Buy the Bye is uh… well… interesting. As much tourist attraction as shop, it’s certainly not a small thing. A converted warehouse located on the edge of Market town and Glowtown, it stands apart from the buildings around it, buildings that are a mix of middle class shopfronts and old industrial clap traps.
Except the main attraction of course. With its large sides plastered in constantly running illusion cast ‘billboard’ style advertisements, complete with a soundtrack and 3D explosions and lightning bolts, showing a plethora of means of causing mayhem and murder all of which are reputedly sold inside. If the ads are to be believed.
The door to the warehouse turned weapons shop is an IMMENSE double door affair that must be opened either by magic or the largest set of gear works this side of a dam. Way down on street level, near the center of where the pair of giant metal doors meet, is a more um… person sized affair, with a sign hanging on it. It blinks on and off with a fine calligraphy ‘OPEN’, the word writing itself in bright green flowing script over and over again.
Welcome to Buy the Bye, home to what will one day ail you.
An open door is an invitation to all. So, it should be no surprise when it opens and Xeenia barges in. The woman is purposeful, yet she doesn’t seem to fit being here. There is no warrior’s air about her, no mercenary look. She’s clad in random garb and weaponless. Dirty. She seems to have little eye for whatever implements of mayhem and destruction there may be to see. Instead, her eyes skitter over such things, seeking as she moves deeper into the shop.
Maddy has been here before. She has ordered weapons for her Tits and waited for delivery. And waited. And waited. Still, Leo does provide good work, she has to admit that. She strides in herself, clad in boots, fishnets, short shorts, and a sleeveless t-shirt. A bag over one shoulder. “Are you in here, Virgin!” she yells out into the shop. “It’s Maddy!!” A wave to Xeenia. “Oh, hey. Don’t I know you? Or do you know me? I always get confused about that.” Her multi-colored hair in pigtails, and her make-up seems to be hastily applied paint. Literally paint.
The shop doesn’t have a ‘deeper’ so to speak, as it’s a giant oval room with white walls going up nearly three stories into a shadowy ceiling rife with what looks like old catwalks and rigging of some kind. The room is brightly lit, the white walls and floor help chase the shadows away, and the walls of the room are… well, covered in ways to murder someone. Starting to the left of the doorway are sticks. No seriously. Sticks. Most are pointed. The further left you go the more complex the weapons become, turning into clubs, then spears, axes, maces, a large impressive assortment of swords, and so on, eventually firearms make an appearance, flintlocks and black power guns, followed by wheel guns, then automatics, then fancy polymere sorts, then assault weaponry and grenade launchers… then things with glowing power indicators on the sides. By the time one gets all the way back around to the right of the door, they begin to find parts for mechanized suits, custom parts for personal power armor, and cutting-edge shield generation tech.
In the center of this wide-open display of MURDER is an oval counter, hard wood polished to a mirror shine with glass tops and show cases around it. An old-fashioned cash register that looks for all the world like it goes KA-CHING every time you touch it, sits in the broadest portion of the oval counter, and inside the cases are a series of weapons that glow, flicker, smoke, frost, or a dozen other things. There’s even a revolver that’s currently chained in place, and when one gets close, tries to break it’s bonds with a rattle. Behind the counter is a small man in a bowler hat, his feet tipped up on the counter, his body slumped in a tall backed bar stool like chair, and his hands folded on his tummy. He’s dressed more like a smith then a shop keeper, soot on his gloved hands, white shirt dirty, heavy leather apron full of tools tossed to one side, and a vest on that seems to have six weapon handles sticking out of its front almost like ribs.
He is also softly snoring in a high pitched whistly manner.
Or he was. Until Maddy happened. Now he’s on the floor behind the counter, his hat comically spinning on its rim on the back of the chair, the head that usually supports it suddenly gone. There is a clatter. There is a groan. There is a “Maddy you silly bint!” cheerily shouted from somewhere floorward.
Xeenia pauses when she spies Leo. Sleeping. Dangerous to drop one’s guard. Proven true when Maddy’s entrance causes him to vanish. Xee turns, glancing back towards Maddy as the woman addresses her. The initial response is a steady stare from the dirty woman. After a moment she states, “I have seen you, but I do not know you.” Her husky voice a steady drawl. After that, she turns to regard Leo as he addresses Maddy. “You are Leo.” More a statement than a question. But not quite an accusation.
“We should change that” Maddy grins to Xeenia. “I’m Maddy. Maddy Harrower. My call sign is ‘Mad One’ but that’s only with Tits.” A laugh at being called a ‘bint’. “Is that a good thing, Virgin?” Oh, he’s gone and she asides to Xeenia. “He’s really short. Sometimes you can’t see him over the counter.” Maddy skips on over to the glass cabinet, ooh-ing and ahh-ing at all the weapons she wants. “Yes, he’s Leo” she confirms. “You have a new customer, Virgin, treat her better than you treat me.”
