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Thread: What Darkness Finds ~M~(NamingtoohardXLostMisfit)

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    Fantasy What Darkness Finds ~M~(NamingtoohardXLostMisfit)

    The room was dark and the air thick with the flames of desire “Who are you?” the husky words brushing the tender skin of her neck leaving goosebumps across her skin as her own words became stuck in her throat. She wanted so badly to tell him but nothing would come from her lips and before frustration could build anymore the blaring of her alarm pulled her back to the real world. Grumbling unhappily, she slaps the annoying clock before opening her eyes and hating this day already. The sky was grey from her window though from the inside she couldn’t tell if it was the smog or if rain were coming today, though it didn’t matter. Looking around her bedroom she sighs, it wasn’t much but it was hers. A small one-bedroom apartment and though her room was simple black and white, her living room held all her plants. Some she had saved others gifts from others or even her mother's orchid, shaking the last remnants of sleep from her mind she decided coffee was going to be needed today.

    Moving to the kitchen she pulls a plastic spoon from the box, putting it in her mouth to hold it as she begins the normal routine of making coffee. For a moment she wondered why her mother had always insisted on plastic silverware but it had been something that seemed so important she had stuck to it in her own adult life, if only she had thought to ask. Sitting out a mug and placing the spoon into it, she waits for the coffee. Taking rounds of her plants whispering sweet complements and offering water to the ones whom needed it most. The sweet thick scent of coffee filled that air erasing the trouble from her dream and easing the call to return to sleep.

    Returning to the kitchen she makes the perfect cup of joe, sipping it and enjoying the way it heated her soul. Sitting in the small chair she had nestled in the corner of her plants she sighed contently enjoying the moment of peace she had found in the comfort of her own space.

    She had spent most of her morning reading in her chair, at least until the clock warned her it was time to get ready for work. Pulling her from comfortable back to the annoyance of a Monday, pulling off her pj's and tugging up skinny blue jeans that hugged her hips tight enough to not slip down during the workday, and a loose-fitting soft blue button-up she let the ends hang freely as she sat to brush and braid her golden hair, pausing as the color began to fade to blue and sighing softly before finishing and tying off the end. Putting on black steel toe boots and lacing them up quickly as she glances at the clock to realize she needed to go. Rushing out the door, slamming it as she left.

    “Your late.” Complained Sara as she walked into the door of the small and probably only plant nursery in the city. People didn’t care about plants as she did, but her boss at least enjoyed them enough to keep growing them and when she had seen what Faith could do with a plant that lost its will to live, she offered her a job on the spot. She didn’t offer an excuse instead went about her day and the things she knew needed to be done most. Plants needed to be watered, and a few needed to be rotated to the sun. a few needed new soils, all in all, it was going to be a very busy day.

    The day didn’t disappoint and even Sara could see it as faith sat back and exhaled like her lungs had held her breath all day. “ I think we should go get a drink its been a long day.” Faith knew Sara wouldn’t take no for answer as she had already started talking about some bar a friend told her about. It was something she had tried to get out of before and over time learned it was easier to just agree, for a moment she let the older women rattle on watching her with cool blue eyes that seemed so distant today. It wasn’t until a tug on her wrist brought her back “Oh, I have an outfit for you!!” Sara was excited and all of the sudden faith felt dread, three times the women had used her like a doll to play dress up, and apparently today was no different.

    The lump in her throat was back and this time it was 100% nerves, the woman had given her an outfit that screamed eat me to the general male public. The tank top was a dark blue satin that hugged her chest exposing just enough skin to fill the chill of the air, she had refused the skirt claiming it shows the way to much and Sara had finally agreed she could wear her jeans if she wore the shoes. So here she was facing a pair of knee-high black boots with a two-inch heel. She hated heels and almost considered the skirt but death by fall would be better than death by cold. Zipping up the boots and cursing to herself, as she walked from the bathroom rolling her eyes as Sara began to get overly excited.

    They had taken a cab to the bar, The king's court was a weird name for a place but she didn’t actually have control over this said mission, and as if to prove that she was already being tugged out of the cab into the door.

    It wasn’t like a club with people packed in but it wasn’t empty either, people sat drinking and chattering among each other. A few cast glances at her as they entered but she knew most of the time it was all in her head. She thought she blended in pretty well with the general public, even if she wasn’t exactly very social. They went to the bar and sat “You’ve barely spoken today, where are you?” Sara asked and faith had a pinch of awe at the women’s worry “I’m ok, I’m just tired too.” She smiled softly and chuckled making the older women relax a little “You have such a lovely smile.” She commented but at that point, her knew it was about to be a lecture on how she needed to smile more and try and find herself a man. This was the pattern. Kidnapped, taken to the bar, lectured about not being social, three drinks in she was certain Sara would start picking a man for her. Though she normally was able to duck out by drink two and she was already thinking of her own great escape.

