Mana P2y1s14

Mana: And so it was written: Pokiehlember 2nd, Year 1, Gnome's Day. Late at night, in Salamander District. Outside a corner store. As good a place to meet as any.
Mana: The heat of the city is high, even this late at night - even after what rain has trickled down to the earth - it clings to the skin.
Theodore rests with the extra musket slung across his shoulders, arms loosely hanging from it, glancing around the streets and observing the night life.
Mana: The streets are quiet enough, really: The only packs going from bar to bar are in Viper dress. Other citizens keep to themselves, hurrying back home with their gazes turned away.
Mana: There's something tense about the night.
Theodore eventually, however, begins to make his way back towards the resturant whre they met with Mr. Magata earlier.
Xsaieta exits from a side-alley, clapping Theodore around the shoulders with one arm. It's probably terrifying, honestly. "Hey, bro!"
Theodore: "Yo!"
Mana: The Six Dragon Way - on the nicer end of town, shining with light from the inside, music drifting out even at this late hour.
Mana: Its lines are gilded, its architecture a strange pagoda-style - like the homes of the Silk People, but stranger, a little outsized, larger than life.
Mana: Too gold to be gold, you could say.
Theodore: "You missed the priestess, she showed me how to talk in blue."
Xsaieta: "So… Anya says stuff's been kinda crazy, here. Did I miss anything super exciting, or-"
Xsaieta: "-huh, what's it like when you talk in blue?"
Aurora shakes her head, patting her pouch. She put the musket and shot inside of there… somehow. "Along with a demonstration of how to fire a musket."
Theodore: "Your voice gets all gravelling and people get nervous!"
Theodore: "Or impressed and surprised."
Xsaieta waves his hand, like, 'okay?'.
Xsaieta lash tail back and forth, eyebrow up in the air. "…unless it's, like, something you can't just do on command or somethin'. I guess that would make sense. Nevermind."
Theodore: "Well, you're supposed to do it sparingly, I guess."
Xsaieta: "Yeah, okay."
Theodore: "And yeah, the muskets! Speaking of which, I gotta go drop this one off with Mr. Magata."
Xsaieta pats Theodore's shoulder, consolingly. "-so, what's the plan?" He looks around for Mr. Toth, because that's usually the best thing to do when you're trying to figure out what the plan is.
Theodore: "*My* plan was to talk the gangs into having Salamander stop being part of Titania, but everyone got all funchy for some reason, so the plan is just to get everyone to chill out since we sorta negotiated a, uh, chilling out?"
Xsaieta: "Hm. I mean, I kinda see where you were comin' from with that but it's kinda the opposite of what we wanna do long term. Points for style, though." Pad pad pad. "-and yeah, that's probably a good bet."
Theodore shrugs. "Well I mean, if they don't like being part of titania and have everyone they need to be self sufficent, and the people with guns are here to start a revolution, stands to reason, but alright."
Xsaieta: "'s just more closed doors, isn't it?"
Theodore: "Hmm. I don't *think* so, but it seemed like a way better idea than letting everyone kill each other." Theodore shake shis hea,d thne heads inside the building.
Xsaieta: "Well, yeah, not gonna argue that. Probably not our only two options, yeah?"
Aurora: "Xsaieta's right though, I'm fairly certain the Emperor would close and lock the doors from Undine and Wisp into Salamander if they rebelled… which wouldn't help us at all."
Mana: The attendant smiles as you step inside - she's just in the middle of lighting another stick of incense. "Back to speak with Mr. Magata?"
Theodore: "Probably not, but that was kinda what they were implying. At the least, we're still it now which is still better than nothin'." Theodore tilts his head towards Aurora, then nods.
Theodore: "Yup!"
Aurora: "If you'd please inform him."
Mana: She nods, gestures to one of the girls working there - "Show the guests in." And she nods, with a smile and slight bow, leading you through the screened-off halls of the Six Dragon Way.
Theodore follows along, doing something with the mucket to make it lok a little less like he's waving a very dangerous weapon around flippantly.
Xsaieta pads his way in with Theodore. Really, he understands what Theo was getting at! He… might be the only one who does. Luna bros for life.
Mana: The girl nods, bows, gesturing to the small room, with its pillows around the tea-table, on a little raised floor.
Mana: "Have a seat."
Theodore does so! And leans across the table to Xsaieta, "This is pretty cool, just watch."
Xsaieta likes this place. (Unsurprisingly; Anya does a lot of business with the Vipers.) He settles elegantly into the seat and quirks up an ear at Theodore, grinning with his eyes. "Mm?"
