It had taken some time for Leo, Sterling and ‘Wayland’ to get the plans together for how they’d help protect ‘Lover’s Lane’. Of course, they’d had to be careful not to make it obvious what they were doing and eventually, Slaine and Sterling had decided to return to Gran’s. It had taken some time for Leo, Sterling and ‘Wayland’ to get the plans together for how they’d help protect ‘Lover’s Lane’. Of course, they’d had to be careful not to make it obvious what they were doing and eventually, Slaine and Sterling had decided to return to Grans.
They’ve not long ago entered the dining room, Slaine flopping down in chair, looking tired. “Do ye think what ye and Leo have worked is enough?” she asks a little worriedly. “I really don’ wan’ Kaji hurt.” Clearly she’s not worried about herself. “Speakin’ of whom. Where is he?”
Sterling stares at Slaine blankly, “You didn’t specify ‘not hurting Kaji’ in your request.” Taking a large gulp of ale, “I’m only kidding liebchen. I like the kid too much for him to become food for the Harvesters. And I think we’ve done a rather good job with the given restrictions.”
Sterling sighs, “Whether it will WORK or not, well that’s what prototyping and testing is for. No way to tell until we have a proper trial.”
“I didn’t ruin the meat!” comes a certain voice from the kitchen. “Just wait ’til it’s done, it’ll be really good, promise!”
Now knowing that he potentially has a shipment of warheads destined to be delivered to him in some form or another, Kaji’s understandably been wary about going out. There’s at least been plenty to do at Gran’s, although in the lull of things he’s let homesickness and experimentation get the better of him.
His voice doesn’t sound so loudly for a while, but eventually he does come out, looking rather pleased with himself. He carries a plate with a sandwich of some kind, a meat patty resting between the round bread buns and whatever else he could find that was comparable to loading a hamburger back home. Except this one’s a dino-patty. He’s been wanting to do this for a long time.
“Oh, hey Slaine. Sterling,” he greets as he sees them.
Near where Slaine and Sterling have settled, a recently vacated table’s dishes stack themselves neatly for the waitstaff to collect. On a nearby shelf, Miss Frizz is doing what she can to help out around Gran’s as well to try to pay for her room and board. Though really, how much a drain on resources is a curio box for a bed and about three kernels of corn in food per day?
Upon seeing Slaine arrive, Suss offers a hello across the way telepathically. <~ Hello, Miss Slaine! ~> She hasn’t learned how to send to just a single person, so it’s like she’s yelling hello across the room. Which, she does again at Kaji’s arrival. <~ Kaji, hello! ~>
“Yes, I did…” Slaine gives Sterling a flat look and shakes her head at his teasing. “… why else would I offer to pay 1000 silver cash to the two of ye?” Seeing the goblinoid server scurrying to collect the plates that Frizz is stacking, Slaine gestures “Herman, tea for Sterling and me.” beat “and food. I’ll have the tuber soup that I know Gran was makin’. What will ye have, Sterlin’? I know there’s bronto-ribs on offer.”
With Kaji making his appearance at that moment, the Mystic snorts “Or maybe ye wan’ to try one of those. I hope ye made extra, Kaji. Come and join us. Ye too, Miss Frizz. I’ve enlisted Sterlin’ and Leo to help keep us safe, Kaji.”
That’s probably news for Frizz. Keep them safe? From what? And what on earth could cost Slaine so much?
Sterling finishes his ale in one, prolonged gulp. “Salad.” pause.
Sterling looks at the mildly confused company, “What? Gertrude wants me to eat healthier. Too much protein has a tendency to make going to the restroom quite a nasty piece of sh–” Sterling is interrupted by the impeccable timing of Herman with tea and shoving a fistful of lettuce into his mouth. It walks away muttering something about manners.
Blinking, Kaji actually smiles at that. Well, the first part, anyway. It’s hard to be really cheery about the prospect of baiting someone who potentially wants to kill you. “Oh, there’s a few more cooking right now,” he says, pleased that Slaine seems willing to try a dino-burger. Glancing over his shoulder, he calls back towards the kitchen. “Hey, can you plate up a couple more of those? Just like I showed you. -and just try one, it won’t kill you!”
That done, he weaves his way over to the table that Slaine and Sterling occupy, only pausing a moment to try and find the psychic mouse because it’s difficult to tell just where she’s yelling from. He sets his plate down and himself into an empty seat. And tries not to make a face at the artificer’s order for salad.