  2. #2
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    As night descended upon the city, the ruler of this particular court watched on as his gentry slowly trickled in.

    Kana, the current manager of the King’s Court bar, stood alone on the building’s second story balcony. He leaned against the railing, a cigarette gripped loosely between two of his fingers, whilst his gaze drifted idly, roaming the streets below. He watched on as people filtered in through the front doors in twos and threes, pointedly aware of how busy things must have been getting downstairs. And yet, even so, he lingered. Moments of peace were rare in his line of work, and the manager was loathe to see this one end prematurely. He lifted his cigarette to his lips, inhaled a lungful of clove-scented smoke, and blew a cloud out into the street beyond, just in time to hear the doors behind him click open.

    The manager glanced back over his shoulder just in time to watch Bast push the door pen and step out into the cool, evening air. The club’s bouncer was an incredibly large man. He was taller by Kana by almost a foot, and was built like a bull besides. With a bald head and a black shirt that looked as if it were about to burst at the seams, he fit the stereotype perfectly. Kana supposed that was the point. He glanced back out over the railing just as Bast joined him, and the two stood together in silence for a moment, before the smaller man finally spoke.

    “This had better be important, Bast.” His voice was low, tired, despite the fact that the night was still young. For people in their line of work, at least.

    “It is, boss. We’ve got a live one.”

    That was enough to make Kana pause. He froze with his cigarette halfway to his lips again, gaze distant as his mind went through the motions. Bast stood and waited, the very picture of patience, until he was ready to give the order.

    “You’re certain?”

    “Yes.”

    Kana sighed. “The usual plan, then. Get everything ready. I’ll be down in a minute.”

    Bast nodded and turned away. Kana heard the door’s latch click shut, and knew that he was alone again. The manager lingered for just a few moments longer, before he’d finally straighten up. The man took one last drag on his cigarette, before he’d flick the remains over the railing, and turn to follow his companion inside.

    Instead of heading straight downstairs, towards the taproom, Kana took a short detour. He walked down the hall, past the stairs, and slipped into his private office. He made for his desk, only to pause in front of the mirror that sat against the far wall. A quick once-over was enough to confirm that everything was in order. His jeans, white undershirt and open, black denim jacket all looked impeccable. They toed the line between formal wear and casual clothes perfectly, looking nice without being overbearing. More importantly, his glamour was still in place, hiding the most obvious parts of his winter fae heritage. His teeth looked the same as any human, and his silver hair was disguised, taking on a blonde hue instead. He’d added a few other little touches, too, to make himself look as appealing as possible, but those weren’t quite as significant.

    That settled, Kana extracted an old brass key from inside his coat, and stepped over to his desk. He slipped the key into the lock on the lowermost drawer, and pulled it open to reveal a pair of gloves. Whilst they appeared plain, Kana knew they were anything but. Warded against all but the most powerful fae magic, they’d be a big help with what was to come. He grabbed both of them and tucked them into a pocket quickly, before pushing the drawer shut again. With that, Kana felt as ready as he were like to get. Bast would take care of the rest. The bouncer had proven himself reliable in this area a long time ago.

    Without any further ado, Kana headed downstairs, into the taproom proper. As soon as he was down the steps, the crowd seemed to envelop him. It was busy enough that he had to slip around people to get where he wanted, but not so busy that he had to force his way past. The general murmur of conversation from several different groups combined into a general cacophony, loud enough to ensure him that everyone was enjoying themselves, and nothing were amiss. Were he actually just a regular bar manager, Kana doubtless would’ve been pleased by the turnout. As it was, however, he had other business to attend to. His own role to play, as it were.

    Kana quickly slipped through the crowd, and helped himself to the first seat at the bar he could find. Whilst he waited for the bartender to take notice, he cast his gaze around the room, trying to spot the person Bast had marked, without looking like he was staring. It didn’t take long before his attention settled on one of the patrons at the far side of the bar. Even from this distance, Faith was unmissable. She was nothing short of stunning, even for one of their kind, and her clothes did an excellent job of drawing attention. Her blonde hair was the exact sort of thing they were looking for, and the blue tips struck Kana as a nice personal touch. All things considered, it wasn’t difficult to see why the Light King favored her type.

    Head in the game, Kana. She’s a mark, and you’re here on business.

    His musings were interrupted by the arrival of the barkeeper. A thin man, with a narrow face, black hair, and just a hint of stubble. He set a tumbler of whiskey in front of Kana without being asked, and lingered longer than was strictly necessary, despite the fact that there were other guests waiting to be served. Kana reached for his glass and picked it up off the counter, but didn’t move to take a sip just yet.

