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Lacernella Rubra

[Port Caleum] Silence will fall. [Quest.]

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The Twisted Sister was such an odd thing to name something, Rin mused. Why was it twisted? The building itself stood proud and well, it’s foundation strong…surely it was some inside joke YbJMBxm.jpgthat she was never to understand. It was a place of prominence in the city – known for its ales and lagers, as well as being made available to the fisher-folk and their kin. Rin knew it to be popular and had long ago learned that alcohol loosened wagging tongues. The Twisted Sister was an interesting building, settled close to the docks of the port. It was an interesting blend of modern and traditional cultures. Lamps were lit with magitech, but the gentle smell of a roaring fire suggested that a wood oven was the reason for the delicious smells wafting through the air.

Wagging tongues were exactly what she hoped to find in this fish and hops scented bar. There were rumors of foul tongued beasts who spoke against Akako and her decision to leave the Scarlet Empire. Such dissenters could easily turn the tide of moral against them when they needed it the most. They had to be stopped, in one way or another. One could hope for a peaceful solution, but Rin knew the hearts of men and it was unlikely that they contained peace. Men’s hearts were compromised mostly of fear, she knew this…even her own betrayed her from time to time. When dark shapes of the night became terrors, whispers of names on her lips, but too precious to spill over, that was when her heart showed its truest colors – as would those that stood to oppose them.

For now, however, Rin wiggled her way through the amassing crowd of the pub, before managing to find a high topped table. Scooting herself atop the stool, she pauses when something sticky finds her hand and makes a look of absolute disgust before wiping it unceremoniously on the wall next to her as her nose wrinkles in distaste.

Lovely. She practically hisses, seeking a napkin of sorts in hopes of ridding her hand of whatever leftovers its previous tenants have left.

“Now then, this should work perfectly. We have a perfect view of the doors, stage, and bar area.” Quite pleased with her selection, hands fold into her lap in front of her. The bar was already bustling with orders, waiters swaying this way and that with trays that were far overburdened. If one watched, it was almost like a choreographed dance, as each waiter seemed to know where the other was as they moved around one another with a odd grace. Quiet once more, Rin turns her attention to watching the people that come and go. Most are simple fisher-folk, returned from a day at sea and looking to lift their spirits – or perhaps celebrating a great catch.

As crimson hues follow each person, Rin tucks an errant strand of hair behind an ear so that she can better listen to the conversation around her. With a hand motion of the ram beneath the table, she closes her eyes and focuses, allowing herself to hear even further for only a few brief moments.

“I do not think any of them are here yet.” She murmurs to her companion, knowing that they will hear over the bustle of the pub.

Edited by Lacernella Rubra

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Since moving to Port Caelum, Crystal had focused on settling her small family into their new home and barely had time to re-establish her relationship with the daiyokai. It was for that reason that the red-haired elemental was surprised when one of Akako's familiars showed up at their door. Leon had left for an unknown mission leaving her restless and along to care for their daughter. Once upon a time, Crystal was also involved in questionable and positively dangerous dealings. When Kyna was born, things slowed down, and she missed the adventure and excitement. When Crystal opened the door to peer up at the serpent's familiar visage, her face cracked into a full and enthusiastic grin as anticipating rose like an unbidden wave within her.

Now, Crystal maneuvered through the crowd, following closely behind a light-haired beauty. The elemental pulled herself up and into the stool across from Rin and swept her electric blue eyes over the patrons with a smile curling her lips. The red-head looked every part of the bubbly best friend that would mislead the reason for their visit that evening.

"I apologize for coming without warning," Aiyoku said as she pushed past Crystal and into the foyer.

A snort escaped Crystal as she turned her head to observe Aiyoku venture forward with obvious comfortability as if she also lived under their roof. It was the serpent's first time visiting which was why Crystal watched with incredulous amusement.

Finally shutting the door, Crystal trailed after the yokai. "No need. You know you're welcome... clearly," she added as an afterthought.

Aiyoku dropped herself unceremoniously onto the couch and averted her lilac-colored eyes to Crystal. "I have a favor for you," the serpent said as Crystal approached the couch and lowered herself onto the cushion on the opposite end. "As you know, Akako-sama has severed her ties to that human psion in Terrenus." Crystal nodded. "We've heard some disturbing rumors that there are potential rebels, and we need to find out who is involved, how many, and find a way to quiet them. I am recognizable, and so I cannot gather intel for her. There is one other that is newer to Akako-sama's employ, but I suggested that you could join her. I wouldn't feel comfortable sending one person alone, plus, it can easily be disguised as a girls' night out."

