(He was given a place and a direction. No problem. This was gonna work. So, as Canti began to see just how far down the rabbit hole went, we now divert our attention to...Shadow. He was doing his job, as per orders. However, he had been taking his orders a bit more literally. You see, other people were following Canti more directly, keeping him in sight, but the devil-hound kept him in scent
instead. We don't need eyes to find our quarry, says the monsters of the land. Many of them didn't
have eyes, so it made an eerie sort of sense. In Shadow's case, the nose knows. Unless you could cover up the trail of an entire player profile engrained into the consciousness of the hellhound, you couldn't actually get him off the trail. It was a shame that similar information was unavailable regarding Suraisu himself. If Canti had managed something of that course, the dog would home in on him like a...like a...hmmm. Well, a homing-thingy. Sorry, but can you blame him? Literary exposition was not ranked high in his programming. In any case, the Bogie was in the right direction. He'd spotted Talal earlier during her rest-break and certainly took notice of...Demorian. How curious. There was a sign of- No. Orders. Following the master. Now, back to Canti's perspective... He was again marveling at the territory as he headed for the all-too-apparent castle with the raggedy look. Titan's Tooth would be near it and...oh, hang on. He had Flash Mail. The Twin Blade looked to see who it was from and his eyes sank. You know how Batman does it with solid-white eyes? Same principle, but black. Why? Because it was from...)
(There was a certain regret in Canti's mind regarding her, about a point of argument in Angel's mansion, over the matter of killing their enemies, the people who tried to murder them and certainly worked for those who put them down in this place, caught in The World like a web. Still...he didn't like how that conversation turned out, and he felt it might've hurt her.)
Umm... please forgive me for stepping out of place in asking, but... this isn't a trap, is it? You and Dien-san are going to draw him out to actually offer him a place among us, aren't you? This... isn't just a roundabout way for the two of you to get revenge on him for putting the both of you into a coma, right?
(This was alot different from the message from Takua, a progress report on his attempts to shadow him. It took all of a minute to decide how this was going to go. He wasn't a kill-crazy nutjob, and he didn't want Suraisu dead anymore than the man wanted to be dead himself.)
SUBJECT: RE: Suraisu
No, not anymore. I've been giving it alot of thought. I don't want to be his enemy. I'm out here to reel him in if I can. You can't expect me to sit around like a dunce if he attacks, but this isn't about revenge.
Oh, and...sorry about what I said in the mansion. I know I was a little harsh.
(It took a bit of a while for a return message to come in. During that time, Canti wondered...why would Sekai message him about this, after the plan was already being put into motion? She could've ask him at any time. It might've been because it was his idea and that maybe made him 'leader' for the moment, but it didn't seem like that. Had it been because they'd spoken on this before? The timing of this message, plus the content, just stuck in the Twin Blade's mind for now, like some instinct was telling him he was missing something. The reply came back...)
Subject: RE: RE: Suraisu
I'm...glad to hear that, more than I can truly express. There's self-defense...and there's laying a trap for someone without the intention of negotiation. I dislike the latter immensely, it just doesn't seem fair...as childish as that may indeed sound. It sounds self-centered of me, and I am very likely stepping far out of place in my opinion, but, I don't want to kill anymore. Not more than we have to, anyway. With Tritoch-san...it was unavoidable, that much is clear. But if there are others that can be reasoned with, even a little, I would like to try doing so before deciding to permanently seal their fates. It's a heavy...heavy feeling, to know that you are the cause, or one of them, for the reason someone outside this world will not be waking up any longer.
Oh, um...please pay it no mind. I wasn't ever angry or really upset over it so, um, there's no need to apologize. It's okay.
(He was outside Titan's Tooth now. It was really
a tooth, fanged, with some blood maybe coming out of it. It was also huge. Canti had the inclination to call it Club Snagglepuss, but...someone would hate him for that.)
SUBJECT: RE: RE: RE: Suraisu
I understand. This was the reason I decided on this mission. I needed to find out, more than anything, what his story is. I needed remove any doubt, one way or another.
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: Suraisu
I understand, I think. Let's hope that his answer is favorable and nothing bad will come of this.
Canti: So do I, Sekai. So do I.
