August is a social smoker. He never carries his own pack. Today, though--for the first time--the thought crossed his mind to buy one.
He'd been outbidded earlier this morning by an anonymous buyer for what would have been the fourth addition to his Alduron's Wrath figurine collection, of which he owns three out of the only twelve in existence so far. Well, the only twelve genuines, that is. There's a box under his bed of handcrafted fakes. Knock-offs. Wastes of time and money.
A lot of money.
Now, his only goal is to find this lucky bidder in hopes of convincing them to give up the figurine--but also to find out how many they're in possession of. A collector like himself would surely have more than one, especially one willing to throw down as much money for the one they did.
When he opens his eyes, he finds himself to be lying longways on a bench, facing the sky. His arm dangles for the sidewalk above an unlit, partially smoked cigarette, and he reckons it's his own.
"Must've fallen asleep..." he mumbles, not acknowledging that the sun was still out when last he blinked.
Thunder in the distance. No, it's his stomach.
August sits himself up with a grunt and a sigh, taking a moment to silently brood. The ever familiar agitation of wanting something he cannot have--a puzzle without its center piece--throbs in his temples. Or perhaps that's the headache of, yet again, too long a nap.
He yawns. Standing to his feet, he stretches for a long time, bending and twisting in a near involuntary display. Then, as the cigarette from the ground finds its way into his pocket, he sets off for a white Shelby Mustang gt500 with duel black racing stripes down the center, parked parallel to the curb.
Next stop, a little place called Mach Sling where he sometimes meets with a group of friends to discuss their individual collections.
⚀ ⚀ ⚀ ⚀ ⚀
"This cahd's a fake." August tosses the card, encased in a transparent plastic, across the round-top table, and it lands face-up beneath Chol's disbelieving eyes--a chubby man, red-nosed and balding from the forehead back. The sound of bowling balls clashing with pins shakes the air at varying intervals. Glass mugs clink against each other in a waitress's full hands. And Party Rock Anthem's LMFAO taints the outlet's speakers, inducing a collective headache amongst some of the more cultured guests.
"That- That's not true," Chol argues. Yet, deep down he trusts August's judgement, as he has for many years now.
August leans forward on his arms and cocks a questioning brow at his friend. A small scale sits between them.
Chol stumbles for words. "No- No, I spent..." A brief pause to let the dread seep in. "Oh my God, I spent fifteen grand on the whole set."
"Ooooh..." August sucks air through his teeth for an extensive period before finally stating, "Yeh, no, I sold tha real thing foh ten about eight yeahs ago, mate. Ya got ripped."
Gina steps up to the table just then--a tall brunette with thick glasses that make her eyes bulge like a chameleon's. "August, your bowl." And August slips from his stool with pity in his eyes, "Don't fret it, bud... Money comes 'n' goes. You could always scam anothah poor lad... Y'know... one loike yaself." He snorts, having been the victim of such cruelty himself many times.
This rubs Chol the wrong way, bringing him to slam his fists down on the table, causing it to rock. "How are you even so sure!"
He and August stare at each other, August's expression purely unpretentious when eventually he says, "Tha real cahds ah in glass casings and weigh about eight ounces each. 'At one's much lighta, and tha case is- well- plastic. So, unless someone took the toime to smash open each individual cahd and recase'em- I mean, come on, mate?" The Tiger's hands come up to shoulder height, palms toward the sky, and his lips pinch together, "Eighty cahds? Ya really think that's tha game, he'ah?" A click of the tongue, "Doubt it," before he's off to bowl his turn.
Gina places a hand on Chol's shoulder to try and cheer him up, but alas, to no avail. He's fifteen grand in the whole and sporting an embarrassing collection of cheap knock-offs, which he should have conferred with August in the first place before purchasing.
"Urgh- What kind of radicalistic collector do you gotta be to carry a damn scale around with you?!" asks Chol rhetorically as he buries his face in the table.
Meanwhile, August steps up to his lane, ball in hand, and cops a quick strike in the name of: "Skill, mate. Ah've got skill~" he hums with a smile. Behind him, Ormandy approaches. They share a high-five, then August moves to the ball-return to retrieve and polish his personal bowling ball. Black mixed with white and pink swirls; his initials 'AAA' engraved just beneath the thumb-hole.
That's when the Tiger finds himself slamming hard on his ass by an abrupt wave of green energy expanding throughout the building.
Since August and his friends occupy a separate portion of the alley than that of the main entrance--the two partitions being connected by a wide archway--he missed out on the veteran's jaunty arrival behind all of the commotion that's already ongoing, less so now given what just happened.
His ball rolls away, off into a now scrambling and disoriented crowd of people rushing for the back exit. With a throbbing tailbone, he looks up to see Gina above him--she's holding the side of her face with one hand and offering him the other. He takes it and she pulls him to his feet.
"Are you okay?" she asks, receiving only a nod in response. August is too focused on trying to locate his fellow Tiger to pay her much mind. She tries again, more successful this time. "Hey? August, are you alright?"
He snaps to attention, "Hm? Yeh-yeh-yeh, we should prob'ly go? Whe's Chol?"
"Oh, he took off after being thrown from his stool... Said something about the mutants were here... or whatever. You know how he is toward people with Potentials."
"Yeh, well, sometimes tha chub's roight. C'mon, let's head out..."
On the count of Taio Cruz's Dynamite bouncing through the speakers now, the two of them begin walking toward the exit, passing by some other grumbling, agitated patrons. Then, upon making it outside, per his intentions all along, August snaps his fingers and turns back for the door, "Crap, I fo'got mah bag! You go ahead~ I'll catch up latah." He slowly squeezes back into the building, disappearing first by his lower half, "Tell Chol he's a pussy~"
"Wait- Can't we still-"
"See ya!" And he's gone.
Gina finishes, slumping defeatedly in the shoulders, "-hang out...?" Oh, the burden of unrequited love. That and falling for someone as dense as August.
Back inside, he finds his bag by the table where he and Chol had previously been discussing Chol's mistake, and inside the bag his mask. Nothing extravagant or flashy, but a simple black mask, along with a beanie to match, both of which he quickly dons before continuing his hunt for Dante.
When finally he spots him, he discovers, also, Queen Lucy and the rookie more rookie than himself, Vince.
Approaching Lucy instead of Dante, August raises a hand in waving and opens his mouth to speak. However, before he can mutter a thing, he drops hard to his hands and knees. A weight threatens his spine to snap, pushing him further down until he's flat on the ground and nearly unable to lift his head.
Just barely, he manages to pull off his beanie in hopes of catching the Queen's recognition. A silent cry for help.
At least there was a shred of light in the sky. The last thing Sang-Cheol wanted was to babysit more idiots with an already bad headache induced by stress. It was a minor comfort since he couldn't trust anybody in the lab to not mess up the good shit. However, it would at least help production by a lot. Sang-Cheol grumbled to himself as he looked around to check to see if the others were on track.
Everything was good until Snake cursed. Curious, Sang-cheol turned his head around to see what was with the sudden expletives. He watched as Snake proceeded to slam his hand down onto a table, thankfully the one without any products, and commanded the recent arrivals to get to work. That meant he had work to do. With a sigh, Sang-Cheol was going to direct them to their stations until he heard Snake say Vice's name. Why Vice? Sang-Cheol gave a confused look that quickly turned cold when he heard Snake say there were cops.
Of fucking course, his day had to get worse because of some two goody-good shoes had to put their shiny nose where it didn't belong. At least he had to excuse to beat someone into a bloody pulp. Though that meant he would have to leave the lab to the workers and Vice. He turned to look at the workers, "If I see even a pen out of place, you're all dead to me. This better be done by the time I get back," With that, he turned to Snake, "Understood, Snake."
It would have been better than literally anyone else other than him. It wasn't because Sang-Cheol was a pacifist, far from it, nor a non-combatant. His potentiality had offensive power, though it came with a bad drawback. It didn't help that his fingers were already starting to feel numb. Though, Sang-Cheol didn't mention it. He had worse, and a little numbness wouldn't stop him from beating the living shit out of the cops. "So, how bad is the situation?" He asked Snake. It was time to feel blood again.
"Hmm. Sorry." Anna's denial of Darius's request came without thought. "No can do. Imagine if a cop caught us with our faces out. Or another gang! I'm honestly surprised that all of you walk about with yours all naked and bare like you do."
Anna did not level her gaze at the shorter man as they walked through Central's streets, instead keeping them fixed clear ahead of them. She spotted the occasional onlooker pointing, staring, and generally being rather rude at the pair of them. Out of the corner of her eye she caught Darius evading locking eyes with their gawkers, and her heart twinged a bit with pity. Even if she was new to the Serpents, and even if he was supposed to be the senior with their ranks, she had a feeling that she was his senior in, well, being alive.
She opened her mouth to speak, but then sealed her lips shut. Regardless of whether or not she felt bad for him, this probably wasn't the time to be giving him a pep talk. She hardly wanted a freshly bloodlusted Bash stumbling upon them having a healthy chat on a mission, after all.
