Description: "One of the greatest injustices of the Sequestration was robbing truly great individuals of their lasting legacy. Mister Jubei, Valkenhayn, even that single minded Hero... they deserve accolades rather than to gather dust in obscurity. Konoe, Trinity, their influences are still felt even though their memories are gone. Of course, it would have been better if the sixth of their number had remained forever forgotten. Unfortunately, even in my heart nests a coal of enmity for that man, ready to spark an inferno if I should forget to keep it suppressed. The grimalkin though... She may have the potential to feel nothing at all. Time will tell."
There has always been some dispute among the eldritch horrors that lurk in Makai as to whether the Ever Night always existed as a perpetually dark corner of the hellscape nightmares call home. Or if the miles of terrain that knows no sun seeped into existence from the great castle that lies at the heart of it. A massive, sprawling complex with terraces, causeways, towers, dungeons, and all manner of secret passages.
The maze of corridors, hallways, and floating buttresses alone would confuse any wouldbe vampire slayer into wandering for weeks before giving into despair. And that's before one begins to consider the traps, the pits, the animated suits of armor, and all manner of other clues to suggest that trespassers aren't welcome here.
It is an awful lot of castle for one lonely vampire to call home, but the imposing structure has always stood the test of time as as symbol of the Alucard family's power among their kind. Though normally the night skies over the complex are clear, leaving the moon to illuminate the grounds in silvery or crimson shafts of light, tonight a storm blots out the horizon. A malevolent, angry thing, lurking in the distance, with lightning flashes and the distant, slow rumble of rolling thunder.
And sitting in the open, as if in open defiance of the inclement weather pending, sits the young master of Castle Alucard. The place of respite is a large stone construct suspended by massive, heavy chains draped between two great spires. Like a gargantuan stone vase, the circular platform is occupied by a field of scarlet roses with a small tiled patio in the center.
It is there that Rachel Alucard watches, her seat a black throne with crimson cushioning. She is leaning to the side slightly, left elbow pressed against the armrest, her cheek resting against her left hand. Her right hand holds a cup of tea in the lap of her long, black gown, the liquid within having long since cooled as she's wiled by the minutes and maybe hours seated there. At her side, face down on a small table where a pot of neglected tea sits, is a red, bean-shaped creature with tiny batwings, snoozing away without a care in the world.
The young looking creature's eyes are on the tea itself, the fluid occasionally rippling, showing her the things she wishes to observe. Such as of her butler's battle with the Black Knight atop a NOL headquarters building. Tch. Valkenhayn slipped off while she thought he was still too injured to be about. And, judging by how the seemingly agreeable spar is playing out, her assessment was probably correct.
A quiet sigh, an almost human-like expression of ennui considering she has no need to actually breathe at all. Her mind wanders to other concerns, the mirror of neglected tea shimmering and- What's that? Ragna is standing in an ally, his body bloodied, nearby a girl in a tattered NOL uniform, blonde, bloodied.
Crimson eyes blink slowly, Rachel slowly starting to wake up from her idle observing, sitting up a little more straightly. Her eyes lift to the distant storm, but it isn't angry clouds she sees but the unfurling of the past several minutes in an otherwise unremarkable ally way in the heart of Southtown...
The silent stillness of the castle's ominous yet hauntingly beautiful backdrop is violated by the sudden burst of an alien sound, one entirely out of place within the ancient stone works and twisting mazes of hedgerow. It is not the storm above her with its rolling dark clouds that threaten to break open and spill four their contents at any moment that is responsible for this uninvited interruption to the small girl's scrying - some might call it voyeurism - for though such displays of weather are rare, they are not unnatural occurances.
Rather, it is a sound distinctly all it own, one which is unmistakable from any other once a person has been exposed to it. Even without her ability to spy upon anything in the world, Rachel would be intimately familiar with the warbling tone that accompanies the burst of energy that appears out of thin air some dozen or so feet away on the wide patio. The shimmering glow of jumbled molecules rapidly take the shape of a recognizable figure as head of Sector Seven's research department herself solidifies into a cohesive shape, her outline becoming solid and whole within a moment or two.
