Bea’s training of Kaji has been interesting and sporadic. Partly because the youth has been a bit busy chasing Harvesters and spending time with certain redheaded Mystic; and partly because Bea hasn’t been around either – as Kaji found out when he tried to go for his last lesson.
Always, though, Kaji only ever sees at her place. Today, that changed.
As Kaji sits in a small cafe, at the end of Market Street where the city starts to become Glow Town, the hooded woman enters. She doesn’t look around. Her shadowed, cowled, face turns right to the youth as she pauses in the door and that mark deep within Kaji, pulses.
What with how busy things have been this past month, Kaji’s tried to make the best of whatever free time he did find to himself. It’s not that he’s dismissed any of the troubles he’s found himself tied up in, but he knows that stressing about them won’t help at all. Admittedly, there’s been a mixture of relief and concern whenever his lessons with Bea seemed to be unexpectedly cancelled. But what with the mid-summer festival going on, there’s been plenty of things to immerse himself in, and he doesn’t think that it’d do any harm to indulge a little.
The cafe has a few special dishes and desserts just for the festival, and it’s become Kaji’s aim to try just about anything seasonal- and if it’s sweet, then it’s a total plus! He’s just gotten a slice of pie, which he’s certain probably will never be as good as anything Gran makes, but curiosity’s gotten the better of him. His fork is poised over the end, but the internal reaction to the latest arrival serves to disrupt his eager appetite.
The look on his face freezes, and slowly he turns his head towards the doorway to see the familiar, hooded figure. “…Bea?” he manages, sounding just a little surprised.
Miss Frizz doesn’t EVER leave Gran’s on her own. But, sometimes she does stow away to travel and explore. This is one of those occasions. Tagging along by having snuck into a pocket on Kaji’s ever-present backpack, she watches the surroundings in fascination, even when they enter another building.
When Kaji recognizes someone here, Suss cranes her neck to try and see who her human friend is talking to. Kind of difficult, though, as she’s literally at Kaji’s back.
Making her way through the crowded cafe, the hooded woman looks down at Kaji, kicking a chair out as she does. “There you are…” her voice is slightly hoarse, which given what Kaji’s seen of her face might not be surprising, really.
From her position, Frizz gets a glimpse of that face – and whilst she can’t see it all, she can see it’s ruined, a mass of scars at the least.
“… I’m glad I could find you. You’ve been busy this last week or so. Meet any nice imps lately?” Kaji will know which imp she’s referring to. Taking a seat and folding her hands on the table in front of her, looking the youth over from the depths of her cowl before looking at the backpack consideringly. “Seems you’ve picked up a hitch hiker along the way… Just right for what I’ve in mind.”
Kaji slowly sets the fork down beside his pie plate as he watches Bea come to join him. He tries not to wince when she invites herself to sit at the table. Is she mad? What could she be cooking up? It’s hard for him to read her, especially when she keeps her face hidden within the shadows of her hood.
“It’s been kind of crazy…” he starts, but his brow furrows, and he looks like he’s swallowed something bitter upon the realization of just what she means with her idle question about imps. It takes him a moment, but he draws himself up a little, expression borderlining a frown. “Did you send him?” he asks, not sounding very happy about it.
Blinking as Bea calls attention to something- or rather someone else, the teenager looks confusedly at her. “Huh? What do you mean?” He hadn’t been aware that he’d been carrying an extra passenger, after all.
Suss looks at the person who approaches Kaji, curious about the scarring on Bea’s face. But then the woman calls her out as a stowaway and she shrinks back into the pocket a little before taking a breath and climbing up onto Kaji’s shoulder to announce herself. <~ Hello, Kaji. I’m sorry I didn’t ask before coming along with you. ~> The remorse can practically be felt in her telepathic words.
“Just that…” Bea nods as Frizz appears but her attention is all on Kaji.
“Did I send the imp?” The hooded woman doesn’t sound mad or angry. She sounds like she usually does – cool and collected, like nothing ever really phases her. “No, I didn’t.” But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t know who does nor does it mean that she didn’t approve. “You did a good job, capturing that ones soul. How did it make feel, when you were doing it?”
Suss’s telepathic communication has Bea looking over, canting her head in interest. “Oh now. That is interesting… A friend of yours? That’s not the redhead I’ve been hearing about…”
That Kaji captured a soul is probably news to Frizz. It’s likely she didn’t mean for the mouse to overhear it, maybe.
“Miss Suss-??” The young necromancer stares at the mouse that’s revealed herself. Normally he wouldn’t mind her tagging along, but then again, it’s not like he’d expected to run into his necromancy teacher. He looks back at Bea, but if his hunches are correct, she probably wouldn’t be too surprised that the mouse used a different name than Edwin. He’d slipped that up with those other two he’d met at the bar. It’s a little worrying that Bea hasn’t said anything about it, but then the woman hasn’t been without her own secrets.