Mana: As the three of you settle in, the girl leaves, and there's a cranking - the ceiling parts, and the platform, table and all, gently rises up to the upper level, where Mr. Magata - flanked by three guards - sits opposite to you.
Mana: He's an older man, with a fine mustache and a sharp black suit, wearing red, round glasses. He smiles.
Theodore: "Bam!" Theodore nods to Xsaieta, then turns to face Mr. Magata, laying the spare musket and shot/powder on the table in front of him as he does so.
Mana: "So kind of you to join us."
Aurora takes her own seat, shifting a little as it's raised up again. "Good evening."
Xsaieta lashes his tail back and forth, appreciatively, and does a deep, seated bow to Mr. Magata.
Mana: "…And it seems your trip to the warehouse went well."
Mana: "Shall I pour the three of you something to drink? Would you like to try the fish?"
Theodore: "I'm always up for a late night snack. And yeah it went pretty well, evne brought ya'll back one so you cna have a better idea of how they work! Knowledge is power, yeah?"
Theodore: "They said they'd promise not to do anything stupid with 'em or start anything thoough, as long as you agreed to ease up a bit on the shops. Which… seems fair, considering you got the Emperor or jsut one of his dumb flunkies giving all of you trouble right now anyways?"
Mana: Magata shakes his head, rings a tiny bell on his table. "Please. Business can wait, I think."
Theodore: "Sure!"
Xsaieta bows again. "I would like that very much." In response to the question about food and drink, of course, hospitality being the ritual that it is.
Mana: Magata's table - though there are the traces of late-night food, and the middle of a game of Chess - is mostly occupied by the display of a long, slender killing blade - two-handed, its sheath the color of a black, ill-starred night.
Mana: It's almost definitively Anya's work.
Mana: After a moment, the wait staff arrive - two holding plates of a fish filet, decorated with the red leaf of some plant, a third holding a flask of rice-wine.
Mana: A plate is laid out for each of the three, and poured.
Mana: The fish is given with the spiny skin still on it - the waitress delicately peels it off for each of you with a fork, letting the aromatic steam rise up into the air.
Theodore: "Hey, thanks." Theodore nods in thanks, taking a sip of the wine.
Xsaieta glanced sideways at that sword almost first thing when he saw it, the corner of his mouth going up into a smile. Man has good taste. Takes a deep breath of the fish, purring faintly. Good taste. He bows deeply, and utters some Lunar praise concerning the upcoming meal (it is, basically, an incoherent mumble).
Mana: Mr. Magata waits patiently, running his fingers along the sword in front of him. "Cooking, you see, is sort of an ancestral thing."
Aurora smiles at the choice of food, nodding to the waitress before beginning to gracefully eat her own plate.
Mana: "Passed on from master to apprentice, equal parts art and science - before one can elaborate, one must be instructed on the fundamentals."
Mana: "There are certain steps, from rules of thumb to ironclad commands, that carry the entire product on their shoulders."
Mana: "Baking is infamous for it, I understand."
Theodore nods along as he eats some of the fish.
Xsaieta glances up and flicks an ear, curiously. Listening. (And then nodding, because… Anya didn't always know how to bake.)
Mana: "If one makes a substitution, alters the process, without understanding the fundamentals - then, disaster, I think, is sure to follow."
Mana: Mr. Magata smiles. "But this one turned out well, don't you think? It's our house's apprentice first time preparing it."
Theodore: "I like it just fine, yeah!"
Mana: "Wonderful. I shall have to try it myself sometime - though, perhaps from the master, and not the apprentice."
Mana: "I understand that you paid a visit to that little warren of rats, and their warehouse."
Theodore: "King and the head Priestess, yeah."
Mana: "A bizarre appelation for the both of them."
Mana: "Do you recall the understanding we had, when I sent you to that warehouse?"
Xsaieta: "It's wonderful! I -highly- recommend it." The tip of his tail twitches, trapped curled around himself… ears perked up. This would be the exciting things they got up to while Xsai wasn't around, so…
Theodore: "Uhh… you didn't care if we had the weapons if we didn't use them in Salamander, and you wanted to make sure that the rats were going to use them either."
Mana: "Remind me, if you would. I don't think such a thing would slip my memory, but…"
Mana: "…where is this warehouse located?"
Theodore: "Mmm." Theodore rocks his head back and forth.
Theodore: "I get this sneaking suspicion that if I tell you where the warehouse is, I'd wake up in the morning and the warehouse will have been ransacked wiht a lot of people dead. And people dying is kinda what I'm trying to prevent so…"
Mana: "I don't think that's a risk."
Mana: "Because, I gave you the address to that warehouse."
Mana: "And if I recall, it was in Salamander."