In fact, she didn't really want Bash stumbling upon them at all.
Unfortunately for her, though, she wasn't particularly familiar with where the rough-types that might make it in the Serpents tended to collect. Anna had gotten lucky with the now-former Howlers, but new section of the city they'd stumbled into seemed to mostly play host to trendy teens and stressed-out workers. She let her feet carry her wherever they felt like they needed to go for a while, but she didn't seem to be making much in the way of progress.
Until, as it would seem, she figured out that she'd been using the wrong set of sensory organs the whole time. Where her eyes were obstructed by the mask that she was insisting on wearing, her ears still worked just fine. Well, in fact, they too were stifled by the rubber cage smothering three of Anna's five senses, but she still heard the commotion she was about to notice before anything else. She reckoned that deserved praise.
It was an odd sight, once she saw it. A bowling alley where it looked like the only strike had been on the players, an orc played the DJ, and the Lady Grim Reaper commanded the floor. But that was for later. For now, she only heard the vaguely familiar voice of a 2000s pop icon blaring out of the building and into the streets. Her attention was caught fast, and hard. The day was still quite young, so it was far too early to be partying quite so ferociously, so, she figured, that whoever was behind said disturbance of the peace must be quite rough. Also, she was getting kind of worried that Bash was going to catch up with them soon.
"There." Anna broke the silence she'd been keeping between Darius and herself. "You want to check that out?"
“I don’t have to be a dragon. I could just be family. Or a journalist. Or someone who really cares about the deceased…”
At Jay’s request for a picture, Meirin instinctively reached for her phone, knowing that she did have one of Eli “Silence” Azar. It was sent to her via text, by the higher ups along, along with the mission request to look into his death. Even if HQ had neglected to give her such vital information (like the face of the person whose death she was supposed to look into), it was a simple matter to request one from Jesper.
Technology certainly made life easier. You’d think that, as someone growing up in the digital age, she’d be more familiar with the sort of things the rookie and his father did for the dragons, but, while she enjoyed the conveniences, the hows and whys of machinery—and all toys/games he played—never really interested her. Probably because, as a poor, orphaned child with little friends, she found kindness and sanctuary with the local temple monks (who offered free food), but Meirin didn’t like being dependent on material possessions…
Sighing as her eyes came upon a dark, slightly cracked, screen, Meirin shook the device a couple of times before holding the volume to reboot and praying that it turned itself on. Otherwise, she’d have to test her artistic skills. Or ask Jay if she could borrow his phone and have one of her comrades send him the picture from there. Extra steps that wouldn’t be necessary if she hadn’t been so careless with personal device…or had the foresight to print a physical copy when she had a chance. Still. No use crying over spilled milk. While the smartphone, fortunately, started to light itself, Merin grinned at Jay. “But you’re right. I am a Dragon.” Unable to resist the adorable puppy look when she told him she wasn't here for sex, Meirin pet the white-haired man several times on the head with her other hand. "Hehe, you're pretty smart, aren't you?"
She could’ve said dragon affiliate if she really wanted to hide her identity, make up some elaborate lie about why she would care enough to look into someone’s death, but it didn’t really matter to her if others knew. Power was power, and the strong had no need to hide. In the East District, the Azure Dragons ruled. The police wasn’t needed. The Government wasn’t needed—not since the first Heavenly Kings came into power. Just a relic of the past that still clung onto a false sense of superiority…as if the government had ever done anything for her. Everything she currently owned was bought with ‘dirty’ money made from the profits of Eternal Night Palace.
Blinking as delayed text messages popped up, Meirin tapped her thumb on Isaiah’s message first, quickly scanning the information before swiping it away to read Jesper’s warning to civilians. Poison? Terrorists? Meirin wasn’t the brightest tool in the shed, but even she could tell the Dragons were being targeted…and the culprit were likely the ‘Cobalt Wolves’…or whoever were affiliated with them. That certainly gave more urgency to their task at hand. Pulling up the picture of Eli “Silence” Azaz, her phone working noticeably slower than before, Meirin showed the image to Jay…which she assumed the brothel worker could see.
Then again, she had no idea if Isaiah’s potential even worked on the items she carried with her. “This is our guy. If there’s anything you’ve seen, please let us know. We’ll make sure the East District remains protected and justice is served.”
She didn’t like involving a civilian in gang-related issues, and didn’t intend to interrogate, but the sooner this was solved, the better off the Pleasure District would be. “Who knows? If you manage to help us with this, I’ll put in a good word for you with the higher ups and you may end up with a letter at your door at your door as well~ Only if you want to, of course.”
Meirin had no intention of forcing anyone into gang life. Whether or not the brothel worker found that prospect appealing or not was up to them, but—like Robin—Jay certainly had a potential. If he valued peace and had strong morals as well, then he certainly had all the makings of a good Dragon in Meirin’s eyes. Just like Robin did. Meirin herself wasn’t quite sure what qualities they ones who sent her invite saw in her, but it led to a better life…in a manner of speaking. Squeamish-ness at the sight of blood wouldn’t do, but that was the sort of thing that could be trained out with experience…probably. Besides, if true peace was achieved, there would be no more bloodshed. Those were worthy ideals…and so long as the Dragons kept to those ideals, they would keep her loyalty.
But of course, Meirin got her dragon tatoo after the Azure Dragons helped her deal with the scoundrel that sold his ‘adoptive daughter’ to a brothel house…and she would continue to fight for them so long as they didn’t cross her personal line. Queen Isabel. Akito Azuza. Isaiah. Ruriko. Robin. Many of the current dragons protecting the brothel houses. She saw them as good people…and she was one of them. While holding the phone for Jay to see, Meirin’s ears grew to an abnormal size (reminiscent of an elephant) so as to better take in the sounds around her and not be surprised should others enter Jay’s room. She was still invisible, courtesy of Isaiah, but it never hurt to be careful.
Besides, she might randomly pick up an interesting conversation.
Just as Tri started to pile the mother-and-son ungracefully on top of each other so he could bridal carry them both--
The Jack yelped and kicked a cheap table hard. It went flying up, then down and smacked Tri over the head, dissolving into saw dusts. He rubbed his sorry head, turning to see the cause of his-
"Oh. King." His muscles lost tensions and Tri put on a wry smile. "You scared me like that."
He sighed and pocketed the bomb in his hand.
Well, back to the bodies. He took them over his shoulders and carried them out following Yuudai. They weren't heavy beyond his capability, but the fact that they took his hands full was something else. The other house seemed to be done, too.
“Hm.” Kisara was uncharacteristically quiet as she exited the house, with the lady and the large man on her shoulders. She edged through the threshold, out into the dank air of the swamplands, taking care not to bump either of her quarries on the door post or to drop them onto the ground. While the larger man was a fair bit more impressive in terms of build and size, the one that she was keeping an eye out for was the one-eyed woman. She was above average in terms of human strength, but she possessed something that the man did not. Killing intent, almost to the point of unbridled rage. Her voice had been cold as ice, and sharp as the edge of a dagger. Even though she had been clearly outmatched by someone with a Potential in such close quarters, she had fought like her life depended on it, almost as if she was naturally attuned to these kinds of situations.
Or she had done this before.
Kisara gave another pensive ‘Hmm,’ as she shifted the weights of her packages on her shoulders. They didn’t bother her in the slightest, but their balance meant that she had to measure her every step as she returned towards the rest of the crew. The snow-haired rookie had dumped her own weight on the other that had shorted out her phone. Kisara was still sore from that experience. While she was a fan of people doing their own thing when they wanted, when it came to inconveniencing others, especially those on her own side, she was strictly against it. People had their own lives to lead, and their own things to take care of- far be it for her to stop anyone else from doing that.
“This one’s dangerous,” Kisara commented dully, indicating the white-haired woman on her shoulder. “Can we get this over and done with? I need to get back to fix my phone. Some dummy ruined it.” She shot a pointed look at the culprit. “Do you know how many potential dates I’m missing out on right now?” She grimaced at the thought. Her boots were covered in muck, her phone was shorted out, and she didn’t know what she was supposed to be doing after this. No access to her phone meant no coverage, and no coverage meant no time to catch up with the goings-on in New Oasis. What if Lancer appeared? Or some other strong member from one of the gangs appeared? Her fans tended to keep an eye out for these kinds of events, and now, she was stuck here, with no updates. How many unsubs was she going to get? How many of her Ne’er-Do-Wells were going to be so disappointed? She groaned outwardly. “C’mooooon, boss, let’s just gooooo.”
Omar watched as the lady in red declare that she wanted to be shot at which logically is confusing as no one in their right mind would want to get shot at. Unless of course this lady enjoys that sort of thing or maybe this lady has some sort of ability to withstand said a bullet shot at her or maybe has some sort of ability to absorb bullets. Is this what they call a bluff? or is it a dare?