Leo stands up from behind the counter, his hair is um… if it’s not alive then it’s doing a good impression. Standing every which way and in need of a trim, it’s like his head had an explosion. He snags the hat before it can fall off of the chair back and plops it down on his head, containing the Hair of Doom once more. He walks to the edge of the counter and is suddenly a bit taller, apparently there’s a step up back there, and he swats at Maddy’s hand with his own gloved one, pulling a rag from a pocket to wipe at a smudgy print. “I treat you better then most.” he points out. “Hello new customer, I’m Vi-Leo.” he glares at Maddy, “Don’t you have a village to terrorize somewhere?”
Xeenia huffs and states, “I am Xeee.” She hangs on the ‘e’ for just a moment. The introduction lacking in ceremony. The dirty woman turning her attention towards Leo. She steps closer to the counter as he does. She seems apt to ignore a great deal as she turns her attention to him. Obviously, he is why she’s here. As she nears the counter she states, “I seek a map. Of all the lands here.” She lifts both arms, sweeping them out as if to indicate all around her. “Many details. The lay of the ground itself, the settlements, the landmarks, such as the ruins nearby of the old city.”
Maddy pouts at the slap and pulls back for a moment. Still, it is Leo’s place so she will respect his wishes. Putting her hands behind her back, she leans over to look once more. This time pressing her face against the glass. And, yes, she does goldfish impressions with her lips against it. After she has amused herself with this, there are giggles, she frowns at Leo. “I don’t terrorize villages. But I do have some demons to deal with. But, please, deal with this lovely lady first.” What Xeenia has to say is interesting and has Maddy gasping. “There are maps?”
Leo eyes the dirty woman while he continues to buff out the spot… before a face print shows up next to it. Sigh. “You’re gonna need to be more precise.” he states flatly, eyeing her with a deadpan expression as he begins buffing out the new print, a spritzer bottle of some kind comes out from behind the counter and sprays the glass. squeaksqueaksqueak.
“Demons with great axes and horns, leaving emptiness in their wake,” Xeenia states casually in response to Maddy. “They grow closer.” She seems to grow distracted for a moment, her gaze lengthening past this place a few moments before it pulls back into the present. Her eyes settling on Leo again, a soft frown settling onto her lips. “I do not know the extent of this land. I cannot be more precise. I have no gone from shore to shore to the north, south, east and west yet. I would know the shores and all in between them with all the detail I can get. It is faster to have a map than to make my own.”
“Oh! Have you been hired to deal with the demons too? Cool. We’ll be BFFs in no time” Maddy grins to Xeenia before another pout at Leo scrubbing at her face…even if it is just the mark she left on the glass. People would pay to see that face! “I’ve wandered a lot of this place with my Tits” she says helpfully to the ‘vagabond’. “I’ve probably got readings that could make up a good map.” Why hasn’t she thought of this before? “And I need demon killing weapons, Virgin.” She pats the bag over her shoulder and it jingles a little. “And I have money…and bits and pieces.”
Leo eyes the girl, then the other girl, then turns to his right and stares at thin air, “Did you know about demons?” he asks no one at all. There’s a pause and he frowns, “THIS IS THE SORT OF THING YOU TELL ME!!” he throws his hands in the air and turns back to the women, “No one tells me shit these days.” he complains to them. “Look lady, ‘this land’ as you call it is two thousand six hundred and eighty miles wide, one thousand five hundred and eighty-two miles tall, assuming you mean this particular continental land mass as derived by the previous national borders drawn before the end of the Golden Age.” how he knows that is anyone’s guess but he states it with confidence, “And you want me to draw you map of the whole thing? I mean… I can do that.” he looks to his left, “I can do that right?” pause, nod, back to them, “Yup, I can do that. But hoooooooo boy will that cost you. Now. If you want something more local the price becomes exponentially more affordable.” he beams at her, “And there is /always/ a price.” clearly this man is crazy.
“Hired? No. I walked the mountains and saw the empty settlements,” Xeenia states to no one in particular. “I saw their tracks, listened to the blood whisper of them. And the tracks tell me they come nearer. In time, they surely will come here. Though I know not how long.” Then her attention fixes on Leo. The measurements he gives do not seem to give the woman pause, her expression not changing. Nor is her husky voice any less insistent. “I have no money.” There is a casual disdain as she speaks of ‘money’, as if to dismiss such things as trivial. “If you cannot help, I will seek what I need elsewhere. Or make it myself.” Not that thousands upon thousands of miles of land to cover seems to give her any concern whatsoever.
“You shouldn’t walk the mountains yourself, it’s dangerous” Maddy points out, perhaps needlessly. Then a solemn nod of understanding. “Blood can be soooo noisy. Totally get that. I should let Gorgeous know about you. She’ll give you money to do what you were going to do anyway, and she’s bound to have maps. I saw one once, though it was inaccurate. They had this big red circle around a town called Greywall, which is where I had to go, but when I got there, there was no red wall around it. Which makes sense since it was called /Grey/wall. Der. So, whoever made that map, really screwed up with the color of the wall.” She frowns at Leo. “You are pretty mean to people. She’s only trying to help and you’re getting all up in her bizness.” Maddy clicks her fingers from side to side. “If you weren’t a virgin, you would be a nicer person. It’s about more than just chemicals.”
