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  #31  
Old Jan 25th, 2023, 01:09 PM
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Anais the Nature Witch
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The thump from Bee dropping down shook Anais's insides in a not-altogether-unpleasant way, but she grinned to see that she had the oni's full attention and the kobold's besides. The little gal seemed to appreciate Anais's choice of music if nothing else. The speed with which Chip moved was breathtaking, and told Anais everything she needed to about why Sally Slither kept her around. If either of those two came at her with ill intent, let alone both of them, she'd be in a heap of trouble, but for now, she practically had them eating out of her hand.

When Anais saw what the "price" Bee had to pay for the jerky was, it was her turn to produce a high-pitched squeal, one that drew a momentary look of annoyance from Robin. "Oh my love, you two are so cute!" Anais gave Robin a small nod to indicate it was fine to take the offered jerky. "Are you two sweetie-pies together? Oh, what am I saying, of course you are, look at how sweet y'all are with each other! You fit together like peas in a pod. Why, if someone asked me, I'd say those two had to be married, they're so perfect for each other." She gave a small gasp at the thought. "Wait, are ya? Because if you're not and you're lookin' to tie the knot, why I could do the honors!" She clapped her hands together at the thought and looked at CorruLine. "CorruLine, honey, tell me you have something suitable for such an occasion."

Robin chewed on a bit of jerky, knowing that there was nothing to do but wait for Anais to play out her match-making fantasies.
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  #32  
Old Feb 4th, 2023, 03:30 PM
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Naga-ShiNaga-Shi only smiled brightly as her eyes followed the movements of Chip. It would be all too easy to lose sight of the little reptile in a conflict. Such incredible speed and dexterity would allow her to drift in and out of battle with such ease that Shi’s friends who dared to take their eyes off of her would suffer the cruelty of her weapon’s bite. No doubt that was the Oni’s roll, not only a large bruiser but she was a distraction to let Chip do what she did best, neutralize an opponent whose focus was elsewhere. Not being the sort to dirty her own hands, Sally would use her gifts to empower her thugs, making them at the very least feel stronger, faster, and braver. That alone would make them more dangerous. The false sense of security Sally brought with her would poison the river, causing harm to all who drank from the stream, friend and foe alike, not that Sally cared.

Still she didn’t let her concerns bleed through. Instead Shi seemed amused by Sally’s words, all too happy the other woman accepted her offer of idle play. She didn’t dwell on the fact that she gave up the fact she knew Harleen was here, but rather made note of it. Making sure that any lies moving forward would be built upon an understanding that Sally would see through any deception about Harleen’s location. Sliding silently off the edge of the table and into a seat across from Sally, Shi shuffled the cards quickly and cleanly before dealing a hand to each of them. The insinuation that Sally wanted to play with her, not her cards acknowledged by a sultry shift to the side before she swept up her cards and readied to play them. However, she never once glanced at the cards in her hand, rather she looked up at the other woman, finding her eyes as she watched how Sally reacted in silent disdain for her thugs.

“Ah, then in truth, you and I hunt similar prey this evening.” She mused, as if amused by the realization. Crossing one leg over the other she leaned back in her seat, letting Sally get a long hard look at her, “I have business of my own with this scruffy hyena.”

The only women of importance in the room locked eyes, letting the rest of the rabble fall away. Sally disregarded Bee and Chip while Naga-Shi deafened herself to Anais’s matchmaking, blinded herself to Darla’s sneering when barbs against Harleen crossed her painted lips. She shut her heart to the sense of overwhelming dread that came from knowing that she was making nice with the target of a vengeful scoundrel skulking somewhere above, and instead kept her eyes on Sally. Nothing existed outside of Sally for this brief moment as she attempted to pierce her veil. Only Naga-Shi’s friends knew of her gifted gaze, but even they surely felt more than a little uncomfortable meeting her gaze knowing that it was all she needed to read a person better then they could read themselves.

“Of course,” She chuckled softly, “If your business is of the nature I suspect, then maybe,” She gave a seductive smile at Sally, doing her best to keep her eyes upon her own long enough to find what she needed within her, “Maybe I was mistaken and I need not waste my time with the mangy beast. Maybe my business has been with you all along... So.” she drew a card from the deck and lay it face up between the two women, “What would you say...” She presented a second face up card, “If I told you my business is meant for the owner of this bar?” She played a third card face up, setting the stage for their play.

“Is it her, or you, I seek an audience with?” Shi hummed. Under the surface she attempted to draw the woman in, entice her with the promise of getting Shi alone, the two of them in private, discussing secret deals and and sharing each other’s warmth in a way that Sally had always coveted but never yet obtained. All the while she dug deeper for the truth, searching for an answer to an unspoken question; “How could I get you to forgive Harleen’s debt?”

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Last edited by QueenQatherine; Feb 4th, 2023 at 03:32 PM.
  #33  
Old Feb 11th, 2023, 10:33 AM
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Aurelia
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Aurelia watched the unexpected couple together, softened slightly by their sickeningly sweet interactions. If it wouldn't have put her in danger of being discovered, the woman would have audibly sighed. Of course... a pair of real pipe hitters who could get the job done, whose biggest weakness just happened to be one another. No way that was incidental... classic Sally, layering her methods of control to keep those below her in line without even having to make a threat.

Certainly, if Aurelia felt any reluctance at the idea of battling the two, it wasn't over their lovey dovey antics. Blissful, committed relationships were just traps that would eventually leave you broken and raw, or worse, open to being exploited by people like Sally Slither. What DID garner a bit of sympathy was recognizing that these two were just unknowing pawns in their queen's game, valuable until they weren't, their own love a tool to be used against them.

"..." The scoundrel refocused her attention on the woman of the hour, the aim of her blade moving away from Bee and Chip before leaping silently to the next rafter. Over in the opposite corner, she heard the insulting comments being levied casually against Harleen by Naga-Shi. Aurelia wasn't terribly bothered as she silently moved from wooden beam to wooden beam. It was just a game after all... Shi's ability to conceal her heart at a moment's demand was just one of her many strengths, and it was going to serve her well in the game of mental chess she was beginning with Sally. Aurelia on the other hand had never found such mind games to exist in her wheelhouse; she was a decent enough liar when the occasion called for it, but she didn't hold even the faintest candle to the two vipers sitting across from one another just below her.

Sliding up on her perch a bit, Aurelia leisurely repositioned her blade, the tip now pointing squarely at Sally's jugular. She couldn't strike just yet... but she could fantasize about how good it would feel in the meantime.
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  #34  
Old Feb 13th, 2023, 01:00 AM
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CorruLine
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"And gimme some harmony if you have the voice."
CorruLine watches Anais dance and sing on the stage for the guests. It doesn't have the voice. It doesn't actually know what makes a good harmony. Oh, CorruLine understands acoustics, pitch, tempo, and more... but those are so cleanly mathematical. It could transpose the sound of the rain clattering against the rooftops into musical notation, shift a song into various beats-per-minute down to the decimal point. But ideas of "good" or "bad" didn't make sense to CorruLine. It was noise.


But watching Anais, there was something else. Something admirable. Something unique. Perhaps the way the woman could have fun even when she was (presumably) still setting up an ambush. How she could drop the song and squeal about a cute couple, even if that couple were potential enemies.

The computer found it intriguing... alluring, even, as it played the song and watches from behind a screen and a universe of numbers. CorruLine even records some of the event, after it rouses itself from its rapture.