Omar realizes that his team mate Lorrin did not understand what Omar was referring to in ambush. Omar meant to say that they were the ones being ambushed and are not the ones doing the ambush. Seeing as Lorrin Yumi continues to taunt and antagonize this lady in red, Omar wondered why the noose has not tighten around them yet as this tactic is often used by low level thugs. Omar did a quick scan of the surroundings and realize one thing. Even though this is painful to say out loud is just shows the tactical mind of this lady which is to say that this lady well not sure if it is a lady but this lady and if she had allies where rank amateurs in the art of the ambush and the art of street fighting.
The lady decided to appear on the rear of the trio and announce her presence. Bad form Bad form. Positioning was sloppy even and she is not allowing her self to be the bait. Bad misdirection form. The area where she decided to attack the trio had too many exits but the most mark downs is that she just came to talk and does not want to talk. Lazy just lazy. Omar grades this ambush with a failing grade. If one wants ambush lessons please see Professor Ayad at the book store for more information. Homework assignment for this day would be chapters six and seven of the Azure Dragon ambush book. Remember the practical exams will be held next Wednesday with Professor Kairong and the masked professor also know as Jack-O'-Lantern. These were the strange thoughts running through Omars head as he evaluated this ambush.
Suddenly Omar notices that Hua Caomei is acting up this might be a problem but then again anyone would be acting up if the word got out that someone is a member of this or that gang. Now what to do about this? Ahh yes article five of chapter ten of the art of street fighting: "The actions of the brave are the actions of a martyr. If one wishes to live in a war then one must use the actions of a monster. So knowing when the right time to run away is critical to ones survival."
The words of Faa Yun and the words of Omar Parents still run in the head of Omar till this day. The exact words were: "You must act as two people. The first the weakling coward without his mask while the second the monster and tool of the Azure Dragons with the mask. Never forget that lesson."
Omar looks at the lady in red and sees that she is saying something about show boarding. Wait is she meaning show boating? Why would she use the term show boarding? Show boarding is used in a matter that means to do attractive jumps and other stunts. It does not fit in any way or shape. She must be meaning showboating as that means to use ostentatious behaviour which is apparently designed to attract attention and admiration from the masses. Wait what am I doing? This is not the time to be thinking of syntax versus semantics wars. Remember article five of chapter ten of the art of street fighting, Lorrin Yumi distracted her enough. Now is the time to run.
Omar would gently touch the arm of Hua Caomei before he ran in the opposite direction away from Lorrin Yumi, Hua Caomei and the lady in the red directly into the sidewalks where people passing back and foward as Omar used his arms to point back towards the alley while shouting out loud. "Crazy lady in red!!! Call the cops!!! She firing guns at people!!!" This sudden outburst caused some people to stare at Omar then back at the alley, others would want to get a closer look, others started to bring out their cellphones to record the incident, others would attempt to call the police, and most would start to run away from the location as Omar blended into the running crowd as the word of mouth started to change from firing guns to killing people, plenty of dead in the alleys as Omar made a mental taunt: See crazy red lady, this is the art of misdirection and you just got old school doxxing in the house. Professor Ayad out.
Of course Omar would never say it out loud to anyone.
Charmy circled around the table before helping herself to one of the chairs. There didn’t appear to be anyone of particular note, so she made herself suitably comfortable. She ventured to guess the pathetic display were some other Tigers meant to pick at Titus’ pockets, but it didn’t matter to her either way.
“Oh trust me, we’re having the same luck.” She grimanced. “There’s another event I would much rather be attending, but alas here I am.” She rolled her neck. “Thing is, I’ve heard our mutual friend has been quite lucky today. A bit more full of himself than usual too. I thought you lot might have something to say about it. Notice anything… funny?”
It was hard to tell if the Tiger trio recognized her, but they were compliant enough despite her way of going about things. Their failure was the sole focus weighing on their minds, and there was no apparent issue with sharing meaningless details. If she was trying to pay Titus back then it would be in their favor anyway. They shared a few glances, but then quickly coughed up what little they knew.
“There’s no way he’s not cheating.” One scowled. “No one gets that lucky.”
“Thing is, it didn’t seem like any of the usual tricks.” Pitched another. “It’s not like he was always winning, but I’d be damned if he didn’t have a clue what cards we had.”
“I’m more bothered about how he kept looking at nothing…” The last one mumbled, earning dejection from the others. “No for real. It was really weird.”
Charmy stopped fiddling with her hair.
“Looking at nothing? What do you mean by that exactly?”
“Well he kept looking at the corners of the room. J-Just for a moment. And I swear he’d always land a big win just after. That can’t be coincidence right?”
Charmy thought into her hand. The prospect frustrated her. If this detail was more than just one of the man’s tics then she’d have missed something so simple. All because her damn eyes were closed. Now that really pissed her off. She didn’t like to be played for a fool, especially when it came to her sight.
“Which corner was it?”
“None specifically. It didn’t seem to be one in particular.” The Tiger turned to others for confirmation, but they only offered shrugs. “Yeah I’m almost certain it varied.”
“Do forgive me for wasting your time.” Charmy smiled, contrasting her harsh tone. She abruptly stood up and took a deep breath. “I won't waste this information."
She didn’t move immediately, still pondering the words she had received. It wasn’t nearly as much as she had hoped. A sign of guilt? Something unseen in the room? Or was he being watched? He was cheating that much was clear, and he did owe money to someone. Beyond that, there wasn’t much else to go off of. It would be much safer to just return to the table, and see how things were progressing. Hopefully the rookie hadn’t completely botched things.
With doubts in tow, Charmy hastily rejoined the others. She was not amused.
Complaining about the boat seemed to have caused some tension, as Hector noticed the workers start to wrap things up in the background. He cocked his head to the side, looking unimpressed as Noland explained the situation. Nylund this, Nylund that. Who the fuck are the Nylunds? Anyone who's talked about in higher regard than the Phoenixes can't be good news, and Hector couldn't help but feel disrespected by this guy. He didn't answer all the questions, either. He still didn't know who that girl was.
Hector nudged Akane with his foot. He didn't know if she knew anything about the Nylunds, but even the smallest bit of info would be more than he had. He addressed her directly, tilting his head towards her, but not breaking eye contact with Noland.
"Well, do we need permission to deal with a Nylund?" He spoke loud enough that both Akane, and Noland could hear him. No rich kids or posers were going to stop him conducting his business, "I don't think we do, so we'll deal with them the same as anyone else." He nods, hoping for affirmation from Akane.
He turns back to Noland. "Your men seem to be in quite the hurry, so I'd hate to take up too much of your time." Hector steps closer to him, his expression hard to determine at this point, for someone who's usually quite emotional. "We aren't here for any of you tonight though, you carry on with your business. But let it be known, that no people, no boats, no amount of money can override the people in charge here, and I'm sure you know that the Phoenixes are in charge. We're making sure nobody is standing in our way so tell us now, have you noticed anyone lurking around here, who perhaps shouldn't be?"
Helva backed out and drove as soon as Zulin closed the car door, it only took seconds before she was out of the area, luckily for her their wasn't that much traffic. It only took moments before she arrived near the beach, though she didn't leave the car once she had parked it in a good spot, instead she closed her eyes, allowing her muscles to tense up before she let out a sigh as she attempted to calm herself. Zulin smirked knowing that she was on the verge of destruction, but knew better than to speak or else he could end up being a target. After a moment she opened her eyes, then opened the door, then calmly sat on the hood of her car in order and looked over at the boat, and started overseeing the events that were going on. And she was hardly surprised by what was going on, Hide being Hide and Alex being Alex. She honestly didn't mind much and instead just watched over the two just in case something happened. "Maybe i should of brought along Libla instead of Zulin." she said it more to herself than to Zulin. But it seemed to be a jab at him nonetheless, Zulin took quiet a bit of offense by the dramatic pose they made, which mostly consisted of a gash and placing their hands on their heart.
"Man, you are just about as rude and mean as Alex today, man, i would honestly rather be with that numb skull Hector if your gonna be mean to me like this. " Zulin gave off a little pout that was meant to be adorable. But the whole adorable trap game wasn't something Helva fell for anymore, so she opted to roll her eyes and observe what was going on below. It took her a moment in order to spot Hector and Akane conversing with one of the workers, seemed just perfect, knowing Hector something was bound to happen, and it annoyed her somewhat. Without even glancing, she shooed Zulin with her hand, saying "Zulin, prepare to play."
It only took those few words before Zulin leaped up in the air and ran around the car in order to pop the trunk open, inside of the trunk were a bunch of guns. Fun little weapons, that he loved to use, he opted to grab the FNP-45 Complete with a tactical Silencer. He then grabbed three magazines and placed it in his pocket, before then checking his gun to make sure it was unloaded before holstering it in his pants. He then grabbed two grenades and placed them in his pocket on the other side of his magazines as well, before then closing the trunk of the car, and skipping over to Helva. "So who we playing with?" Helva didn't give much of a reaction, not even bothering to glance at him as a matter of fact, instead she only said "Standby." . A frown crossed Zulins face as he closed the car doors and leaned against the car with his foot, muttering a bit as he watched what was going on with Helva. It wasn't anything interesting to him, and he quickly got bored, he didn't think they would be on a surveillance mission, but something that involved lots of action,fun, and amusing reactions from people as their lives were about to be taken. But nope, he was stuck here, watching others have fun on the party boat with Helva, he couldn't help but feel tempted to run on over and join the people on the boat in order to have some fun with them, unfortunately it wasn't docked and he couldn't walk aboard on it, unless he could find a jetski or a boat or something, which soon gave him the idea to scan the area for one. He intensified his scanning as a result just looking for any sorta boat or jetski nearby that he could take and use it to join the party on the boat.