"Where and when?"

"From what we understand, they will meet at the Twisted Sister two nights from now."

"Excellent. I will arrange for a sitter."

Laughter bubbled out of Crystal as she watched Rin fumble around for a napkin to wipe her hands off. Settling herself, Crystal leaned onto the table; her chin propped in her palms and elbows on the still damp tabletop. As soon as a waitress made eye contact, Crystal sat up a bit and waved her over with a broad grin. The young lady lifted her right index finger with a look of apology on her face while mouthing, "One minute," before bustling back to the bar.

With a sigh, Crystal looked to Rin before snatching the drink menu up and reading it over while carefully listening.

"Seems to be the case... any idea of when they usually show up?"

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Anxiety riddled Rin’s thoughts, making her doubt the validity of the rumors they had been told. What if it was a trap? Something tickled the back of her mind, this was too similar to whatever had caused her memory loss. Though she could not put it into words, the achromatic woman definitely had the feeling that it was similar. Oh, how this amnesia was a nuisance. IF only thoughts could place themselves back in their proper places. It wasn’t for lack of trying on anyone’s part. Akako had helped where she could, and Rin had also tried numerous times, hundreds of them, only to fail in re-establishing any kind of connection with her past life. All she was left with was a jumble of emotions and discomforts.

A frown settled on her visage when one moment became five before the waitress was able to approach their table.

“And what can I get for ya this evening?” She asked, smacking something gum like between her teeth. Rin cringed, a slight eyetick forming at the noise.

“Water for myself, please.” Is all she offers, cringing again when the waitress nods with another loud smack of her gum. She is tempted to pull it out of the girl’s mouth and toss it in a bin, but the fact that they are to remain inconspicuous and that it would be gross, stay her hand.

When Crystal orders, Rin shifts in her seat. She must admit she is quite uncomfortable in these settings – better off in a laboratory. It is too crowded and loud, but she does not complain. Akako has provided her many comforts, the least she can do is ensure that none question her decisions.

jeP3S4F.jpg“Perhaps we are early – but that will prove well for us. It is an open mic night, we can only hope that they might be foolish enough to partake to spew their propaganda.” Rin offers with the lightest of smiles. “If they behave as I expect, we will have an easy time of it. Akako-sama wishes them unsullied, but it is my opinion that we must ensure their silence…no matter the means.” There is a hint of something more sinister behind her smile.

I have this..” Rin procures from the yukata she wears, a thin vial full of a clear substance. “I have prepared a secondary measure if need be. I hope not to use it, however, but I know sometimes men are foolish.” Crystal is only givena glance before the poison is tucked back into the safety of her robes.

“Now then…I suppose we wait until the appropriate people show.”

It was several moments later before their drinks arrived, and Rin sniffed her water before taking an experimental sip. Determining it not to be poisoned or otherwise tampered with, a larger swallow is afforded.

It is nearly an hour later before there is a bustle at the door and a group enters. They seem cheerful enough, but their gait and gaze suggest that they are not there just for drinks. Rin’s gaze follows them for a brief moment and then returns to Crystal so as not to be suspicious.

“Oi, Luiiiiiz, ya said we would get some more ta drink!” One of them whines loudly, to which an average sized man turns to respond with, “We will, Sam! Now hush a moment!” Luiz, the aforementioned, doesn’t look to be anything at all. Likely he is a fisher-folk himself, but there is the subtle hint of a glamour that surrounds him, made all the more evident by those nearby leaning towards him ever so slightly as if to catch onto every word.

 

Edited by Lacernella Rubra

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It wasn't a surprise to Crystal that some of the population that came from Predator's Keep weren't excited about Akako's decision to sever ties with the Scarlet Empire. They were initially under Red's rule after all, and Red was very different from the daiyokai. Not only that, but Akako brought a population that likely frightened some less tolerant human-folk that lived within the port. While bigotry wasn't as prevalent as it was when she first arrived in Valucre, there was still plenty of it. Akako threatened humans by allowing all races to blend in once space and to live amongst each other with equal rights. The more ignorant people still feared demons and monsters due to the stories their elders spoke to incite fear. What violence would these non-humans wreak upon them? 