Kokonoe opens her eyes once the disorientation of the transporter's relocation effect stops making her head spin, figuratively speaking - she worked out /that/ bug long before testing the device herself - and casts her lazy golden gaze around to take stock of her surroundings. It is never a guarantee that she would end up precisely where she wanted to be. The technology was built on sound theories but in practice there are a million variables that could all suffer from one form of interference or another. Plenty of failsafes had been installed to ensure that no one would wind up merged into a tree or a brick wall, but ten or twenty feet off the ground or five miles away from the intended destination point were not unheard of.
Teleporting to strange haunted grounds of Castle Alucard is both far easier and much more worrying than any other trip she has ever been forced to make. One the one hand, Rachel's unique signature made it exceedingly easy to find a powerful beacon to lock onto as a guide, now that she knew what to look for. On the other, the site upon which her aged domicle is constructed contained enough latent magic to make her instruments practically useless. If anything went wrong, there likely wouldn't even be a way for someone to find out what had happened.
Which is precisely why such visits as today's are quite rare. Kokonoe had come to speak with the little vampire in such a fashion only three times in the past, each one of those cases preceded by an incident that required her to seek aid or council from the precocious immortal. Today is no different, in this respect.
The scientist rotates in place until she finds Rachel seated upon her bleak throne sporting one of her eternally dreary expressions of boredom. The half-beastkin's tails unfurl from her waist as she relaxes, flopping whimsically to one side, her ears tilting forward amidst the backdrop of the pink tufts of hair which she uses to disguise their presence. She pads closer to the ornate table, stuffing her hands into her pockets as she approaches with a casual gait, unafraid of whatever traps or safeguards might be in place around the hanging garden, knowing the would obey the will of their mistress.
"Hmph. Well, you look as cheerful as ever."
A pageant plays out before her sight, characters fulfilling their role, just as they always have. Only the actors have become interesting. A tall suit-clad man, his head mostly hidden by the hat he wears, bearing an unconscious NOL Lieutenant... and of course, the crimson coated imbecile wandering right into them. It escalates to violence, as she knew it would. A contest of strength Ragna the Bloodedge is not quite ready to triumph in. Half-lidded eyes flick back and forth, reviewing the eventful chapter in the lives of the trio that fate brought together.
Perhaps she should make a move. None of this would be happening if she had not- but no matter, she has already seen the ending and the past will not change. Still, a visit paid to Ragna might be an opportune time to remind him of his place in the world.
Her thoughts of actually getting up from her throne are interrupted by the spell woven intrusion. Barely turning her head, as if the effort to do so exceeded her interest, crimson eyes linger on the disturbance in the air for a fleeting moment before her eyes return to gazing at the storm. In that instant, she saw the spell formula, the unique arcane signatures in the minutia of execution that communicates, at least, the source of her incoming visitation as clear as if Kokonoe had sent a herald to announce her arrival.
The adolescent looking lady of the house knows it is almost definitely the scientist herself - Kokonoe is canny enough to know sending any of her puppets to treat with the vampiress will end poorly for them.
Standing on this suspended platform, high in the air, the scent of roses is pervasive, the air crisp but not frigid. There is a barely perceptible sway to the hanging garden beneath the gifted professor's feet. The nearby towers the supporting chains link to are twisted, bent and leaning in spite appearing to be built of unyielding stonework like any other fortress. One tower is topped with the grimace of a massive stone jack-o-lantern, its interior shedding a golden glow. The other bears a massive ancient clock on its side, the sound of its internal contraptions and countless gears faintly audible even from this distance in its inexorable tracking of time passing by.
There is a curious blend of dreary lifelessness to the sprawling fortress, yet a certain whimsical impression of life within its deathless walls too. Slowly, the child vampire's gazes wander back to the eccentric looking visitor, her cheek still propped against her hand. On the top back of her throne, crimson cat eyes blink open to watch Kokonoe as well, though Nago stays quiet for now. It is not his place to greet visitors!