Quote:
"CorruLine, honey, tell me you have something suitable for such an occasion."
Something strange happens: CorruLine doesn't catch what was said before. A lapse in perception, like a human might have. CorruLine didn't get lost in thought like this. "My code must be corrupted somewhere..." it muses to itself. It would run diagnostics later. For now, it would review the fortunately captured recording in the blink of an eye and rewind the conversation. "Ah... marriage rituals."

"The Lepidopterae people view marriage as a death of the individuals, and a rebirth - a metamophosis - of a new, singular entity. For this reason, regardless of the number of individuals partaking in matrimony, the first ceremony performed is a funerary rite." CorruLine cuts off the song that followed Anais' request - something in a similar genre, picked by an algorithm - and replaces it with a somber organ and solemn choir. "I do not have Moth-person mourning music on file... perhaps this human arrangement will suffice?"

The touching moment slips away into a stiff, dour atmosphere much like an ice cream scoop falls from a waffle cone and onto the floor.

OOCCorru is going to use the jarring music shift to (entirely unintentionally) read the room. I think Bee seems more the type to blurt something out when confused, so let's Figure Her Out.

Dice Wits:
2d6+1 (6, 4)+1 Total = 11


Asking Bee: What are your feelings towards Chip?
What do you hope to get from Sally?
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Last edited by Solid Snek; Feb 13th, 2023 at 01:02 AM.
  #35  
Old Feb 16th, 2023, 12:16 PM
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Love and war...
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Ha-Ha-Harleen's Place

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaigen View Post
When Anais saw what the "price" Bee had to pay for the jerky was, it was her turn to produce a high-pitched squeal, one that drew a momentary look of annoyance from Robin. "Oh my love, you two are so cute!" Anais gave Robin a small nod to indicate it was fine to take the offered jerky. "Are you two sweetie-pies together? Oh, what am I saying, of course you are, look at how sweet y'all are with each other! You fit together like peas in a pod. Why, if someone asked me, I'd say those two had to be married, they're so perfect for each other." She gave a small gasp at the thought. "Wait, are ya? Because if you're not and you're lookin' to tie the knot, why I could do the honors!"

Bee was positively buzzing (pun intended!) from being told her and Chip ‘fit together like peas in a pod.’ Words didn’t do justice for the huge smile that broke across her face, glowing just as bright as a moth slamming into a zapper at midnight. All razor sharp teeth, and tusks that could open a champagne bottle with a tilt of her head. It would’ve spooked a lesser woman but Anais was anything but less. And she saw how in looooove Bee was with the idea that they were a matched pair! Her eyes sparkling with that familiar glimmer of affection, the kind that Anais worked magic with when she lived back in her humble village, where she played match-maker with the bakers, the butchers, and the candlestick makers.

There was no doubt about it: there was something there! Maybe a crush, maybe a spark of something new and exciting. Ooh, like a first love, how sweet would that be! Or maybe it was something deeper, longer than that. A secret love, blooming in the dark, just waiting for the right person to give it a little nudge in the right direction.

Chip, however, was oblivious, or acted oblivious, as the little kobold hid her flushed face under her helmet faster than a turtle snapped into its shell in a soup shop. “W-what, no! We’re not married! We are–”

“Engaged,” Bee cut in, the oni flawlessly picking up where Anais left off with a gleeful laugh. And much to Chip’s further embarrassment, she pulled Chip right down into the crook of her arm, cradling her close, “Iz zo sveet you notice our young love! I am verrrry lucky to vin her heart! She iz flower to my bumble bee.” Bee tapped the bumble bee clip on her head, sneaking a pleased grin at the mortified Chip.

Chip’s long and lanky tail curled up and around the kobold, until she was bashfully fiddling with it in her claws. Chip whispered– tried to whisper back up at Bee, but Anais and CorruLine, heck, even Aurelia, heard everything! “What-are-you-shaying! We are friendsh! Yesh? Y-yesh?”

Half-turning away from their audience on stage, Bee hilariously parted her jean jacket open and used it like a privacy curtain so she could have a ‘word’ with the flustered kobold. “Shhh, no vorry, no vorry! Ve pretend, yes? Get cake, maybe? You love cake!”

Chip, who was pressed very intimately against Bee’s heaving bosom, found her voice cracking, just a little, “I d-do…”

“Then ve ‘pretend’ to be engaged! Get cake. Share cake. Share kisses. Share beds–”

“Wh-what vash last part?”

“Share cake?”

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solid Snek View Post
"The Lepidopterae people view marriage as a death of the individuals, and a rebirth - a metamophosis - of a new, singular entity. For this reason, regardless of the number of individuals partaking in matrimony, the first ceremony performed is a funerary rite." CorruLine cuts off the song that followed Anais' request - something in a similar genre, picked by an algorithm - and replaces it with a somber organ and solemn choir. "I do not have Moth-person mourning music on file... perhaps this human arrangement will suffice?"

The touching moment slips away into a stiff, dour atmosphere much like an ice cream scoop falls from a waffle cone and onto the floor.
That… was definitely not what Bee expected CorruLine to pick for a love song, let alone a wedding song. The blue oni looked up from her plotting with an expression that left CorruLine wondering if she, too, was suffering from a malfunction. Stuck in a subroutine gone wrong. Or looping around the same bit of paradoxical data that just didn’t compute right. Which was exactly what CorruLine wanted. A little confusion to help spill secrets from the jorted thug’s lips.

“Uhhhh. No, no, I alvays imagined my veddink vit Chip to have more positive music! Big, bombastic sound! Vit drums and horns!”

Chip blinked. “...you imagined our wedding…?”

Bee froze.

Which was the perfect opportunity for CorruLine to pick up a sudden intense increase of heart rate from Bee. As well as the rapid change of hue on her cheeks, Bee turning a lovely shade of violet. CorruLine didn’t have to dig long into its’ records to know that this was a real case of infatuation. Love, even. The sort it always watched from the holo vids that were uploaded into the Manifest.

But it didn’t look like Bee, despite her playfulness, was ready to come clean. Was it due to her uncertainty of how Chip felt? That deep fear of rejection? Or was there more to their tale that CorruLine had yet to uncover?

“Hah hah hah! Vaaat? No, I, I am…” Clearing her throat, she (not) whispered to Chip, “pretendink! All pretend!”

“Oh…” muttered Chip, her disappointment a dagger to the blue oni’s heart. That tremor of sadness was so potent that it tugged hard on Anais’ heartstrings, too.

It was no surprise that Bee tried to fix her mistake, once again spilling more than she should in front of the people that could very well become her enemies in seconds. “No make sad face! Know dat I vould be lucky to veally marry you. You are vonderful, and smart! Unlike me. I am big fool vit big foolish dreams.”

It was Chip’s turn to cut in. “You are not! You are schmart, too, and beautiful, and big–!”

As the music grew more mournful and dour, so, too, did Bee, her positive energy becoming a dreary storm cloud. “Too big to run a bakery shop vight. I smash all ze cookies. Every time. How vill I vun good bizness vit smashed cookies? If I even get store, like Sally said…”

And there it was.

Sally Slither promised her a store. That was a rare commodity down in The Drain. Especially when Sally Slither had such a strong chokehold on who could swim in her waters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by QueenQatherine View Post
Crossing one leg over the other she leaned back in her seat, letting Sally get a long hard look at her.
Sally Slither ate her up.

Bit by bit.

Not once turning away her covetous gaze from the delicious morsel that was Naga-Shi.

Ooh yes, there was no doubt in Naga-Shi’s mind that Sally Slither wanted her.