“Being kept safe is definitely nice to consider,” he says, although he does seem to look a bit confused- or is concerned? Because Slaine has named two names in the same sentence that Kaji knows at least one of the aforementioned has problems with.
<~ Safe? Safe from what? ~> Suss is now leaning out over the edge of her shelf toward where the others are sitting, curious and concerned at the same time. The dino-burger really doesn’t hold any appeal to her, except for maybe some of the toppings added to the odd looking meal. She’ll chance jumping from her shelf onto Kaji’s shoulder as he passes by, her little claws digging into his unusually soft clothing so she doesn’t tumble off to the floor.
After Kaji has taken his seat, she carefully climbs down one of his sleeves to get to the table. She’s either completely unperturbed by the salad-eating man’s presence, or she’s presumed that if he’s here with Slaine then he’s safe to be around. After all, some people tend to try to hit her with things like brooms when they see her.
“…” Slaine just stares at Sterling. “Salad!?” Wonders will never cease to amaze her.
“Really, Slaine. Ye don’t want to try one. Kaji burnt the meat. It’s totally ruined.” That’s the Saurian undercook, Hsstes. Anything more than ‘blue’ is burnt to her though. “I’m not trying one, Kaji.” the voice filters out of the kitchen.
“I’ll try it, Hsstes.” Slaine calls back, trying not to laugh at the interaction.
“Frizz, have ye met Sterlin’ yet? He’s a friend of mine. Owns a Techno Wizard shop, jus’ up the way.” she pauses then, thinking carefully “We’ve had news that The Harvest has stolen a shipment of warheads that will be used agains’ the Senate buildin’.” Which is worrying enough itself and not something she’d shared with Sterling and Leo earlier. “Whoever it is that did it though, a Transporter, is also comin’ for Kaji. Gran suggested how we migh’ stop that.”
Kaji gets a look. He can explain that bit “Ye seem worried that I mentioned Sterlin’ and Leo?”
Sterling chews through the leafy bush in his face, “Well *erp* Leo does have a reputation for being . . . well, Leo.” Sterling reaches to pat Frizz on the head maybe he actually be fast enough this time. “I remember this adorable little mouse! Elpida almost ate you if I recall correctly. Although I had a LOT to drink that night soooo . . .
“I have a feeling she won’t approve of fried compy legs either,” the sometimes necromancer sighs. He picks up his burger, taking a huge bite, because no matter what the Saurian might think, this is about as perfect as one can hope to get. It’s just too bad there aren’t any fries. Well, one step at a time.
He grins at Frizz once he’s swallowed down his mouthful, tearing off a bit of bread to offer her. While Slaine explains things a little more, he takes another bite, chewing thoughtfully. The look that the mystic gives him is met with on in return, as if to say ‘do I really have to explain?’
There’s a snap-point at the lettuce chewing Sterling. “That’s about the best reason right there- and I’ve only talked to the guy twice.” The second time had been near-fatal, but the youth supposes he could have chosen his words better. But then when you were talking with a guy who was having a fight with his own arm and losing….
“I didn’t think he liked Sterling very much,” he finishes with.
The pat from Sterling is tolerated, mostly because Suss realizes he’s just trying to be sociable. <~ I don’t think she was trying to eat me. Her hair just … is too interested. It makes me nervous. ~>
Miss Frizz accepts the bit of bread from Kaji, though it’s essentially junk food to her. <~ Have I met this Leo person? ~> she asks the table while nibbling. <~ He sounds … like a shrew in an ant’s nest. In other words, completely out of control. ~>
“Huh?” Slaine looks at Kaji at that and shakes her head. “Leo doesn’ like anyone much, really. I’m no’ sure he really likes me, all that much. An’ I don’ know if you’ve met him, Miss Frizz. A Techno Wizard who owns Buy The Bye.”
Looking to Sterling, Slaine shrugs a little “Ye two get on alrigh’, don’ ye? Ye’d better given that I have ye workin’ together. Why don’ explain what we’ve discussed so far?”
Kaji gets a look. Yes. He does have to explain. Slaine’s already had to tell people today. It’s his turn.
“We could use ye’re help too, Miss Frizz.”
Sterling hates explaining things. Bringing himself upright Sterling places his elbows on the table, “First, Harvesters are going to try and kidnap and/or kill Kaji. Second, we’re going to bait them into a trap designed by Leo and myself. Three, everyone we dislike dies and Leo and I get paid handsomely.” Sterling takes a sip of tea “Wish it were beer . . . Oh, and Kaji and Slaine live to fight another day. Although they will be at the Make Out Grotto so I imagine some rumours will start spreading.”
