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Mykur: The thorn imperium

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THE DEAD MISTRESS


A 20-foot sculpture? Who would want that? 

She pursed her full lips at the thought. She was clearly someone who rarely give value to any representation of art, no matter how much weight it has on a historical or aesthetical level. Her preference had always been with arms, mechanical wonders or even those objects that hold immense supernatural powers. Unfortunately, she's on duty today and with the Gingerboss beside her, the woman doesn't have much choice in this endeavor.

I find this stupid but I should bid for it. 

With a sigh, her focus drifted on the series of other bidders that began raising. She figured it isn't too late to make a bid on her own and so with great reluctance on her part, the woman raised her special stick, one with the numbers "69".

At this moment, I feel like I've lost something within me. My dignity perhaps.


 

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Shikai didn't listen to the specifics of what the man on the stage was saying until people began to bid on the statue. The Mistress was the most on the ball of any of them, and already had her paddle up to signal her interest. He held a numbered paddle of his own, but he wondered if this was truly the best way to obtain their prize. Of course he knew that the Dead had the resources to pay for whatever the cost ended up being; but they were on a time crunch. Whats more, the people in this room were all obscenely wealthy, and there was a great deal of interest for the item. If they decided to pursue it to the bitter end, they could be here all day.

An idea formed in his mind, a way to achieve their objective, and test out a pet project of his. From a pocket of his jacket, he retrieved a cylindrical container, from which he produced a long, thin needle. The needle had been soaking in a new paralytic agent he had been working on, one that had shown great promise in his initial tests. Today would be its first field run, and he was excited to see how it went.

Taking a moment to watch, he saw that the bidding was now between six people, including the Mistress. Silently, he moved through the crowd until he reached his target, an older man who he swiftly jabbed with the needle. Immediately the man tensed up, and no longer raised his paddle to bid. With great satisfaction, Shikai stalked through the room, jabbing each bidder besides the Mistress when they put their paddle down. A few minutes later, she was the only one raising her paddle. 

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Cain’s Mona Lisa eyes encapsulated the room as the auction began, from Black at his right to the Mistress at his left, to the distinctly empty space where Shikai had been. Now they honed in on the Mistress. If her expression didn’t describe it, trickles of her disenchantment transferred to the First Officer from the black pad stuck to her.

Don’t forget that this isn’t for that sculpture, milady. This is to get close to Keli; to get close to a legendary artifact.

As the auction ensued, he turned his attention to Black, speaking aloud. The Mistress didn’t know it, but Cain was paying close attention to her response. Teamwork mattered in the Dead. 

“I don’t want your life, Neon. I want your ships! And, to be fair, you. Alive.”

“40 schmeckles”
“50 schmeckles!”
“55!”
“60.”

“69,” said the disaffected Mistress. Cain continued on with Black.

“When gotten what we came here to get, I want to take it back to Terrenus on your ships. I don’t want to steal them though.”

Slowly the bids came in more and more slowly. Seamlessly with his out loud conversation with Black, Cain sent a mental link to Shikai using the black pads.

How long will the paralysis last, Shikai? We need long enough to leave with Keli and his guards before the people come back.

“Black, I think we got off on the wrong foot. I think I can turn your defunct fleet into something worth fearing again.”

Black’s eyes laid steadily on Keli, whose obsidian silhouette loomed behind the auctioneer. Keli looked naked, but his features were so smooth there were no genitalia, was no hair. Black seemed aware that the bids were dwindling, but still he responded to Cain while staring at Keli.

“What could you do to make it great?” He asked in a monotone voice.

“Much has happened in the last 20 years, Black. You feared me when we were young, but now you cannot even fathom me. I’ve got the technology to mask your fleet. Protect it. I’ve got reliable men who could do well with it. Doesn’t that change anything?”

Black paused when it appeared the Mistress was the last one raising the schmeckle paddle.

“And 420 schmeckles going once, twice, three times, sold to the pretty lady in the back!”

About 15 minutes later the group was walking out a back entrance with Keli and four other guards exactly like him in odd, gigantic, smooth obsidian nature. Their skin appeared matte, inflexible and unlike skin. Their joints had the slightest of apertures that showed, indeed, they must at least have some android parts. When examined more, tiny studs that emulated fingerprints spiraled around their bodies.There appeared to be no eyes, just smooth divots of skin. When Keli, at the head of the diamond of towering figures they walked with, opened his mouth to speak though, all five of the beings spoke and it could be seen that their lips, teeth and tongues were real enough. All of the voices were Keli’s.