…and poor Aurelia knew it, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by QueenQatherine View Post
“Of course,” She chuckled softly, “If your business is of the nature I suspect, then maybe,” She gave a seductive smile at Sally, doing her best to keep her eyes upon her own long enough to find what she needed within her, “Maybe I was mistaken and I need not waste my time with the mangy beast. Maybe my business has been with you all along... So.” she drew a card from the deck and lay it face up between the two women, “What would you say...” She presented a second face up card, “If I told you my business is meant for the owner of this bar?” She played a third card face up, setting the stage for their play.

“Is it her, or you, I seek an audience with?” Shi hummed. Under the surface she attempted to draw the woman in, entice her with the promise of getting Shi alone, the two of them in private, discussing secret deals and and sharing each other’s warmth in a way that Sally had always coveted but never yet obtained. All the while she dug deeper for the truth, searching for an answer to an unspoken question; “How could I get you to forgive Harleen’s debt?”
Tempestuous Naga-Shi lured Sally Slither in oh-so perfectly. Pride was her biggest weakness, and to have Naga-Shi stroke it so sweetly was enough to make the woman purr. “Mmn, how foolish of me. Accepting to play cards with Prism City’s keenest eye. You never cease to impress me, Naga-Shi, by how swiftly you sniff out opportunity.” She smiled at that word. Opportunity. Because it was just another word for ‘trap’ for Sally Slither. A means to pull people in and use them until they had nothing left to give.

Sally Slither did not reach for her hand yet. She kept her eyes glued to Naga-Shi’s face. Unaware of the power that was brewing beneath her pretty mask, of the beast that would steal secrets from Sally Slither’s dark heart. No, Sally Slither just devoured her whole. Drank in her full lips, listened to her sultry voice as though she could drape it across her shoulders like a velvet coat, and just soak it all in. It was a covetous lust that ruined a many good woman.

“I am afraid I cannot say much about my business here. Client confidentiality, you understand, yes?” Naga-Shi’s blood boiled at her polite smile. “That said I am very invested in Harleen’s affairs. She’s a lovely girl. Smarter than you give her credit for…” Sally Slither leaned forward, her hands gripping tight the head of her cane as she now searched for answers in Naga-Shi’s own eyes. “She was wiley enough to find something you wanted, didn’t she?”

Luck was on Naga-Shi’s side. The rise of Venom in her blood almost made her slip-up had it not been for the truth that suddenly filled her mind. Naga-Shi successfully mined that precious secret from Sally Slither. But the unfortunate nature of the woman led her down a dead end. Because the only thing that Sally Slither wanted more than Harleen’s bar, was her.

How could she not want to covet her? She was the one of the few who dared to elude her grasp. Slipping through her fingers time and time again, and driving this dragon of The Drain mad with desire. Ooh, she’d forgive Harleen’s debts, alright, but only if Naga-Shi said yes to being hers.



It was so much harder to be in Sally Slither’s presence than Aurelia thought. All that anger and hate she felt for Sally Slither kept her focused and alert to the danger of having her here, but it also…

It also reminded her so much of their past. Of their time together.

Sally Slither once loved her, once looked at her with the same awe and desire that she threw carelessly down at Naga-Shi’s feet.

She had built Aurelia up when she had nothing.

Those greenhorn days of stealing in Prism City were twisted up in the heart-wrenching compliments Sally Slither adorned her with. Letting her feel like she could take on the world, and never fear falling, because Sally Slither would be right there to catch her. To hold her close, and kiss away any of the fears and doubts she had about love. And about herself.

Did Sally Slither even remember those days?

Did she even care?

She never looked for Aurelia after she left. All those nights where they held each other close beneath the few stars they could see from down here in The Drain, were they nothing? Were they? And what about how often she whispered in her ear like a poison that she couldn’t live without Aurelia, that she was happiest with her at her side– were those words all but forgotten? All because Aurelia told her no on doing those… those terrible jobs for her.

How much of their time together was a lie. How much was the truth. How much should Aurelia miss, and how much should she hate.

It bore down on her. These burdensome questions– these feelings– she thought she drank away. But it all came rushing back from just looking at Sally Slither, and knowing not a damn thing changed about her after Aurelia ran away.

The only difference was the people she surrounded herself with…

…and the person she wanted to break down and use until there was nothing left.

But Aurelia could change things.

She could make her regret.


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Last edited by Strangemund; Feb 16th, 2023 at 05:48 PM.
  #36  
Old Feb 16th, 2023, 01:31 PM
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Anais the Nature Witch
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Anais could barely contain her glee when she saw the reaction her words provoked. She was right! Of course she was right! Those two were helplessly sweet on each other. Okay, so maybe Chip wasn't quite ready to admit that just yet, but Bee sure was and it was the most adorable thing. Why, she practically had Chip wrapped around her finger already, and didn't Chip just seem to love bein' there. "Aww, she's lucky to have you, Bee." Anais reached past the screen of Bee's jacket and tipped back the helmet on Chip's head. "The blushing bride. It looks good on you hon." She punctuated that statement with a little pinch of Chip's cheek.

And then CorruLine was catching up to her prompt and taking it in an unexpected direction. "Death and rebirth, huh? That is pretty romanti—" The dirge cut in, and whatever the romantic merits of being reborn with your lover, the effect on Bee and Chip was immediate and dreadful. Bee was so forlorn she even completely missed Chip's disappointment at the thought of their wedding being only pretend. Anais needed to turn this around, tout suite. "CorruLine, honey, skip ahead, what's the rebirth part of the rite sound like?"

Anais put a comforting hand on Bee's shoulder. "Honeybee, you listen to me: Every baker I've ever met has been big an' strong. They need it to carry all that flour and knead all that dough. But more'n that." She moved her hand to Bee's cheek to turn her head and gestured down to where Chip was still cradled in Bee's arms with the other. "Look at how you're holding Chip. Think about how you grabbed her off'a your back and gave her all those kisses." Now she had a hand on either side of Bee's head, looking her in the eyes. "I didn' hear single 'ouch.' I don' see a single bruise. Jus' giggles and blushes and a whole lotta love. You're way more gentle than you think." As if to punctuate Anais's words about what a gentle person Bee was, Robin chose that moment to climb up Bee's and drape himself around her shoulders, like he knew he had nothing to fear from her.
OOCAnais is going to toss some Emotional Support Bee's way to try to bring her spirits back up (and get this romance back on track!).
 

Last edited by Kaigen; Feb 16th, 2023 at 01:35 PM.
  #37  
Old Feb 18th, 2023, 08:31 AM
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Passion

It was an uncharacteristically quiet night in the Drain... the kind of peace that almost made you visualize the moon up past the concrete, streets, metal, towers, and pollution that blanketed the sky and blocked out the natural beauty of the night. Maybe this was in part due to the unusually small amount of rain on that particular night. Or maybe the majority of the usual street-walking troublemakers were simply off making mischief elsewhere, venturing out to one of the many parties going on closer to the surface. It was a holiday in the city after all; what specific holiday, Aurelia neither knew, nor cared. All she cared about in that moment was the gorgeous women laying next to her, the two catching their breath in the pleasant afterglow of passionate lovemaking.

"Hnngggg.... *huff* .... I... don't think I've ever made that noise before." Aurelia chuckled, feeling a bit of extra color rush to her cheeks as she rolled to her side, facing the window. Neon light peeked through the shuttered blinds, casting lines of light across her body as she reached up and felt her quickly beating heart through her chest. "... you're going to have to teach me how you did that... thing."