(That being done, the Twin Blade checked out the state of the Titan's Tooth. Big place, lots of capacity, and no bouncers. He walked right in like he owned the place. Nobody stopped him. Awe-to-the-freakin'-some. As far as he could tell, the place was almost full up. Not many places to sit, but there were some table spots and at least one at the bar. Since tables were - at least to him
- more for groups, Canti took a seat at the bar itself. He'd had some personal bar experience. You could tell by the way he'd gotten himself all the way out here like this. Looking around, he didn't see anything or anyone
out of the ordinary. That is, nobody in Stitcher - Population: Wacky - was giving him the funny eye. Cool. Meanwhile, the bartender was not making any attempts to see him through, so Canti put two fingers in his mouth and whistled loudly.)
Canti: Yo! This ain't a time to be sober. Little help here?
(That got a reaction, once he was done serving a couple folks. How do ya drink with a mantis-head? We had a couple of Zorak look-alikes here. Anyway, the bartender came over.)
"What would you like?"
Canti: Something with zing and a side-order of information.
(Drink came easy and he received something reddish-brown that tasted spicy. Information probably wouldn't come in a bad of saltines, so the bartender was awaiting further comment. Canti nodded in approval of the El Ka-Zing he ordered. Next time, he'd have to find out what El Ka-Bong is like.)
Canti: If I were to ask how or where ta' find a missing person, would I get help or thrown ass-first out the door?
"Depends who you talk to. Tell me three facts about this player."
Canti: Alright. He's a lightning-oriented dude, he's made up like a baseball player, and he replaced his blood with metal.
(This was, to date, the best way to describe Suraisu in brief. Seriously, he was all about baseball, lightning, and the metal blood. How or why he did that, Canti did not know. The bartender said "There. Talk to Sandrew."
, pointing to a man in mottled browns, looking alot like a badger...with wings on his head. He was laughing and drinking with four other dudes with similar looks. The Twin Blade was about to say he didn't need no stinking badgers, thought better of it, muttering "Skip it." before pointing to his finished drink and saying "Tab?". Bartender-approved, he headed on over to the badger group. There was a similar problem of badgers to consider, when you thought about it. A bunch of weird similar-dressed guys laughing at a table? Surely, we're not meddling with A Clockwork Orange
, are we? If he saw one hint of milk plus vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom...he would be out the door before you could hum the opening bars to good old Ludwig Van. Being that not the case, he dared to talk to Sandrew and his three droogs, at great risk of incurring a bit of the ultra-violence.)
Canti: Hey, could I persuade you to talk business for a sec?
(His merriment was too great to look threatening and he took no posture in defense of Canti's own presence. Also, the Clockwork Orange jokes abruptly ceased in the wake of serious business.)
"Sure, what's up?"
Canti: Lookin' for a particular bloke with a thing for lightning. Baseball player look, metal blood? Hearing you might be of help there.
"Hmm... Sounds familiar. Not her, no, who was it... Right! That guy. Yeah! That guy. What was his name... Burisu? Surabo? Something? Anyways. I know 'em."
Canti: Suraisu. Alright. What can you tell me? And...
(He gave him a careful glare, the penetrating kind that says 'I wasn't born yesterday'.)
Canti: ...what am I gonna have to pay for this?
"Buy me a drink, and I'll tell ya."
(He drained his and waved another from the bartender, pointing at Canti. Seems he had no real choice in the matter, now. But seriously, if he was able to get this going on the price of a freakin' bar tab, that...was serious good fortune. There was alot you could screw up in this sector, such as with the many stories behind the Patchwork King. You'd probably have to be insane to invoke the master of the land, which actually put into perspective what he and Raquar tried to do. Of course, the Vak Master wasn't in, and possibly wasn't crazy either. We'll find that out later.)
"Not that I know much. Tell ya what."
(He suddenly went silent. That's...not a good sign.)
Canti: There's something ugly behind this, isn't there?
"What? Oh, no. Well, yes. Always something ugly in Yamiyo. Something wicked this way comes and all that. Okay! He loves to hang out at this bar down the way. Here, I'll draw you a map."
(Said map was scribbled on a napkin with a noted amount of stains on the thing, but it was entirely servicable in the act of directing him forthwith to the place of goings-on. That is, the next piece of the puzzle was in place. However...the pause had bothered him. There was always a catch, you see. And while this one wasn't Catch-22, it was probably relevent enough to warrant some concern.)
Canti: Someone else asking after him? Bad debt? Giant chicken? What?
"Oh, nothing really. Maybe a giant chicken. Depends how you slice it, I suppose. He won't be like you remember him though, I'd wager. He's washed-up, that guy."