“I have spent my lives perfecting the art of human nature, and then twisting it to the farthest extents that humanity can take it. These extents are often unnatural and terrifying, breathtaking and inspiring. Many people have wondered what drives the unbelievable machine of my artistic touch. I hope you will join me at my art lot to see where my muse lies.” 

The group entered a sleek, bullet-like vessel that hovered a foot off the ground on a curb in a VIP parking lot. Tall, curving, taunting buildings loomed in a jagged circle into the black grey sky above them. There was one barred gate out of the circular lot, and the black silhouettes of Keli’s fans stared in like zombies, their eyes almost illuminated red in the light. When they saw Keli and the group, their arms even reached through the spaces between bars while they moaned like undead for their creative manipulator. The insides were like a limo, small panels of immaculate wood donning crystal glasses and beakers of liquor. Sleek blue lines gilded the seats and ceiling, illuminating Keli and his sentinels ominously. Cain entered without a second thought. Black stopped in front of the limo, staring with genuine fear in the back of his eyes if only for an instant before stepping into the void of the vehicle. Soon its doors would hiss shut and the gates would open. The only thing that saved some of the brainless fans was their diving out of the way at the last second; the driverless vehicle’s path would have plowed heedlessly over them if not. This was an opportunity for any of the operatives to ask questions of Keli. Especially the Mistress, who was supposed to be the most interested, considering the fact that she’d bought the sculpture now collecting dust back at the art exhibit. The Dead were a precise group of operatives who did clandestine things for deadly purposes, not people who just idly bought art. It just so happened that pretending to be people who idly bought art was sometimes part of being a precise group of operatives who did clandestine things for deadly purposes.

When they arrived at a glaring mansion, haunted windows glaring out at the secluded street on the hill leading down to the sea, Cain looked pointedly at the Mistress. His voice came through the psychic connection to the Mistress and Shikai, but not Black.

Heads up, Dead. This is where things get hairy.  He’s going to single you out Mistress. Come up with a reason that I have to come along. Meanwhile, if the rumors are true, he’ll try to dispose of Black and Shikai. Shikai, if you can manage to on top of saving your own skin, try to save Black. He’s imperative to future Dead operations. He’s got big boats. Really big boats.

Exiting the vehicle, and entering the building’s main foyer sure enough, the main Keli broke off from his four counterparts. He extended the wide, smooth extent of his black hand toward the Mistress.

“Miss, since you were the purchaser of the artifact you have acquired a view of my art’s true secret. The others may entertain themselves in my lounge. My other parts will lead them there.”

A doorway to the right framed with neon lights, through which a bar could be seen, is where the three sentinels headed with Shikai and Black. Down a spiral staircase is where Keli would guide the Mistress and, if the Mistress provided, Cain.

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Alone? The Dead Mistress frowned. She can't be alone with all these male strangers. Now she's scared of what these men will do to her. After all, she's just a poor, defenseless woman who could barely climb the stairs.

"Wait," the Mistress called out, "I can't go on alone. I need my adviser-" points to Cain, "-to confirm the authenticity of the statue. While I respect the auction's credibility, I fear that I would be easily tricked if I have no one I trust at my side. Please, sir. At least grant me this selfish request."

There was no need for her to put up a mask to make herself more believable. The Mistress' always had this plain innocent face that's borderline delicate and lady-like. She's more worried that she'd burst out laughing anytime soon. She can only hope that Keli will say yes.

While she waited for his reply, her mind began recalling all the information from the auction catalogue. If they are going to finesse this place, she'd better steal all she needs.

Exalta weapons. Black Exalta Prisms. A shield of healing. Cobran alpha wolf furs. Ballard Bay shield of healing. The elusive Vintel berries. A half-dead monster from Moonwood, ready for binding. And a baby phoenix, ready for bonding.

Then the rare materials. Bloodstones. Elemental Stones. Celuro. Stryderian scales. Runestones. And more. 

Edited by Thotification

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The plan had gone off without a hitch, and soon they were the proud owners of the statue; and had attracted the attention of the creepy obsidian man. It wasn't long after that they found themselves in some kind of vehicle that was tailor made to show off how rich its owner was. Cain warned him that Keli was probably going to try to kill him and black when they arrived; which didn't surprise the shinobi at all. Fighting while protecting Black would be difficult, but he was fairly certain that he could do it.

As soon as they were through the front door, Shikai was already planning. Keli had barely finished speaking before he slung his arm around Black's shoulder and boisterously dragged him toward the lounge. While they walked, he spoke under his breath so that the man could hear him.

"Listen up. These guys are gonna try to kill us in a few minutes. When they do, get behind the bar and take cover. I'll handle them and tell you when it's safe to come out."

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