"And I don't imagine you've come to improve my disposition any." Rachel replies, sitting up a little more straightly at last, left hand falling to her lap, her right hand settling the tea cup and saucer back on the table at her side before also coming to rest in her lap. On the table, the wings of the sleeping pink bean begin to flutter and Gii peels himself off, fluttering up into the air, tiny beady eyes blinking blearily. "If this is about the Thunder God, I am afraid I have little interest in entangling myself in that entire sordid debacle." Rachel warns. Her eyes stray toward the storm on the horizon, perhaps an echo of the building maelstrom back on Earth. "I believe he acts with sanction, and a mind committed to his path."
"I'll go prepare fresh tea!" the lumpiest bat ever declares with a nasally, child-like voice, his spindly taloned legs clamping down on the handle of the tea pot and fluttering off into the open air between the structures on a dutiful mission. Rachel seems to pay his offer no heed, eyes still lingering on Kokonoe, her expression managing that perfect blend of boredom and annoyance she must have spent decades mastering.
"If people throwing themselves into his lightning doesn't sway his resolve, perhaps I might still pay my respects to Raiden and discuss the matter in person." Rachel pauses for a heartbeat, "So if that is why you're interrupting my tranquility, you may go back to your tinker toys and clockwork golems and leave me to my study."
The little mistress of the castle greets her with the haughty disrespect to which Kokonoe has grown accustomed after so many years. Even when they first met, her mind still racing with the staggering magnitude of the discovery she had just made, she had found the girl's casual arrogance somehow appropriate, as if she had been born to wield that sharp tongue as masterfully as any fencer. She is still an annoying brat; no aura of mysterious power or supernatural wisdom will ever change that about Rachel, lest the stars themselves fall from the sky in shock.
However, that vampirish snobbishness is lost on the sole daughter of not one but two of the greatest heroes this world had ever been privy to. While Rachel might be the heir to a power beyond most people's comprehension, Kokonoe is the scion to a legacy of unparalleled might and magic, which after she passes on will have gained technological genius to the end of its list of accolades. Her twin cat-like tails twitch slightly in annoyance at the rude dismissive greeting but she otherwise seems unperturbed by the ancient creature's lack of hospitality.
"I see your manners haven't improved either. Hmph. Well it's a good thing I don't care about that crap or I might have taken offense."
She eyes the platform suspiciously as the bat-creature takes off with the teapot, openly glancing back and forth, though there seems to be little more than stone and bushes all around them.
"I'm surprised that guard dog of yours hasn't started barking yet. Guess you've got him off fetching your majesty's slippers or something important like that, huh. Hate for you to strain something by putting in a little bit of effort."
The neutral expression she'd been wearing upon arrival slowly turns into a faint scowl, though the fowlness of her mood is only partially related to being reminded about yet another point of potential instability in her model of future events. That particular individual she has no intention of interfering with if only because she has no idea what the hell he's up to. Destablizing Raiden's power might cause even more chaotic outcomes. Ofcourse, the problem with that is that she might have already done so.
"Look, as much fun as it would be to sit here and trade barbs with you all day, I've got a serious issue. Things started to spiral out of control a lot faster than I had anticipated. The formulas were spitting out all sorts of crazy shit. I had to do something about it... but in retrospect I'm starting to wonder if my decision was the right one."
Here, meeting in person, with nothing on the table to break between the two of them, the back and forth between the two minds is limited to the exchange of verbal jabs, deflects, and the occasional probing to see just how much the other knows. There are no minions, projects, or experiments to sabotage at the moment, which means ultimately the discourse, however antagonizing it may be, is safe to conduct for Kokonoe with no risk of reprisal from the throne seated immortal.
"If you cared about manners," Rachel replies, the corner of her mouth lifting just slightly. She truly does enjoy the distraction in spite herself. "You would have at the very least had the decorum to say hello rather than barging into my home right in the middle of tea time."
"My goodness, such deplorable manners. Is this truly the sharpest mind of the modern Earth?" Rachel's throne decides to chime in finally, the white cat-muzzle near the top of the seat back the origin point for the melodramatic male enunciation.