As Dante danced a funky jig, ignoring those that now edged away from him with an air of caution, he turned towards a station, grabbed a bowling ball and with a 'HUP!' rolled it after two steps forward. The bowling ball hit the ground with a thunk, then rolled towards the pins, curving at the last few seconds, and striking down one side of the standing pins, leaving five up and waiting.
The scaled boy squinted. Lips pressed in a thin line. He glanced over his shoulder, noticed some of the people that his power wave had knocked over who stood, now quickly avoided looking his way where he had caught their eyes watching his rather bad playthrough.
"Hm, well can't have that." He raised an arm, it shimmered in the light and then with a flick of his wrist and a splay of his fingers, a wave of energy went forward, washing over the bowling pins and carrying them down the pit in one go.
"HAHA! SUCCESS!" he jumped up with glee "I AM THE BEST, WEW!" , and struck a winning grin as he pumped his fist and gave his crowd a thumbs up.
Not all members of the audience were amused though, which to be fair, he could not blame them. Some clapped but Dante knew it was because they felt it was the only option they had, the nervous smiles and worried glances; the scowls or forced grins. The few that did snort at his failure before quickly looking away when his draconic pupils snapped in their direction were the ones that managed to brighten this humdrum scene. Just as he was about to ask if anyone else would like a turn, because how could he not shed some fun on this little invasion, right? Opening his mouth he--
"GYA! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!"
Dante's eyes snapped in the direction of Wren's panicked voice. From behind the rails on the other side of the room, on the floor above, he saw Wren staring in shock, her coworkers gaping in awe and fear. With a single move, he watched Vincent do something with his power. The effect it had on those nearby was instant. Dante couldn't see all of it from his disposition but his audience, having been attracted to the sight, stared in horror at what they were seeing before their very eyes.
Swiftly, he abandoned his post at the bowling ring, and made his way up the stairs towards the corridor where the show was on a roll.
Vincent lowered his clenched fist, and Dante heard and watched as windows began to crack. People screamed when the glass spiderwebbed on every large window pane on that side of the store. Wren could be heard shouting for people to come to her. There was a cacophony of noise and the individuals who were alright ran like a stampede over to the employee station. Dante made it to the top, letting people pass by as Wren and the staff guided them towards the emergency exits. Why she wasn't using her power told Dante she was worried that she couldn't stop whatever Vincent was doing to her clientele, and that alone told Dante that Wren's power was not a Master class; one that allowed control over others completely. Otherwise she'd have used it to stop Vincent already from whatever it was he was doing.
When the glass started exploding and a few people began shrieking or yelling as they filed in a chaotic line towards the emergency exit all around him, Dante considered launching an attack on Vincent. But with Wren herding people towards an emergency exit, Dante knew he would have no excuse now to justify attacking the Queen by extension. As he stepped into the corridor, glass crunching under his sandals he surveyed his surroundings.
It all became clear just as Vincent lowered his fist further. The formation on his other arm explained why he was doing what he was doing. People began to drop a few seconds later, at least the ones affected by Vincent's range. The glass bounced off his invisible shield and Dante maintained his façade look of confusion as he watched Vincent try to weed out his assaulter.
The good news was Dante now knew how his power worked. Vincent's power was some form of air manipulation. It was why he couldn't see what he was doing to fly, why he couldn't tell what he was doing to cause people pain immediately. He was manipulating the air somehow and that was causing anyone near his immediate radius to undergo the withdrawals. Yet whatever he was doing clearly wasn't killing anyone yet. So it wasn't oxygen he was controlling, it had to be something causing the glass to break.
Air pressure? he wondered.
A whimper snapped Dante out of his thoughts as he heard scrambling.
A young woman, blonde, bright blue eyes, freckles, was hyperventilating in the corner when Dante leaned on the counter, ignoring the scathing glare Wren shot his way before giving a command to two of her co-workers to move it. The young woman whimpered when glass broke, and Dante only now noticed that she was covered in small cuts and scratches. She shook like a leaf jostled by the wind, and Dante threw energy over her when the window above her exploded and rained its sharp fragments down over her. Every shard he felt prickle across his hand from the feedback, he felt it when she jerked and shrieked suddenly from his energy encompassing her-- Wren made a move--
--then stopped when she saw a hand of energy holding up the debris of glass above the young lady. She stared at Dante for a single second with a skeptical look that became less scathing, but just barely, then used her power to pull the frightened young lady towards her with the same phantom white flash of light that had frozen him. Leaving her to one of the co-workers of Mach Sling while Wren stood her ground as a bouncer to let the civies escape this hell hole.
"You heard the lady, Miss," Dante said calmly as he deactivated his power. Eyes lingering on the form of someone who floundered like a fish, struggling for air while another twitched and try to get up only to fall down again, gasping, clawing for the energy to get up and get out. Dante didn't say anything while he watched with an indifferent, innocently confused look on his face that was accentuated by his raised brow.
Why Vincent was even going this far, was beyond him. Apparently he himself realized this as he spoke it, not that Dante could hear him clearly. His air manipulation was affecting the sound trying to carry out. It sounded muffled to his ears, barely perceptible even though they were just across form each other on opposite ends of the hall.
Whatever the case was, it took Vincent long enough. Any longer and he would have said something. It was sickening enough to have to pretend he didn't feel anything for these innocents who all came here to have a good time, not get wrapped up in this shitty business. But then again, when you lived in 'Oasis' what else did you expect. As usual, he let those thoughts slip by and addressed a clearly ticked off Wren.
"If you want this all to stop Miss, I suggest you call out your boss and soon before things get uglier here." Dante stated as he leaned his back on the counter, both arms propped up behind him and his head tilted all the way up to look at Wren in an upside down fashion. "Otherwise things are gonna just get uglier here." He grinned, fangs flashing, body sparkling as he increased the flow of energy within his body. His eyes burning a sickly yellow-green light before fading back to the normal draconic orbs. "And I'd suggest you hurry."
Just as he said this, he tilted his head back down to look at what was happening around him. It was a disgusting sight to see this many people suffering for this long, but Dante had to admit he felt some satisfaction watching Lucy pull her scythe up, one arm, and bring it down on Vincent's crystallized, useless limb.
In his eyes, it would at least scare the guy enough to release his hold on all these people. Especially since it seemed whomever had done that to Vincent, wasn't even in the building.
Just as Lucy swung her weapon, a flash of light signaled something in the room and Wren, who had the experience, covered her eyes and ducked. Dante seeing her from the corner of his vision, threw up a shield and flipped himself over the counter just as the flash went off. With a pop, a man appeared. Tall, scraggly looking. He winced as he rose from his crouched position. Popping limbs as he rubbed blinked the haze out of his eyes from using his own ability.
"Erk, damn. Yup, going by train would have been the better option. Hate how it always makes everything so blurry when I use this dumb thing. OI! WREN!" The man called out, knowing his way he walked forward while rubbing his eyes and stopped before making contact with the counter- unaware of the situation or just not seeing it. "WREN!" he yelled again.
Dante rose to the call.
Immediately the man flinched, quick in a draw he pulled out a glock from his coat, squinting through the blurry vision he pointed it in the direction of Dante's voice. The barrel pointing right at his forehead, just at the left eye, right above the brow. "Who the fuck--" he started.
Then he began to notice the signs as the shapes became clearer. A wheezing gasp escaped the man. He shifted left, looking around, his eyes widening. "Wh-what? WHAT HAPPENED TO MY STORE?!" The glock cocked, his eyes wide, but the anger clear. Dante merely smiled, pointing at the path of the entrance.
"His fault, not mine sir." Was his only reply.
And he turned. Saw them. Suffocating customers on his floor, windows shattered wide, jagged edges of glass surrounding the panes like the maws of an earthworm. The look of terror in their eyes whether Lucy's little act had released them or not, most were stunned, paralyzed with fear, or still recuperating.
"Mr. Lars, I--"
"Don't" he instructed. "I get it Wren." He sighed, neutral acceptance on his face as he eyed Vincent like he was nothing more than filth, then turned to look at Lucy with almost equal disdain but a clear sense of understanding at what was happening here. "What do you want to let these nice people go?"
At this point it was the Queen's time to shine. Dante merely said nothing. If Lucy needed him, he'd act. Wren remained where she was, watching the exchange with a twitch. He had to keep his eye on her given what he knew her power could do so far. That was until something outside caught his eye.