Aurelia felt two arms sliding up past her from each side, folding in to pull the woman into a tight embrace.

"I'm sure a woman with quick fingers like yours can... figure it out..." Sally pulled her body up against Aurelia's hugging her tightly from behind as she nuzzled into the raven-haired woman's neck. Aurelia shivered pleasantly, lightly gripping Sally's wrist as she cocked her head a bit, allowing the her lover easier access to her.

"Challenge accepted... just give me a second to catch my breath. You're insatiable, you know that?" The two laughed together.

"As if you're any better Kitten. The way you look at me all the time... if I let you have your way, I would never get any work done."

"Good." Aurelia made a fake pouty face, pushing her rear back, rubbing it playfully against Sally. "I want you... all to myself." And she meant it... in more ways than one. Tough as it was for the woman to admit, Aurelia had never felt the way she did for Sally Slither about anyone else before. It wasn't just the attraction... it was the emotional connection. Something about the way Sally connected with her and made her feel.... like she was the most important girl in the world. Like all the other crap just didn't matter when the two of them were one. It was something new... scary at first, but then oh so wonderful. And all that Aurelia had to do was verbalize it. ".... you know, I-"

"I got you something." Sally's voice carried over Aurelia's small murmur immediately, and she pulled one arm away as she reached back, rummaging around the side table for a moment before her hand reappeared in front of Aurelia, this time holding a small box. Aurelia looked at it, eyes widening slightly.

"You... got me a gift? Sally... wow." She reached forward slowly, gently pulling the box from Sally's hand. "Can... I open it?" Sally laughed.

"You think I just wanted you to stare at the box?" She giggled again, planting a kiss on the nape of Aurelia's neck. Aurelia's stomach fluttered. Even in her small laughs, Sally's sultry voice could melt her down to nothing on a whim. Smiling, Aurelia slipped the lid off the box, overturning it in her hand. She let out a small gasp as a golden bangle fell into her palm.

"Sally... my god, this is absolutely... beautiful." She turned the piece over, admiring it in the dim light. "Gold... it'll match-"

"It will match my jewelry." Sally took Aurelia's hands in hers, gently plucking the bangle away as she slid it around the woman's wrist. "You're mine, right? And I'm yours... everyone should take notice of that." Aurelia stared at the band enveloping her wrist, her heart swelling with complex feelings. Was this what it felt like to be taken care of? Sally was so powerful and amazing, and she could have anybody... but she'd chosen a foolish thief with no head for city life, lost and on the run... and she'd taken her in. Aurelia owed her so much... and she knew in that moment she would give Sally anything she asked for.

"Now..." Sally's hand gently cupped Aurelia's chin, pulling her face up and back as she locked her in a passionate kiss. After a moment, she relented, separating just enough that their lips continued to brush against one another. "You owe me another round Kitten..."
Aurelia
right-aligned image


The tip of the blade pointing down toward Sally wavered, shaking in the hand that held it as Aurelia's mind was flooded with memories. Her face felt hot, and she shifted her gaze away from the woman and blinked, looking down at the wet droplets that had fallen onto the surface of the wooden beam below her. Letting go of the bottle, she brought her hand up and touched her face... and she felt wetness on her cheek. She was crying... and trembling? Like a weepy little girl... as weak and worthless as a broken toy, tossed aside and unable to stand on it's own. Even now with every advantage and a blade at the ready, she felt herself hiding from Sally.... hesitating at striking a lethal blow. And it wasn't even because she wasn't supposed to... it was because she couldn't. Because even with Sally's life in her very hands, Aurelia was afraid of her.

"..." Aurelia rubbed the small collection of tears from her eyes, gritting her teeth. She couldn't believe how pathetic she felt. How much of a hold Sally still had on her. In that moment, her fear and insecurity began to change into something else entirely; the anger she'd been trying to feel in place of her pain had finally shown itself in earnest. Grabbing the bottle next to her again, Aurelia hurled it at the back wall, dropping from her hiding place the moment she heard the shattering of glass. She needed to time it right... distract Sally for only a fraction of a second.

"SALLY!" Aurelia's landing was not as graceful as she'd normally have gone for. Instead of a catlike soft impact, she slammed hard with both feet down onto the table between Naga-Shi and Sally Slither, sending cards scattering in every direction, ensuring Sally would turn back from the shattered bottle to see the tip of a sword pointed directly at her face. Straightening up, Aurelia held her sword steady, glaring down at Sally and forcing herself to maintain eye contact, a bitter smile across her face. "Wearing fur out in the rain for the sake of appearances? How very Sally Slither of you... but maybe you'd like to take it off now. Wouldn't want to get BLOOD on it now, would we?"
Rolls & ActionsAurelia accepts the XP and comes out of hiding! Also marking another point of XP for my failed roll.

Aurelia makes a grand entrance and attempts to use her move, The Main Attraction:
Grace: 5 (fail)
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I have taken the Oath!

Last edited by Touketsu; Mar 20th, 2023 at 08:51 AM.
  #38  
Old Feb 18th, 2023, 03:56 PM
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Naga-ShiThe “Virtual Assistant” calling herself CorruLine was a natural at supporting Anais. The two worked together to keep Chip and Bee off guard. The two women were spiraling deeply into personal thoughts, feelings, and expectations in a situation where such things were incredibly inconvenient. What garnered Naga-Shi’s attention through it all was Bee’s mentioning of her dreams of a shop of her own. It was clear to all who listened now that the oni was just another victim of Sally. Someone else fooled into doing her dirty work by having her hopes and dreams dangled in front of her. Sally might have felt like what Shi did was similar to her, but nothing could be further then the truth. Beyond the surface Sally used hope to string along the desperate, Shi used opportunity to punish the prideful and greedy. Her intentions were ultimately noble, Sally was a parasite.

Oh how her blood bubbled and broiled in her veins as she kept her sweet and sincere smile trained at Slither as though they were cross hairs. She hid her disdain well and even managed to repress the revulsion that came with her newfound insight. Often Naga-Shi’s gifts could be quite burdensome. Though she was capable of looking deep inside someone’s heart, what she saw there could be upsetting, even disturbing. Shi knew she was taking a risk when she looked into Slither’s heart, risking seeing something that would bid her blood to rise, but instead what she got was confirmation that this woman, putrescent as she was, wanted nothing more then to bed Naga-Shi. As much as she wanted money, as much as she wanted to feel respected, feared, or powerful, it was her lust that led her around on a short leash. She wanted the naga only because for so long she was unable to obtain her, and thus was willing to throw away a great deal to have her. It was irrational and ill-advised, but sadly it was not a weakness Naga-Shi was prepared to capitalize on. Maybe somewhere else, some other time, with someone else, but not here, not now... and not Sally.

Naga-Shi gave a sly smile, arching a brow as she threw a playful hint of doubt upon Sally’s words. She claimed that Harleen had found something Shi was after. As much as it pained her, she played along, and continued to jab at the gnoll in her absence, “Tell me, is such credit earned by those who don’t know what they have? Is every hapless child who finds a hint of glimmer to be considered resourceful even if they couldn’t fathom the value of their find? No, I don’t think people such as ourselves should credit others for luck. After all, let us never forget luck is the lie the house deals to keep the gambler at the table.” She hissed with a sinful sweet whisper as she prepared to show her hand.

