Kaji has an appointment with a spider-woman. Or at least, that’s what the note sent to him says. Specifically ‘I would like to meet you and your canine companions down at the Fisherman’s Catch in Glowtown at your earliest convenience. Signed, I.”
A short note. Short and sweet. Hunter and Ardul had gotten similar and he is on his way down there now. There is… something a bit off as they approach though. Once they get within about 100 feet of the building, the sounds kind of… stop. No birds singing. No people moving around. Nothing. It’s at that point someone might notice the sign off the pub is hanging at an odd angle. As if it had been blowing in the wind and someone…
Stopped time. Oy.
Inside Ingerhast is sipping a drink. Floating next to her is… a certain nine tailed fox.
Talk about creepy. It takes Kaji a moment to realize what’s strange about the atmosphere. He frowns a little, eyeing the tilting sign, glancing around for any other hints of the unusual, although there’s something familiar about it all. A look is cast at Hunter and Ardul as they approach the Catch.
“Professor…?” the young necromancer begins once he cautiously sets foot inside, a hand brushing the tooth-shaped hilt hanging from his belt. He blinks when he sees not only Ingerhast, but the all too familiar fox being. Unless there’s more than one of them wandering around anyway. The corner of his lips twitches in a faint smirk.
It’s been a little while since Kaji saw Ardul. The last time she’d been well into her change. Now. Well… the change appears to be mostly complete and he might not recognise her if it weren’t for the giant red tipped grey wings on her back.
She’s in skirts and top as well, though that cylinder of hers is slung from her belt. The appearance – now that Kaji has seen other Wolfen – is very traditional. Like Ardul was born to a Wolfen clan.
As they enter the building, she pauses at the doorway, looking around – grey eyes falling on Kazue first. It’s hard to tell what’s going through her mind but without a doubt – the change she’s experienced is as much due to Kazue as anything.
“Professor Ingerhast. We got your request.” She says quietly, giving Kaji a smile when she sees him. “Hello Kaji.”
“Hello Kaji. Ardul. Hunter.” Ardul does indeed look different. Very different. But Kaji can ask about that momentarily.
Hello Kaji-dono. Hello Ardul-san. Hello Hunter-san. The musical voice of Kazue comes out. She smiles cryptically. Well, she’s always cryptic so it could be just that she smiles.
“So… this one appeared in the middle of my lunch, asked to speak with us all and froze time until you got here.”
I wanted to preserve the moment. Some things can only be done in certain moments. It is a good thing, then, that I am good with… moments. And keeping them as they are.
While it’s been a strange thing to see, Kaji hadn’t been overly surprised, much less startled with Ardul’s transformation. But then it had seemed to be a progressive thing ever since she’d first got jolted with fox magic, the slowest Pokevolution ever. Wait no, those don’t work that way. Honestly, Kaji had just been wondering how far it would go. Otherwise it didn’t seem like Ardul was terribly bothered by her hybrid form.
“Kazue-dono!” He offers a bit of a bow. There seems little point to asking about what’s so particular about the moment that it had to be frozen. He takes it in stride as he does standard Kazue-eze.
“So what did you want to meet with us about?”
Ardul might just be keeping her unease from the eyes of those around her. Only Hunter will know for certain how the winged warrior has taken the changes that have beset her.
She does offer the Fox being a small bow as she enters the establishment more fully, arm linked through Hunter’s as she does. “And what is it, Kazue, that is so special about this moment?” she asks the creature quietly. “I hope it has something to with my cousin’s people.”
Her cousin’s people, not her’s.
…seems like Elpida is late to an important date. It’s pretty obvious that she doesn’t want to be here, what, with the look on her face when she arrives. As much time as she has spent around Ingerhast, she never seems at ease in her presence. Damn spider-lady!
Her snakes are sticking out, hissing, and she’s slinking into a seat. Presumably deliciously to someone.
The creature bows. And then quirks her brow as Elpida comes in. Ingerhast smiles though. “Hello, delicious friend.”
She DOES like doing that. Likes doing it a lot. It possibly amuses her and she could use some amusement about now.
“This moment will not ever come again. Most moments do not. But THIS moment is the moment that my freedom is won. There will be things after. But THIS is the pivotal moment.”
“My cage is on this world.”
That by itself makes Hunter’s brows raise.
Blinking, Kaji doesn’t have to guess too many times to figure out who Ingerhast is addressing, but he lifts his brows as he glances over and sees Elpida. He flashes her a quick smile before looking back towards arachno-professor and kitsune-being.
“I…hope that doesn’t mean the world is going to explode,” he says slowly as he casts an uncertain look around.
“Hello Elpida. Lost any more Dogwood Princes?” Ardul greets the Gorgon. Interesting she should turn up here and now.
“Your cage is on this world.” the wolf-angel processes that and glances to Hunter. “They’ve bought you here? Horatio has? And how long how will your cage remain here?” But there’s more to it than that. She gets that much.
“What is it we must do immediately to ensure that your freedom is won and my cousin’s people can be freed?”