Two people in masks. One in a gorilla mask, another with blonde hair in a mask that covered his lower face.
Curious. But he paid it no immediate attention. They weren't people he recognized or knew, and even if they were here to have fun, this was clearly not the place to be having any fun. So he told them: "Hey you two!" he shouted from the broken window. "May not want to come here right now, place is undergoing a bit of work as you can see here. You're welcome to" he vaguely waved his arm down the road, "go somewhere else though." The scaled orc grinned, fangs flashing. "So yeah, have a nice day!"
With that order of business done, Dante turned his attention back to the situation at hand. Not that he hadn't been paying attention.
Ice cube after ice cube was fed into Miss Wonder's mouth thanks to her trusty spork, the crunch of the cold was almost as refreshing as the frosty remains she swallowed afterwards. She had just been in the midst of carrying another ice cube to her mouth when someone new entered the scene. Another Tiger with a plethora of questions already on the tip of her tongue by the time she sat down. Miss Wonder swallowed the ice in her mouth before going in for another when suddenly their new playmate turned a question on her.
"The Spork?" Miss Wonder raised it before looking it over with an even stare, "I mean, I could probably grab the ice with my hand, but that'd look even more messy. I guess it doesn't matter if we're the only ones up here. But a summer maiden such as I has to keep some level of shame... maybe? Maybe not? Shall I dig into the fruit of yesteryear with naught but mine bare flesh?"
Miss Wonder shrugged before digging into her glass of ice and raising another spork-full to her lips, pulling her mask further out of the way to do so, "Who knows, baby? What I know is that sporks are great for Hamburger Helper, especially when pre-chilled."
So caught up was she in her answer that she barely noticed their King leaving until he was already a ways away from the table. He was on the phone with someone, probably orchestrating all kinds of awesome stuff. But Miss Wonder couldn't hear what it was, nor was she even inclined to guess. They were there to party, and that was what she would do.
As soon as that waitress returned with her order.
In the meantime, however, Elias was just in the midst of continuing their conversation, which was now focused on Breadsticks for some mysterious reason. Surely such a topic was ripe for exploration and comprehension, yet it would see it just wasn't in the cards for them at the moment. For just as things were picking up again, commotion from below the VIP section started drawing attention. It was enough to lure Eli away from the conversation.
It was coming from downstairs, below the VIP Section. Although her Aetherwave high had been slowly running dry, the area below the VIP section still looked like a foggy, colorful abyss to her. Eli seemed eager to occupy himself with something new now that the Boss had walked off, inviting both her and the girl who'd just joined their little convo to go investigate. the commotion downstairs definitely didn't seem like it was lightening up anytime soon. Miss Wonder stumbled out of her seat before rising to her full height and giving a stretch, her vision clearing up as she eyed her fellow tigers and gave a yawn.
"I'll... I mean, I gotta keep watch down there anyway." she said whilst moving towards the edge of the section, swaying on her feet as she made to look down into the abyss below with more clarity "But I dunno about this trouble stuff, guys. A girl can't mediate on an empty stomach, ice melts and suffuses the blood too quickly to last. Maybe I'll just keep watch until- Oh!"
There it was, down there amidst whatever else was happening.
Although the rest of the lower section still looked like a muddle, murky assortment of waves and colors; she could clearly see a plate being ferried through the crowd. Clutched in the hands of a waitress with sweat dripping down her forehead, she nimbly tried swerving and maneuvering through the crowd and moving bodies in order to reach the VIP section without spilling her delivery:
A single plate of burger and pasta.
"She's already back!" Miss Wonder cheered before pushing away from the edge of the section and making her way to the end of the VIP section, completely disregarding both the Waitress's uncannily quick fulfillment of the request and the commotion downstairs. And while the Waitress eventually slowed, too distracted by the occurrences downstairs to maintain her steady pace, Miss Wonder swaggered down towards her. Almost blind to the happenings downstairs, all she could think of was the taste of hamburger helper that was about to explode across her tongue, the spork clutched in her hand prepped for the consumption about to take place.
That was what Lyric made him focus on in response to his woes, encouraging him to calm down and let things proceed at an even pace. He had to bite his tongue before he could immediately bring up the certain 'Setbacks' that were hindering that pace, reminding himself that a speedy completion wasn't entirely their goal. The state of the bar and Ziz's 'Fun' had drawn his attention away from the primary purpose of their reconstruction efforts: to make a statement.
"Right boss," he gave Lyric whilst examining their surroundings, whipping his hat back on before crossing his arms "in that case I'd say I'm glad to be right on schedule."
This whole thing was also an open challenge to both bad actors within the Phoenixes and without, basically daring the other Gangs to try something. As long as Lyric was confident they could punish any interlopers who took their bait, there wasn't much point in arguing for complete efficiency. As long as they appeared to be in the midst of a large project, they were right where Lyric wanted them to be.
Did that stifle Bernardo's annoyance whatsoever with the particular inefficiencies of the display that could be resolved rather quickly with a heavy hand and restructured construction plan?
Nope, not one bit.
But Bernardo was free to let his mind turn to more important matters, there was no point in letting it fester when he could simply focus elsewhere. He and several others had been tasked with bringing the trucks needed to remove the majority of the debris from the site so there was room for the new construction materials they would need later. That task was now done, and all over Phoenixes were slowly filling them up with the night's load.
And seeing as they would be taking it nice and slow, that meant he had no reason to rush or fret over their timeframe. The Trucks would be cycled out over the course of the next days, only to be repurposed for bringing construction materials in when they truly got to that stage.
Looking around the old bar, Bernardo tried thinking up what could replace it once the mess had been sorted and the frame rebuilt. Of course, the more selfish part of him couldn't help but picture a large garage with lovingly cared for engines suspended by chains and rigs being compared and modified daily.
Of course, it was probably just going to be made into a better bar, but a guy could dream.
Another Rookie had come up not long after Lyric had settled Bernardo's thoughts, brimming with optimism and idolization that Bernardo could honestly say was odd seeing being aimed anywhere other than a 2-83 Model Diesel rig with Custom rims and fine leather seating. He shrugged at the display and was content with letting his fellow Rookie, who he was fairly certain was called Charlie, fawn over their boss to his heart's content.
He was more willing to focus on the invitation Lyric gave as she resumed working on clearing the bar. When tonight's work was done, they were all apparently invited to join her for some drinks.
Bernardo wasn't the kind of guy to mix work and fun, except when it revolved around all manners of Automobiles and terrible owners who deserve no sympathy or forgiveness, but he was familiar with the Scarlet Phoenixes' emphasis on family. They weren't just a job, weren't just an association. By all accounts they were a fraternity, a family in all but blood. And he would need to get that particular part of things down pat if he didn't want to burn too many bridges.
"Been a while since I've even had time to get hammered, but I'm game for some downtime." he shrugged before looking to Lyric "Especially if we're going all out on this restoration process."
Even with his limited understanding of architecture, he was positive they'd need nothing less than undiluted passion and vigor in order to make Lyric's vision of a new South District a reality. And a better, stronger south District would undoubtedly benefit all of them, one way or another.
But just as he was on board with hyping himself up, the sound of something falling drew his attention. Almost immediately, Ziz practically exploded from a nearby pile of rubble whilst cheering the idea of drinking. Her joyous cry was no proper warning for the calamitous blast of feathers which flung debris from the pile like meteors to the unforgiven masses below. Oh yes, a noteworthy amount had reached the trucks, but such graces did nothing to save Bernardo from bearing witness to the devastation wrought on the rest of the already wrecked bar.
The only distraction from the sight were the debris flung from the explosion of feathery wings, specifically the debris which fell his way. Bernardo was quick to lunge back, but even he knew that wouldn't be enough. As the debris rained towards him, he split apart. Legs, arms and head split from the body, sailing apart as the debris sailed in between them. The pieces attempted to float out of the way, but a chunk to the chest led him to pull himself together with a bit of a cough.
He rubbed at the pint of impact, pounding his gloved fist against it before looking around to take stock of the damage. But then his gaze went instead to the rest of the Phoenixes before settling on Ziz as she gleefully scampered towards Lyric.
Though his first instinct was to reach out and snatch her right off the ground before she did anything, literally ANYTHING else, Bernardo once more held back. Actually grabbing his wrist to stop himself, deciding instead to put his faith in Lyric. She probably had a better method with dealing with Ziz than he did, and it wasn't like he actually wanted to indulge the headache of Dealing with her himself anyway.
So instead he just repeated the words, "Multilevel Process." before turning away to find where he could help.
Compared to the other Phoenixes here, he wasn't certain that his Potential made him the best for clearing the structure like that. He was actually debating continuing his survey of the entire structure when yet again the sound of something falling drew his attention.
Apparently Charlie, so enthusiastic to help and rife with eager vibes, had mishandled the large piece of debris he sought to carry and fell over instead.