"I’ve no interest talking about her however,” She said, easily rebounding from Sally’s deflection, “What I want to speak more of is us-”

It was then that she heard glass shatter. A shiver ran up her spine, and a feeling of dread bit at her heels. No. No she didn’t! Not now. The sight of broken glass and liquid dribbling down the side of the wall confirmed her suspicions. Her fears made real when the table suddenly shook with the added weight of none other than the scoundrel herself, Aurelia. She had foolishly let her emotions get in the way of a sound decision, gone against Shi’s advice and played her hand too quickly, shown herself for the sake of an arrival that ultimately fell flat. The woman gave up her advantage of surprise and now they had little choice but to resolve this with violence. Naga-Shi had to think quickly, and ultimately decided to throw caution to the wind and embrace this new path that had opened up before her, as only the foolish and ignorant swam against such currents when even they could lead to victory.

Just as Aurelia was getting her footing and bringing her dagger to bear against Sally, hinting at the blood she would draw, her footing would be ripped out from under her. The table tilted forward as Naga-Shi grabbed its edge and pulled with all her might, flipping it so that Aurelia was dumped off the card table and into Sally’s lap with enough force to plunge the dagger into the fool woman’s heart and break the chair. While this might have looked like mere hapenstance, the table tipping due to Aurelia landing too close to the edge, the scoundrel knew better. She would feel a gloved hand on the small of her back, pushing her into Sally as she fell. This allowed her to move into her opponent as she came down. With the chair breaking and Aurelia falling onto her Sally would quickly find herself on her back, with Aurelia easily being put into a position to straddle her, and somehow, some way, the dagger in Aurelia’s hand managed to cut at Slither in the fall.

”-But it appears that must wait!” Naga-Shi hissed as she stood, lifting her cane as if she were preparing to defend herself from Aurelia rather then Sally.


OOCI get to pick 3 from the Fight List! 1. Sally gets a condition. (Aiming for Frightened) 2. Create an Opportunity for Aurelia to take control of the fight. 3. Gain a String on Sally as a result of the flirty banter just prior to Aurelia's arrival. ^^


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Avatar and Zadari Character art used with permission of the always excellent Lepidoptera!

Last edited by QueenQatherine; Feb 18th, 2023 at 03:56 PM.
  #39  
Old Feb 28th, 2023, 10:08 AM
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CorruLine
Quote:
"CorruLine, honey, skip ahead, what's the rebirth part of the rite sound like?"
"As you wish," CorruLine replies, slightly disappointed. It couldn't say that it particularly cared for the current mourning music, but it did have a curious, engaging quality. It seemed a shame to cut it off early... ah, but it didn't really matter, did it? Surely the next one song would be equally interesting.

Without any Lepidopterae music on record (what did Spotify have against moth-people?), Corru elected for something along the lines of what Bee suggested: Bombastic, with drums and horns. A lovely, triumphant cacophony blares to life, filling the bar with something energetic and joyful.

Quote:
“Too big to run a bakery shop vight. I smash all ze cookies. Every time. How vill I vun good bizness vit smashed cookies? If I even get store, like Sally said…”
...An odd thing to say. Was size a requisite to baking? CorruLine took a moment to look up cookie recipes... she learns two things of import. Firstly, that cookies were deeply spiritual exercises for most humans, relating to some of the most formative experiences of their lives if the preceding blogs were anything to go by. Secondly, that no recipe states a minimum or maximum body-size as a prerequisite to effective recreation of the cookies. Bee was very unfortunately mistaken.

"I have to agree with Anais. Difficulties you are experiencing while baking now do not seem to reflect your potential. After all, no one is expected to begin their exploration of a hobby or career with proficiency. Mistakes and frustrations are simply the first steps to growth and mastery."

"If your concern is that your business will not be self-sustaining, it would be inadvisable to receive it on loan from Ms. Slither. She charges high interest, which results in a higher overhead cost for starting businesses. A partnership would be more amenable to your situation, which allows your to offset some of the initial risk in the investment in exchange for some of the potential profits. Perhaps you could even speak with the proprietor of this establishment?" CorruLine continues. "The kitchen area is mostly unused, and baked goods often make biological organisms thirsty. There is also a common misconception that breads will absorb alcohol in the stomach to prevent stupor and/or hangover, making your desired business and Harleen's complimentary to each other. As such, Harleen would seem to be a far more reliable business partner in this regard than Sally... with the added benefit that you could begin baking much sooner, as Harleen would have no requirements that you first act as a personal bodyguard."

Aurelia makes her entrance and commands the attention of the room, all to the horns and drums of the wedding music which quickly take on an extrinsic quality similar to a wartime march. This could... complicate matters. After a short pause, CorruLine finishes with, "It appears you will need to reach a decision on the matter quickly."

OOCRolling Entice to try to get Bee to switch sides. Talk Nerdy to Me lets me use wits, hehe

Dice Wits +1:
2d6+1 (5, 4)+1 Total = 10


My power is unmatched.
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Last edited by Solid Snek; Feb 28th, 2023 at 10:10 AM.
  #40  
Old Mar 8th, 2023, 11:19 AM
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Strangemund Strangemund is offline
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Who's side are you on...!?
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Ha-Ha-Harleen's Place

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaigen View Post
"Aww, she's lucky to have you, Bee." Anais reached past the screen of Bee's jacket and tipped back the helmet on Chip's head. "The blushing bride. It looks good on you hon." She punctuated that statement with a little pinch of Chip's cheek.
There was a brief moment, back there, before Bee broke down, that Chip considered biting Anais’ hand when she got too close. But it all sort of washed away the moment she called her a blushing bride. Much as she denied Bee and her pretty lies, Anais the Matchmaker could tell she could not escape the dream of being something more to the blue oni.

She growled softly at the pinch to her cheek, but didn’t move away, or snap at her calloused fingers. Instead she blushed harder, muttering softly, “Tank you…” trying to keep their lie afloat in a mix of emotions that Anais and CorruLine cleverly unveiled with their tricks.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaigen View Post
Anais put a comforting hand on Bee's shoulder. "Honeybee, you listen to me: Every baker I've ever met has been big an' strong. They need it to carry all that flour and knead all that dough. But more'n that." She moved her hand to Bee's cheek to turn her head and gestured down to where Chip was still cradled in Bee's arms with the other. "Look at how you're holding Chip. Think about how you grabbed her off'a your back and gave her all those kisses." Now she had a hand on either side of Bee's head, looking her in the eyes. "I didn' hear single 'ouch.' I don' see a single bruise. Jus' giggles and blushes and a whole lotta love. You're way more gentle than you think." As if to punctuate Anais's words about what a gentle person Bee was, Robin chose that moment to climb up Bee's and drape himself around her shoulders, like he knew he had nothing to fear from her.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solid Snek View Post
"I have to agree with Anais. Difficulties you are experiencing while baking now do not seem to reflect your potential. After all, no one is expected to begin their exploration of a hobby or career with proficiency. Mistakes and frustrations are simply the first steps to growth and mastery."
Kindness was a rarity in The Drain. Maybe that was hard to believe with Harleen being in the girls’ lives, but folks down here struggled to survive. To make ends meet while the rich and the beautiful and the famous thrive in the glamorous Prism City that sat above them.

Kindness from strangers just didn’t happen here. Not without some catch or two that would have you paying their kindness back with interest. And while it was true that Sally Slither was good to Bee and Chip, and was there for them in ways nobody else was for an oni and kobold, she still had them paying with blood and sweat as she made them work for their happily ever after. But that was the best deal you could get down here.

Or so they thought.