    “Hau. Did Bast tell you what was going on?”

    “Sure did, boss. How do you want to handle this?”

    Kana stayed silent for a moment, helping himself to a quick sip whilst he mulled over his options. Like always, the whisky was excellent. Hau's drinks always were.

    “Wait until they’ve had a few, then send her a drink on my behalf.”

    “Do you want me to…” Hau started, but Kana was quick to cut him off. The two of them could talk publicly so long as they kept it vague, but he didn’t want the bartender to say anything too suspicious. Their chances of being overheard in such a crowded place was low, but on the off chance someone was listening in, he’d prefer they think him a flirt, instead of the truth.

    “No, no. Not while she’s with a friend. I’ll try the direct approach first. I just need an in. Oh, and let me know if you overhear anything useful.”

    Hau nodded and moved off again, leaving Kana alone. The manager would stay put for the time being, content to nurse his drink and keep a subtle eye on Faith and Sara, until the right moment came along, and an opportunity presented itself.

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    She had been held hostage for over an hour, and Sara had downed four shots in the time. Faith had sipped through two of them, alcohol was not her to her taste she had always enjoyed sweeter things but Sara seemed to enjoy potato juice more than anything else and what Sara did she seemed to insist upon faith joining in. she had even pouted when Faith refused to keep up, but now she had no choice as the women pulled her towards the dance floor.

    Faith mused internally, her feet hurt and she was certain her head would be pounding by the time all this was over. A brief moment of standing still among the humans around her making her feel so out of place that a brief moment of panic started to set in, but something caught her attention. The song playing had notes her mother would hum to her and it was a magical sound that for a moment the annoyance faded and her head tilted slightly to humming to herself. Her hips started swaying slowly to the song and Sara had vanished from mind and sight dancing to her own tune. It wasn’t long before she to was one of the dancing bodies on the floor.

    Hua held magic over persuasion, the alcohol, and then the air around the dance floor. It had been charmed to play a tune that synced with the one within the circle. It was part of why the bar had blown up in a short time, to each person it held a song that was guaranteed to seduce your soul into a dance. Fae loved music and dance but human music was crude as the notes of a Fae would hold the magic of the world they came from. Though the slender man seemed to just be tapping his fingers on the bar he was making sure the young girl would let her guard down. It had been clear social outings were more stressful than enjoyable and if they were going to snatch her away it would be a lot easier to catch her off guard if she wasn’t stressed.

    From what he could tell she had fully taken to his magic as her brows relaxed and a smile tugged the corner of her lips. Though most would not notice it had been their job to pick out the details of the Fae, she had small markers that if she knew better she would have hidden, her I9 teeth were slightly longer than a humans a slight hint of fangs, and her eyes were far to green for humans for they held magic connected to life around them and it was clear to see it in the young fae’s eyes. Tonight, their target was one that wouldn’t be so difficult for the three of them, after all, they had done these many times.

    Faith giggles a sound like light ringing bells as she made her way back to the bar with Sara grinning after her “I told you this wouldn’t be too bad!” a fake pout setting in on the woman’s face and faith sighed sitting “Alright, This isn’t the worst place but I do have things to do at home.” The woman rolled her eyes “Yeah right, you need to take care of your plants. You do know that is also what you do for a job! You should try and enjoy the break.”

    Faith knew she wasn’t truly wrong but she also knew Sara didn’t understand the plants the way she did, but before she could let that get to her the bartender appeared with a wine glass and a smile, though she wasn’t certain she enjoyed his attention “From the gentleman down the bar.” Raising an eyebrow, he nodded slightly to the other end of the bar. A more skilled woman would have smiled but faith merely looked at the man with a puzzled expression, she felt as if she knew him but she also knew that was unlikely.

    Her black stare caught her friend’s attention and the woman beamed and began to chatter about it, drawing faiths eyes from the man and back to her friend she huffed and rolled her eyes. Though she wasn’t keen to try a new drink it would have been rude to not even try it. So, she would try it and then pretend it was awful and move on toward the door? Lifting the glass, she found the scent was sweet and even nice. Reminding her of honeysuckles in the heat of summer the feeling causing her to pause before she let the liquid touch her lips and she knew instantly this was a flower wine. It burst with a sweetness that she had been so fond of as a child; her mother had made the wine a few times and granted her a taste. It had been a part of their past her mother had said once but she had not really said much more about it.