Mana: "Which makes it very unusual that you decided to hold a firing drill there, given the terms of our understanding."
Theodore scratches his head.
Theodore: "Oh!"
Xsaieta looks as though his gears are spinning very rapidly in an effort to spin up some bullshit to get Theodore out of trouble if need be. An ear flicks a few times. He wasn't there, which makes it both easier and harder.
Theodore: "Sorry, we've been tlaking about people dying a *lot* and it's getting late my mind my is kind of all over the place. No offense intended."
Mana: "So have I, oddly enough."
Theodore: "Anyways what was going on in that warehouse is we were trying to get your man out alive, while also getting some knowledge on how all this stuff works, right? And the best way to do that was by going with the flow, and both listening to the people pointing muksets at the viper, and by testign this stuf fout in a very controlled enviroment."
Theodore: "It woulda been, like… really weird if they had went " Okay we'll give you these muskets and show you how to use 'em ", and then we went " actually, don't show us how to use 'em. ", y'know?"
Mana: "And what, exactly, did these invading foreigners ask of you, for you to be gifted with these weapons?"
Theodore: "For the muskets themselves? Nothing at all. The Priestess said only those blessed by the Goddess can use then, and being able to do so convers true aim, so she wasn't like… looking for anything? She was happy enough for us to take them."
Theodore: "Basically, we could use them so she thought we should have them."
Mana: "…So, if I'm following correctly, she posits that anyone capable of pulling the trigger is divinely guided in so doing?"
Xsaieta tilts his head to the side, narrowing his eyes. He can… see why that would come off as shady to their esteemed and gracious host, although he knows Theodore and the others a bit better.
Theodore: "I think it was more like " if you're divinely guided, you don't even need to try and aim and it'll just work… but yeah more or less. "
Theodore: "She was calling 'em holy weapons."
Aurora: "It wasn't exactly a philosphy I'd follow, myself…"
Mana: "…I trust you understand why I want her head."
Theodore: "Oh yeah, she's definitely bad news. But killing her is only going to make this worse until the general situation dies down, y'know? The safest way to play this is to keep peace between the gangs and just get her out of Salamander."
Mana: "The other gang is a pack of liquor-addled construction workers in bed with foreign temples that consider explosions to be a sign of god's will."
Mana: "You'll pardon me if I've misplaced my olive branch."
Theodore: "Yup. But there's a lot of 'em and you don't need to be especially skilled to cause a lot of havok and destruction with explosive."
Theodore: "All you need is a match."
Theodore: "Oh yeah. While I was there I kind of pitched the idea to King that you'd all team up and kind of… have Salamander susceed from Titania with you as the leader. So… just in case that comes up. Probably won't, but."
Aurora shakes her head. "Yes, I'm sure the Emperor would just take that in stride."
Xsaieta lets out a tiny little chuckle at his characterisation of the other gangs. And, well, he's right, of course.
Mana: Mr. Magata sighs.
Mana: "Possible. Even desired. But in this moment? Deeply unwise."
Theodore nods.
Theodore: "He actually actually more respective to the idea than everyone thought he'd be, for what it's worth."
Mana: Mr. Magata frowns.
Mana: "King, I understand."
Mana: "That priestess, I do not."
Theodore: "Oh, she's easy."
Aurora: "Well, she is a foreigner."
Xsaieta: "…I don't think anyone would mind seeing that happen, to be honest. But-" -he nods. At the moment, unwise. And he tilts his head at Theo. He's got an idea, but…
Theodore: "The Emperor is, um, not in favor. Like, anywhere. They said he's a problem that needs to be removed. Pretty simple really - I mean, the will of the Goddess is generally pretty obvious and direct."
Theodore: "Which is why they wanted to start a bloody revolution. I'm just not really feeling the bloody part."
Mana: "Especially since we aren't her people. And we do have the Empire's army living among us."
Theodore: "Right, that just means she doesn't particularly have to care what happens to the people in their crusade. *I* do, though."
Aurora nods. "I can't exactly fault her thinking… but it doesn't mean I like it."
Mana: "Given that, I suppose we can keep from smoking the rats out just yet."
Mana: "I'll expect your help in getting those guns out of here eventually, just so you know."
Theodore: "You got it."
Mana: "Oh well." Mr. Magata rings a bell.
Mana: "I suppose you'll need that antitoxin after all."
Theodore: "Mmm, as long as it's going to kill us before bed time, then we don't *really* need it."
Aurora: "Do you always have to be so flippant about that?"
Mana: A waitress returns, carrying a silver plate with two tiny glass bottles, stoppered. She hesitates.
Mana: Mr. Magata turns his head. "You resurrect?"
Theodore: "Yup!"