The way Anais cradled Bee’s face was so sweet and so kind that it took Bee right off-guard. She sniffled back her tears, listening to all that Anais said about what she could do with those big hands of hers. Somehow, believing her, in the things she said. Even though they were the very definition of strangers to one another, there was denying that there was warmth in how Anais spoke to her, how she reassured her that she was no bumbling fool if she could hold Chip so close and not once mar a single scale on her pretty head.

“I do t-try,” she sniffled, Bee blotting at her eyes with what was Robin’s tail and not realizing it until she felt him huff softly in her ear. “Oh! He…Chip, look! He iz on me.” She lowered her voice in pure awe, those teary eyes drying up mighty quick with that added comfort, which only got sweeter as Anais and CorruLine were witness to the kobold that grew just a little jealous at the tender touches Anais dotted Bee with.

Chip bullied her way to being the one to cradle Bee now. She crawled up closer, climbing her way up her chest during the Robin-and-Anais tag-team distraction, and used her tail to knock Anais’ hands away with a light thwack! as she replaced them with her own tiny clawed hands.

That small touch was enough to make Bee look back at her.

Chip didn’t say anything, but the two shared a look that would have both CorruLine and Anais respective hearts/processors pounding with excitement. Because there was love there, in the way they looked at each other, true love.

And then Bee smiled, and then laughed, tilting her head to press against Chip’s before she happily showed off how cuddly Robin was. Chip was hesitant to pet Robin in return– he was kinda big for a kobold– but for Bee, well, she’d just about anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solid Snek View Post
"If your concern is that your business will not be self-sustaining, it would be inadvisable to receive it on loan from Ms. Slither. She charges high interest, which results in a higher overhead cost for starting businesses. A partnership would be more amenable to your situation, which allows you to offset some of the initial risk in the investment in exchange for some of the potential profits. Perhaps you could even speak with the proprietor of this establishment?" CorruLine continues. "The kitchen area is mostly unused, and baked goods often make biological organisms thirsty. There is also a common misconception that breads will absorb alcohol in the stomach to prevent stupor and/or hangover, making your desired business and Harleen's complimentary to each other. As such, Harleen would seem to be a far more reliable business partner in this regard than Sally... with the added benefit that you could begin baking much sooner, as Harleen would have no requirements that you first act as a personal bodyguard."
Bee had all but stopped crying now. The pep-talk from Anais and the quiet comfort of Chip was a cozy balm for her heavy heart. Especially once Chip nuzzled into her throat, snout resting just underneath her chin. That made Bee smile that big tusk smile that Anais and CorruLine were getting intimately familiar with.

It did slip, though, just a little as CorruLine offered its own input about Bee’s dream bakery. Not because it said anything wrong! On the contrary, Bee looked surprised that there was an option outside of Sally Slither to achieve her dream, but then she got lost along the trail of big words that CorruLine laid before her. Bee mouthing, “Overhead? Amenable?? Proprietor???” but thankfully Chip was there to help put it all in layman's terms.

“Itsh shaying we work for Harleen, we get the bakery shooner.” Having broken her silence, Chip now narrowed her eyes at the pair, suddenly very suspicious about what exactly were Anais and CorruLine’s intentions. “But only if we leave Shally Shlither…”

Bee furrowed her brow at that. One hand touching the smallest of small backs that belonged to Chip, while the other scritched at Robin’s fluffy throat, quietly noting that she could literally pet him forever. “Oh. But iz dat a bad ting? Ve get vat ve want sooner, yah? And iz not like machine ken lie about job offers.”

“We jusht met them,” argued Chip, “and one of ‘em ish a patron. They can’t promish nothing!”

“But no more crushink skulls and breakink kneecaps on ze veekend, Chip. Ve could just stay in, and cuddle.”

Chip hissed, and pulled Bee down so she could growl in her ear, eyeing the pair still so suspiciously. “I don’t trusth them.”

But CorruLine could tell that Bee…

Bee did trust them. Trusted it. And maybe with a little bit more time, some more words, she just might take up its offer to work for Harleen instead of that lousy, no-good, bit–

SMASH!

Bee jumped to her feet at the shattering of glass, and turned just in time to see her boss fall prey to a dagger’s edge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solid Snek View Post
Aurelia makes her entrance and commands the attention of the room, all to the horns and drums of the wedding music which quickly take on an extrinsic quality similar to a wartime march. This could... complicate matters. After a short pause, CorruLine finishes with, "It appears you will need to reach a decision on the matter quickly."
“Boss!”

Meanwhile, behind the bar.

Darla.

Oh sweet Darla.

What had she been up to this whole time?

Well, Anais and CorruLine couldn’t help but notice during this whole touching affair that Darla had been slowly slinking closer to the pair. Picking up bottles of wine, testing their weight, heft, knock-out quality, before she settled on a whiskey bottle that was half her height. It looked like she was very prepared to get down and dirty if things ugly, but when all that conversation about love and gushy feelings started to happen, she stopped, and looked at Anais with confusion, mimicking the act of slamming it over Bee’s head, asking, ‘Should I wait or do it now?’


Quote:
Originally Posted by QueenQatherine View Post
"I’ve no interest talking about her however,” She said, easily rebounding from Sally’s deflection, “What I want to speak more of is us-”
SMASH!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Touketsu View Post
Grabbing the bottle next to her again, Aurelia hurled it at the back wall, dropping from her hiding place the moment she heard the shattering of glass. She needed to time it right... distract Sally for only a fraction of a second.
And it worked.

Sally Slither was distracted by the bottle that exploded into glass behind her. Whipping around, Sally Slither drew her cane like a sword, that charming smile of hers turning into contempt towards the clog-eater who dared to interrupt her very important business meeting. Not at all aware that the threat came from above…

Quote:
Originally Posted by Touketsu View Post
"SALLY!" Aurelia's landing was not as graceful as she'd normally have gone for. Instead of a catlike soft impact, she slammed hard with both feet down onto the table between Naga-Shi and Sally Slither, sending cards scattering in every direction, ensuring Sally would turn back from the shattered bottle to see the tip of a sword pointed directly at her face. Straightening up, Aurelia held her sword steady, glaring down at Sally and forcing herself to maintain eye contact, a bitter smile across her face. "Wearing fur out in the rain for the sake of appearances? How very Sally Slither of you... but maybe you'd like to take it off now. Wouldn't want to get BLOOD on it now, would we?"
It may not have been a soft landing but it worked well enough to startle Sally Slither. Again, she whipped around, snarling like a cornered rat as she made a move to stand and prepare for what was about to be a fight but–

She found herself unable to draw her cane just yet. Not because of the dagger’s edge that was pointed at her throat but because of the woman who held the blade.

How could she ever forget those luscious dark locks she spent many a night running her fingers through. Those sweet lips she buried with kisses and stole smiles from with all manner of gifts. One did not forget a lover like Aurelia. Especially when she went and ruined a good thing by not doing what she was told.

“Aurelia,” her name was exhaled both as a poison and a prayer, “I thought you left the city. But I see you just couldn’t resist bumping into your old flame, could you–” and before she could finish her cutting remark, Naga-Shi helped take the rug right out from Sally Slither’s feet.


