Dayle held back a chuckle. Seeing Lykra so frustrated and angry strangely gave him a joy. Back then, her anger was unwarranted although understandable. Now, being the cause for this anger that's more like a tantrum, as well as repelling an attempt at 'manipulation', was quite satisfactory for Dayle. Not today, woman. Not ever. "I swear on my name-" Dayle looked at Lykra with seriousness. "-and I swear this with my life on the line, nothing anything related to Auregnog will ever be spoken to anyone, except to only you." Dayle could see Lykra's grumpy mood and didn't want to make it any worse, so he stood up with haste. "Then I'll see myself out. Expect a report later."
Dayle went out the door and beckoned his men to go with him. "Uh, boss? Why are you smiling?" Zeke asked, but Dayle held it in until he was far enough from the office, before laughing heartily. "I thought this day was busted, but who would've thought I'd have fun?" Zeke and Roy widened their eyes and looked at each other. "I didn't hear anyone punching anyone though?" Zeke whispered to Roy. "I did hear an angry voice from that woman though." They both looked at their boss' back as they walked.
This was a big deal to Dayle. He felt frustrated dancing on the palm of someone else's hand, so how intoxicating would it be to see through someone else's 'lies' and avoid their manipulation completely? If the manipulator becomes angry, it would become a nice bonus for him. It was as if Dayle found out that he be able to get out of Mr. Loren's grasp if he just tried hard enough.
Zeke and Roy shrugged. "If he's happy, we're happy." Zeke nodded his head. "That's a sappy line for someone such as you, Zeke." Roy remarked, causing Zeke to laugh. "Ah, you've never had a bit of the cheese with the boys huh?" Roy rolled his eyes and paid him no more attention.
"We're going to the champion's chambers." Dayle informed to his two men in a whisper. "This place is hard to navigate, and we'll have to keep out of the eyes of the guards." Zeke and Roy nodded to his instructions. "For that matter though, we gotta go to the gladiator's lobby, and the entrance for that is at the other side." Dayle whispered, before sauntering over to the exit and going back at the outside of the colosseum again. If the other two made it, then he would guess they'd be also currently moving towards the champion's chambers as well.
Victorique was stunned, surprised, shocked, bewildered, confused, astonished, bedazzled and perhaps even a little startled. Had Arthur really just... apologized? Despite calling her after one of those rat-dogs mere moments ago? This... It didn't add up, but even at the best extend of her insight, it sounded genuine. What in the world was happening? Out of all the drama and chaos in the underbelly, this development was what threw her off the most. Was it the Orc's words? Were they magic? They had to be. That would explain a few things, such as why Arthur had been a brain-dead fool in the arena. He'd been caught by some orcish mind-magic...
Nah, that was silly. Or was it? She truly needed a bit of time to figure out her thoughts and whatnot. Eventually, she hesitantly replied. If anything, it was more to test he waters than a confident reply. “I eh... guess I'm not always the easiest to deal with either.” That was the extend to which she was able/willing to go for now, as this was all weirder her out way more than any of the blood and gore did previously.
She decided to distract herself by focussing on the Orc's questions instead. Whilst it was great to learn she wasn't on the menu (she hoped the Orc was speaking truthfully, but after Arthur, she started to distrust her own insight), the ominous threat of a large cannibal being near was still there. Being hostile would probably only worsen that though, so for now it would be best to cooperate. “I asked Arthur to get me into the Underbelly and into wherever I'll need to go to investigate. He never really formally agreed, but he said he wanted information and started walking to get us in, so I'm assuming he's on board with that part.”
She then debated a bit what to say next. “As for me... well... eh, I investigate. I can probably outrun most folks if need-be. That's about it. Unlike mister Xix here, I haven't yet found away to overcome any size disadvantages if things get rough, so eh... if you want in, that getting rough part would probably be your thing.” She was a bit hesitant, in particular with regards to a point Arthur had also brought up. “I'll be open about this in advance. I can probably arrange some monetary compensation, but after seeing the bags of gold you make here, it'll be little more than spare change. The only thing of real value I can offer would be the fame or acknowledgement that comes with helping us figure this out, or if you like, the knowledge you helped stop a new Controls War from being plotted.” She wondered if she should mention the Adventurer's Guild, but decided not to do so. The people here probably wouldn't like them or anyone related to them.
Victorique clicked her tongue when the goblin mentioned more fights having taken place. “More fights taking place? That's an interesting one. Taking down someone like Auregnog wouldn't be easy, so it'd make sense to scout him out a little. Fighting him in the arena would be a great way to do so without raising any suspicion. Were any of his opponents strangers to this place? They might've been sent to test him. Alternatively, if I learned anything about him, it's that he'd be the type to get rid of frustration through fighting. If something or someone was getting on his nerves, he'd be going here more often to calm down. Did he seem particularly aggregated during his fights? Perhaps a little more brutal and a bit less collected and calculating?”