Crystal could understand their fear; however, she knew Akako personally and took a degree of offense that they had such little faith in the woman that had brought so much to the table already.  The port was booming, and the improvements that were in the works would only bring everyone prosperity. New jobs were cropping up every day, and criminal activity was minimal at best. 

An easy-going smile was drawn across the elemental's features as the waitress she had flagged down returned. "Coffee porter please." The waitress seemed surprised by the redhead's order but merely nodded while smacking her gum in her mouth. "It'll be right out for ya." Then she was off again. 

Crystal turned her electric blue gaze to Rin and noted the frown that tugged her lips down and the way she shifted in her seat. It was easy to tell that she was uncomfortable if one were paying close enough attention. Fortunately, none of the establishment's patrons were paying any attention to the pair of inconspicuous women from what Crystal could tell. 

"I suppose we can take a moment to get to know each other while we wait..." 

- - -

Clear across the bar, a pair of icy blue eyes stared at the swirling gold scotch that sat low in a short tulip-shaped glass. Wavy black locks fell into his face casting a shadow over his features. He didn't stand out from where he was, seated at a booth that hugged the wall. He was alone and looked small from the way he hunched over in robes. A dark pair of gloves covered even his hands. Though this particular pub hosted tortured souls more often than not, so the stranger wasn't notable by any means. 

Strange. 

A familiar scent. 

He lifted his head a fragment, and glanced around the room, sniffing the air again. It was only a hint, but it was his mother. He did finally catch a familiar face, but he didn't recall her name. It might not even be the same woman that he had seen a handful of times during his childhood, but she did look similar minus the scar that ran down the length of her face. The woman she was with was unknown, so he decided his suspicions were off-base. His mother's aroma was minimal, so perhaps someone that new the demoness had bumped into one of the patrons. It wouldn't be so strange, Akako did know many people across all continents. 

With a long sigh, Gin turned his focus back to the drink in his hand and brought it to his lips. 

- - -

As the group of men made their way into the bar, Crystal continued to tell Rin about her time on a strange island where she met Leon. While she spoke, she watched the woman carefully to gather as much information from her without drawing any attention to themselves. 

"Despite everything that happened there, I can't say I am upset that it happened. Had it not, Leon and I wouldn't have met, and Kyna wouldn't be here, but it was honestly the oddest experience of my life." 

Crystal took a break to bring her glass to wet her lips, her eyes averting for a moment to glance at the men that Rin just looked at. Her focus returned to Rin immediately, and she smiled. "I think entertainment should be starting soon." Her true meaning was veiled behind vague words, but she knew that the albino woman wouldn't miss it. 

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By the time that Crystal had finished with her story of Leon, Rin was vaguely amused, and confused. She supposed in a way she did not understand how one went from such a strange meeting – to lovers. This was an area of human interaction that Rin did not fully comprehend. Lack of affection had made her ignorant in such matters, but it had also made her strong. There was….something, naggling at the back of her mind…there had been one person…whom she had held above all others. A sudden, sharp pain drilled it’s way behind her right eye, and Rin’s palm moved up to apply pressure with a gentle hiss. Whatever memory lay dormant, did not want to be pried from its box just yet.

AS quickly as it had come, it was gone. Rin’s hand moved away from her visage to peer at Crystal for what seemed an eternity. Crystal wouldn’t gain much aside from it being obvious that Rin was not the best suited for this kind of task. This…sitting and talking portion of their mission. She too, felt offense on Akako’s behalf, however. The Daiyokai was a formidable woman, who, in her time as regent had seen the coffers filled and the people fed, as well as numerous other tasks that was befitting not only of her title, but of someone far more fit to rule than the absentee Scarlet Kingdom ruler. Rin only knew a handful of facts about Red Yusuke, but what she knew did not lead her to fondness.

“Indeed, I think it is.” Rin murmured as she sipped her water quietly. Her gaze flickered every so often between Crystal and Luiz. Despite the tension in the air, it was several moments later before any of them attempted a pass at the microphone, nearly a half hour!

In that time, they had gotten themselves good and drunk on cheap wine and cheaper women. Sam, as he had been called, cheered at Luiz in a slurred drunken manner.

“Giv’ ‘em da speech!” He chirped like a parrot, loud and obnoxious and not too bright. The parrot might actually have a larger brain.

