. >Fate guided you here to do this and was helping you guide others to Him as well.
  89. >You were about three quarters of the way to the local office when you ran into a gray filly with a red leg band.
  90. >”Hiya Miss Roast!”
  91. >You sure as hay didn't like Midnight but her kid was adorable.
  92. “Well hey, Cloudy Night. What are you doing out by yourself?”
  93. >The black maned filly looks at you like you slapped her.
  94. >”I'm old enough to go places by myself,” she whines.
  95. >You can't help but smile at her.
  96. >How did somepony with a rod that far in their plot make something so cute?
  97. >You blink and blush a bit.
  98. >The rod was probably how that happened but not at all what you meant by that.
  99. “I'm sure you are sweetie but you know that changelings were found a few days ago and I know you don't want to be caught by those icky bugs. Right?”
  100. >Her muzzle scrunches when you booped her to punctuate 'right'.
  101. >You could weaponize this kind of cute.
  102. >Just grab little Nighty and hold her towards the damned insects and give them all heart attacks.
  103. >Do changelings have hearts?
  104. >”I won't get caught by no changelings! I'll just scream and momma will come and beat them up.” she says matter-of-factly. “And besides even if they got momma, they'd never get past the Black Hand.”
  105. >Your ears perk up at that.
  106. “The Hand is here? You know... as in more than one?”
  107. >"Yep! I heard momma talking about it with Spearmint. The Changeling Removal Branch thinks there's a lot more in town than just them so they called the Black Hand to help! She told Spearmint not to trust anypon... wait... you're not a changeling are you?”
  108. “Hmmm... let me think about that.” you said dramatically.
  109. >Cloudy Night's eyes actually widen in fear for a moment as you put a hoof to your chin.
  110. “Nope. Don't think so.”
  111. >”... Okay then. But I don't think I was supposed to tell anypony that. Don't tell anypony about it, alright?”
  112. >You look around to see if there are any prying eyes but thankfully nopony seems particularly interested in the both of you at the moment.
  113. “I can do that but the same goes for you. You don't want the changeling to find out anything do you?”
  114. >”No. 'An informed changeling is a dangerous changeling.'”
  115. “Okay, well I'm gonna get out of here because I'm already late to the meeting.”
  116. >”Oh! That's what I forgot to tell you. The meeting was cancelled.”
  117. >You blink.
  118. >Well that was news to you.
  119. “Are you sure?”
  120. >”Yup. Everypony else had shown up but you so momma asked me to find you so you'd know too.”
  121. >You grimace.
  122. >Of course everypony but you was there.
  123. >You were definitely going to hear from Midnight about this later.
  124. “Well I suppose that's good news. I'm not late but then again I might as well have been.”
  125. >”Oh! And momma said that you'd take me to the Sundae's for ice cream for doing such a good job finding you!”
  126. >You smile knowingly at the filly.
  127. “Nice try Night”, but I know your mother didn't say anything like that.”
  128. >”Did too!”
  129. >You knew for a fact that she'd never do something like pawning her filly off to somepony else let alone having you buy her junk food for any reason.
  130. >For now you were just gonna call Cloudy Night's bluff.
  131. “If that's true then you wouldn't mind if I ask your mom about it.”
  132. >She looked hurt by that.
  133. >”B-but I'm not lying though.”
  134. >That kicked puppy look wasn't going to get you.
  135. >The last thing you needed was to get grilled for giving her kid some sweets.
  136. “Yeah well we're still gonna ask her anyways to be sure.”
  137. >”Awww.”
  138. >You scruff the grey filly's mane.
  139. “It won't take too long, Nighty. And besides, we're not too far from the office anyways.”
  140. >You start heading that direction and she falls in line beside you.
  141. >As usual, there are many ponies out doing whatever they do to occupy themselves.
  142. >However, you spot a black sheep in the bunch.
  143. >You chuckle at your joke earning a confused look out of Cloudy Night.
  144. >A Black Hand.
  145. >Standing at the base of a bell tower, a pegasus mare in a black uniform scans the thrall of ponies moving to and fro as you look on in awe.
