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[Graded][D-Rank] Catch That Man!
Topic Started: Oct 3 2011, 01:38 PM (1,191 Views)
Goomy
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Ninjas can't catch you if you unleash the fury of the Emperor on them.
Wind blew through the mage's snowy white hair as he stood on the roof of a house, looking over the street down below. "Another mission..." he said softly, the whispers being carried across the roofs by the wind, blowing from the direction of the Celadon lakes, carrying the smell of cheap-yet-overpriced tourist snacks, and the peculiar, penetrant smell of the algae. He smirked slightly. The floating city had become his home, just like how it was the home of the dark guild he worked for. Tartaros.

"The mission for today..." Sion said, taking out the note which held the description for the task at hand. "Extortion. How fun." he said, the smirk turning into a malevolent smile. He would have to track the man down and get the money from him. He would get bonus money if he convinced the man to pay more. He neatly folded the paper and put it back in his pocket. He quickly slid down a ladder on the other side of the building, landing in an alley which ran parallel to the main road.

First of all, he was going to look in the man's shop. There was a chance he was still there, though the chance was small. Maybe his family knew? With a firm pace, he set off towards the shop.
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Fafnir Rakesh
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Devil's Advocate
Lilith stood in the kitchen of the the single bedroom apartment and sighed. She was in her early twenties with pure black hair tied into a braid that hung over her shoulder. She had a pretty face but eyes that were world weary at times despite her age. It was morning, but glancing through the second story window, she could see that tourists and locals alike were beginning to fill the streets and soon she'd need to go downstairs and open up shop. Where was Archie anyway? Sighing with frustration, she washed her hands and dried them on a tea towel which she then threw down on the kitchen bench and turned away from the window. he was always like this, never around when he was needed and unable to be gotten rid of when you didn't. Where was he right now? Getting his next fix? Dealing with those people?. He'd promised he was getting out and she wished she could believe him.

Descending the staircase that connected the apartment to the shop below, her eyes swept over the peeling, dilapidated wall paper and for the hundredth time she asked herself, why was she still here? It had been 8 months now and nothing had changed. Promises had been made... and broken. But she couldn't just abandon Archie could she? He was her brother and for all his faults and all his mistakes, deep down she still loved him and remembered him as the kid he used to be. Reaching the bottom landing, she took the keys from her pocket and emerged into a dark room filled with dark shapes. Flicking on the light switch by the door, the lights sluggishly responded- bathing the room in yellow light. This in turn illuminated the racks of clothing that typified the shop as a clothing boutique. This was how Lilith- or Lily to those know knew her- supported both herself and her misguided brother In this hellish place.

Checking her watch, she could see that there was still twenty minutes before she'd have to unlock the front door to any potential customers. However at that very moment there was a knock on the door. With a sigh, Lily pushed herself off the counter she'd been leaning on and crossed the room. Unlocking the door from her side with very little haste, she opened the door a crack to observe a young man with white hair standing outside. Lily had an eye for trouble and something about this man was already giving her a bad vibe. "I'm sorry sir, we don't open for another 30 minutes. Do you need directions or something? You don't look like the type to shop in a place like this."

Lilith wore dark blue denim jeans and an olive drab tank top that left her mid rift exposed. She stood at 5'8 with a slim, athletic build. If she'd known exactly what this white haired stranger had come here for, she'd have slammed the door in his face and not opened the shop at all that day. Alas, hindsight is always 20/20 and she had no idea of the events that would transpire in the not too distant future that would put her brother in harms way.
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Goomy
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Ninjas can't catch you if you unleash the fury of the Emperor on them.
The sand under Sion's boots crisped as he approached the man's shop. He stared down at the dark gray, irregular stones that formed the road of one of Coreopsis' older quarters. He thought about how he would tackle this problem of his. First of all, he'd try to mislead them. If that wouldn't work, he'd try to reassure them. If that wouldn't work... Well, then he'd just go and look for the man himself. No need to go and kill those people. Sion, despite having a considerable disregard for human life, still didn't see a point in killing people who had nothing to do with the business he was on.

The shop wasn't really anything special, but the woman on the other side of the door was. She had a pretty face, and nice hair, but then they crossed eyes. The look in her eyes was the same look he saw in the mirror everyday, the look of a person who's been through more shit than any human being ever should. Sion frowned. He, too, had problems with his conscience sometimes, but he had to man up. After all, there was the chance that the woman and the man he was looking for, a man named Archie, would be sensible and listen to what he had to say. Still, he mentally prepared for the worst when he walked up to her and said: "Yeah, sorry, I'm looking for a man named Archie. I heard he's got some problems with... you know, people you don't really want to have problems with."