Despite that, Luiz is goaded to the microphone and he gives a gleeful sort of little grin.

“Evening, people of Port Caleum!” He speaks. “I come to you today, to talk of an issue most dear to my heart. The issue of the demons that now stroll our city and call it home.” There was a murmur of agreement through the crowd, most of them human, afterall. Those that weren’t, gave each other nervous looks, afraid of where this might be headed.

“Our almighty Daiyokai seems to find it fit to have us….rub shoulders with these creatures. Well, I say no! If we were meant to, it would have already been done before she got here! Now she’s taking us away from stability and the protection of the Scarlet Kingdom! In fact, I Don’t doubt it’ll be long before she expects us to bow before these mongrels….I tell ya what.” Luiz clicks his tongue, there’s an even louder murmur of agreement through the group and Rin moves to stand, finding herself oddly compelled to end the argument before it becomes worse.

She does not move, not yet, however. She knows better than to yet draw attention to them. If they wish to placate Luiz and his merry band of followers, it would do best to wait for them to be both sober, and alone. Not in a place where a mob is likely to incite with the wrong words. Her grip on her water does tighten, however. 

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Finally, it was starting. Crystal's electric blue eyes turned to focus on Luiz. He'd barely started, and already the redhead was feeling the tell-tale feeling of hatred rear its head. Demons. She hated that derogatory term, and there were many yokai and other non-humans that were perfectly capable of assimilating into the population without causing a ruckus. If anyone could hold a grudge against yokai, it was Crystal. The recollection of the onigumo that captured her not long ago sent a shiver down her spine. Even then, Crystal knew many yokai and otherworldly creatures that she considered friends. 

Across the room, the robbed figure frowned into his glass before setting it down. Unease set him on edge, and he felt every muscle tighten as he listened to the man at the mic give his speech. It sounded like the beginnings of a witch-hunt. What was worse was the man's mention of a daiyokai and a female daiyokai at that. It was unlike it could be anyone aside from his mother. It was enough for him to lift his head for the hair to fall away from his face so he could get a better look at the unfortunate fool that would be crushed in his maw. 

Crystal glanced at Rin and noticed her pinched expression then swept her eyes over the crowd again. As she did, she saw a visage that reminded her of an older Gin. She looked again, and her heart arrested in her chest. It was him. When had he come back, why did he come back? The elemental looked back to Rin and tapped on the top of the table to get her attention. 

"Hey," she said softly, "see the guy over there sitting alone. The one with blue eyes and clearly in need of a brush? That's Akako's son." 

Looking at him again, Crystal noted how much older he appeared now. There was stubble dusted over his jawline and what was more impressive was how much he took after his mother - the angled features,  dark hair, and the pale skin. His jaw was sharper than his mother's; eyes narrowed rather than almond-shaped, and a greek nose instead of her small upturned celestial nose. Overall though, there was an unmistakable resemblance which was concerning. If he drew attention to himself, the mob would be on him. 

Looking back at Rin with a pleading look, she tried to figure out how to get a message to him without drawing attention to themselves or him. 

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“That’s ridiculous, we’ve prospered better than we ever have under Daiyokai Akako.” One of the patrons protested.

“For now, you do! What will happen when the stability of the Scarlet Kingdom leaves? What then? What will happen when the demons run rampant through our streets. You may prosper now, but squalor waits!” Luiz hissed. The patron grumbled something under his breath.

“Stop trying to scare folk, ya blasted idiot.” He shook his fist at Luiz. Rin was pleased that the common folk slowly agreed, turning back on Luiz with dubious looks. However, her attention was drawn back to Crystal, and then the man whom she indicated. A son? Akako had never mentioned such. Though she supposed Akako had many secrets the woman knew little about – and many she was entitled to keep. An idea sparked within her, and she waved the waitress over and giggled quite out of character.

“Miss, could I buy that man a drink, please? He’s just ever so cute.” Rin smiled coyly, her lashes batting. The waitress giggled with her, before skittering off to do exactly as she asked.

“That should do it.” Rin’s visage resumed it’s more stoic appearance, as though behaving in such a manner had been problematic.

“Sir, I have a drink for you from the ladies in that table over there!” The waitress offered to the man in need of a brushing. She pointed back towards Crystal and Rin, who mouthed a word at him.