    Lost in her thoughts it took a moment for her to realize Sara had asked her how it was and received no response. The result was waving hands in front of her friends’ faces, but not before glaring at the bartender for distracting her friend. Sara huffed annoyed and Faith shook her head slightly as she came back to the now and a annoyed friend. “What was that?” Faith shrugged “It was something I hadn’t tried before it was nice.” Sara sniffed the glass and wrinkled her nose “Smells like he dumped perfume in a cup. Come on we should be leaving.” The older woman wasn’t one for not being the center of attention but this once Faith shook her head slightly “You go ahead. I’m going to finish the drink and then ill be out.” Sara rolled her eyes and got up from the bar and left.

    Faith didn’t know why Sara seemed so upset, it had seemed so irrational and unlike the women. Perhaps she had too much to drink, everything had felt odd since she had gone to the dance floor and it was a feeling she didn’t really know how to place. Like she was moving in a fog, taking another sip of the drink she glanced around slightly disappointed the bar didn’t have any plants. Though she hadn’t really felt her prior shots this wine had set in quickly like a warmth in the pits of her soul. Reminding her of her mother and the time when the sun still felt warm during the day.

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    Now that he had put Hau to work, there was little else for Kana to do, aside from keep an eye on their mark and wait for his opportunity. The manager had other duties to attend to, of course, but they were all put on hold in favour of tonight’s hunt. He was content to sit back and nurse his drink for the time being, despite the lingering promise of excitement. For the time being, at least It wasn’t often that he got to sit around whilst someone else did the heavy lifting, and he was determined to enjoy the unexpected reprieve, however short.

    When he wasn’t watching Faith, Kana found his attention drawn to his co-worker. The unassuming fae wasn’t anything special to look at, but Hau plied his trade with both skill and enthusiasm. He was the best bartender Kana had ever met, and that only made up half of his capabilities. His magical talents allowed him to toy with the emotions of those around him, and Hau often combined his two main skills, with potent results. His abilities complimented Kana’s own magic spectacularly, and that was likely the reason they always ended up working together. Hau’s ability to toy with someone’s mind, combined with his own ability to toy with someone’s senses, meant that very few people were beyond their joint manipulation. The other patrons might have overlooked the idle way Hau’s fingers tapped against the counter, but Kana knew better, and a small smile flickered across his features at the sight. A single glance at Faith was enough to know that his attempts were having the desired effect.

    As the minutes dragged on, and an entire hour slithered past, Kana eventually found himself getting impatient. He shifted in his seat frequently, as if trying to get comfortable, but really, it was just impatience. He had finished his first drink a while ago, and declined another, keen to keep a clear and level head for the rest of the night. It was only through sheer force of will that Kana schooled himself to patience, and remained seated. He had to remember that he was on a job, not just enjoying a night out. Tonight, he was a hunter, even if he was playing the role of a flirt. He needed to be patient. If he acted too soon, he risked ruining everything, and any chances of doing this the easy way would go straight out the window. No. He would force himself to wait, no matter how long it proved necessary.

    When Hau finally served Faith a drink on his behalf, Kana did his best to play his part. He met Faith’s eyes for just a moment, a small smile playing across his lips, before he glanced away again. They were the actions of a confident suitor, but Kana played them out with calm, almost clinical detachment of an actor playing a role. Someone who was just repeating actions and gestures that he had practiced and rehearsed hundreds of times. Hau had judged the time was right, and they had taken notice of him, so it wouldn’t be long before his chance came, hopefully.
    Thankfully, it wasn’t much longer before his patience was rewarded. Whilst he couldn’t hear the words that passed between Faith and Sara from this far away, their body language and Sara’s sudden disappearance was enough. Kana had no idea if she was coming back or not, but this was as good a chance as he were likely to get. He had to make his move now, and if Sara returned and interrupted them before he could get Faith away, then…well, he’d cross that bridge when he got to it. Determined, and glad for the chance to finally get this show underway, Kana finally rose from his seat.

    Kana threaded his way through the crowd, moving towards Faith at a casual pace. He made no attempt to conceal his approach; rather, he hoped that she would notice him. Likewise, he gave his opening line careful consideration. The last thing he wanted was to scare her off or make her feel uncomfortable by being too direct. It was a fine line, and he needed to walk it well. Fail now, and they’d need to fall back on a much riskier plan, or give up and let their mark go. No, it was imperative that he succeed here. It wasn’t long before he stepped up close to Sara’s vacant seat, and with his arrival, Kana had no choice but to go for it. He was close enough to make himself known, now, but didn’t move to join her just yet.

    “Excuse me, miss.” His opening words were calm, spoken just loudly enough to be heard over the general roar of the crowd. Once he had Faith’s attention, Kana would flash her his best smile, carefully cultivated to look as genuine as possible. “I hate to be so forward, but I’m dying to know. Did I get it right?” Kana would gesture to the half-empty wine glass set before her, in an attempt to make his meaning clear.