Sion hoped the woman would trust him, and he slowly moved his foot forward so he could jam it between the door should the woman try to pull it shut. A small smile appeared on the white-framed face, and he had a friendly look in his red eyes, eyes the color of a red rose, but also eyes the color of blood, the same blood that his sword, which he wasn't carrying right now, had spilled so many times before. "Really, I'm here to help." he said, realising how lucky this woman was. If it had been Soul or Ryo sent to do the work he was doing now, they would just hold their swords to the woman's throat and threaten her. No, Sion wasn't that kind of person. He wouldn't use violence unless really necessary. "You wouldn't happen to know where he is, right?"
Edited by Goomy, Oct 5 2011, 02:42 PM.
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Fafnir Rakesh
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Devil's Advocate
Lilith felt her heart skip a beat in panic as the young stranger at the door revealed that he was here to see Archie. Trying desperately to suppress any outward signs of the distress she was feeling, she assessed the situation. Archie had no friends, he'd long since ostracized himself from them through his constant appeals for money that he never repaid. What was even more suspicious though was that this young man not only knew about Archies... circumstances, but was also apparently volunteering to help him out. Lilith wasn't born yesterday, she knew something was amiss but she also knew that calling this man out on it could be dangerous. All of these thoughts were processed within seconds before she steeled herself and smiled thinly. "I see, so your one of his friends then? Just a moment." Closing the door, Lilith stepped to the window to the left of the door and drew an upside down triangle on it with a line down it's center. The action would be invisible to the white haired stranger outside because the blinds were drawn. With that done, she undid the dead bolt on the door and opened it, flipping the 'closed' sign to 'open' as she gestured for the man to come inside.

"Archie is out at the moment, but he should be back soon if you would like to come in and wait for him. He isn't visited by friends too often these days so I'm sure he'll be happy to see you." She almost choked on the lie, didn't show it to any degree that anyone without some meager training in body language would pick up that anything was wrong. Drawing back the blind son the window to further illuminate the room, Lilith invited the stranger upstairs. Her reason for doing so was hardly social however. The sign she'd drawn on the window was one that she and Archie had agreed upon to mean 'Danger inside, get away'. So by taking the man upstairs, she hoped it would mean even if the man saw Archie, by the time he got back downstairs, Archie would have a head start. The upstairs portion of the shop where Lilith and Archie ate and slept was cramped but livable. The staircase opened out into a small living area no more than 3 meters squared. This connected straight to the kitchen which was stacked with half a weeks worth of dirty dishes. It was in the kitchen that a single window was located, overlooking the street below. Beyond that, a short corridor led to an emergency fire exit, with a door on either side that led to the bedroom on the left and a bathroom on the right.
__________________________________________________________________________

Archie liked strolling along the shore of Corepsis in the morning. It helped him forget that the terrible reality of his life, even if only for an hour. His situation was an impossible one to say the least. Forced into paying 'Protection Money' for his shop and his family, there was nothing he could do as it seemed that everyone who should have been able to help him- the town guards being the primary example- were so corrupt that they were on the syndicates payroll as well. Checking his watch- a battered looking contraption that looked like he felt, he sighed. Lilith would be opening shop soon and there would be hell to pay if he didn't get back there to help out. With a longing sigh, he took one last soulful look out towards the oceans horizon, wishing he could just sail away with Lilith and leave this godforsaken city behind him. Someday perhaps, but not now. Turning away, he began to make his way back towards the shop.
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Goomy
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Ninjas can't catch you if you unleash the fury of the Emperor on them.
"Ah... No... Not really a friend. Really, I only heard it from a bartender a few blocks away... You know how bartenders in these kinds of cities now everything, am I right?" Sion said with a faint chuckle. "Anyway, I'm a traveling mage who helps people out for a price. Call me a mercenary, if you will. I heard this man... this Archie had a problem. I'm just here to help out, I swear." he said, an honest smile appearing on his face. Of course, he wasn't really being honest, but he was an experienced actor and liar.

The woman, however, was not, Sion noticed as he was let into the house. After over two years of dealing with criminals and liars, as well as honest-to-god civilians and light mages. Sion hovered... somewhere in between. Or he had one foot on either side. Best of both worlds. Still, the woman was probably onto him, and Sion's eyes turned from friendly, to sharp, and back to friendly within seconds. After a quick assessment of the situation, Sion decided to just play along for a bit longer.

"So..." he said as he followed her upstairs. "What's your relationship with Archie? Sister? Daughter? Business partner? Just a friend?" he asked, looking around. This house was really small. Sion felt a small sting of guilt, taking even more money away from these people, but he knew that even though Tartaros charged a lot of money, it was better than getting robbed by one of the many small gangs Tartaros hadn't managed to catch yet. Still, it'd be better if they didn't have to do either.