MDdvbYq.jpg“Don’t.” Was all she said, though her visage took a more serious approach. They would handle Luiz, there was no reason to get him involved.

“Oi, and these demons will be stealin’ yer jobs!” Luiz cried, which sparked a bit of outrage amongst the people.

“Yer lying!” One cried.

“They can’t have our jobs! Over my dead body!” Was another. The various cacophony of calls was difficult to hear through, and even Luiz was having a difficult time speaking to the quickly dividing crowd.

“I think there’s gonna be a riot.” Rin murmured.

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It was unintentional when the waitress approached with the drink, and he glared up at her before softening his expression to one of apology. Looking to where she motioned to, Gin immediately noticed the albino woman and read her lips. He frowned across the room at her, not thrilled that he was being watched. Then he saw her companion and realized his initial instinct was correct, that was the woman that he had seen from time to time while residing within the Void. Looking back to the albino woman, he offered a small nod before returning his attention to his drink then to the one they sent. Gin downed the rest of his glass before picking up the one the women had sent and sipping the honey-colored beverage. 

Crystal tore her eyes away from Gin and looked to the woman across the table. Her usually bubbly visage was now stern, concern with a hint of contempt in her electric blue eyes. "I don't doubt it." Then she turned her focus back to the crowd, her skin tingling with anticipation of violence. 

Meanwhile, Gin remained in his place, listening to the mob slowly spiral into chaotic yelling spurred by confusion and fear. He glanced at the women again and considered how to approach them.  It was regrettable that he couldn't recall the redhead's name, but he'd been a child when he met her. There was a lot he didn't know, and he wanted to understand so he decided that he would have to just take his chances and use the turmoil of the crowd to his advantage. 

Gin stood and worked his way around the room, careful to remain unobtrusive. He paused at the bar and leaned over the counter to talk to the bartender in private, asking what the women were drinking. He took the pair of glasses in one hand, his drink in the other and found himself at their table. 

At first, he said nothing. He simply set the glasses down, procured a seat and settled himself next to Crystal. The elemental looked at him curiously. "It would be in your best interest to leave." Her statement was curt which was very unlike her, but she had to put across the seriousness of their current situation. 

"So they are talking about her, aren't they?" He asked finally, his voice a deep tenor with a raspy quality. 

 

@Lacernella Rubra

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The cacophony of voices was rising, but the telltale rumble of Gin’s voice made it easy to distinguish in the rising volume. It was the sort of voice that most women would swoon over, and Rin could understand why as the hair on the back of her neck stood at attention. Despite his desperate need of a comb, Gin was quite handsome – Rin had no doubt that many women would flock to him in an effort to get his attention. As it was, Rin’s crimson gaze bore into him for a long moment with lips tightened before speaking.

“Yes.” Is all he is offered as her attention returns to the gathering crowd. She was pleased to see that the side favoring Akako was outnumbering those that Luiz had devolved into panicked, scared animals. It was unclear who threw the first punch, but the mass of bodies suddenly collided and became a writhing mass of violence. Rin jumped from her seat and moved into the fray rather suddenly. She stood out like a beacon, but that didn’t give her any hesitation as she grasped one of the men and slammed his head into a table with well practiced movements. Her goal was to get close to Luiz, who stood on the other side of the fray, looking quite pleased with himself. In her pocket lay a syringe prepared with a potent poison. Luiz would likely feel ill and excuse himself, only to perish later.

Or if his system was weak, he would drop dead right there on the bar floor. The Twisted Sister wasn’t particularly known for having rowdy fights and sometimes fatal accidents, but when riots break out, no one knew what might happen. Rin ducked beneath a fist, grabbing the woman’s wrist and twisting it behind her back before shoving her deeper into the crowd as she continued on her way. A few others were heading towards Luiz as well – the young man that had initially protested Luiz’s speech, as well as what appeared to be his friends.

8p0h7QQ.jpgLuiz appeared to be trying ot inch towards a door, his job done as chaos ensued. The men caught him before Rin did, and her gaze darkened as the young man plowed his fist directly into Luiz's jaw. One of the lackeys took after Luiz's friends as Rin continued her approach, eyes slitting slightly before the woman suddenly disappeared from sight, reappearing behind Luiz as she grasped his arm, twisting it behind his back as she hissed in his ear, even as he blubbered through a bloody mouth. 

"Long live the Daiyokai." His gaze widened before he was hit by the young man again. 

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