He’s still not completely convinced he was half delirious when Gran had made the suggestion that she had! So much more to her than meets the eye, that woman!
As a pair of plated burgers are set on the table for Slaine and Sterling’s enjoyment, Kaji’s taking another bite out of what quarter or so of a burger he has left. …he eats fast.
With Sterling giving a rundown of the plan and what all’s going on, the teenager nods. He couldn’t have said it better himself, although when the artificer gets to that last part, what he says has Kaji nearly choke on his burger. “Is there seriously a place called that around here??” Oh gosh, why.
The euphemism is lost on Miss Frizz. So she just looks up at the server as the plated food arrives, making sure she’s out of the way, she looks up at Kaji as he chokes. <~ … I can help, Miss Slaine. What should I do? ~> She then happily accepts the small collection of seeds that the server leaves with the plates, picking up a corn kernel to nibble on.
Slaine nearly chokes on her tea as Sterling ‘explains’. “Uh … that’s it, yeah. And uh, no. It’s no’ called that but it’s a place that lovers go to.” In Kaji’s time they would have been called ‘Lover’s Lane’. “I told ye I knew of a place.”
For Frizz’s benefit, she adds “So yeah. Kaji and I are goin’ to be .. goin’ on a date and slip off to be somewhere alone. Or so we hope the Harvesters think. But we won’ be. The place will be set up by Leo and Sterling and we’ll have our friends waiting to spring the trap.” beat “And hopefully find the warheads that they’ve stolen too. Ye can hide with the others Miss Frizz and use ye’re telepathy to move or hold them.”
“Sterlin’ thinks he make a teleport device that will move us out of harms way when they hit. I think too, Sterlin’ correct me if I’m wrong, but ye’re goin’ to make ‘dummy’ bodies as well?”
Touching Kaji’s arm in consolation, Slaine’s eyes glaze over and she freezes. It’s like she’s ‘seeing’ something else.
Sterling face is once again full of food. “Mhm! Illusion matrix will create holographic dummies just long enough to lure them in.”
Noticing Slaine’s reaction, “You alright there liebchen?”
Kaji’s face may be just a little red just for the thought of going to such a place, no matter what it be called. He tries to hide it behind another bite of his hamburger, although that’s quickly diminished. Well, he can’t say that it hadn’t been tasty at least.
“-yeah. That, just to draw them out. We didn’t want anything happening here, so…” He blinks, glancing from Slaine to Sterling at the prospect of teleporting. “Just so long as we don’t end up in Antarctica,” he grins, because back home he’s had some…strange experiences with teleportation devices. Holograms sound pretty awesome too, and he’d comment to say as much, save that he feels Slaine tense up just then.
“Slaine..?” he asks, glancing at her just on the tail end of Sterling’s own question towards the mystic.
Suss accepts the explanations easily enough, though when Slaine freezes she sets down the half-eaten kernel of corn and moves closer to put a little hand on the redhead’s arm. <~ Miss Slaine? ~> Her mind-speak is laced with confusion and concern. She’s never seen this before, only the freak-out aftermath of a bad dream-vision. That was scary!
By now Slaine is trembling and her eyes wide. She’s rocking back and forward in her chair and speaking in a sing song type voice.
Kaji might think it sounds a bit like the prophetesses in those cheap TV shows he might watch.
//Blood. Blood everywhere.//
Her head turns, looking around, but it’s clear that she’s not seeing the dining room or her companions.
//Sterling! Elpida! Cat! Miss Frizz! All of them … Kaji, what have ye done?//
//I’ll stop ye, if I have too…//
Perhaps the most concerning thing about all of this, is Slaine’s eyes start to glow and blue energy crackles over the back of hands.
Can they snap her out of this before it becomes dangerous?
“Damnit Slaine snap out of it! You’re at Gran’s and if you don’t quit you’ll burn the place down!”
Sterling grabs her and shakes her Airplane style “Slaine! SLAINE!”
Miss Frizz squeaks in surprise as both men try to snap Slaine out of this weird fugue she’s in, and scrambles to the far end of the table to get clear of the ensuing altercation. <~ Slaine? Please wake up! ~>
There’s a look of fear on Kaji’s face as he hears the words that the mystic intones, but there’s anger too. What does she see? What will he do?? He wants to know and yet he doesn’t and it’s not fair, such is what he thinks, childish as he knows it might sound to phrase it.