That she mentions such specific things regarding his encounter with the doglike creature- an imp, is that really what it was?- clearly labels her as an accomplice of sorts, even if it hadn’t been her who had sent it. Another test of some kind? If Kaji’s appetite hadn’t already slipped away, it’s in full retreat now. Frizz might feel him tensing beneath her.
“…I don’t know,” he says in response. “I got mad at it…” Which is a terrible excuse in and of itself. He doesn’t want to admit that he’d relished it, although he’d almost immediately regretted it once he’d realized what he’d done. When Bea brings Frizz back into the conversation, he brings a hand up towards the mouse reflexively, almost in defense. It’s too late to hide her, unfortunately.
“I can have other friends, can’t I? Besides, she’s been busy,” he says, meaning Slaine.
Miss Frizz studies the woman with open curiosity, though when Kaji starts to tense up at her words, she sidles up so she can lean against his neck reassuringly the way she does for Slaine. She might ask Kaji about this imp thing later, but for now his defensive words are getting her to feel a bit defensive as well. She’s considering ‘shoving’ the woman slightly to get her to stop needling Kaji. <~ Friends are more important than anything. ~>
“That doesn’t tell me how you felt…” Bea’s eyes track Frizz as she settles against Kaji’s neck “… Edwin.” The youth can be sure there’s a smirk attached to that. Given the woman already knows he’s been knocking around with Slaine, it’s possible she knows his ‘real’ name. But what’s in a name really? “You got mad at it, which caused you to act. But how did feel? Taking your power and seizing control of it like that?” She’s appealing to that, getting Kaji to remember just how wonderful it felt.
Oh yeah. The power to compel and control when used correctly.
“Pleased to meet you, Miss Suss. I’ve met a lot of D-Bee’s in my time, but a telepathic mouse isn’t one of them. You may call me, Bea. And, indeed, you’re correct, Friends are important. But I’m not sure about more than anything. ”
Back to Kaji, the woman cants her head, the shadows of the hood playing across her features “Of course you can have other friends … Edwin. Lovers tiff?” Yeah, she’s needling him alright.
“I have a job for you, if you’re interested… and your friend here.”
Sometimes he wishes he could speak telepathically to people like Ser Mercier. With…better control, of course. Kaji’s not sure how Miss Frizz will feel about a pat on the head, but given her size, he’s not sure how else to try and keep her reassured, and he doesn’t want to pet her since she’s not just any ol’ creature.
The emphasis Bea uses with his pseudonym makes him cringe just a little. He can throw together some excuses, sure, but he doubts they’d be very believable, if he were questioned about it.
“….” His eyes shift away from her as she proceeds to prod at him with her questions, guilty at the thoughts evoked. At least Bea’s attention moves from him to the mouse, although he doesn’t think that’s any better. The last thing he’d wanted was for any of his friends to get caught up in any of the blood mage’s business. Unable to quite hold back the frown as she teases him, Kaji lifts his gaze back towards her as he shoots back a “No,” although he wonders if it’s a little too defensive. Not like they need to be holding up that front any more, but the annoyance in his tone can be misunderstood. The look he gives Bea is a cautious one. “…what sort of job?” he asks. Already he’s not sure whether he likes the idea of being proposed something like that.
Okay, this woman, Bea, has officially gone too far in Suss’s mind. Even as Kaji is asking about the job being offered, Suss starts very gently at first but gradually adding more pressure at the woman, aiming to push her back from the table chair and all.
It’s either that or completely lose her temper and knock the woman backwards to the floor in one swift shove.
Bea’s … so calm and collected, that hoarse voice sounding out from under her hood. She doesn’t push the issue about the imp anymore, she’s done enough there. Kaji will remember that for a while, she’s sure.
“A cleansing, if you like. A house needs clearing and Ferdinand thinks it will be good practice for you. And don’t worry about your little friend… ” The cloaked woman stops and looks right at Frizz as the pressure starts, frowning at her “Telekinesis. More and more interesting. If you don’t want the work, you just need to say so.” It’s all so very mild. Like steel encased in velvet.
Kaji might want to stop Frizz from doing anything more. Whilst Bea might not take action here and now, she might decide that the mouse is a problem to be dealt with.
“As I was saying. Ferdinand thinks it will be good practice for you and it pays well. Just a little house cleansing, if you will.”
Oh, Kaji remembers, and he hates that he does. But he’s listening carefully as Bea explains the job she has in mind, although as he expects, there’s not many details given. He’s not even aware at Frizz’s attempts, at least until the woman breaks off her attention from him to give the mouse a look. “Miss Suss….” he says quietly, not sounding angry at all, but rather alarmed that she might have been trying to do something against the mage. Carefully he moves to cup his hands around her to hold her rather than let her stay on his shoulder. He’d feel better with her staying out of sight of Bea, for as much good as it’d do.
“What kind of cleansing are we talking about?” he asks, trying to keep Bea’s attention from his mousey-friend. “Somehow I doubt that it has to do with dusting and sweeping.”