Bernardo had to clench a hand and whisper, "Multistep Process..." to himself before turning and making for Charlie. Whilst Yong seemed more willing to focus on their own work and leave Charlie to their own toils, Bernardo wasn't going to pass up on the chance afforded to him. "Come on, it'll work better with two folks." Bernardo said as he reached down to help Charlie back to his feet "What's that saying? Teamwork makes the dream work?"
The moment Charlie was back on his feet, Bernardo made a point to step around the other side of the large chunk of debris that had given him trouble "Ya just need a solid grip here."
As Adonis-Reveler handed over the cash to Angel, her expression shifted from “I’ll eat your face off” to what might best be described as “candy-sweet.”
Raven nodded to Reveler’s request for her to seek business elsewhere, no other words to offer. She understood. She side-stepped to allow Angel to be face-to-face with Adonis-Reveler, turning her attention to Kairong and Silver-Robin.
Angel took a step toward Adonis-Reveler and purred, “I thank you for your patronage. As for my test, please hold your hand up, palm towards me.”
Once that was done, Angel clenched a fist and punched Reveler’s palm. What could be felt? Maybe a tickle? Nothing? It would be clear that Angel doesn’t have the strength of someone with a Potential.
Angel nodded, “I’m pleased!” She shook her hand as if she had actually tried her hardest before holding it out for Adonis-Reveler to grab. “I will answer any and all questions you have, and whatever else you have in mind, my Prince~”
This came from the old man, Kairong. Angel shot a look at Raven, who just waved her on as the dark-haired woman would go to address Kairong. Angel would attempt to lead Adonis-Reveler to one of the rooms for Raven to deal with the situation. Angel would shoot up a middle finger towards Robin-Silver.
As Kairong got right into the nitty gritty, Raven sighed, “This is why I can’t stand you Dragons. Did you not do your proper research before coming in? Did you not bother to ask Silver-” she shot Robin-Silver a knowing glance “-that you were coming? We are willing to talk, but you decide to attempt sneaking around. How rude.”
She shook her head, “I do not know that name as we don’t always ask for the name but if you wait here momentarily, Silver should be arriving soon. Black Currant is grabbing him for me. I don't know where your other person is though, I couldn't see them but I swear if they hurt anyone here-”
There was brief silence, and Jesper wondered if the signal had somehow gotten the locations wrong. Fortunately, the appearance of three running figures proved him wrong. One man was running ahead of the other two, who he presumed was Kanna and Ruriko (he went off of their hair). So that's the guy, right? The drones regrouped around Guardian, turning to face the runners.
"Stop him." Two of the drones flew forth through the fog, trailing the faint silhouette as fast as they could fly; they probably heard the drones' rotors cutting through the air Guardian broke into a dash parallel to the stranger's direction, hoping to flank and cut them off.
The two drones sent after the stranger set their crosshairs on his lower half. They couldn't get a full read on the target, but any closer where they could make more of him out, and the ammunition was ready to fire. As they neared Kanna and Ruriko, their guns began to rev up.
At Isaiah’s confirming question to ‘Aggressive,’ Silver provided a nod in response.
As Isaiah explained what he knew about the situation, Silver kept his back straight and gaze intently on the boy he’s known since Isaiah was a child.
What was interesting to Silver’s ears was the statement “that's not all there was to it.”
When the conversation turned to the missing employee, Silver’s eyes softened, “Everyone else let me know where they were going to be today, so I know where everyone is except her. I don’t know if she’s okay or not. I fear the Dragons believe she’s a suspect and…” he didn’t finish his statement.
He shook his head as he went to answer about the week, “That man that was found dead, he had been flitting between a few of the women. Pray, forgive me but I am reluctant to give their names for now. We don’t know how he was found sliced up, but I can only imagine he didn’t listen and got aggressive and someone had to defend them–”
Knockknockknockknock. The knocks on the back door sounded frantic, but quiet.
“Silver, please–” came Black Currant’s voice on the other side.
Silver stood up, and something about his voice shimmered in the air, thus insinuating that Isaiah should not be able to speak as of now, “I do not appreciate those that go behind my back to frighten my staff.”
He walked over to the backdoor and opened it up, revealing the wide-eyes of the quiet Black Currant. Their pink gaze flitted to Isaiah briefly before breathlessly saying, “Papa, Raven is with you in the lobby–”
Silver reached out and stroked their cheek, “We’re going now. Feel free to join us, but I wouldn’t dream of putting any of you in harm’s way. Go home, go to your room, stay in here, or join us so I know where you’re at, the choice is yours Dear.”
Tears seemed to threaten to fall down Black’s face as they nodded, stepping into the office. Their decision seemed to at least narrow down.
Silver then turned to Isaiah, his voice shimmering once more to release the enchantment, “Tell me, Isaiah, are you with those Dragons that are threatening my staff?”
Unlike Hector, Akane was able to glean a bit more information from the man's response. "Yes, we are Phoenixes," she said, "although I wouldn't go so far as to call myself big name." She let out a chuckle. If she was, she had really been slipping with keeping her jobs covert. "Pharaoh, on the other hand, is our Ace, and he would really appreciate your cooperation. If you truly have been paying your dues, then you are under our protection. You don't need to worry about what some family with old money will be able to do, especially while you're in Phoenix territory." They might have gotten the docks in Central, but that was likely before Phoenixes had control of it.
She let Hector continue his questioning but then wondered if perhaps the Nylunds could be involved. "Miss Nylund over there," she said, gesturing to the party boat. "How often is she around? Has she been showing up more frequently as of late?"
Rogue of the Night: Jay
In Scene: Meirin (QuirkyAngel
Meirin’s mention that she could have just been a family member made Jay put a contemplative hand to his chin and tilted his head. He hadn’t thought of that and jumped to conclusions. He went to apologize but Meirin then confirmed his thoughts.
Now his brain hurt.
“Aah you’re twisting my brain all up,” he chuckled.
The head-pet was nice though, and the man couldn’t help leaning into her hand. “I don’t get told I’m smart often. Do it again.” His latter statement had a flutter of excitement laced into his words. If people could make kitty-faces, he would have one right about now.
Finally, Meirin got her phone to work. Jay would have potentially offered his help, but when it came to tech, he was utterly, hopelessly, useless. Well, he was useless at a lot of things. Except one thing. That’s why he had a job where he did.
As soon as the phone was facing him, he stared hard. Harder still yet. His pupils got really large, and then super tiny before rapidly trying to find a middle-ground.
“Ah!” He exclaimed.
“I can’t see the screen.”
He continued after a breath, “I can see past the phone, the phone’s insides, the phone’s shape, your leg shape, your hand bones, but I cannot see what's on the screen.”
He laid back on the bed and fished around under the blankets, cocooning himself in the fabric as Meirin mentioned putting a good word in for him.
He answered around his effort noises that stemmed from hunting for something, “Aaaah, I’m not really all that smart. I doubt ya’ll’d want me.” Then his hand struck gold. Grasping the rectangular shape, he then stuck his hand in the air with his own phone in hand, “You can text it to me! My number is XXX-XXX-XXXX.” If you're reading this and thinking Jay could have just used his fancy vision to see where his phone was in the bed, you'd be correct. But Jay is Jay.
Meirin’s larger ears might have picked up the soft rapping of Black Currant knocking on Silver’s office back door, and maybe pieces of that conversation while the door was open.
Yuto was currently standing barefoot on a line of web, busying himself with building the rest of it. He had a small smile on his face, humming a soft tune as he planted one end of the string just below the one he was standing on. Standing back up, he walked confidently along the thin string, chuckling to himself as the web trailed behind him, connected to his finger. He planted this one up high above his head, sticking his tongue out it concentration. He was halfway through with finishing building his web in between two worn down buildings, when he heard a commotion not too far away.
He glanced over in curiosity, seeing two blurry figures hurrying somewhere. It was truly harder to see in the light. The shadows contrasting with the brightness of the sun confused his vision, making it blur slightly. With a huff of frustration, he closed two of his eyes, the one on his forehead remaining open. It widened and narrowed in on the two figures, finally coming into focus. Oh! It was the Queen and the Fire Guy! Just what were they up to, scurrying off like that? Now that just won't do. Yuto knew if he ignored them, his curiosity would be nagging at him all week! Besides, it wasn't like there was anything else for him to do- other than neglecting his duties of course.
Jumping down from his web, he landed perfectly on his feet, scraping them on the ground to get rid of the stickiness from his webs. Yuto lifted his barefoot to see if it was clean of it, and after confirming that it was- he was off!
He rushed over to them at full force, planting his feet just a few feet away from them and launching himself in the air. With a joyous laugh, he landed on Sang-Cheol's back, clinging onto him for dear life. Yuto's arm wrapped around his shoulders, pushing himself up to wave frantically at Snake. " Hello Hello! Couldn't help but notice you two were up to something- so I just came over to say hi! you wouldn't mind me joining you guys right? Good!" He gave them both a close-eyed smile, as he didn't wait for them to respond to his ramblings. He rested his head on fire guy's shoulder, an "innocent" smile on his face.