    He hadn’t actually picked the wine himself, of course. Hau had done that. Kana trusted the bartender’s judgement better than his own, though, and Faith certainly didn’t need to know that. It wasn’t much, but with any luck, it would be enough to warrant an introduction, and from there, star a proper conversation. That was the first step. He could figure out how to get her away from the rest of the crowd afterwards, once things were flowing a little better, and he had a better idea of who he was dealing with.

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    Faith felt her mind slipping into the darkness of her past, memories of her mother, and the things she wished to know. It had kept her distracted enough to not notice the man approaching her and it wasn’t until he spoke up that her mind pulled back to the present. “Did I get it right?” his voice making her pause as if she has heard it before but quickly, she shook it off.

    A smile played on her lips one that clearly didn’t travel up to the dark green of her eyes “You did. It is a wonderful flavor maybe you could tell me more about it? As it is so strange.” She had decided to see if she could pry info from him about where her mother and she had been before the memories turned to nothing but city living. She had been too young to really have memories but she had a few stories her mother would tell her. Of places filled with all types of flowers and grass so thick that it made the perfect napping spots, but it wasn’t really ever anything you saw in real life. Part of her had wondered if her mother had been insane but then again that wouldn’t explain her gifts and the other things, she had noticed that made little to no sense.

    Gesturing out her hand she offered the man a seat, perhaps tonight she would learn something about who or what she was. Though she didn’t mean to with a buzz from the wine her magic had begun to seep into the air around her, most spring Fae smelled of flowers and she was no different as the air began to lace with the sweet scent of honeysuckles after a fresh rain and though her face seemed calm she felt as if a storm where brewing and she couldn’t remember how to swim.

    Hau had appeared as her glass emptied, he had promptly refilled it while casting a glance to the man beside her, and though she wasn’t certain she saw concern in his features.

    Spring Fae always sold for a higher price but most knew better than to let magic surround them so carelessly but this girl seemed to lack the control or knowledge even of her own kind. In Greek times forest nymphs had been the name humans had chosen for them, but now with most plant life dwindling and the relentless hunting of the Fae kings they had become more and more scarce. Yet here this girl was seeping magic from her pores and it was all the bartender could do to mask it from the general crowd around them. The scent of a female like her could like a siren song call to the men around her and humans were easy prey to the magic they had never known. Either way, it would be the last thing they needed to have to fight off human men who wanted to see her up close, though they wouldn’t know why he knew they stood no chance. Faith her friend had called her and it was a dry smirk as he had sure faith tonight wasn’t going to end as smoothly as they had hoped.

    Faith didn’t touch the new drink presented to her mostly because she already felt the effect of the last one and it was enough to warn her that it was going to be time to leave. The first time she had wine with her mother all the plants in the house tripled inside and her mother cursed for days that the house smelled like a whore house that had been bathed in perfume. Though it didn’t bother her she figured her mom had a reason for hating something like that, but this place lacked plant life and for a moment it was an emptiness she felt in her gut. It wasn’t really that surprising as she had realized over the years that people didn’t care about the fauna as she did. They just didn’t have the connection her mother had shared with her.

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    Kana was very careful not to show it, but he couldn’t help but feel a little tense as he waited to see how Faith reacted. Every part of their plan depended on him being able to strike up a conversation with the woman, and that was always a difficult thing, in a setting like this. Most women were wary of advances from strangers, and rightfully so, considering everything his little group of outlaws had planned for her. He wasn’t left waiting for long, thankfully. Faith’s question, and the invitation she extended, were both enough to let Kana know that he had gotten over the first, most difficult hurdle. With a lot of charm and a little bit of luck, the rest would be smooth sailing, hopefully.

    The disguised Winter Fae wasted no time in accepting Faith’s invitation, now that she had offered it. He stepped forward and slipped into the seat alongside her with a good deal of grace, mindful of both his new neighbours. He positioned himself so that he was facing her slightly, with one arm propped up on the bar’s countertop idly, as he went about answering her question.

    “I discovered it a couple of years ago, while I was overseas. That probably isn’t all that surprising, though. We simply don’t make it like that over here” he offered casually, as he seated himself. He glanced at the barkeeper idly as Hau swung by to refill Faith’s drink, but made no move to acknowledge the man. It was only a moment before his attention was fixed on Faith again, and he continued his story without missing a beat. “It comes from a small vineyard in Italy, if memory serves. As you can probably imagine, I was quite surprised when I found out they stocked it here.”