  146. >The filly was right.
  147. >The Hand really was here.
  148. >Your awe quickly turns into wariness as the reality of the situation dawns on you.
  149. >The changeling threat needed to be petty serious to warrant them being called in.
  150. >After you got done with this you were gonna head home.
  151. >You shouldn't really tell your parents about the threat but your family is as important to you as Manos himself.
  152. >The lavender mare notices you and thrusts her hoof out as you moved past.
  153. >Nighty and you do the same.
  154. “Heil Manos.”
  155. >”Heil Manos!”
  156. >She returns to scanning the crowd for... something.
  157. >It makes you nervous.
  158. >But at the same time you’re glad that she was here.
  159. >You cast a nervous glance around you at the ponies that go by.
  160. >All of them could be changelings and you wouldn't even know it.
  161. >You walk a little quicker at the thought.
  162. >The both of you reach the office soon after that.
  163. “Alright we're here. I'll ask your mom if it's alright and if it turns out I was wrong and you weren't lying I'll get you a whole Sundae Special just for you. That sound good?”
  164. >Nighty absolutely beams at you.
  165. >”Mhm!”
  166. >You tried to return the smile but after what you learned recently all you could really manage was a grimace.
  167. >To be completely honest you don’t want to be out and about while there’s a changeling infestation.
  168. >Especially with a filly.
  169. >You opened the door and stepped inside.
  170. “Hey Midnight do you have a min...”
  171. >You froze after trailing off.
  172. >Everything inside is ransacked.
  173. >Filing cabinets are open and toppled over.
  174. >You see flipped tables and papers strewn about everywhere.
  175. >You briefly thought about backing out the way you came to find the Black Hand you saw earlier but you can hear shuffling and the sound of something being smashed upstairs.
  176. >Whoever did this is still here.
  177. >You stand still and weigh your options.
  178. >You can still leave and get help.
  179. >But chances are that the pony responsible for this would be gone before you left.
  180. >You feel a chill down your spine when a thought flitters past your mind's eye.
  181. >What if it weren't a pony?
  182. >It couldn't possibly be a bug could it?
  183. >Changelings weren't stupid.
  184. >They wouldn't have come here to vandalize the office.
  185. >But...
  186. >The more you looked around, the more pieces fell into place.
  187. >Things weren't broken so much as tossed around.
  188. >You could see the opened lock box on the ground next to the counter with golden bits spilled out of it.
  189. >The filing cabinets were opened and its contents were localized near the flipped table.
  190. >Somepony was looking for something specific.
  191. >Or something.
  192. >You aren’t really much of a risk taker.
  193. >You've taken the course required by the Brownshirts.
  194. >Hoof to hoof, basic baton training, etc.
  195. >It’d be a lie to say that you’re confident in your abilities to take on changeling by yourself.
  196. >But at the same time you needed to make sure that whoever or whatever is up there doesn't leave.
  197. >You gulp.
  198. >And if it happens to be a bug then so be it.
  199. >It's to be your Fate.
  200. >Beyond that, how can you say you want to be a Black Hand if you can’t even face danger without turning tail and running away?
  201. >You poke your head out the door and look to Cloudy Night who is still waiting patiently.
  202. >”Are we going to Sundae's now?”
  203. “Not yet, Nighty. That'll have to wait because I need you to do something really important.”
  204. >At the seriousness of your voice the filly frowned and here ears fell back against her head.
  205. >”Is something wrong?”
  206. “N-no. Nothing's wrong. I just need you to go get the Black Hand we saw a little bit ago. It hasn't been too long so she should still be there. And please be quick.”
  207. >”I... Ok.” the filly says with uncertainty and turns to leave.
  208. >You know she suspected something but it doesn't matter right now.
  209. >As long as she is away is was safe.
  211. >You go back inside and close the door as quietly as possible.
  212. >There's an opened chest on the other side of the room that holds batons.
  213. >You start moving quietly but stop when you hear hooves coming down the stairs.