"Phew, not a really large place. Kinda makes me feel guilty for even asking money should I decide to help you." He was quiet for a moment. "Perhaps I won't. Still, on to business." Sion said, dead serious. "Tartaros. How did he get in trouble with people like that? What'd he do to piss them off? Killed one of their boys? Or, like I see with a lot of shops in cities like this, didn't pay the so called protection money." He almost spat the last few words. A frown crept across his face. "Just tell me what's wrong and I'll make sure it's fixed as soon as possible. I've got plenty of contacts in Tartaros." He grinned, though his brow didn't part, giving him a rather threatening, but also somewhat hardened look.
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Fafnir Rakesh
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Devil's Advocate
Lilith wasn't born yesterday and there was something incredibly fishy about this mans claim that he was some sort of good Samaritan... But only when the price was right. She couldn't pick any flaws with his delivery in the form of nervous ticks or other tells, but that could mean he was simply good at what he did. What was worse though was that he claimed to be a mage. If a mage had been sent here... It meant that the people Archie owed money to were getting serious about collecting. Whatever happened, she couldn't let this mage catch Archie, there was no telling what he would do to him if he did...

The only thing she could do for him now was keep him talking and stall for time. Time which she hoped would allow Archie to recognize the danger and get away from the shop. Forcing a smile, Lilith pretended to take the man at his word. "Oh my goodness, this is like a dream come true! I am Archie's sister, Lilith." She trailed off in what she hoped was a suitably defeated manner as she addressed the matter of the money owed. "The truth is, we paid the protection money owed, but they decided that since we were able to make that payment on time then our business was more lucrative than they thought and thus required 'special protection' which of course cost more. We barely made the old payments and the new rates are preposterous- we simply can't afford to pay them."

She let her head hang, her body slump slightly to emphasise her words, but all the while she remained in a position where she could see out of the window and into the street below. Perking up again, she looked back at the mage. "So how can you help us? Can you make them leave us alone for good? How much are you asking for?" She doubted very much that a mage with the rank required to lobby the higher ups would be sent on a mission to collect on a bad debt, but as long as she seemed to be sucked in by his story, she thought might be able to uncover his real motive and purpose for being here- although where Archie was involved, it was never hard to guess.

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Goomy
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Ninjas can't catch you if you unleash the fury of the Emperor on them.
Sion took off his gloves and started picking the dirt out from underneath his nails as he listened to the woman's words. She sounded so... unconvincing. So untrained. Even though the insanity mage felt a bit guilty about extorting these people, it was his job as a member of Tartaros, and this woman's clumsy lying ticked him off for some reason. He couldn't stand bad liars. If you're not gonna tell the truth, then do it in a convincing manner. A sigh escaped from his lips. This woman was onto him, and he was onto the woman.

"Upped the rates? Have they now..." he mumbled distantly, weighing out his next options. This woman wasn't included in the mission. He could just kill her to send the man a message. He could also threaten her to give him the location of the man, though he doubted she knew a lot. Another option was simply walking away. It would save him a bloodbath and the woman would get away unharmed... Though he would waste more time looking for the man. Decisions, decisions.

His last option was Scourge, but he would only result to using his insane second personality if the woman somehow seemed to possess more combat prowess than any target for a mission of this rank should have. This was becoming annoying. He decided to threaten the woman first, not harming her. If she wouldn't sell out the man, he'd have to result to... torture, perhaps? Or he could go with the first plan and leave her body as the perfect message not to mess with his guild.

Sion sighed again and got up. In a single step he crossed the room and now stood in front of the woman, a look of boredom and annoyance in his eyes. "What nonsense. Let's both drop the act now, shall we not?" he asked, putting his gloves back on. Before the woman could move, several threads of converted madness energy shot out of his left hand as he activated his Di Manes. If they were in time, which they probably would considering the woman's position, they would form a cage-like structure around her. "Now, little birdy... Tweet for me. Where's the man."
Edited by Goomy, Nov 20 2011, 12:38 AM.
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Fafnir Rakesh
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Devil's Advocate
The change in the man's attitude was so sudden that even though she'd been expecting it to be there, Lilith was still shocked at how vehement and blunt the man became. Even as she found herself trapped by whatever odd magic he wielded, she was still recoiling from the sudden change in persona. The implied threat of impending violence made the woman bite her lip as she seriously considered her next move. For all she knew, this man really would kill her if it proved convenient, but at the same time it could all just be a bluff. However, as much as she cared for her brother, she knew deep down that she wasn't willing to die for him. Especially when she knew that by now he should have seen the sign in the window and fled.