    Now that he was seated next to her, it became impossible for Kana to ignore Faith’s supernatural aroma. He recognised the scent almost immediately, having smelled it in the course of his previous kidnappings. None of the others had struck him as quite this potent, though. The girl was undoubtedly a Spring Fae, and either lacked control, or simply wasn’t making any effort to try and hide the fact. Even with his own magic, which lent him a measure of resistance, Kana could still feel the allure. His self-control prevailed, but he was genuinely surprised that none of the human men who were around had tried to approach her before he had. Did she actually want suitors? If the scent really was intentional, then perhaps he could use that fact to his advantage.

    In an attempt to distract himself, and buy himself a moment to collect his thoughts, Kana held up a hand the next time Hau passed. The bartender nodded once, and quickly produced another empty wine glass, as well as the bottle he had poured Faith’s first two drinks from. He set the empty glass in front of Kana, filled it up, and then left the bottle between them, and moved away to serve the next customer. The bottle was more than half empty now, but there was still probably enough for another glass or two in there, if either of them decided they wanted it. Eager to slip back into his role before the silence stretched too long, Kana helped himself to a quick sip, before letting out a content sigh.

    “Every time I taste it, it feels like I’m back there again” he’d offer absentmindedly, as if speaking to himself just as much as Faith. After a moment he seemed to remember himself, and quickly glanced back across at his new companion again. “Have you ever been? Italy, I mean.”

    The question itself was rather useless, as far as his current goal went. But most people loved to talk about themselves, Kana found, and he needed a way to steer the conversation back towards Faith. He needed to know more about her, so that he could figure out the best way to draw her away from the rest of the crowd, and this was a start. A natural stepping stone that would hopefully take him where he needed to go. If she tired of him or decided to leave before he could manage that…well, they’d have to go to their backup plan, and that often got messy. An outcome he’d prefer to avoid, if at all possible.

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    Disappointment flashed through her eyes the green color darkening before returning back to normal, her face hadn’t changed and she even offered the bartender a smile as he left the bottle. She had barely finished the glass she had and she didn’t have really want to be that drunk in an open and strange place. All the years without her mother and she still felt the need to hide away sometimes. Now was no different. The man had already lied to her and though she wouldn’t tell him, she knew.

    The air around a person shifts slightly when they lie and being able to read a plant's emotion without visual cues tended to come with perks like being able to tell when someone told her a lie. Not that it matters, she barely knew him. Shaking her head, no when he asked her about Italy “I haven’t gone much past the states actually. Do you travel a lot?” mentally she was trying to dodge away from prying questions. She wanted to spill her beans about a sad girl with mommy issues that most people didn’t understand. Most mothers want children who stick out and make them proud but her mother wanted to keep her hidden. Something that bothered her a lot, all these years and she had never so much seen any danger beyond what happened to her mother.

    She had waited for the monster to come for her but it never did, she waited for some big scary thing to happen but it never did. A sigh escapes her lips as she decided to take another sip of her wine, her mind was trying to go into overdrive already. Had her mother lied to her? She hadn’t learned about her gift until humans in the foster system started lying to her on a regular. So, her new friend sat and smiled seeming so calm and part of her wondered how he could be so calm, no physical tics to him. Yet she had done research years after her mother's death, desperate to cling on to anything she could about the women. The wine was something she had searched for and never been able to find, but it also just happened to be one of the crap lies her mother had said when she asked where they were from. Another thing she had looked into but in all the reading and pictures, the plants her mother described, the fields of flowers. They didn’t grow like that anywhere, most conditions on the planet made one plant or another grow there but her mother had told her stories of fields of every flower with any color she could imagine and sometimes she would dream of the fields as she longed for something more then what she had now.

    It wasn’t long before she realized her thoughts had run away with her and to hide the creeping feeling of awkwardness, she decided to sip more of the wine that seemed to if nothing else bring back memories for her. Was it good or bad she had yet to decide, but one thing was for sure? She was going to need to go home soon, it had been a long day at work. The thought made her glance at her fingernails a blush creeping up her face as she realized her nails had dirt caked under them from her long day. A chuckle escaped her as she decided on another question “What do you do for a living?” then realizing she hadn’t actually told this man her name before asking him questions about his life, but then again wasn’t it safer that way?

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    Blissfully unaware of the fact that he had already been caught out once, Kana continued to smile at his new friend, whilst still trying to plan things out in his mind. Mask still firmly in place, he helped himself to another small sip of wine whilst he waited for her to answer his question. It was no less delicious the second time around, its charm undiminished by the fact that he now knew what to expect. Even now, in the midst of working, he couldn’t help but admire Hau’s choice.