But this vision goes a step further as Slaine seems convinced to be wherever it is that she sees herself to be. Seeing her eyes flare and magic spark, Kaji moves to grab a hold of her wrists, just as Sterling moves to shake her.
“Slaine! Slaine, stop…!” Stop saying those things, stop casting, stop, stop, stop!!
Sterlings ‘shake’ includes a slap to Slaine’s face and it’s enough to make her head turn. All that succeeds in doing though is to make her eyes blaze more brightly and she starts murmur, arcane symbols forming at her fingertips. Her head turns back to look at Sterling.
As her hands are about to come out, to point at Sterling, Kaji touches them and makes that desperate plea. The Mystics glowing eyes turn to look at him. “All of them, Kaji. They’re all hurt. All of them…”
The Arcane symbols die as they form though and the blue energy starts to die. It takes a little longer for the glow to leave her eyes and she’s left sitting there, breathing heavily, tears forming in her eyes.
Is that because Sterling hit her or because of what she saw? Or both?
“Arrrgh. My head hurts …”
Kaji hasn’t released Slaine’s hands, his own trembling as though afraid that releasing her would have her slip away again into this terrible future that she’s seen. He swallows, simultaneously feeling like he wants to just run and giving into the need of being right here. Running doesn’t solve problems, as much as it hurts being where he is right now, hearing things like that. He looks close to crying, himself.
The question to ask is obvious, but he can’t bring himself to ask it.
Slowly he lets his hands slip from grasping her wrists, taking hold of her hands instead, giving them a squeeze before he slowly sits back.
As soon as Slaine snaps out of it, Miss Frizz rushes forward again, straight up one of her sleves to lean against the redhead’s neck in a reassuring manner. <~ We’re okay, Miss Slaine. Really. ~>
Slaine trembles as the last of the vision leaves her. Her eyes are slightly bloodshot and not from the tears. Blood vessels broke during that encounter.
As Kaji’s hands slip into hers, she grasps his, squeezing back in response and anchoring herself to the here and now. “Sssorry… ” she mutters, looking down at the table and taking a shuddering breath before looking at the others. “Did I hurt any of ye?” she asks quietly, not yet ready to discuss what she ‘saw’.
And then Frizz is there, pressing her against her neck. “I … I know. I I’m sorry…. I just … saw… Everyone was hurt and Kaji …”
Yes, what about Kaji. And when was it she saw?
“…no. No, we’re… No one got hurt,” Kaji manages to say, shaking his head. He holds her hands as long as she needs it. Slaine’s not ready to discuss things, and Kaji’s not ready to ask it. Those words won’t form on his lips.
He’s silent again as he watches the little mouse try to comfort the mystic, and as Sterling sinks back into his own seat. When his hands are freed, Kaji slowly gets to his feet. He tries to convince himself that he’s not running, but he doesn’t think he’s helping, being here, not as a blatant reminder to Slaine, not after whatever she’d just witnessed. He trusts that Frizz and Sterling can comfort her right now, better than he can.
It’s a sad smile that’s forced into place as he looks at Slaine, and he can feel it already crumbling as he turns, quietly excusing himself to head up to his room.
Staying pressed against Slaine’s neck, Suss watches Kaji beat a hasty retreat. <~ Kaji? ~> She’s confused and sad, mostly because she doesn’t fully understand what’s going on. All she knows is that something Slaine sees is REALLY disturbing and that it involves Kaji. And if she could protect them from it, she would. In a heartbeat. <~ Miss Slaine, does this have to do with what you were telling us? About the … grotto? ~>
It takes long moments before Slaine let’s Kaji’s hands slip through hers and a bit longer before she speaks again. In that time she watches the teen leave, knowing that the smile – wan as it was – will be gone by the time that his back is to her.
“Leave him be, Miss Frizz. I’ll … ” she takes a deep breath and swallows “… I’ll go see him in a bit. Not that I think it will help.”
“I … don’ know. I don’ know where what I saw happens. It was a vision and they’re never clear. All I know is I’m filled with dread and my head hurts. All of ye were hurt and it looked like Kaji had somethin’ to do with it.” Not that he did it. Not that he caused it. Just that he was involved. “Will ye excuse me? I … need to be alone.”
Waiting for the mouse to leave her shoulder, Slaine rises and heads out of the dining room.
Unpleasant visions once again take Slaine in the middle of discussing preparations for that date.
June 16, 2410