But it's Kokonoe's attention that gets an actual reply, a soft sigh as Rachel glances to the side, eyes lingering on the storm again, her back straight, small hands still in her lap. "I am afraid Valkenhayn has decided to go take certain pressing matters into his own hands. I will have to discuss this new found sense of... initiative with him when he returns." It would take ears as sharp as Kokonoe's to find that miniscule trace of concern buried deep in the young vampire's voice.
Eyes flick back then, half lidded the moment Kokonoe mentions a serious issue. She has Rachel's attention now, and though it would be easy to dismiss her half-closed eyes as a sign that she's on the verge of dosing off, the twin-tailed hybrid would know from previous experiences that Rachel will hear her out.
"When did you notice the change in the embedded imaginary number field matrix?" Finally, a direct acknowledgement. "And did your data account for the increased probability density brought on by recent events?" Rachel leans forward just a little then, hands clasped together in her lap, and the back of her throne leans forward as well as if taking equal interest in Kokonoe now. "What did you do, grimalkin? What calamity did you put in motion in that laboratory of yours?"
Her blood red eyes close then, the girl becoming still. One might mistake the shift for having perhaps drifted off if they didn't know better. "I see," she murmurs, eyes opening all the way then, slowly, as if coming back from the depths of sleep. "You are taking quite a risk. But perhaps this is the time for such measures." Rachel leans further forward, her throne rising slightly as to get her to her feet without her even having to extend the effort to stand. Behind her back, the tall furniture collapses down into its more relaxed state - a large, pudgy ball of black fur with cat-shaped head to go along with it. Nago sits just behind Rachel, and to the side, the feline lifting one meaty paw to his mouth where he begins licking the back of it idly, crimson cat-eyes sticking to Kokonoe all the while.
"I trust you are confident in being his Observer then..." Rachel continues, "For as surly as he can be, I would hate to surrender the Susano'o Unit back to The Boundary. Not after what it took to get it the first time."
Slowly, Gii flutters back over from a nearby tower, a new steaming pot of tea dangling from his legs which he settles down on the table with surprising dexterity considering his form.
"And you WILL be watchful," Rachel adds, glancing away for a moment, arms folding over her stomach, "I am afraid its original owner is scurrying about the world as we speak."
In the process of carefully tipping the tea pot into a clean cup on the table, Gii starts at Rachel's declaration, tiny wings flailing as he almost drops the porcelain pitcher onto the patio floor. "P-Princess, I thought you were going to handle that your-"
Rachel waves her hand backward and a gust of wind violently sweeps her small familiar clean off the platform, leaving the tea pot to rock back into place on the table without falling off.
Nago cranes his giant head over his shoulder briefly, watching the tiny bat fly. "When will Gii ever learn..." he muses forlornly.
Kokonoe's frown does not grown any deeper at the moniker tossed her way, accepting it in stride much the same as any other label which has been applied to her in jest or malice. Words have meaning, yes, but only so much as one allows them to. As their creators and masters, mankind is the ultimate arbiter of how a word may affect them, with the greatest power of all belonging to each individual.
It is an ancient word, a fitting choice for one such as the immortal creature that inhabits these profane halls. Much like Rachel the word has two forms, one meant for simple utility while the other was designed solely for the sake of insult and derision. Truly, a fitting choice of vocabulary for the playfully spiteful creature that had chosen it as her personal affectation for the scientist.
Well, atleast it's more classy than 'demon cat'.
"You should know better than to ask me a question like that," Kokonoe grouses, showing some actual minor irritation that her abilities were even under scrutiny. "It'll be a real pain in the ass, but I'm pretty certain I can keep tabs on him. Trust me, I haven't forgotten all the work we did to find that damn thing. I'm not eager to repeat it without a good reason."
