Tabehana @fried_trout
Chapter 2

“Ganyu… don’t tell me I have to wrangle you from eating the entire centerpiece.”

Beidou’s remark stops Ganyu right in her tracks, realizing she’s halfway from plucking another one of the red lilies on the table and stuffing it in her mouth. She huffs in shame, tucking her hands tight on her lap, lest she does it again.

It’s not her fault that they somewhat reminded her of the stir-fried filet (a vegetarian version, fortunately) on her plate, the dark red petals reminiscent of the ungodly amount of Jueyun chilies blanketing the top of the dish. On second thought, Beidou’s taste in food is much, much more different from hers.

Ganyu is not gonna make it through this without drying up the inn’s entire stock of water and tea, isn't she?

Although Beidou looks close to bursting into a laughing fit at whatever expression she’s making, the pirate tries to hide it by smoothing over her twitching lips to a more worried look.

“Are you alright? I’ve noticed you have a bit of a tendency to eat more when you’re stressed. Is Ningguang overworking you again? Or is that Yuheng giving you any grief?”

“N-No!” She bursts out. “Lady Ningguang isn’t doing anything to overwork me. And in fact, Lady Keqing and I have become good friends! Last week, we both went shopping after she came back from her trip. We’d gone around the harbor shopping for Rex Lapis memorabilia in honor of him- while it’s weird to buy merchandise of someone I once knew, I didn’t really mind because Keqing now has so much passion and knowledge on him! I’m both happy and relieved Keqing has now seen how much hard work Rex Lapis has done for the betterment of Liyue.”

Ganyu continues to talk about all the things that had happened the past few weeks- minus the little qingxin escapade- and what she doesn’t notice is Beidou starts to gape at her with shock, then humor.

She finally ends her tirade after accidentally going off a tangent of her and Keqing zeroing down on a shady business nearby Mt. Tianheng. It’s also when she realizes she’s finished all the stir fry on her plate and the shit-eating grin on Beidou’s face.

“Is there… something on my face, Beidou?”

“Ganyu.” Beidou’s voice is somehow both serious and shaking from laughter. “The centerpiece.”

Ganyu’s eyes rove over to the centerpiece, and she freezes.

This is the first time she gets a glimpse of the little vase, a white porcelain one with blue engravings of lilies on them. But it was too bad because the actual lilies that are supposed to be inside the vase are gone.

Ganyu makes a sharp squeaking noise at the back of her throat, eyes whipping back and forth from her plate to the vase, finally realizing that she had been picking off the lilies instead of the stir fry on her plate.

That at least explains why her mouth isn’t burning up from the sheer spiciness of the dish.

Ganyu tries to say something, but in the end, she finds her tongue tied, so she snaps her mouth shut with an audible ‘click’.

So it seemed her flower cravings were back in full force.

“Ganyu, I-” Beidou is clutching her stomach, shaking. The woman doesn’t even get to finish her sentence, because she hunches over her seat and wheezes out a laugh. The two employees of the inn look over in curiosity, and her cheeks are blazing hot from embarrassment.

Ganyu wants the floor to swallow her.

Beidou continues to laugh, and it is loud and hearty. It’s an almost endless cycle of her slamming her hand on the table, then doubling over for another laughing fit. The scene continues for too long, until the employees start to lose interest in the pirate captain and the Qixing secretary, eventually carrying on with what they were doing.

“You didn’t even know that you’d-” Beidou chokes out another laugh. Ganyu still wants the floor to swallow her. “Morax- I, are lilies a new food craze or something?”

Ganyu buries her face in her hands. “Not again.” She softly groans.

The mirth Beidou finds in her situation fades away little by little, until every time the pirate captain glances at her she only does a loud snort.

“Okay, I swear I’m not gonna judge. But… do I need to get another vase for you or-”

“Archons no!” Her voice is an embarrassing squeal. “Please don’t. I don’t want to ever see a flower again.”

“Oh? Well, if that’s what you want.” Beidou remains silent for a few beats, looking almost pensive until she points a finger at Ganyu’s uneaten plate of stir-fry. “Say, are you still gonna eat that?”

