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brought to you by lack of tai chi
"Flying Goldfish," Kitsuki mutters to herself as they tramp through the streets in a small, ragged group. "Flying Goldfish. Now why does that sound familiar?" Her tail twitches. "Flying Goldfish."
"Oh, you know these quaint, old-fashioned inns have to be named after some sort of animal, usually participating in an improbable act or otherwise fancifully colored," Alexandra said lightly. She was actually putting on a very good act, never mind that she desperately didn't want to be here.
"I'm fine," Stanos says, trying to keep his usual brusqueness out of his voice. "Let's go." He watches the tiny dragon take off and nods to himself, mentally approving of having an overhead scout. That will make their search easier. Council City is not large by Earthly standards, but it still contains thousands, edging into millions.
He begins to wade into the crowd, making sure that Winter is close to him. The City is a diverse place, but Winter does stand out, and he's drawing a few curious looks. He exercises his authority; his demeanor, if not his leather armor, indicates that he is not someone to be trifled with.
"Excuse me, but have you seen a demon, dark-haired, blue-eyed, about this tall?"
He should go. He remembers telling the others that he'd catch up, that he'd be right back. They'll be worried. Winter will be worried.
But Kaligo is completely disoriented. He's no longer sure what direction he came from. A little bit of panic begins to well up, and he swallows it down. Remain calm. Think. Unlike Kitsuki, he actually has a fairly good sense of direction. And what are demonic senses for? His eyes dart. Did he pass by that shop on that street on the way here? Yes, he thinks so. And did he pass by that stall selling fruit? Yes, yes. He breathes easier. He can find his way back.
Slowly, he begins to retrace his steps. Hopefully the others will still be there, waiting.
shorter and crappier...
Winter watches the other go off in search of this Flying Goldfish place. Only when Stanos asks does he focus once more on the task at hand.
//Winter see Kaligo go that way,// he points in the general direction they all saw Kaligo disappear to. //Winter think should look there first.
"I'll fly ahead to see if I can spot anything." Asmindr doesn't wait for a reply, already gliding overhead above the bustling crowd and leaving the dragon alone with the sprite.
Winter takes a step forward, only to stop and look back at Stanos, his expression troubled as he senses something odd with the old warrior.
//Stanos, is okay?//
short 'n crappy
"Wha--?! Ohhhh no. You're pulling my leg, aren't you." Kitsuki flattens her ears and glares at Mo`re, tail bristling. "Well, I'm not falling for that again, you--"
"We're gooiinnngg," Alexandra calls in a sing-song voice, taking Kitsuki by the arm. "You'll escort me, won't you? Why yes you will, of course you will, you're so courteous."
"I--wha? Hey, wait--"
Stanos is left blinking in their wake with a cold sprite standing by his elbow, supervised by a small white dragon. He does not like the lack of control in this situation. He's going to go look for a demon of all things, a demon that--
He jumps as Winter slips an arm around his. The touch is cold.
"Yes, of course," he says, sounding as unruffled as ever, though his mind is uneasy. There are demons everywhere in the City as a matter of course--but this demon in particular sends sick memories through him. "Where do you think he went?"
::prods brain:: Work, please.
Mo`re turns to Kit and briefly considers explaining things and help her confusion.
"We're going to offer a sacrifice to the goddess Athtor and we need something of the fox family for the death alter."
"Very droll, Mo`re."
~What kind of a name is Flying Goldfish, and why do I hear someone laughing at me?~ Gen just shrugs it off, a talent she's perfected over the decades.
"Flying Goldfish. Right. All those coming, c'mon. Oh, and Stanos..." Gen turns, leveling a very cool gaze at the old warrior. "I don't think I need to tell you how important Win's safety is, do I?"
"I second that. But actually, I'll go along with Winter and Stanos, just in case." Asmindr flies up a bit, fluttering before he settles down on Winter's rigt shoulder. "Tally-ho."
"I guess the rest of us will come back here once we've gotten rooms.
"Then no point standing around doing our impression of statues, I say."
"But I thought I was doing a good job of it.
~How did I wind up here? Oh yes, cosmic bad luck.~
Winter ignores the general prattle as he slips his arms around one of Stanos, purely out of friendship and the openness of his kind.
//Stanos help Winter find Kaligo now?//
Not that the answered mattered. With or without Stanos, Winter already decided he was going to look for the demon. And no one was going to stop him.
He could be stubborn too, when the need arose for it.
**jumps up and down in glee**
"Wha?" Kitsuki looks up, realizing that the subject of the conversation has now turned to her. Never a good sign. Her fruit has been reduced to a very small core by now, which she tosses over her shoulder with nary a care, earning a dirty look from Stanos.
"I'd be glad to," Alexandra says, somewhat apologetically, "but this is my first time to the city as well."
"Wait, what're we talking about?"
"I'll go," Stanos says gruffly, although he looks discomfited, "as I know the City better than the rest of you. Although I hate to leave you on your own to find lodgings, I was planning to direct you to one of the finer inns--"
"You can tell us where it is," Alexandra points out. "Surely it can't be too complicated?"
Stanos looks slightly torn. "Well, er, that is true. . ."
"Then there is really no problem, is there?"
Stanos gives up. "In that case, I'll be happy to accompany, er, Winter," he says. "If you do not object to my choice of quarters, you will find The Flying Goldfish straight down this road and to the left, close to the center of the city."
"Wait, what're we talking about? What're we doing?"
For the first time in many, many years, Kaligo feels cold. He wraps his arms around himself, more unconsciously than anything else, and shivers.
The dragon (that he killed, that he remembers killing) is gone. And Kaligo is cold, and he is afraid, and he doesn't want to be here. He can feel years, decades of work--Alexandra's work, too--unraveling the longer he stays here. Yes, this is a new age, where demon and human and dragon can live side by side. He sees them in the streets, along with many of the "lesser" races as well, Bruman and dwarf and even the reclusive elves. But everyone that passes by him seems to know him and remember his crimes and what he used to be.
She was bleeding when she walked away.
There is blood on the ground, drip-drip-drip in a faint trail that is even now being buried in dust and dirt. But Kaligo can still smell it, heady and strong in his nostrils. Dragon's blood. He hasn't smelled it in ages, but it reawakens all the old instincts and urges. The beast he thought he killed raises its head and sniffs familiar scents, recognizing old territory.
He closes his eyes and breathes deeply, trying to clear his head. He was able to do this once, just believe in his humanity and put his past behind him. But suddenly it's back to haunt him and he doesn't know what to do, how to react, how to feel. It's been too long, and there's much more now at stake.
Not dead... really, I'm not. I'm free, finally. Now let's see if anyone's still interested.
//where Kaligo go?//
"No clue. And we can't go on or he'll lose us." Mo`re stretches, looking decidedly bored. "Which means someone is going to have to go after him. I opt-out."
"Your laziness is showing."
"Why thank you."
//Winter go look.//
"Except someone needs to go with you. Okay, someone goes with Win to find Kaligo, while the rest of us look for some place to crash, then we meet back here. Sound good?"
"You haven't said who should go with Win, though."
Gen shrugs and jerks a thumb over her shoulder, aiming in the general direction of Kit, Alexandra, and Stanos. "Probably one of them, as I get the feeling they know this place better..."