  214. >Looking behind you you meet the gaze of Midnight herself.
  215. >Or rather, ‘Midnight’.
  216. >Honestly, the doppelganger is nearly perfect.
  217. >The uniformed mare's colors are black on black.
  218. >The only two things that contrasted the darkness of her mane and coat were her cutie mark and eyes.
  219. >The former being the white disk on her flank that was the moon rising over the horizon with the mare in the moon set in the middle.
  220. >And the latter were those piercing golden orbs in her head which is where the disguise really fell apart.
  221. >Midnight had this look about her like she could look right through you and see what you were made of.
  222. >You once joked about how nopony could ever copy that look.
  223. >Turns out you were right.
  224. >Not even changelings could pull it off.
  225. >On top of that her brown shirt was wrinkled, the leg band too low, and a few other minor details.
  226. >Speak what you would of the boss but a mare like her wouldn't ever let things like that go unchecked even under duress.
  227. >The two of regard each other for a moment in silence.
  228. >All you can hear is your own heartbeat.
  229. >'Midnight' opened her mouth to speak but was tackled by... Midnight.
  230. >The two tumbled one over the other down the steps and came to a stop at the foot of the front door.
  231. >Recovering quickly, Midnight with a blackening eye and blood trickling down from under the cap that somehow stayed on her head pulled the other into a choke hold.
  232. >You blinked when you saw the were both sporting the exact same injures.
  233. >There’s no way to tell them apart at this point.
  234. >The one on the receiving end of this punishment took the nearest object and slammed it into her doubles face.
  235. >The weaponized table leg only succeeds in knocking the both of them on their sides but the black mare on top kept up her unrelenting choke hold.
  236. >A second and third strike occur as fast as the first but the fourth loosens the vice grip of one Midnight's throat enough for the other to to roll and struggle her way out.
  237. >The one wielding the table leg goes in for another hit but the other turns around on her two forehooves and delivers a powerful buck to her double's face with the force only an earthpony could deliver.
  238. >Relieved of her weapon, the mare is thrown towards a wall by the kick as the other rushes to where she'd land prepared to body slam her.
  239. >All the while you had slinked your way over the the chest with batons.
  240. >You reach in and felt around, not taking your eyes of either of them.
  241. >One Midnight closed the distance and brutally rams the other into the wall with a crunch.
  242. >You felt you hoof slip into a loop on the end of one and you pulled it out.
  243. >Swinging it in a circle around your hoof, you grabbed it mid swing in your teeth feeling its weight.
  244. >The pony who was rammed slumped down as the other recovered.
  245. >She looked up in time to roll away as a hoof came down where her head was moments ago.
  246. >You made your way back to the middle of the room, unsure which was which.
  247. >The one on the floor tried had a hard time getting back up but succeeds with difficulty.
  248. >Didn't matter though because this fight was just about over.
  249. >The more injured of the two couldn't seem to put weight on one of her forehooves and was wheezing.
  250. >You just weren't sure about if the changeling was the uninjured one or not.
  251. >The look on both of their faces told you that there wasn't time to talk it out of either of them before they tried to rip the other to shreds again.
  252. >So it was gonna be like this then.
  253. >Your gut was telling you it was the one you were stalking up behind.
  254. >You glanced past the one Midnight to the one with a limp.
  255. >She cast a glance right back at you and subtly nodded but when you failed to act she looked saddened and disappointed.
  256. >That solidified you choice.
  257. >Before you could raise your baton there was a crash to you left and all you could make out was a pegasus shaped blur taking the less injured of the two off her hooves and slamming her into the wall.
  258. >The Black Hand jabbed a punishing hoof into the center of the earth pony's forehead and you heard a painful snap and a painful screech.
  259. >In flames of green the disguise was shattered.
  260. >And so was the bug's horn.
  261. >The black abomination...
  262. >The pegasus mare in the black uniform had the changeling pinned against the with her hooves.
  263. >In turn it struggled and hissed at her futilely.
  264. >”Thought I'd lend a hoof, ma'am.”