Ganyu sighs and nudges the plate to Beidou’s side of the table. “It’s all yours.”

Their conversation stops right there for now. Ganyu starts to look around the inn, finding the silence between her and Beidou comfortable yet still awkward. She doesn’t know if it’s the heat of the Liyuean summer, her lingering embarrassment, or the presence of chilies, but her skin is still hot.

It’s most likely a combination of all, though.

Archons above, she should really identify the reason and cause for all of this. Her craving was not as intense as that night in the Harbor, but at this point, it’s really interfering with her daily activities. She had once found herself absentmindedly chewing on a dried qingxin the last time she was looking through reports of the Yuheng’s scouting out of new trade routes. She has no idea how a dried qingxin found itself inside her office out of all things.

But how would she exactly approach this situation? She supposes she could look it up in the local library, but she wasn’t someone who had free time to spare. Perhaps a visit to Doctor Baizhu? How could she even explain this to him? The more she thinks of it- do the cravings have a trigger or was it at random?

There are so many aspects to this troublesome problem of hers.

Unaware of her internal dilemma, Beidou continues to happily chow down on her stir fry (How could she even eat that many jueyun chilies in one bite without breaking a sweat?) until the pirate notices something out of the corner of her eye.

“Hey Janyu, Ish’at Kachuha?”

“Huh?” Ganyu turns around to follow the direction Beidou was looking at, and her eyes fall on a young man in dark red and white clothes.

“It’chim!”

Beidou hurriedly chews her food and gulps it down. “Hey, Kazuha! Over here!”

Even though the young man was in the middle of a conversation with one of the inn’s employees, he whips his head around at the sound of Beidou’s booming call.

“Ah, Captain Beidou!” He makes sure to respectfully dip his head at the employee before he approaches the two of them. His garb is finally much more distinct, and Ganyu identifies it as Inazuman clothing.

“Kazuha!” Beidou grins and pulls out a spare stool from underneath their table. “Here, come sit with us!”

The young man—Kazuha, strides over and takes a seat beside Beidou.

“What are you doing all the way from here? Aren’t you supposed to be one of Xiangling’s taste testers today?”

The calm expression on Kazuha’s face slightly wavers into a grimace. “You never told her I don’t take spice as well as you do.”

“Well, I guess I should introduce you two to each other before we do anything else, eh?” Beidou looks from Kazuha and back to her. “ Kazuha, meet Ganyu. Ganyu, meet Kazuha.”

“A pleasure to meet you, miss Ganyu.”

“As to you too, mister Kazuha.”

Huh, it seems that both of them are incredibly courteous people. Basing her minuscule knowledge of the Inazuman from Beidou’s ramblings of her crew, Kazuha does not look like the ronin he is described to be; as he looks more soft and approachable from the depictions of the war-seasoned warriors. But perhaps she’s outdated on that part, as those Inazuman novels Lady Yae has sent her dated back several decades ago.

One of the servers- Dummy, she presumes that was his name, approaches their table and asks if they wanted to order anything.

Kazuha orders a simple mora meat, and Beidou once again orders a third serving of those impossibly spicy stir-fries. Ganyu turns down the offer to order, recalling what had happened earlier. Even though her stomach is getting quite empty, she thinks her appetite is not the same after the flower cravings.

Beidou strikes up the conversation once again, poking Kazuha of the details of what happened at Wanmin Restaurant. Kazuha sends compliments to the chef, but he tells Beidou he wished she didn’t put the pepper that her bear-dog assistant belched out in his food.

It’s small talk between the captain and her entourage, and Ganyu remains silent because she thinks she doesn’t really have anything to add to their conversation.

So she just starts picking on a splintered part of the table, until she picks up on something interesting on Kazuha and Beidou’s chat.

“-qiu described one of the people apparently coughing up flowers, which is really quite absurd. I feel like Hanahaki disease is an exaggeration of a condition where you have an insatiable appetite for flowers.”

“Flowers?” Ganyu echoes it back out loud. Both Kazuha and Beidou turn their heads to her.