She then looked at the Siren. “With how little we know about the situation at the moment, everything might be of interest. The one thing that is by far the most mysterious to me, is how someone of such renown and power is taken down without any people noticing it. I still wish to check if he had weaknesses, such as people that he cared about, whom could be exploited by third parties. Kidnapping, blackmailing, that kind of deal. No matter how strong you are, if you love someone dearly and they're not within your realm of protection, you're as weak as they'd be. Finding someone he holds more dearly than the Underbelly itself and obtaining said person would be the easiest way to take Auregnog down. If you're handling the business side, do you know if he has made consistent payments to particular people? That might indicate the existence of such a person. Or, alternatively, did he make any sudden payments without clear reason? The latter might indicate he's being blackmailed...” After her long rant, she realised there were still many ideas she could further exploit.
However... she was straying off way too much. There was one primary objective that she shouldn't delay. All these other questions and theories could follow later. “Actually, I believe getting to his room takes precedence. Any evidence that's left in there won't get any clearer with time. Can either of you take us there?”
With a slight smile, Orchid nods as the two quickly made up. Always good to cut that right in the bub. The Redman formally introduced himself as Arthur, and to her surprised he had a gun. A magic gun, but a gun nonetheless. Orchid hadn't seen a gone with a gun before and it immediately pegged the man as an Isekai'd person. There's a good chance this Victorique person might be one as well, though Orchid could only assume because of association. "Fascinating. I'm not much help afar, so it's good to know you have my back if we run into an enemy outside the reach of my blade. Since you've seen me fight, I don't need to explain too much what I'm capable of. But I can also do some basic first-aid. Won't save anyone's life, but if you're hurt let me help you."
Victorique followed up and seemed flabbergasted at Arthur's change of attitude. It's understandable, Victorique is out of her element here. She's likely just on the defense and doesn't want to be deceived, which Orchid could understand. She herself has gotten into a few situations where she assumed good will and was caught in a trap, so the suspicion and gruffness is warrented. All the more reason that Orchid wants to formalize a contract so both sides know that there is boundaries and keep things professional. Otherwise they may expect too much from one another, this creates dissapointment and resentment, breaks down of communication that results in increase hostility. Just bad stuff. "Fast and cunning. That's good for an investigator. Leave the violence to me and Arthur, I'm not really smart so I'll leave the sleuthing to you. But if you need some violent persuasion, by all means let me handle it. But only as a last resort, I tend to eat people as part of my interrogation, so not great for making friends. As for payment, I won't ask for much, but I will ask for some form of montentary compensation for the sake of professionalism. Not really one to accept payment in exposure. Though if you can reference me to anyone who needs a blade for hire, I'd appriciated it. Networking is important!"
Soon Victorique started talking to Xix and Sticker about the champions Orchid didn't have anything to say, so she took some papers and ink and starts drafting a contract for herself and Victorique. She's taken some time to review what sort of contracts actual mercenary groups have when renting out individual warriors, so Orchid's contract will be similar. In short, for the duration of Victorique investigation in the Undercity, she will protect and fight on Victorique behalf. Victorique can expect Orchid to defend her from any threat, and should Orchid flee from a fight without Victorique premission, refuse an order to defend her, start a fight without Victorique knowledge or consent, or accept a contract from someone who is hostile to Victorique, then this contract is null and Orchid would owe Victorique compensation equal to ten times the money owed to Orchid. In exchange Victorique will owe Orchid a stipend per day she is with Victorique, and Orchid is not liable for any crimes committed on Victorique orders. So if Orchid murders someone because the halfling told her to, Orchid is only an accessory while Victorique herself is the murderer. This ensures that Victorique doesn't use Orchid to blatantly commit crimes, or at least accepts that if it does happen she can't just throw Orchid under the bus for it. Once Orchid was satisfied, she made a copy that said the same thing.
Orchid was never much of a literal writer back in the old world, but she's gotten a lot more practice coming here. Literacy isn't too uncommon, but good penmanship is, so Orchid tries to write clearly and legibly. Being able to keep good notes and accounting is important for everyday living, which fortunately her Domestic Arts skill bolsters, so her handing writing was pretty good. Readable for most literate people at least. Once the inked dry, Orchid writes her signature on a dotted line waits until Victorique is done getting her awnsers from Xix and Sticker before handing the contracts to her. "Our contract. It's not as formal as a proper Merc contract, but it should work for our arrangement. Please sign both copies, I'll keep one for my records, and you can keep yours to give to your client or whatever. After that, just tell me where we need to go and who needs to die, and I'll take care of the rest!"