  265. >Midnight all the while didn't turn to look at the Black hand who had spoken and instead was looking directly at you with a pained scowl.
  266. >Pony feathers, you were in for an ear full when this was over.
  267. >You should have acted sooner.
  268. >Seeing as the changeling was caught, you hook your baton on your utility belt.
  269. >”Thank for your assistance, lieutenant. I'm glad to have some helping hooves around here.”
  270. >The hand, whether she didn't catch the jab at you or chose to ignore it, turned her attention back to the changeling and delivered another swift blow to the changeling.
  271. >”Submit or be killed! Your decision bug!”
  272. >Midnight sat on her hunches and held up a hoof.
  273. >”Not today. That bug is important right now to the investigation. I want my town cleared sooner than later and we'll need all the information we can get. Just hold the bug here until we have more ponies to deal-”
  274. >The changeling kicks out and catches the Black Hand in the gut.
  275. >To its chagrin it manages to get free for a second.
  276. >Only a second.
  277. >Midnight closes the distance and gives it a devastating buck to the side.
  278. >It hits the wall with the sound of snapping plywood and slumps to the floor unmoving.
  279. >It won’t be getting up from that.
  280. >The black earth pony falls unsteadily to her haunches and curses.
  281. >”And we needed information from it too.”
  282. >You move and help Midnight to her hooves who does the same for the Black Hand.
  283. >”Are you okay, lieutenant?”
  284. >The pegasus mare grimaces but nods before saying, “Yes, I’m fine but I’m not sure my pride is.”
  285. “Don’t worry too much about it. We got this one, right Lieutenant...” you trail off and roll a hoof.
  286. >”Cloud Chaser.”
  287. >Midnight turned to face you and her scowl makes you shift uncomfortably.
  288. >"We can socialize later. I want you to go upstairs and look for my daughter. There was only the one changeling so I'm sure she should be hiding in the attic after she heard the struggle."
  289. “Oh? She should be outside.”
  290. >You point a hoof at the Black Hand.
  291. “I sent Cloudy Night to get her when I noticed something was wrong.”
  292. >You trot to the door and open it, sticking your head out.
  293. >She isn’t sitting by the door or anywhere near it
  294. >A pit formed in your stomach and you turned to the Black Hand.
  295. "Did a filly about this high send you here? Dark grey coat; black mane?"
  296. >Then came the words that nearly stopped your heart.
  297. >"No, should I have been looking for one?"
  299. >Your gaze turns to Midnight as horrified realization crosses your face.
  300. >As soon as your eyes meet hers she clenches her eyes shut and a shudder runs through her.
  301. >”Ok Prench Roast,” she starts. “Seeing as you sent MY DAUGHTER TO A BUCKING CHANGELING, I N-"
  302. >Midnight stops when she realizes she started yelling and takes a breath.
  303. >”I need you to kindly show us where the last place you saw this imposter was. Can you do that for me?”
  304. >You are silent for a moment trying to formulate a response.
  305. >Or an apology.
  306. >How do you even apologize for something like that?
  307. >In the end you just nod meekly.
  308. >”And you are sure you can manage that much without screwing it up?”
  309. >You nod again and open your mouth but she cuts you off.
  310. >”Don't speak. I don't want to hear it right now. Just lead the way please.”
  311. >You do so and exit the building wordlessly.
  312. >Both mares follow behind you in silence.
  313. >Midnight, who is too furious with you to speak and the light purple Black Hand mare who’s stayed silent probably because she didn’t want to piss of Midnight more than she already was.
  314. >Your eyes warily follow the ponies that trot past you.
  315. >You just see everything differently now that you know there are changelings amongst you and it doesn’t help your state of mind.
  316. >The stallion pulling the empty cart?
  317. >Could be a bug in disguise scoping out potential targets.
  318. >That random thatched roof building that is one of many?
  319. >It could be housing the damned bugs and the ponies they’ve snatched already while they suck them dry.
  320. >The light wind in the air that turns the warm air slightly chilly?
  321. >It could even be the last wind you feel because everypony around the three of you could be a bug.