(Turning away, Canti headed over to the bar to receive the confirmation of his damages. The bartender offered him a smile. Obviously, ole' Sandrew had been in the information racket a while and had learned to put it to his partying ways. Namely, that drink was 99-times the worth of Canti's own, which had been a mere 10 GP. The sheepish look on his face was preious. Fortunately, he had a thousand on hand, thus preventing him from being held up on a mere technicality. And, consulting the napkin-map, he was on his way. Doing so led him to the place, but at that moment...there was a commotion coming from down the way. Pocketing the napkin, the Twin Blade headed in that direction only after a small deliberation. It could've been anything, but he was concerned that it was either one of his own or Suraisu. The bar could wait, unless it was gonna explode in the next few minutes. What he sees is...a badly-wounded pedestrian, and a commotion moving further on. Someone was running for some reason. Canti gave chase and...soon caught up with the runner after getting out onto another street. It was Dien!)
Canti: Dien? What the hell is he doing?
(It may interest those here to know that Canti sorta' missed there being some kinda' Flash Mail that Dien supposedly sent. He was too focused on napkin-search to pay that kind of attention. Or in the chase. Or whatever. He was kicking something like a dumpster now. Call him crazy, but Canti didn't like whatever approach the Blademaster was cooking up. After his own clever-as-hell way of getting in here like this, it was a little annoying to find him running around with his sword going whackity-whack. This was suppose to be one of the most dangerous areas around. So, you can understand the degree of attitude in the Twin Blade's Batman-like suddenly-be-right-behind-you routine and asking...)
Canti: Did I miss
(Ah, but Dien's rage was inmistakable. He was pissed off, royally-so.)
"Suraisu... That bastard fucking got away."
(And now, Sekai's Flash Mail was beginning to make alot more sense. Why would she ask, if she didn't suspect that one of them would want revenge? Hell, Canti was the obvious pick. He was the one that obsessively looked for the guy during his time off, inquired the most about him. This was his plan
, even. But it wasn't just that, was it? Sekai was always concerned. What if...someone was acting on their own here? What if someone broke the silent runnings and the luring out of this guy to get a piece of him? No... He had no proof. He didn't even know what Sekai was really thinking. He only had a suspicion...)
Canti: Tell me what happened.
"Exactly what I said in the flashmail. I tried to talk him over, but when he recognized me, he hit me once and ran. I'm heading back to the bar where I found him, see if I can't find anyone who might know where he would have gone."
(He cracked his neck and swung his sword to remove...fleshy substances from his sword, something that stuck to it during...he-did-not-know-what. Canti followed him, of course. His thoughts were increasing in sudden worry. If he'd been there a moment sooner, he would've seen what happened. The little bits of data showing up here were not giving him any comfort at all.)
Canti: Couldn't get a word in edge-wise, huh? Who'd you hit? Gotta learn more... Gotta find out if it's the truth...
"Bystander. He exploded after Suraisu pulled him into the sword's path to block it - I think I might have hurt him a little bit."
Canti: I see...and ew. Let's go back to this bar, then. See if we can't approach him in a way that doesn't involve others or sudden attacks. Seems he won't come to us
now. Probably thinks we're out to mangle 'im.
(Yes, this DID sound like Canti was saying something, making implications. It was up to Dien if he wanted to rise to the occasion. He didn't, though. Of course, he could've been innocent, but a few things were nagging him now. All things in the world being what they are, Suraisu was still probably more powerful. That being the case, why didn't Dien
explode? No offense, Dien, but you not being dead is a fair argument for the defense. Anyway...)
"Probably best to let you do the talking then, though he might be a bit more freaked out by all the super-darkness-themed-ness you've got going on than anything else..."
Canti: I'm no more danger than he is to me
. He's got my weakness as much as I do his
. Besides, I didn't make
these powers happen that way. Talk to my evil personification of the virus on that one. Actually, on second thought, don't.
(He stepped into the bar and ummm...uh oh. Not only was this a lightning-and-metal-themed bar with a bunch of people with similar everything
to Suraisu, but these people weren't looking too happy, especially the bartender at Dien. Actually, that might've been at them both. This was not a friendly place to be and Canti was having his Star Wars 'bad feeling' right about now. He told Dien to stay there and approached the bartender himself.)
Canti: If it's not too much trouble, could you tell me about Suraisu?
"Look, I don't know what you're up to, but I don't want anything to do with it."
Canti: Ah shit.
I'm not 'up to' anything. At least point me in the direction of someone willing and able.
(He put his glass down on the bar hard enough to crack the glass.)
"No. You should leave."
"Canti, maybe we should listen to the man. I don't think anyone here would be willing to help us out..."