The party was just incomplete without a good hostage situation. Damn that kid must be on some hellava good trip. The woman stepped further to the side of the boat raising her megaphone.
“Bring him to me!”
Chaos erupted on the boat as the woman spoke. Everyone who had once been scurrying away from the man now turned to jump him with renewed vigor. While most went flying or were injured enough the one Hide had the misfortune of grabbing twirled around with an elbow to his gut.
The man got out of the hold with an ease and power that spoke of another HP. He leaned down and grabbed his hat that went flying once he was grabbed, quickly flicking it back on his head before turning back to face Hide. Soon the group around them shifted as most went running either away from the newcomer or closer to.
“You want in? Oh you’ll get in alright. BOYS.”
He ran forwards throwing a feint before several other punks came up to restrain Hide doing their best to avoid the knife flailing around as they began dragging him into the boat.
On the upper decks Pinky’s smile grew as the crowd below started to settle down with the immediate threat taken care of. The megaphone was brought down to her side as she dropped her hand to her side.
“Say, all of you, would you mind havin’ a few words with lil’ old me? Promise it’ll be painless if you aren’t stupid~”
She swung around brandishing the Megaphone like a weapon as if it would protect her. Soon a crowd of people on the deck came up surrounding her, clutching on to her. She let out a low laugh as she shouted as loud without the megaphone.
“The fucking Jack? The fuck did we do to get the Phoenix Jack crashing our party.”
The door cracked open as the punks from the lower deck came up dragging their prize. The captive man being thrown to the floor.
“Here you go girlie.”
Pinkie’s face began to pale as she caught sight of the man they brought in. She dropped the Megaphone to the floor as she realized just who had caused the ruckus.
“You fuckers…. BROUGHT IN SPELLBINDER???”
As if gaining a sudden clarity the group of punks took another look at their catch before their faces began to reflect horror as the reality sunk in. The phoenixes were out to hunt and they might have just made them angry.
“Whoa Whoa Whoa. I didn’t, bruh there’s no way we caught Phoenix attention. Lavinia let ‘em know!”
“Angelo, Kindly Shut Up.”
There was a slam from above as the average-looking boy brought his hand down to the upper railing leaving a dent in the metal.
Swaying back and forth Delynn was less focused on what was going on in the house and was more looking inward to contain the spark of chaos that came with charging up her body. She was doing a great job, pushing down that desire to let loose and focusing on the reality that she wasnt alone. Her concentration was broken however as she felt something rub up against her several times. Her body sparked and jolted as she snapped her head towards the offendor.
She stared at the bear for a long moment as if her mind was mulling over if it was a threat. The fact that she wasn’t sure dulled the chaotic side of her body as she sudden shot back to reality. She looked quickly to the inside of the house and realized it was already over and everyone was walking out. She moved past everyone and quickly made her way over towards the closest power line. Grabbing the pole she made quick work of climbing it. Reaching up and grabbing the live line she discharged, causing a burst of electricity to travel down the line, making lights burst for a short distance before dissipating.
Immediately everyone's electronics began to work once again, flicking back on and powering up as if nothing had happened. Dropping down from the pole she dusted herself off and took a deep breath. “I cant entirely remember what I did but I hope I didn’t ruin anything.” Delynn spoke up as she looked to the others gathering. “As for your fans, a little disconnect time never hurt. Plus, I feel keeping this under wraps would be good. What if the cops eventually grew some balls.” she said looking to Kisara.
Raph was falling. Why was he falling? Last he remembered, he’d been pulling his arms up in front of his face to cushion the blow of Bash’s fist against his chin. He had blocked it in time—he knew he had; he was fast enough; he was strong enough. So why? In the fleeting span of moments between his feet leaving the ground and the back of his head meeting it, a tiny voice in the back of Raph’s mind was beginning to wonder if he’d perhaps made a mistake. The thoughts in his head were beginning to swim… As a louder voice raged.
The earth had risen up to meet him, cold and unforgiving as always. By now it had become a familiar sensation, getting knocked on his arse. Even so, the shock of his landing had stripped the breath from him once more. He gasped for air, but the sky above was blotted out by some wild, savage, animal-thing with a human face, a face just like his. I hate you, choked the voice in his head. Pinned down like an animal in a cage, Raph’s body thrashed and bucked, trying with a desperate strength to free himself from beneath this oppressive weight… At least Raph had the wherewithal to keep his arms in front of his face, but they’d only protect him for so long, and left the rest of his body exposed. If only he had his Potential. If only it hadn’t been snatched away from him. If only—a sudden, violent thought cut a red swath across the walls of his mind: What if you never get it back?
Almost at once, the thought awakened in Raph a feeling of true panic, a feeling much like what he imagined drowning to be. His Potential was all that he had, the only piece of himself that he didn’t despise. It was also the only part that didn’t belong to him. Not really. Not like Bash’s, or Anna’s, or Darius’. Unlike Raph, they had been born with their power, into greatness. Their privilege. Born better. Not a one of them knew what it was like to be helpless, weak, ordinary. Raph leered out from behind the bars of his forearms, up at those gleaming, golden eyes.
I hate you.
That thing in his head… It was raging again, igniting every nerve with madness. It urged him to fight, to survive. To claw back to the light. What fresh inspiration was this?
With a wicked gleam in his eye, Raph struck out with his right hand, fingers curled like claws. There was no point trying to throw a punch from down here. Enhanced or not, he’d never be able to generate the kind of power he’d need to unseat the Ace. Instead, he attempted to rake his fingers down Bash’s face, aiming to scratch out his eyes.
Adding Jay’s number to her contact list, Meirin quickly texted the image of Eli Azaz to the brothel worker, eager to hear what he had—or didn’t have—to say about it. If the civilian saw nothing, there was no need to waste either of their times. Meirin had more rooms to explore. More conversations to eavesdrop on. It wasn’t like she hadn’t already gained information from speaking to Jay:
“Black Currant” had (who Isaiah had shown her an illusion of) been the first to see the scene of the crime.
One of the workers of Forever Paradise had gone missing then.
Which one? Meirin’s job was to find out. Scrolling down her list of contacts, Meirin paused at one of the names—a number she still hadn’t removed even though they hadn’t contacted each other in 7 years. She’d been angry at first—too angry to even think about making amends. Then sad. Then, as time passed, the memories and feelings gradually faded until there was no longer a reason to. Didn’t help that she had more important things to deal with than a remnant of the past.
But it wasn’t as if the past didn’t make the present. If he were still with her, he’d tell her to collect all the pieces before drawing a conclusion. That, even if the obvious culprit was the missing worker, to look beneath the surface. Eli Azaz hadn’t been killed by the sword slashes. He’d been killed by poison. If that was the case, where was the poison? “You’re smarter than you think, Jay.”
Elias Yumin had been the first person to tell her that. Regardless of whether her former boyfriend had actually meant it or not, the words had served its purpose nonetheless. “So if you’ve seen anything you think might be suspicious, just let me know.” Poison for example. “I’ll make it worth your while.”
Maybe not in terms of a dragon invitation, but she also owned a brothel in the pleasure district so there were plenty of opportunities for her pay the worker back.
Watching, the blanket-cacooned boy study the image she texted to his phone, Meirin’s large ears nonetheless picked up several voices. First, interestingly enough, was the indignant voice of Kairong who sounded like one of those annoying customers that had something to complain about everything—even if it was to clarify that he wasn’t a customer and, in fact, a Dragon looking into the death of a certain individual. The old dragon was acting to some degree. Meirin sensed that much. However, the irony of accusing (the workers?) of lies and subterfuge when she was sitting ‘invisible’ on Jay’s bed wasn’t lost on her. Her hackles also rose at the term ‘sick’ and ‘depraved’ to describe their regulars as well. While it may be accurate descriptor of some individuals who visited brothels, one simply didn’t walk into a sex establishment and use those terms to describe people with certain ‘tastes’, or those that catered to such tastes, without intending to be insulting.
What was going on? Wasn’t it supposed to be simple questioning? Why were they fighting? Uncrossing her legs, Meirin brushed aside the curtain as she scurried off the bed and made her way to the closed doorway, a frown on her face as she pressed her large ear to the door. The closer she was, the more easily the ‘invisible’ girl could hear…and though she missed some parts of whatever got ol’ Kairong riled up…She could hear Isaiah’s voice. And Silver. And…a shy sounding woman? Dragons threatening? Sounded more like a reprimand from an annoyingly prude old man to her. Regardless, she’d have to step in if tables started breaking. Dragons were dragons. As peaceful as they were, they didn’t take insults lying down. On the positive side, Silver sounded like one of those good managers that intended to protect their staff and workers. It was everything Queen Isabel would’ve wanted for the brothels of the East. On the negative side, it made him less likely to reveal information that could endanger their lives…like the name of that missing worker.
Meirin glanced at Jay. “Text me with any details you have, 'Kay? I’m going to continue my investigation and make sure no one gets hurt outside.”