Miss Frizz squeaks a faint protest aloud when Kaji cups his hands around her. There’s not really anything she can do to stop him short of biting him, and she’s not going to do that. So now she’s proverbially caged and all she can do about it is curl up and wait. Hmph.
“Is that a no, little one?” Bea’s voice rasps out as she watches Kaji ‘manage’ the mouse. What is Bea doing there, anyway? Surely this could have waited till he came to his next lesson? Perhaps she wanted to see him in his ‘natural surrounds’. Which means, she also wanted to get a feel for who he hangs out with.
“Well, Edwin. I did say cleansing and not cleaning …” There’s the hint of a smirk in her voice. “There are spirits there that need to be laid to rest and they’re tending to violent. Your skills will help commune with the dead and now that I know what your friend is capable of, she’ll might be able to keep things from being thrown at the team as they work.”
Dusting her nails against her cloak – the cloak that she wears, regardless of the heat – she looks between the two of them “I don’t need an answer immediately, but I’ll need it soon…” Kaji’s attempts to keep Bea’s interest off of Frizz isn’t working, but at least the blood mage doesn’t seem to want blood. Yet.
The little mouse will get an apology later, but right now, Kaji doesn’t want her doing anything she might regret. He’s already digging that hole himself.
“That sounds more like a purification rite, doesn’t it?” And he’s not exactly a Shinto priest. But there’s probably more than one way to cleanse a house, and it’s not exactly a thought he wants to entertain, if only because the situation itself does make him curious. After all, he’d been an intern of a paranormal investigator. …then again that’s also probably why he’s got so many other problems.
“….I’ll think about it,” he says, still watching Bea for all that she acts so casually.
With nothing else to do, Suss curls up and settles in the little space Kaji’s hands are allowing her. She’d very much like to toss in a choice phrase here, but this woman seems… really mean. So she’ll stay still and quiet and trust Kaji.
“I’m sure you would… Edwin.” There’s the emphasis on his name again. The raspy voice actually sounds amused. “It might be like a purification rite, I suppose but Ferdinand is conducting it. Don’t wait too long to give me your answer, mmmm?”
Pushing her chair back and rising, she says something under her breath and the mark within Kaji pulses again. “I will always know where to find you.” That … sounds reassuring on the surface, Kaji probably knows its anything but. “It was a pleasure meeting you Miss Suss. Always nice to get to know Edwin’s friends…”
Turning on her heel, Bea heads out the door and into the street, leaving the accidental necromancer with the feisty mouse.
At least Kaji’s being mindful enough to keep his hands loose around Miss Frizz so she won’t be suffocated. He doesn’t say anything in response to Bea, but he does nod. The woman can’t leave too soon, but she doesn’t, not without doing…something. Frizz might feel the boy shudder for no apparent reason.
It’s only once the mage has left, truly left, that he releases the breath he’d been holding. However he looks anything but relieved, still staring in the direction of the door, as though afraid that Bea might step back into view. His hands have opened up a little more at least, so Miss Frizz would be free to leave their confines if she wished.
As soon as Kaji gives her the chance to ‘escape’, Miss Frizz does so. And then promptly climbs his sleeve to return to his shoulder, at which point she takes a moment to shake the annoyance from her mind and then smooth her fur back down.
Frizz’s movement is all the distraction he needs, and he looks down at her as she returns to her previous perch. “Sorry about that, Miss Suss,” he sighs, and indeed he looks the part. “I don’t think she’s someone you want to mess with. I didn’t mean for you to get pulled into this.”
Which begs the question as to why he was even involved with such a dangerous person?
<~ It’s okay, Kaji. I’m glad I was here. I don’t like that woman. She… she smells off. ~> Yes, Suss is trying to rationalize why she didn’t like Bea. Without admitting it was just a gut feeling.
“I’m not sure I like her either,” Kaji quietly admits. “…but I’m not quite sure what to make of her. Well, other than that she’s involved in some questionable things.” Sighing again, he leans back in his chair. “What am I even doing…?”
At the moment he doesn’t think to ask Frizz what she might mean in her impression of Bea. He just thinks it’s her particular way of sensing whatever might cling to Bea by way of her practices in magic. With a sad look at the pie sitting there, Kaji forces a smile. “Well, I guess maybe I’ll try this later. I’ll share with you, if you want to try it too,” he offers. “I’m going to get a box for this, and then we’ll head back to Gran’s, okay?”
Miss Frizz looks at the slice of pie, as if noticing it for the first time. She’s not entirely sure about these baked things. But, she’ll at least give it a taste. <~ Okay. ~>
Kaji nods, carefully getting to his feet. The sooner they’re out of here, the better, and even if Bea might be able to find him anywhere, he’ll feel better with both himself and Miss Frizz being back at Gran’s.
What was supposed to be a casual cafe visit ends with a business proposition as Miss Frizz accidentally meets Kaji's teacher in necromancy.
July 03, 2410