Forcing down her nervousness, she faced the man who held her captive and let out a deep breath. "He isn't here and by now he should know of your presence here and fled. My purpose was only ever to delay you so that he could escape. I don't know where he's likely to go either, so no matter what you do to me, that's everything I know that can be of any use to you." It was probably stupid that she took a small measure of pleasure in her defiance of her captor, but never the less that's exactly how she felt.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Meanwhile, at that precise moment, Archie was approaching the shop from down the street. As he got closer his eyes went immediately yo the window- it was a habit of his to check for the arranged danger signal that he and Lilith had established and today it was a good thing he did, for there in the window was the signal that all was not well within. Glancing up at the window on the second story, Archie couldn't see anyone but that didn't mean nobody was there. Backing up, he accidentally ran into a man carrying a heavy wooden crate which dropped to the floor with a very loud crack.

Mumbling an apology, Archie turned and ran down the street he'd just come from, followed by further abuse from the man he'd just inconvenienced. His fear was that whoever inside would hear the commotion and look outside. He didn't want to be around when and if that happened. Or at least, he wanted a good head start on any wannabe pursuers that was for sure.
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Goomy
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Ninjas can't catch you if you unleash the fury of the Emperor on them.
Sion's face split open with a wide grin as the woman spoke. "Oooh, how interesting. You intend to make me play cat and mouse with your brother?" he said, spreading his arms with mock excitement. "Really, such impudent jokes..." he brought his hand to his face, covering most of it. "I should really..." He removed his hand to reveal a disturbing grin, that was much like the previous one, but had a seriously dark, insane vibe behind it, as if the insanity mage was attempting to project his madness on the woman without using magic. "kill you for that..." he finished, placing his arms on the back of the couch, next to the woman, and moved his face in to the 'cage', close enough that their noses were almost touching.

"Honestly, do you really think a person like me has time for jokes such as that?!" he said, drawing his dagger in a single, flowing movement. It hungered for death, he could almost see the crimson stones shining with bloodlust. "But honestly..." He pulled his face back and stood up straight again. "I don't have the time to be playing with wretches like you either. I don't need to. The moment you settled in this city, you became property of Tartaros, and there is nowhere you can escape to safely. Enjoy your remaining time in hell, living with our men around the corner and my dagger..." He brought the small blade to her throat for a moment before slowly pulling back again. "Always on your neck..." And with that, he turned around and walked out of the appartment.

He stood outside now, his mask of calm having returned again. Damn, Scourge was supposed to be the scary insane one, not him. It seemed that his fall into darkness was drawing ever closer, but at this moment, he didn't care. He licked his lips, already smelling the blood that was soon to be spilled. Any trace of the mage's guilt had disappeared from his heart, vaporised when he had finally snapped and threatened the woman. He had left her alive, knowing that should she not pay the money to Tartaros, she would live a life worse than death.

In the corner of his eye, he spotted a man who was shouting down a street, a broken crate at his feet. Sion walked over to him. He seemed to have dropped his crate after someone walked into him. It was just a hunch, but this shouting man was his only lead in the relatively quiet street. "Oy, you. What happened? Who did this to your stuff?" he said, his face having shifted once more, this time to the same look he had worn when he had arrived at the store, the look of a helpful young man trying to assist a person in trouble. "Did someone bump into you? What did they look like? If you can tell me what they looked like, I might be able to drag them to the guard to pay for breaking your stuff." He knew it would once again sound a bit strange, but to a man whose belongings had just been broken by a stranger, it might be convincing enough.
Edited by Goomy, Nov 20 2011, 08:20 PM.
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Fafnir Rakesh
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Devil's Advocate
Lilith let out the breath she didn't know she'd been holding as the man left the house. He seemed for a moment to be completely insane, but then he'd been calm as anything once again. Half sitting, half collapsing into a chair, she felt her heart beating fast at what she'd done. In her hand, she held a small coin purse which she'd pilfered from the insane mages person as he'd been practically nose to nose with her. Opening it, she gasped at the quantity of gold inside. It was time to leave this city for good and with this 'gift' then she would be able to. Archie would have to look after himself from now on, Lilith planned on living for herself from now on. With that decided, she began to make the preparations to depart.
_________________________________________________________________________

Outside, the merchant looked up as a man approached, asking him what had happened and, if it had been because someone had bumped into him, what did they look like. Only half paying attention as he grumbled and picked up the pieces of the broken crate and it's meager contents. "Didn't get a good look, but he went that way", he said jerking a thumb down the street that Archie had fled barely more than 60 seconds before.
_________________________________________________________________________

Archie reached the end of the street, panting heavily. Before him he could choose to go left or right as the main street split into two. The left led to the slums whilst the right led to the richer districts. Deciding it would be easier to hide in the slums until the coast was clear and most pursuers weren't crazy enough to risk being mugged en mass by the desperate beggars, he made his choice and dashed left.
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