Shrinking, the ‘invisible’ girl then exited Jay’s room the way she came. She didn’t think old Kairong would raise his fists against some of the staff workers, but she couldn’t guarantee it if they kept pushing the old Dragon’s buttons and she didn’t want to be in a position where she couldn’t interfere if need be. Whether the girls were right or wrong, it didn’t matter. Those with power ruled. That was how it had always been growing up in the East. In the world, really. The strong lived and the weak died.
But was it right?
Just because she was luckily invited into power, just because she worked in a brothel, didn’t mean she didn’t hold herself to standards. Meirin knew right from wrong. She may not have had parents teach her that, but she had Jun. The monks at the temple. All the friends she’d made and grew up with. She’d do whatever she had to defend them.
However, stepping out into the hallway, Meirin caught sight of 'Black Currant 'just as the brothel worker entered Silver’s office. Meirin acted on instinct. Shifting back to normal size, Meirin swiftly followed the first individual to see the scene of the crime, slipping into the office as silently—shifting sizes to avoid physical contact—as she could. As Meirin entered the room, directly behind Black Currant, she met eyes with Isaiah and, assuming the Ace could see through his own illusion, she raised her phone which displayed a simple message: ‘I’ll back you up if things get messy. Black Currant was the first to see the crime scene, btw.’
It would be preferable if Isaiah could get the shy girl to talk on her own, since there was a chance she might've noticed something others might've missed(like poison), but Merin could find the time to speak to the pink haired girl herself if necessary. For now, she'd keep an eye on the interactions her comrades could create. Look for reactions, hints in wording, clues, and sign of lies. Flipping her phone back so the somewhat cracked screen faced her, Meirin silently texted Yo with the two pieces of information she acquired (see above) followed by a few questions while she stood ‘invisible’ beside the Ace of the Dragons, her eyes flickering curiously between the people in Silver's office. Isaiah, who seemed to know Silver and Black Currant on a personal level, seemed their best bet at breaking down any growing tensions between Forever Paradise and the Dragons. Regardless of how the Isaiah responded though, she would back him up. Those outside “threatening?” the staff workers as well. Even if Robin were wearing Silver’s guise, Meirin had a hard time imagining that the sweet boy could threaten anyone. Old Kairong and Reveler on the other hand…Merin shook her head and continued typing.
‘What information should we be looking for? Do u guys need a name to do a background check on a brothel worker that’s gone missing since the incident? The two women Azaz has been flitting between? Should I check the kitchen for signs of poison?’
One of the best ways to poison someone in a brothel was through their food, after all. That or lip-locking. Or sex. If necessary, all individual rooms ought be checked.
‘What are u doing old man???? Can’t u be nicer to girls?
Also, tell her I won’t hurt anyone that doesn’t hurt me. Pls and thank u '
As she finished silently tapping the words (or as silently as she could), Meirin her eyes shifted back to the handsome brothel manager, wondering if he—like Jay and the woman speaking to Kairong—knew she was there as well. Meirin crossed her arms defiantly. Either way her job, which was to investigate and acquire information, didn’t change. Jay’s ability to see through walls meant that he could be watching her right now…and point her out at any time…though whether he joined them was up to him. If Jay had any information he was willing to part with, he could text it. If he didn’t then, he didn’t. Regardless, she had no intention of dragging a civilian (too deeply) into gang affairs…and sooner all those with information were gathered together, the sooner they could get a clearer picture of the events that transpired leading to Eli Azaz’s death. Surely Silver, who managed his establishment, would want to know of the hidden events occurring right beneath his watch as well...if he were being honest, of course.
Titus not willing to simply be swallowed up by the Tigers opening gambit decided to alter the game and double down on the wagers before anyone could object. It backfired much to his chagrin but showed that despite his appearance and behavior the man was a veteran gambler with a few tricks of his own....or was he? Cassidy hadn't detected any particular potentials or skills during their introduction but did pick up on the odd change of mind when Alice offered the man some tea.
Regardless of his newfound caution, flat out refusing Alice's honest please was something more capable men than Latkin hadn't been able to pull off and Ezra was ready to tighten the noose by opening the second round with a bold wager.
“As enticing as it is to dive right into the deep end, it would be a shame to have the game run its course before Charmy even had a chance to play. Lets stick to one million and see if one of us can pry the attentions of lady luck from your capable hands.” Cassidy answered the heir and drew her card before inviting to Alice who was still clinging to her target to do the same with a gesture.
“It seems Alice is rather concerned about your well being Mr.Latkin and you do look a bit pale.” Leaning over Cassidy took a moment to carefully study Titus face for anything suspicious that might explain his sudden change of mind. Then patted the head of the fair haired girl clinging to him and noted, “But it must be the lighting; there's no way a man of your repute would be unsettled by a minor setback.”
Before returning to her seat Cassidy reached for the cup Titus had declined and took a careful sip. The bittersweet note it carried wasn't unwelcome and it seemed like her personal gamble hadn't backfired immediately as none of her sense's were spiraling down a blissful rabbit hole, yet. “I hope you don't mind. Alice puts forth her best effort when it comes to making tea and it'd be such a shame to waste it.”
A burgeoning smile froze on Cassidy's features as the one person she really had hoped not to upset this evening was making her way back to the table with a haste that spoke of more than just enthusiasm of joining the ongoing gamble. Maybe the tea was affecting her despite the attempt to copy Alicia's potential during the head pat, as Charmy seemed to be emanating a sense of displeasure. "It seems word of your bold wager has made the rounds rather quickly." she teased Ezra with in an attempt to assuage her own unease.
Noland looked at them with exhaustion in his bones. He let out a sigh at Hector’s obvious baiting with his question on if they would need permission. He brought a hand to his face, wiping his palm down in exasperation. Luckily he kept his mouth shut as Hector continued.
“Yeah whatever, you guys have fun with that.” he muttered softly under his breath before quickly continuing on. A commotion seemed to happen nearby as the shouts of nearby party goers sounded before several started to run both away and towards the sounds of chaos nearby.
“Lurkers are a dime a dozen on the docks. It's where the rich play and where the majority of the shipments into the clubs come from. Whether that be alcohol, supplies, drugs, cash really depends on the business. This one’s a clean business, construction. Might be better off contacting some winos… or… Hey CATHERINE get down here.”
His shout seemed to cause someone who wasn't originally part of the crew on the lower decks to come and jump down from the worker's boat. She landed with a thud onto the docs before straightening out of the crouch she landed in.
“You called Brat?”
She swayed her way over before throwing an elbow over Nolan’s shoulder. It was clear she wasn’t one of Noland’s crew with her familiarity but she was still built like she could haul ass for days. She leaned over getting a better look at the duo. Instead of him answering her question he instead turned back to Akane.
“You wanted to know how often they come through? Catherine’s your gal. She runs the Alcohol business around here. The biggest one that is…”
He pushed the woman with a shove to the side in a familiar way that spoke of an old friendship.
“Oi oi enough with you- Anyways, yall are Phoenixes. I s’ppose I owe ya my business so I can help out.”
She tore her older model phone out of her pocket and flipped it open, pressing a few photos before pulling up a grainy looking photo of some animals, each one seeming to stare into the lens with blood red eyes.
“There’s this man that’s come around a few times. Blind motherfucker, someone who really shouldn't be playing around the docs. Whenever he comes around… the animals around get a lot more active ya feel me? As for pinky she aint no Nylund. Not yet anyways, word is she’s fucking their heir, he’s probably up there too. Mousy looking fucker but damn if he aint got a temper. Rich, looks like the boy you wanna bring back to your parents, and acts like the boy they’d tell you to run from can’t say I blame the chick.”
She let out a little chuckle to herself as if she were remembering her own inside joke before pocketing her phone once more. She finally let Noland go as she strutted to one of his crates taking a seat on the cargo, as he quickly objected to. She patted the space beside her as if inviting the two to take a seat beside her. Seemed she would be a real chatterbox if they felt like joining her for it.
The figure above stayed quiet as the man below tore apart her just from a few sentences. What a bother was a man who knew how to do his job. She grabbed her scythe and turned on her heel kicking off the building and then again off the air itself as she tore her way from one building to the next. However, instead of leaving the area she turned once again looking back to them. She lifted her scythe out before speaking once more.
“Could you? Could you really find me in a world where people are just commodities?”
She would have said more if not for the one who decided to go running around making a scene. Was this how dragons operated? She assumed them to be stupid but perhaps they weren’t as idiotic as she first assumed. She pulled her hood tighter ensuring that it wouldn’t fall as she ran. Fine. If that was how they wanted to play she could play their games. She went leaping from building to building stopping every so often to look down at the crowd that had gathered thanks to the loudmouth only to keep moving as her follower got closer.
“Cat and mouse games are always so fun aren’t they? But are you the cat or the mouse?”
She spun on her heel and drew a knife out from beneath her hood flinging it with a force behind the throw of the knife to the ground below unconcerned for the foolish NPs that stayed trying to tape a supposed gunner instead of fleeing for their frail lives.
“Darlings won't you dance this danse macabre with me?”