“…well ***,” says Elpida at the sight of the nine-tailed fox. She blinks her eyes once and then turns to Inghergast, giving her a stare like ‘ugh’ before she clears her throat. “Yeah, okay. I’ll help,” she adds. Ardul is given a dirty look. “You lose ONE PRINCE…”
“Most people don’t get a chance to lose more than one.” Hunter jokes with a wink and then settles to listen to the explanation.
Not long. A period of a few weeks at most and then it will be gone. It is in the place you call Richmond now, though exactly where I do not know. It will not cause the world to explode though if Horatio is able to plumb the secrets of my power you may wish it had.
My cage must be found and recovered, or failing that, shattered. No matter the cost. Without my power, Horatio will be more vulnerable. And I… I will be free.
“You lost a prince?!” Kaji sputters, staring back at Elpida. “…was it the guy you said who liked you?”
Thankfully his attention shifts back to Kazue, a sigh escaping him with the whereabouts of this cage given. Richmond again. It’s always Richmond. “There’s no way we can like…track it or something? You must give some sort of magical signature off. Or even an energy one if we try finding Horatio or whoever it is that’s with you.” Which may be weird to Elpida considering that they’re speaking to Kazue in the now.
“What’s the cage look like, Kazue-dono?”
“Technically, Bast took him for lunch in Sarens Rest.” Ardul says dryly to Kaji. What the golden furred Wolf-Angel doesn’t say, is that she chased the cat goddess. She couldn’t help it and it hadn’t been a high point of her day.
“A few weeks, if it’s here is all we need. My cousin will be willing to send her Iyesgarthians after it.” There’s a nod to Kaji as he asks the right questions. “We might not need to track the cage, though… ”
Now Hunter gets a look. “We could track the Iyesgarthians, couldn’t we? Richmond isn’t that big and they are … distinctive.” Still knowing about the cage will help.
It is a canister. Long as a man’s arm and twice as thick. It will glow. And it may give off magic. Kazue says. Breaking it would be dangerous to both of us but it is preferable to me remaining under his control.
Given her dire warnings of what might happen, that seems likely.
You Kaji must be the one to break it, if it is to be broken…
Hunter smiles at Ardul. “Richmond is pretty large. But I like your idea. They would be distinctive and it shouldn’t be too hard to get rumors of them. I’ll work on it.”
Soon. Kazue says. Must be soon.
“Okay, right. Let’s help the Great Gazoo,” mutters Elpida under her breath. No doubt Kaji MIGHT get the reference. If he watched enough of the right cartoons.
“Okay, yeah. Richmond. I can do this! Never been. Might as well see the ruins. I mean, after the fact.” She rubs her face.
And then her snakes.
“Whaaat, there’s a Bast now?” Of course there is. “Wait, did she look like an actual cat? Should I be keeping an eye out for Amaterasu and Susanoo any time soon?” Kaji mutters.
“Anyway, that’s what I suggested,” he says as they discuss methods of how to locate Kazue’s cage. Not that he’s particularly tech saavy but he knows it’s around, and given the rarity of it around here, pinpointing the location of the Iyesgarthians shouldn’t be too difficult.
Rooting around in his coat pocket, he pulls out a worn notepad and a pen, sketching out what Kazue describes. “Heheh, so kinda like a mutagen canister from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? …just thicker,” he wonders, showing the drawing to Kazue.
Kaji chews on his lower lip as Kazue gives the rundown on worst case scenario. “Well, let’s hope it doesn’t come down to that.”
“Mutagen canister…” Ardul blinks at Kaji but doesn’t ask any more questions. Surely, he is a strange lad sometimes.
“It will be soon, Kazue.” She looks at Hunter, not arguing that he’s talking about doing the tracking. He didn’t say we and she hasn’t suggested she goes, either.
“I will find Nina and get her to ready her people. They will be ready when you all go and find the prison.”
“What is… nevermind.” Hunter says. “We can find it. And break it. And hopefully it doesn’t do anything to Kaji.”
It will. But some things are necessary.
That’s… not a hopeful thought. I will see you all soon. The sooner the better.
And then just like that she’s gone and the pub comes to life around them as if nothing had happened.
Hunter sighs and Ingerhast just smiles. “Well, my delicious friends. Before you go off galavanting around Richmond for your quest, join me for lunch?”
Yeah. Real promising, that.
Kaji shares an uneasy look with the others. Better not to think about it and not get ahead of themselves in general. They had to find the thing first.
“…laters,” he says half-heartedly as Kazue’s already gone and vanished on them. He shoves his notepad away, nodding at Ardul and Hunter, confident that at least they’ll get right on things. He smiles crookedly at Ingerhast. No point in starting on anything with an empty stomach.
“Sounds good to me!”
A lunch date with Professor Ingerhast turns out to be an update on the renegade Iyesgarthians' movements, courtesy of one nine-tailed fox.
May 28, 2412
The Fisherman's Catch, Glowtown