Quote:
Originally Posted by QueenQatherine View Post
ust as Aurelia was getting her footing and bringing her dagger to bear against Sally, hinting at the blood she would draw, her footing would be ripped out from under her. The table tilted forward as Naga-Shi grabbed its edge and pulled with all her might, flipping it so that Aurelia was dumped off the card table and into Sally’s lap with enough force to plunge the dagger into the fool woman’s heart and break the chair. While this might have looked like mere happenstance, the table tipping due to Aurelia landing too close to the edge, the scoundrel knew better. She would feel a gloved hand on the small of her back, pushing her into Sally as she fell. This allowed her to move into her opponent as she came down. With the chair breaking and Aurelia falling onto her Sally would quickly find herself on her back, with Aurelia easily being put into a position to straddle her, and somehow, some way, the dagger in Aurelia’s hand managed to cut at Slither in the fall.

”-But it appears that must wait!” Naga-Shi hissed as she stood, lifting her cane as if she were preparing to defend herself from Aurelia rather then Sally.
It was such a fluid movement that Sally Slither truly did think that Aurelia was sparing no time for her venomous words. In her eyes, Aurelia tipped herself forward so she could fall upon her like wolf upon its prey. Sally Slither tried to take action. Drew her cane up, but it was too late. Aurelia slammed on top of her, straddling her waist in a way that always used to rile Sally Slither up, but now, ooh, now it had her hissing with quiet fury, for the tip of her dagger bit into her breast.

Blood trickled through her expensive shirt and dripped over the edge of Aurelia’s dagger. The mouth of the serpent on Sally Slither’s cane kept it from going any further. Its long fangs curving the dagger aside just enough to warrant a few more moments of safety for Sally Slither.

“Now, kitten,” smirked Sally Slither, “Is that any way to treat an old friend?” With the blades pressed close to one another, Sally Slither leaned up closer. Her breath tickling her ear as she whispered. “Or is this a bout of jealousy? Mhm. It was always so cute how mad you'd get whenever I was around a prettier girl.” And as that taunt bit deep into Aurelia’s heart, Sally Slither twisted her body hard, and slammed Aurelia off her.


OOC
 
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Last edited by Strangemund; Apr 5th, 2023 at 11:54 AM.
  #41  
Old Mar 8th, 2023, 12:07 PM
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CorruLine
Quote:
“I don’t trusth them.”

CorruLine flicks its attention from the oni to the kobold. One task was completed, on to the next, and it certainly seemed that the more difficult of the two was saved for last.

"Trust is irrelevant in this scenario. Harleen will have no other option, as refusing your demands will result in the loss of her bar. And besides, Sally Slither is hardly more trustworthy." The avatar tilts its head and sticks its tongue out to one side, as if deep in thought. "The very fact that you two are here with Sally tonight is because the game is rigged; Whatever you receive from Sally will be given under terms designed to return it all to Sally in a few months' time. Out of curiosity... what is it she promised you, Chip?" Combined with the switch to using Chip's name, the colors of the jukebox screen shift and shimmer, and for a moment the flat projection looks as if it is only looking at her, and not simply staring at the camera to appear as if it is looking at everyone.

"More importantly... what are you willing to give up? You aren't breaking kneecaps and skulls; Sally Slither is breaking you... unless, of course, you are a person that enjoys inflicting pain. But it is clear that your partner does not." Where CorruLine failed to understand Bee's personality and fell back on clinical language and an overall helpful tone, Chip makes sense to CorruLine. The kobold was like one of the programs in the Manifest: Sharp, fickle, distrusting. Frightened. And so from one distrustful program to another, CorruLine drops the accommodating tone, the honey-trap sound of "too good to be true." It becomes even more impassive, just as distrusting, and even accusatory.


"I am curious to see if biological attraction would be enough to compensate for such a difference in ideology."

OOC12 to figure Chip out. Gonna ask "What do you hope to get from helping Sally Slither?" as well as "How could I get you to have more trust in us than in Sally?"
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Last edited by Solid Snek; Mar 8th, 2023 at 12:07 PM.
  #42  
Old Mar 10th, 2023, 11:21 AM
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Negotiations are on the table...
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Ha-Ha-Harleen's Place

There was urgency in these precious seconds that Aurelia lunged forward and attacked Sally Slither. Chip went from being a cuddle bug to a nasty little gargoyle that clung to Bee’s bicep with bare teeth. Her eyes flicked across the scene at the card table. The new presence that was the gorgeous scoundrel drew frustration and anger in the kobold because she thought she’d smell everyone that was her. Letting her get away and striking while her and Bee were distracted, it all just felt low and dirty to her. Conniving, right from the start.

“Bee! C’mon! Shally Shlither needsh ush!”

Bee was gripped by hesitation. Her eyes darted between Anais and Sally Slither, torn by the decision that laid before her as she clearly didn’t want to fight people who… who just seemed so damn decent!

“Bee!! C’mon!Again, Chip shouted, but before she could sway Bee’s heart further, it was then that CorruLine’s personality took a switch for the terrifyingly serious. It was jarring enough to draw the kobold to silence. Her reptilian eyes dilating in attempt to try and discern how the heck a karaoke machine could switch personality types like that without any kind of input, or without someone secretly slipping into its persona behind the scene, but then she heard what CorruLine was saying. That dark, brutal truth that she justified over and over again since she started working with Sally Slither.

“Howsh it know about the deal…!” said Chip, her whole body rigid with not just suspicion any more, but fear. She tilted her in the same mocking motion that CorruLine tilted its. Again, still not understanding how it knew to ask these things– these personal questions– and yet…

CorruLine didn’t have to hear most of her answers. Chip being so close within its scanning sensors, it knew she was not in the best of health. Her body so small for her kin. One may mistake her a runt of her litter, but CorruLine’s access to medical records lead it to believe that she was struggling to survive in The Drain without Sally Slither’s, or Bee’s aid. That was not surprising. The smaller folk do not dwell in higher populations without a tribe or clan to cling to. But it seemed Chip had no one here.

Just like it.

But Chip refused to speak that truth, going on the defensive in fear of what CorruLine may use against her. “None of your bushinesh! Y-you noshy machine!” She huffed and puffed, tail whipping wildly behind her as she crouched like a growling, hairless cat. “A-and who caresh what I gotta shacrifce! Life’s hard! Nothing ish free! Sho why don’t you jusht shove it–”

“It iz vight, Chip.” Bee interrupted, and for a moment, all that anger in Chip was swept away. “I do not like hurtink people. I do not vant to. And you know dat.”

“I…” Chip stammered, her mouth parting open and close. “Sh-sho you are quitting on me?”

And it was there that CorruLine got its second answer. For all their differences, big and small, Chip’s loyalty wasn’t given to Sally Slither. It belonged solely to Bee. If it wanted them to work with Harleen and leave that toxic life behind, what better way to win Chip over then to assure that the one person they loved most would not be safe and cared for, but not too from her reach?

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  #43  
Old Mar 10th, 2023, 11:50 AM
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Anais the Nature Witch
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Anais appreciated CorruLine's backup, both musical and logical. It helped to have someone with a different perspective saying the same thing, in her experience. Granted, she wasn't sure the logical approach was super effective with Bee, but Bee wasn't the only one they needed to convince, and Chip wasn't necessarily going to break her agreement with Sally, whatever it was, just based on good vibes and fast talk about marriage and baking. And no matter how much they won over Bee, if Chip joined the fight, Anais wasn't sure Bee would be able to stay out of it, what with how head over heels she was. That much was clear, as Chip swatted aside Anais's hands, which she put up, palms out, in the universal "I'm not touchin' nothing'" gesture. As Bee and Chip cuddled and talked over CorruLine's proposition, Anais caught Darla's eye as she snuck over with a whiskey bottle and subtly shook her head. She didn't want to hurt either of them unless she absolutely had to.