Leo stares at Xeenia for a long moment, blinking, “Oooookay.” he says after her speel about demon tracks and time tables, “So you are broke.” he says flatly, “And you’re expecting information for free.” still flat. He looks back and forth between the pair, “Look lady, you want food I would help ya. I’ve been broke before, sucked. I get it. But you want goods or services? You pay. You don’t pay…” he shrugs, “Down that path lays bankruptcy and insolvency and eventually back to me begging for food and eating out of rubbish bins. Which,” he holds up a gloved finger, “Ain’t happening again. Just sos we’re clear.” he pauses, eyes Maddy, then eyes Xee, “Okay, so she’s right.” he points out, “That doesn’t change the fact that so am I.” he pauses, “Except about the virgin thing. Sex is a distraction and drives men and women both to ridiculous behavior.”
Xeenia huffs and smirks as she turns her back towards the counter. “Learn the ways of the land and you will never be hungry. I never am. I deal in trade, not the fleeting abstraction of currency.” Which is perhaps the most complex thought she’s expressed today. “Provide a map and suggest a price and I will decide if I wish to trade or bite your head off.” Not that there is any malice in either end of that wildly skewed set of options. Must be figurative. She pauses, glancing towards Maddy. “I do not fear the mountains. My senses are keen and I am of the land outside of your walls. But you should take care. Surely the gathering of warm bodies draws the demons. I am safer out there than you are in here. Eventually. For why would they not come to where the most life waits to be scattered to the winds?”
Maddy peers at Xeenia’s words. Now she has to check if the vagabond is warm too, pressing her fingertips against the dirty flesh…and poking a bit. “OMG…oh my galoshes, Virgin. You are such a barrel of monkeys.” The bag swings off her shoulder and thumps onto the counter. “I’ll pay for her map, okay? With readies. Golden showers of credits…or whatever you’re into. It’s not a distraction, it’s a…whatever is the opposite of distraction that will also rhyme so it sounds really clever and witty. It makes us human.” A look at the two with her. “Makes me human at least. Don’t worry about me ‘Eeeeee'” – she remembered the long ‘e’ sound – “I have my Tits to keep me safe.”
Leo tilts his head to the side, eyeing the new girl curiously, “Oh you’re adorable.” his lips part in a smile that’s half predatory and half amused. Tease not the sanity challenged, for they are, ya know, mad. “I’m not worried about demons. I don’t know if you’ve noticed where you are standing, but making stuff that kills things, /any/ thing is kinda my shtick. Demons, angels, dragons, fae creatures, whatever you want I have or can make a thing to make it a purse. Demons are like … Tuesday around here.” he points out. “But!” he snappoints at Maddy, “This nutjob is willing to pay for your map. So I’m willing to draw it. How big you want it? Gimme a mile range here, an idea. Something to work with. I’ll give you a price.”
Xeenia is perfectly warm to the touch. She also eyes Maddy at the touch. But only for a moment. Leo’s request gets a simple answer. “I told you what I want. Do what you are able. Or what she will pay for. I need a start so I can learn this land from one end to the next. I do not expect perfection. It does not exist. But the more accurate, the more detailed the better.” She lifts a hand as she starts to walk towards the door. “I am not in the habit of dictating how others spend their play money.”
Maddy holds up a hand at Xeenia’s words, glancing between the two of them with a curious expression. “Umm…I’m perfect” she points out before a furrow of her brows at Leo. “Can you make the map smaller than a mile? Even folded up I don’t think that will fit in Tits. Eeeee certainly won’t be able to carry it around with her. How could she even fold it out to look at it? Sheesh, Virgin, think things through before you talk. That way you won’t say anything stupid. Like me.”
Leo eyes Maddy for a long moment, “I missed you.” he says suddenly, and reaches over to press his gloved hands to either side of her face, attempting to smoosh her cheeks together for a little fishie face moment. “You have no idea how much I miss another sane person.” then he’s back to Xee, “I’ll make you a map of the surrounding area, ten miles or so, should do for you. It’ll take some time, but I can manage it. I can make anything.” he leans Xee’s direction, “Cause I’m awesome. Er. Then anyone.”
“We shall see,” Xee answers, though without defining who she is responding to. Perhaps both. The strange, dirty woman simply sweeps out of the building and off to do.. Well, whatever it is she does. She certainly doesn’t look like someone who holds any sort of normal job.
Maddy waves to Xeenia as she disappears, still trying to get her cheeks to work again after the smooshing. “I guess we can use my contact details for her” she suggests to Leo before looking back at him across the counter. “And no cheating her. I’ll know if the map is not accurate. And I think she wants it faster than how long it took my flamethrowers. Even if they are pretty cool flamethrowers.” She opens up her bag. “How much for the map. And don’t say ‘all of it’.”