Canti: No shit, Sherlock. I'm in a bar full of lightning near where you did SOMETHING and I just pissed off the bartender. I should most definitely leave.
Alright. If he shows up again, tell 'im...I only wanted to help.
(Despondent Canti is despondent. He headed out the door, not looking very pleased. He just wanted out of there before one of them fired something at him. Now, he knew what it was like to walk into a racist bar. This was, however, where Dien came in - or out - with an oddity of his own, stating that he had another lead to work on. He was holding a Suraisu doll. You know, this wasn't really a time for voodoo, or in fact Neil Gaiman books. The Other Suraisu wasn't going to go sew buttons on his eyes. Nevertheless, confusion thy name is Canti.)
Canti: What in the huh?
"Long story, but this thing gave me one more direction to track out - I just found the Blades before I could."
Canti: Please tell me that isn't one of Demorian's jokes.
"No, I went to see the king of this town, and he gave me this. When I get closer to a place Suraisu hangs out, it gets warmer. I got to this intersection and the doll gave me two possible directions: I just got lucky enough to take the one that led me to Suraisu."
(They were at a crossroads, in more ways than one. Literally, there was this place that the doll had led them now, and then there was him and Dien. He was almost certain that Dien had screwed up this mission seriously, maybe twice now. Alot depended on the growing suspicion Canti was getting, but if it did then...both first contact was flubbed up, and that indirectly led to not finding anything out at the one lead that he had gotten himself, without contacting Mr. Mxyzptlk.)
Canti: You went to see the Patchwork King
? Christ, I got this far on bar-hopping...
(This was when a literal tall, dark stranger came in, stepping in behind them and leaning over between 'em to talk.)
"You won't find him where that will lead you."
Canti: Er, hi. As in really high
. Who're you and what the fuck, mate? What's your deal?
"Suffice to say, I hate that man. He will flee to a haunt so old that doll won't find it. He seeks refuge in the Raio Sector."
(Witness Canti's eyes as they go from confusion to shock to tightly-shut-and-mortified.)
Canti: What? Oh no... Not that
. God dammit dammit
! Thanks alot, pal. I went from 'needle in a needle-stack' to something far worse. Can nothing ever
be easy around here?
(Also bear witness to the fact that the Phantom of the Opera was gone before he'd reached the cussing part. Opening his eyes again produced a "Buh?" sort of expression, and then he settled into grand-deluxe irritation. Raio Sector... Not fucking Raio Sector... You don't ask Superman to walk into a Kyptonite mine, do you? Okay, maybe you do, but that's because he's Superman! Canti was Batman! Highly-destructible, yet awesome! You don't tell him to walk into a high-radiation zone unprotected! Bleedin' hell...)
"That was odd."
Canti: Yeah, that wasn't disturbing in the slightest
. Man, I was
liking this place, but now I'm just pissed.
(This was going to reflect very badly on his everything
. Where to start? Well, let's go with contacting Demorian and then setting things in motion for this.)
SUBJECT: Highly important.
I hope you've been watching, because it's an ugly picture from where I stand. I'm not certain, but I think Dien may be acting on his own. If you'd seen his face, you might think so too. I don't know what he did. I didn't see anything, but there are doubts, which is why I'm only talking to you here.
Our chance to meet Suraisu here is gone. He ran off, 'curiously' not killing Dien in the process. Make of that what you will. The confrontation probably ruined my one lead - that bar - and now this doll-thing Dien got from the Patchwork King also won't help, as a 12-foot black guardian told us he was going to Raio Sector.
My advice: We continue and be extra-fucking-careful. Keep a good eye on Dien, and watch out for Mr. Dark-And-Gruesome. He rubs me the wrong way, like maybe his sudden impromptu help-out was to make use of the living bait already out here and doing stuff. Remember, we're only here to get at Suraisu to get him on our side first, before the fight-part. I need to find out the truth, all of it, and I don't need Dien maybe-fucking-it-up.
Tell the others what you like, but I still wanna go. I haven't even lifted a knife yet.
(That sent, there was one more thing to put into place. He will know the truth of it, no matter what.)
Canti: Shadow, can you hear me?
Shadow: As easily as being in the same room, master.
Canti: New orders. You will follow Dien, overtly or covertly. I don't care, but do not let him out of your sight. If he spots Suraisu before I do and attacks, you will stop him. And you will DEFINITELY tell me immediately if he does so THE MOMENT it happens.
Shadow: Profile "Dien" accepted and locked into memory.
Canti: Good boy.