  322. >But it’s ok!
  323. >No need to completely lose it yet!
  324. >It should be ok.
  325. >It hasn’t been that long so Nighty could still be around.
  326. >Changelings can’t very well snatch ponies up in broad daylight.
  327. >Especially with all these ponies around.
  328. >Too many witnesses.
  329. >Surely she’s still here.
  330. >Right around this corner.
  331. >You round a corner and stop.
  332. >Cloudy Night is not at the base of the clock tower and neither is the phony black hand.
  333. >Manos save her, she’s not here!
  334. >Your head shoots and still there is not sight of either.
  335. >Turning to the other two you see them staring at you.
  336. >”Well?”
  337. >You open and your mouth a few times but no words come out.
  338. “I... She...”
  339. >”Out with it!”
  340. ”This was the last place I saw the bug. She’s not here...”
  341. >Midnight takes a shuddering breath and bites her lip to keep from breaking right there.
  342. >Buck!
  343. >This wasn’t how today was supposed to be!
  344. >”Alright. Ok. I-... Prench, I need you to go back to my office. I’m going to keep looking and Lieutenant Cloud Chaser is going to gather more Black Hands and send some ponies from the Changeling Removal Branch to you. They’ll want to ask you some questions.”
  345. >You briefly consider saying something but you don’t.
  346. >Midnight looks like she two seconds from either bursting into tears or flying right off the handle at you.
  347. >That’s fair because this was your fault, after all.
  348. >You just nod and make your way back.
  349. >No need to screw things up even worse with words.
  350. >You end up back at the office quicker than you realize and park yourself on a toppled filing cabinet.
  351. >You consider trotting the whole building to gauge the damage so you could at least be useful but you decide against it.
  352. >It was the Brownshirts office, yes.
  353. >But it was also Midnight’s house and going upstairs without permission would be rude regardless of circumstances.
  354. >You don't need her anymore pissed off at you as it is.
  355. >That and you don’t think you can handle it if you come across Cloudy Night’s room by accident.
  356. >So that just left you sitting.
  357. >Waiting...
  358. >Thinking...
  360. >Cloudy could be dead.
  361. >Your decision cost the filly her life before she could even get a cutie mark.
  362. >What kind of Black Hand would you make?
  363. >A crappy one, that’s what.
  364. >You are so lost in your thoughts that you didn’t notice the ponies in the office until one of them puts a hoof on your cheek, startling you.
  365. ”Huh!?”
  366. >A pink unicorn mare is in front of you with a concerned expression.
  367. >”It’s alright, sweetie. Didn’t mean to make you jump. I'm with the Changeling Removal Branch. My name is Cherry Days.”
  368. >It’s then that you notice the time of day.
  369. >Out the window, you can see the sun has nearly dipped below the rooftops.
  370. “Heck, is it really almost sundown?”
  371. >”’Fraid so. You were zoned out pretty badly so I'm guessing you didn't even realize?”
  372. >You nod.
  373. >”Thought so. Tell you what, I've got some ponies that need to ask you some questions. We’ll be quick and let you get out of here. I’m sure you want to get home after the day you’ve had.”
  374. >Cherry motions towards the changeling being carried out on a stretcher under a tarp.
  375. >You smile weakly.
  376. “I can’t actually leave until Midnight says.”
  377. >Midnight didn’t actually tell you specifically to stay when the Hand and CRB showed up but after everything...
  378. >Cherry frowns.
  379. >”Are you sure about that? I’m sure any one of us can put in a good word for you. I mean I’m sure your parents are worried about wit-”
  380. “No, I’m fine. Really.”
  381. >The mare clops her hooves together and points to the room beyond where some other ponies were setting up on the large table in the dining room.
  382. >Somepony had wheeled a rolling blackboard in with a list of suspected changelings.
  383. >You start to read off the names but stop only after you get past the first three.
  384. >Sundae.
  385. >Prench Roast.
  386. >Prench Vanilla.
  387. >Your eyes stop and linger on the last name you read.
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