Stand by for action, probably sometime in the next couple-three days.
A moment later one of the waitresses, a middle-aged Water
Tribeswoman with a beaming smile, appeared, greeting them (as she had
when they'd entered) like heroes returning from a long war.
"Welcome back!" she said cheerfully to Corwin. "Been a long
time. What can I get you?"
Corwin smiled and said, "Long indeed, Nelqa. Good to be back at
last." He picked up a menu card from the little wooden box of them in
the middle of the table and glanced down it, confirming his suspicion
that nothing much had changed. "I think I - " he began, and then Korra
interrupted him with an elbow.
"Super Noodle Bowl," she prompted.
" - What?"
"Super Noodle Bowl," Korra repeated mischievously.
Corwin regarded her with an entirely fake expression of cool
appraisal and replied, "Correct me if I'm wrong, but are you asking for
a challenge?" Korra responded to this with nothing more than a slightly
devilish grin, so Corwin turned back to Nelqa and said, "I'll have the
Super Noodle Bowl. And some of those fried dumplings."
"And for you, Avatar?" Nelqa asked, playing the game to
"D'you know, I think I'll have the Super Noodle Bowl," said
Korra, as if she'd just thought of it.
The Super Noodle Bowl turned out to be just about what it said:
a large wooden bowl, mostly full of Narook's signature green seaweed-
infused noodles, with some hot chickenshark broth poured over them and a
few chopped scallions scattered on top. Corwin's and Korra's arrived
together mere moments later, placed simultaneously in front of them both
by a broadly smiling Nelqa, who informed the others that their own orders
would be out soon.
"Ready to lose, rocketboy?" asked Korra as she snapped her
chopsticks apart and prepared to dig in.
Doing the same, Corwin rolled his eyes and intoned in a deeper-
than-usual voice, "Your powers are weak, old woman."
"Ohh, it's on now," said Korra, grinning.
"Right then!" Corwin said, picking up his bowl with his free
hand. Korra did likewise; they glanced at each other with matching
wicked little smiles, and then Corwin warned the others at the table,
"This isn't going to be big on dignity."
And indeed it wasn't: for the name of the game with Super Noodle
Bowl Challenge appeared to be eating all the noodles in the bowl in a
single uninterrupted go, and the one viable strategy for that was to
shovel up the biggest possible wad of them with the chopsticks and then
slurp as if the fate of the galaxy were at stake. People at neighboring
tables paused to look, some craning their necks. Had it gone on for
more than the few seconds it took, Anne suspected betting pools might
The tail end of Corwin's noodles vanished with a final, broth-
shedding flick perhaps half a second before Korra's. With all that on
board, he barely had room to chew, but chew he did, putting paid to a
whole bowl-load of green pasta in record time. Swallowing with a look
of triumph, he tipped his head back and poured the remaining broth down
after it, then banged the bowl down on the table and cried,
"HA! I win."
Korra, still chewing, gave him a venomous look made doubly
comical by her bulging cheeks, then finished off her own bowl at a less
frantic pace and put the empty down next to his.
"This is no longer a fair competition," she declared petulantly.
"Look at the size of your jaw!"
Corwin cocked a hand theatrically next to his ear. "What's that
I hear? It sounds like the faint and distant mewling of someone who has
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