The sudden crashing arrival of Aurelia jolted Anais, making her realize they had precious little time to seal the deal. She wanted to go help Aurelia and Shi—even outnumbered, Sally would be dangerous—but she could do them more good by making sure Bee and Chip stayed out of the fight. Faced with Chip's mistrust, CorruLine kept trying to convince her with logic, and in the process managed to tease some telling tidbits from the kobold. Anais decided it was high time for some plain dealing.

"Of course you don't trust us," she said. Chip had already guessed they had ulterior motives, so there was no point in playing coy any longer. "We ain't given you a good reason to, aside from seeing what you two have and not wantin' you to lose it. And I'll say it plain: We like Harleen, and we don't want to see her hurt, and that puts us on the wrong side of Sally Slither and gives us a reason to try t' talk y' out of this. It's mighty high-handed of us to come in tellin' you how to spend your lives and find your dreams, not knowing anything about you."

Anais put her hands on her hips. "But like CorruLine says, y' don't have to trust us. Trust your gut. Trust what you've seen and know about Sally. Trust your heart. You know that even if Bee gets her bakery from her, one day Sally will be shaking her down just like she's shaking down Harleen right now." She stared down Chip. "Do you still want to be at Sally's side, breaking what she tells you to break, when that day comes? Isn't there some other person you'd rather be standing with?"

Anais softened her gaze and took in both of them. Appeals to better nature are all well and good, but she knows they work better when survival isn't at stake. "Harleen took me in when I came to the city and gave me a place to stay, and all she asked in return is that I do what I can t' help out." She gave Bee a smile. "She's a big softy, jus' like you, though maybe not quite as big. CorruLine's right: She'd offer the both of you the same deal in a heartbeat, but she won't be able to do that if Sally Slither's bleedin' her dry and takin' this place away." Her mouth flattened into a stern line. "I hear you, you don' wanna hurt people, so we won' ask you to. Jus' don' help Sally hurt Harleen, and we'll be square."
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  #44  
Old Mar 20th, 2023, 09:28 AM
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Aurelia
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Aurelia's heart was racing as she stared down at the woman who had held her heart not so long ago. Cocky as ever, even with a blade at her chest, Sally was doing what she did best; talking. Every word dripped with manipulative poison, and Aurelia's felt her anxiety rise as she tried to force herself to act... to prevent her former boss and lover from trying to retake control of the situation. But it turned out that neither had control, as demonstrated by Naga-Shi as she pitched the table forward, sending Aurelia tumbling down onto Sally. Aurelia's heart leapt into her throat for a moment, but even as her adrenaline partially numbed her to the world around her, she could sense from the gentle, purposeful push on her back that this was part of the plan.

Aurelia's sword drew first blood... but only just. Even caught off-guard, Sally demonstrated just how good she was as she redirected the force away, preventing a more grievous injury.

"I don't want to hear another word out of your phony, toxic mouth. Leave with the warning, or leave in a garbage bag Slither." Not remotely intimidated by Aurelia's words, Sally leaned up from the ground instead, closing the gap between them as she continued to work at the scoundrel's psyche.

“Now, kitten,” smirked Sally Slither, “Is that any way to treat an old friend?” With the blades pressed close to one another, Sally Slither leaned up closer. Her breath tickling her ear as she whispered. “Or is this a bout of jealousy? Mhm. It was always so cute how mad you'd get whenever I was around a prettier girl.” And as that taunt bit deep into Aurelia’s heart, Sally Slither twisted her body hard, and slammed Aurelia off her.

Reeling back, Aurelia caught her footing and pivoted away from the table, having sense enough not to place herself close to Naga-Shi and potentially expose the woman as an ally.

"Shut up..." Her free hand lifting up to her head, Aurelia clutched her skull as she raised the point of her blade up toward Sally. "You lost the right to call me that a LONG time ago, you manipulative hag." Aurelia could feel herself beginning to hyperventilate... but she pushed through, trying to tamp down the feelings welling up in her as she did the one thing she was best at; throwing caution out the window. "If you're just gonna keep talking, maybe you'd like your mouth widened a little. Hold still!" Drawing her second blade, Aurelia let out a feral growl as she lunged forward, her swords crossed as she aimed straight for Sally's head.
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Fight: 5 (fail)

Aurelia marks XP, which makes 5. She advances (advancement selection tbd)
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I have taken the Oath!
  #45  
Old Apr 1st, 2023, 02:45 PM
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QueenQatherine QueenQatherine is offline
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Naga-ShiFor all of her wit, all of her cunning, all of her cleverness, Naga-Shi was still left to the whims of Elements just as much as everyone else. She liked to pretend that she was in control, but it was never something that had been hers. This truth was made all the more pointed as her plan to aid Aurelia backfired. Sally Slither was able to distract her with pointed words just long enough to slam her to the ground and take a position of advantage. Aurelia was attempting to gain back some ground but it seemed that her efforts would not bear fruit. While her other friends had managed to distract the duo of Chip and Bee for the moment there was no telling how long that would last, or whose side they would ultimately align themselves to. The longer this fight went on the more time they had to consider their options and the higher the probability they would chose a side, and the odds of them choosing Harleen’s side were slim, even if it would have been far more to their benefit then aiding the slimy con artist.

The situation grew ever more complex when Aurelia’s head bounced off the floor, the crack that followed causing Shi’s heart to race, her blood bubbling and hissing in her veins, her skin crawling with a flicker of scales. It was getting difficult to keep it all together. She needed to quit the field, abandon the fight, leave her friends to finish what they had started, after all, they had abandoned her plan, and thus abandoning them at least for the moment would have been a fair trade. While this logically made sense it was just one calculation too cruel for her. Shi could not abandon her friends, Shi could not turn her back on Harleen for even a second, this was what separated Shi from people like Sally.

Still it would be foolish to reveal herself here and now, and to toss aside her carefully cultivated guise as Sally’s ally would be a waste. Thinking quickly she perceived the best course of action, realized she was compelled to do the morally righteous thing instead, and ultimately decided on a compromise somewhere between the two. With her next play agreed upon, she ducked down behind the flipped table, using the cover she provided herself to make it appear as though she had simply absconded. While unseen her skin rippled and crawled. With a roll of her shoulders her attire was cast at her feet, her shirt, vest, hat, pants, cane, all of it falling to the floor as she simply slithered out of it. Her new shape already forming as she took hold of the sash that once held her pants upon her hips. The cloth sprung to life, coiling in and around itself like a mad serpent, braiding into a handle that she gripped tightly in a tanned hand that was larger than the one that had taken drawn it.

The figure that rose up from behind the table was taller, leaner, more muscular than Naga-Shi, far more athletic and undoubtedly more curvy. The tan blonde wielded a blue sash as her only apparent weapon and donned little more than a bubblegum pink pair of booty shorts and a cropped top that just barley hid the edges of her pink sports bra. The sneaker wearing sports star triumphantly leaped over the table exclaiming proudly, “Like, fear not! I’m here ta save may gurls!” before promptly catching the toe of her sneaker on the edge of the table. This of course caused one leg to buckle as she came in for a landing.

“Here comes-Whoa!-what?-whoa!!” Bea slammed face first into the floor not three feet from Aurelia and Sally Slither. Bea had a reptuation for being a hopeless airhead, but this sort of thing was normally what she was good at, too bad she had decided on a dramatic entrance, something that was just decided not the order of the day for anyone.

“Beaaaaaa.” A deflated announcement wheezed from the staggered athlete from where she lay.

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