Theodore gives Aurora a smile.
Aurora: "…Since he's said so much already, each morning if we need to, apparently."
Mana: "Fascinating. Nevertheless-" He gestures to the waitress, and the bottles are placed down beside Theodore's plate, and Aurora's.
Mana: "…"
Mana: "So…"
Mana: "You're fearless killers, it seems."
Theodore nods, downs the contents of the bottle. "Probably be easier to deal with the enchillad's when not poisoned anyway."
Theodore: "Fearless heroes."
Aurora picks hers up, looking it over before downing her own. "Knights and adventurers, more like…"
Mana: "No, as heroes, you have very much to fear."
Theodore: "We try and do as little killing a possible! Unless it's monsters. Because monsters suck. Unless they can talk."
Mana: "But when you only seek to kill, you can't be stopped."
Aurora: "…The professional assassin isn't with us at the moment."
Theodore scratche sbehind his head.
Mana: "He's closer to the royal bloodline than I am, isn't he?"
Theodore: "Naw. I mean, there's a lot to *worry* about, but there's not a lot to fear."
Mana: "An invulnerable Emperor is a dizzying thought."
Aurora tilts her head before nodding. "I can't really picture him taking the throne unless he's forced into it, though."
Theodore: "Yeah, I've been kind of kicking that idea around too the past few hours. Not sure if he's one of us or not, though."
Theodore: "Oh, you ment Alex in the future. Haha."
Xsaieta grins at Mr. Magata. Why do you think he was so relaxed about eating that fish? Of course he recognised it. Still- he lets out another little snort of amusement at the lack of a little bottle given to him. Of course. His ear flicks in recognition.
Mana: Magata smiles at Xsaieta: "I trust you enjoyed the house master's cooking."
Xsaieta beams at Mr. Magata: "As I said, I'd highly recommend it."
Mana: "Perhaps one day. As good as he is, I lack the same insurance you do, and I still have many affairs to handle."
Theodore: "Hey, where you get those glasses out of curiosity? They're pretty cool."
Xsaieta nods. "Mm, quite reasonable." It's a shame, really- but a perfectly reasonable one. "-and for what it's worth, yes. When bein' vicious killing machines is the right thing to do, then, well-" -his fang glints like a centimetre of metal from a bared sword. "-it's better to be good at it than otherwise, isn't it?"
Mana: "Naturally."
Mana: He taps his glasses. "There's a glassmaker on Seventh street. Custom-ordered."
Theodore: "Ah, right on."
Xsaieta: "Of course, then it's all about knowing when it's the right thing to do." He shrugs ever-so-slightly and rolls his head on his shoulders. "…which is why you've got that sword and not either of the other clans, I think." He leans back on his feet, just a little.
Mana: "So I do. My thanks to Anya for it."
Mana: "It wouldn't do in lesser hands, after all."
Xsaieta: "Quite so." Oh, the words left unsaid. He smiles. Takes a sip of rice wine.
Mana: "…Will that be all?"
Theodore: "I think so, yeah."
Mana: "Very well." And Magata smiles, and your table descends once more.
Aurora gets up and dips a curtsey to him before they disappear from view.
Xsaieta bows deeply from the seat once again, tail twitching.
Theodore gives a nond of thanks and a wave to whomeever's still working down below, before stretchign out his arms as he walks outside. "Well, that went well>"
Xsaieta claps Theo on the shoulder and gives him a hug pretty much as soon as they're out of there, grinning. "Man. This didn't really occur to me until just now, but you basically -get- Salamander, you know that?"
Xsaieta: "-and yeah, you did pretty great in there."
Theodore: "I do? Awesome, I like it when I get stuff. Especially when I get it right, or get it for free!"
Xsaieta: "Yeah, hell, most people who've lived in Titania or even in Salamander their whole lives don't really -get- it. Maybe it's a Luna thing." He fistbumps Theodore offhandedly and then continues walking along his side.
Theodore fist bumps.
Theodore: "Hmm. Man, it's really late isn't it? Probably a bit to late to drop in on the enchillada's, huh? MIght be bed time after all. Hmm."
Aurora raises an eyebrow. "So what's the secret, then?"
Xsaieta: "Aw, naw, it's… not like there's a -secret-, really."
Xsaieta: "Just… you got Salamander in your heart or you don't? Naw, that's not really it, either…"
Theodore ruffles Xsaieta's hair, then starts heading for the hole between Slamanader and Undine. "Ah well, yeah? Well, okay yeah it is late. MIght as well turn in and just get an early start in the morning, yeah?"
Aurora: "That might be an idea, yes… I should be heading back to Wisp, then."
Mana: And so it was written.

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