    It wasn’t long before Faith spoke up, and Kana quickly turned his thoughts back to the matter at hand. He let his smile fade slightly at the unfortunate news, and gave her a sad little nod to express his sympathy. Inwardly, however, he was cursing his poor luck. The avenue he had chosen to pursue had turned out to be a dead end, leading Faith to direct the conversation back towards him again. No matter. He was nothing if not persistent, and there were plenty of other methods he could try. Kana wasn’t one for leaving a job unfinished, and tonight would be no different. He’d play along for as long as necessary, even if it meant talking about himself a little in the meantime.

    “Not as much as I would like. Not anymore. And it always seems to be the same handful of places over and over again. Never anywhere new enough to be interesting” Kana offered, a wry smile flickering across his features. That particular answer wasn’t a lie, exactly. Not a total one, at the very least. There had been a time when he had roamed much further afield, exploring the worlds of both humans and fae with reckless abandon. That had been before his current job, however, which kept him tethered to this bar. He had learned a long time ago that the easiest way to seem genuine was to be as truthful as possible. The less lies he told, the fewer opportunities there were for others to catch him. He hadn’t anticipated Faith’s ability to detect falsehoods, but his caution would serve him well tonight. Better than he knew.

    Whilst he was trying to look casual, Kana was still paying close enough attention to notice when Faith glanced down at her hands, and chuckled softly to herself. Kana knew better than to draw attention to the fact, however. He still wanted to do this the easy way, and pointing out the fact could only lead to sensitive topics and unwanted questions. The next question she posed was more than enough prompting for him to move on.

    “Ah. Well. I was hoping you wouldn’t ask that” Kana offered, a slightly awkward chuckle slipping from his lips. The awkwardness was part of his act, of course – the real him never would have been so timid, so apologetic. The character he was playing, however, had enough good social grace to look sheepish. “I’m the manager here, actually. I usually try and avoid advertising that fact, because I get a much better sense of whether people are enjoying themselves when they don’t know I’m around. And, well…you know.” Another truth, technically, even if he was only really telling half the story. Now that she knew he worked here, would she feel less inclined to open up to him? Perhaps he could offer to show her the view from the private balcony upstairs, if the opportunity presented itself. That would certainly be one way of separating her from the crowd.

    “Since we’re already on the topic, what is it that you do?”

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    She had done it to herself, asking him about his job, and of course, he did something cool like managing a bar like this, he had traveled and probably lived a really interesting life. It was all but too bad she was partially too afraid to travel and to on the poor end of her life, but he had asked her what she did for a living. Holding her hands out and chuckling “Well as the dirt under my nails implies. I work at a flower nursery with the women I was here with earlier. Though plants seem to be easier to understand than people in my experience.” Sara had gotten upset with her and just left; she would no doubt hear about it at work later in the week. It would take a week for Sara to catch up to her as in a way to avoid conflict she would lay low doing the minor jobs around and say nothing about the night at the bar and eventually Sara would come to her.

    Though now wasn’t the time to be thinking about that, the wine had made her mind feel fuzzy and the excitement of the night had defiantly begun to take its toll. Talking to a fancy bar manager and drinking, she had even done some dancing something she normally didn’t do in public. It was defiantly beginning to be the end of her night.

    Hau had noticed the girl preparing to leave and with a small motion with his eyebrow, he signaled to the boss that time with the girl was running thin. She had already stopped drinking and from the tension in her shoulders and the darker color of her eyes he knew she was tired. Something he never understood, fea didn’t need to follow human rules of life, and the ones that did always seemed so tired. He never understood that being a proud fea, his talents no more than party making in the magic realm were quite useful here. Humans were always so quick to change emotions or just ride an emotional wave-making their job easier. A smile to a girl here and a flick of his wrist moments later and her night was already one of the best nights of her month. A game of cat and mouse and the mice were so much fun, but tonight the game wasn’t a mouse but a cat of its own breed. She seemed so timid like a kitten with no claws but he knew better than assume she wasn’t dangerous.

    As if on cue a human man, a tall blonde with a smile laid his hand on faiths shoulder, and from the small jump he had surprised her with contact, but it hadn’t deterred him in any way. “Hello pretty lady how about a dance?” faith looked up at the man a sweet smile on her lips but darkness in her eyes, she hadn’t really even been one who enjoyed being touched, sometimes people seemed like they couldn’t help themselves but be drawn to her and she hated it. Her mother would say it was because she was a lovely flower and humans like bees were drawn to it but it had also gotten her in more trouble than she needed right now. “I’m not much of a dancer but thank you.” Trying to shrug him off only for his grip to tighten on her shoulder. Panic setting into her bones as she feels the need to run and get out of here very quickly but she knew causing a scene wasn’t going to be the answer.