“Oh! Miss Ganyu, do you have an interest in modern Inazuman literature?” Kazuha cocks his head to the side, curious.

“Wha- no, no. Not really. But can you please tell me more about that condition about… having flower cravings?”

Beidou finds it the best time to butt in. “Is this about earlier, Ganyu?”

Oh Archons. Ganyu’s backed into a corner. Would she rather come clean or feign a simple curiosity over the subject?

“I… I’ve been having these strange cravings every time I see flowers.” For some reason, it’s like there’s a weight lifted off Ganyu’s shoulders. “It comes by randomly- at least I think that’s the case- and it’s been going on for almost two weeks now. It’s been getting much more bothersome. As an example, it was something I did earlier. I suddenly couldn’t help myself when I saw those lilies.”

“Lilies?” Kazuha asks.

Beidou softly snorts, but then she looks serious. “You could have seen it earlier. Ganyu just started eating all the flowers in that vase instead of her food.”

“Hmm.” Contemplative, Kazuha scratches his chin. “Miss Ganyu, while you’ve said that you think it comes by randomly or you don’t know the trigger, but can you think and tell me if there’s a common variable every time your cravings strike?”

“Sure, but-” Ganyu racks her brain for every time she’s had her cravings. “It first happened when I went shopping with Lady Keqing in the Harbor, then, for the most part, I find myself picking a silk flower or two when I’m in Yujing Terrace. I fear the Yuheng has already noticed my habits.”

Although she still looks serious, Beidou’s expression turns quizzical. “I dunno Ganyu, for all we know you just have a really bad case of munchies.”

“Ah!” Kazuha lifts a finger, a figurative lamp glowing on top of his head. “I might know what’s the cause of your flower cravings.”

“Wait, r-really?”

“Yes, although I might need a few more observations.”

“Hold on for a sec, is Ganyu actually sick, Kazuha?” Beidou takes a glance back at Ganyu with her single eye.

The Inazuman’s side glance to her is far more amused than what the situation calls for.

“I would not say she’s sick with anything detrimental, but rather… Miss Ganyu here is lovesick.

“...”

“...”

“Say what now?”

Kazuha smiles, polite. “I believe Miss Ganyu has contracted an ailment called Tabehana, where her romantic feelings for a certain person are channeled through a peculiar craving for flowers.”

A few moments pass. Of course, in the sheer bewilderment of Kazuha’s conclusion, Ganyu and Beidou remain quiet. But then, Beidou’s hand hovers over the gourd flask on her hip.

“Kazuha, you gotta be honest with me right now— are you fucking with us?”

“I wouldn’t dream of it, Captain.”

“That’s real? The tabehana thing?”

“Yes. Albeit I’ve never seen it up close, I believe Miss Ganyu does have it, from my observations.”

What?

How- Why would he imply that she has feelings for someone! That’s absurd. It’s not that. She’d have to go appoint a check-up with Doctor Baizhu tomorrow. If this tabehana thing is real, why hasn’t she heard of it then? Ganyu does not harbor any romantic feelings for anyone.

She’s mentally flipping out. Under the table, Ganyu clenches her hands into fists, going through mental gymnastics trying to process this… new revelation of her flower cravings.

“Ganyu? You there? Hey, earth to Ganyu!” Somebody snaps their fingers from underneath Ganyu’s nose, and she jolts back to consciousness.

Beidou is smiling at her, a bit cheeky, but also worried. Kazuha does the same, although his smile is much smaller.

“So, Ganyu. Who’s the lucky gal?”

After shoving this through Grammarly and formatting it, chap 2 is finally up. I cannot believe I went through an entire dilemma writing this because I forgot Ganyu is a vegetarian. We have Kazuha and Beidou appearances!!!! Thank god he conveniently showed up to tell everyone about Tabehana. The location they're is at Emerald Maple inn, where the only time I can remember visiting that place is that one quest where I gave someone a Sweet Madame. And that one guy named Dummy. I'll probably write more Ganqing interacting in the next chapter.
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