    Lifting her hand, she pried his fingers from her shoulder glaring at the blonde man, a rage she felt in her stomach but she managed to keep a lid on it and it was lucky because another man had heard and seen what had happened the dark-skinned man stepped up “I think the lady would like you to leave her alone.” Faith no longer the blonde mans focus managed to get free and start moving towards the exit. She had seen this before, sometimes men came up to her and seemed to be fueled by more interest, at first it would be only one man she would fend off but slowly it was like it got stronger and more and more people began to get involved. She had cause numerous bar fights without the actual intention of starting the fights but it always happened when for a moment her control slipped and her cursed gifts began to show. Luckily this place didn’t have plants because if people mauling each other weren’t bad enough, the plants would have grown an unexplained amount as well. Useless gifts she cursed as she hid in the shadows almost to the door, she should have told her new friend goodbye but he was going to have his hands full with the brawl already breaking out. Though she looked at her feet keeping her head down, this place had bodyguards, right? They could stop the fight before there was too much damage. She convinced herself thought she chewed her lower lip feeling guilty for having caused such a mess again.

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    The subtle signal Kana received from his bartender did not make for welcome news. The night was still young, by his usual standards, and yet Faith was already tired enough to seriously consider leaving. Whilst he was composed enough to remain all smiles and charm on the outside, the fae manager found himself cursing inwardly. Given an hour, he was certain that he could have won Faith over. Wrapped her around his little finger, and made her dance to his tune. Instead, he found himself almost out of time, and yet to make any real, meaningful progress. He needed to come up with a solution, and fast. Before she decided to excuse herself, insisted on trying to leave, and made things…messy.

    Kana was just about to answer Faith again, another pleasant platitude perched on his lips, before one of the humans loitering nearby decided to interrupt. Took it upon himself to impose upon the two of them, and interrupt Kana’s work. The fae manager was about to step in, about to tell the man off, when another one decided to step in, and took it upon himself to defend Faith. Thoroughly annoyed by how poorly things were going, Kana’s mask finally slipped. For the first time that evening, his casual smile and friendly gaze vanished. The scowl that replaced them was all teeth, the malice in his eyes unrestrained. None of the others noticed, of course, distracted as they were. It only lasted a moment, before Kana got control of himself again, and adopted an expression of more moderated displeasure.

    Kana was forced to forget about his mark, just for a moment, so that he could deal with the newest issue. He rose from his chair and began moving towards the bar’s front door. Thankfully, the fae manager didn’t need to go far. Bast was switched on enough to realise what was happening, and met him halfway. Just like Hau, the bar’s bouncer had been doing this long enough to know his business. No words were necessary – the two of them turned back and began marching towards the source of the disturbance. They had only been gone a few moments, but by the time they returned, the situation had already begun to escalate. There was shouting, now, and the two humans seemed mere moments away from resorting to blows. Such uncivilised creatures.

    Thankfully, Bast’s arrival was enough to stall the approaching conflict. The bouncer’s intimidating size was enough to discourage either man from throwing the first punch, and he quickly interposed himself between them. Bast placed a hand on the shoulder of each man, his grip gentle, but firm. Soft enough to avoid causing them any undue pain, but promising plenty of it if they chose to resist. Kana stepped in and hissed a short reprimand to both of them, before meeting Bast’s eyes, and flicking his head towards the open door. Without any sort of delay, Bast began marching for the exit, pushing both of the foolish humans ahead of him.

    Kana watched them go in silence, his mouth pressed into a thin line, before he finally remembered his mark, and the other important matter he needed to attend tonight. As the crowd began to disperse, and the general chatter resumed, Kana returned to the bar, only to find Faith missing again. Again, the bar’s manager found himself cursing inwardly. She must have slipped away in the confusion, and it wasn’t difficult to understand why. A small gesture from Hau was enough to point him in the right direction, and then Kana was off. He slipped through the crowd, scanning the masses for a glimpse of Faith’s distinctive hair.

    Now that he had a moment to think, the interruption seemed less surprising. Faith’s magic had been so overpowering, even Kana had been surprised by it when he had first approached her. The two men had probably both been reacting to it, ensorcelled by her power without realising. In hindsight, it was amazing that none of the humans had tried to interrupt sooner. Had she pulled both of them in on purpose? The possibility was concerning, but Kana couldn’t dismiss the idea completely.

    While he searched, Kana tried to think through his next steps. He was sure that he could turn this minor disturbance into an advantage, given the opportunity. If we went back to playing the role of the dutiful manager, then perhaps he could tell Faith there was a quiet, safe spot she could wait upstairs, whilst the bar called a cab on her behalf. He just needed to find her first, before she decided to take matters into her own hands, and slipped away. If she successfully made it out the door before he caught up with her, they’d have no choice but to go to plan B, and do things the hard way.

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