Her tails twitch irritably back and forth a few times as Kokonoe recalls the countless hours of grueling work to sift through every square inch of the Boundary, peeling back layer after layer of possibility in order to scrape even the tiniest chance of success into a measurable probability that didn't infinitely border on zero. She had done the improbable - no, what she had accomplished was infact some sort of miracle, the sort of task that only someone of her towering intellect could have even dreamed was possible, it was so absurd. The workload had lost her more than one subordinate and even more still held lingering feelings of resentment from the way she had pushed them to work through the long hours of the night, scraping and sifting through an infinitely large box of sand for a single grain of salt.
"Anyways, that's not why I'm here. Not exactly, atleast. With all of the chaos this conflict has created thanks to Justice and Raiden and who know else stirring up all sorts of possibilities, it's been really hard for me to get a solid read on the Gate lately. I'm some what worried that..."
he scientist frowns as Rachel interrupts her, but her expression becomes something wholely different as the implications of what was just said sinks in. Her golden eyes go wide, the pointy ears on her head standing up in full alarm as if suddenly aware of a looming threat in the gloom that was not present before. Gii's untimely return and commentary turns the expression on Kokonoe's face from one of surprise to a mask of outrage.
"What?! Rachel...! You knew this? You knew this and said nothing?!"
At the outburst, Rachel continues to look to the side, her body turning partially so that her right shoulder faces the reclusive scientist. Her mouth curls into a frown, eyes fixed on the roses growing in a ring around the patio the two stand upon. She doesn't answer immediately, a rare moment of hesitation, her bulgy feline familiar glancing between his master and their visitor as the ticks of the great clock in the distance echo through the open air.
But she does finally answer, her tone of voice not changed in the slightest. "I will make no apology for my decision to stay quiet concerning the matter. I had hoped to resolve this before his escape became more widely known. I thought that if he had acknowledgement only from Valkenhayn and I, his tenuous grip upon your world would be weak enough to be pried loose."
Her eyes close then, her right hand lifting, fingers resting delicately against the side of her head just above her right ear. "But I fear it is already past that point now. The infection has set in. Already, he moves to engender the kind of recursive hatred that will anchor the cockroach permanently."
Her eyes blink open as she turns to face Kokonoe directly, face lifted just slightly, her eyes looking back into the golden eyes of the angry scientist. The small girl's arms are still folded over her stomach, hands nearly lost beneath her lacy, black sleeves. "Even by telling you now, that spark of enmity that fuels the destroyer grows slightly. But you would have found out soon enough, I suppose."
She purses her lips slightly, her own brow furrowed just slightly, "It is fine to direct your anger about the situation at me if that will help you clear your mind for combating the actual problem we face. You cannot fight /him/ in anger. And once he becomes aware of your existence, he WILL find every way possible to kindle it."
"Yeah, t-that's what happened with the Prince-" Gii stammers, having just managed to wing his way back to the edge of the platform only to get blasted away again by another flick of young Alucard's wrist.
A soft sigh, her arm returning to its folded position as Rachel turns away again, "I will not keep the truth of it from you, Kokonoe. In a moment of anger, I did acknowledge Yuuki Terumi, and that is how he broke through. I thought to keep it my own problem, if possible. That possibility no longer exists."
Unlike the tiny vampire, Kokonoe's wrath is not a subtle thing whose mere existance is only suggested by faint traces of emotion and brief but potent outbursts of casual violence. The cat-woman's face screws up into a knot of furrowed brows and bared teeth as she attempts to contain the overwhelming desire to visit suffering upon the selfish arrogant creature before her. The attempt would end rather poorly for her, if she were foolish enough to try, but it's clear that her fury at being kept out of the loop due to a lack of trust in her abilities threatens to overwhelm her typically cold logical detachment. She had trusted Rachel and thought that trust went both ways.
The quiet solemn excuse that is offered as an explanation for this breach of communication is not quite the salve she needs to completely soothe the wound which has been inflicted upon her pride but Kokonoe's anger noticably dims in the face of the simple logic behind the actions. By the time Rachel has finished speaking, the emotion is no longer clearly etched into her features, though she continues to offer a dark scowl towards the vampire, her tails flicking back and forth in restless annoyance.
"Fine," she sighs, resting a hand on her hip, the other going up to rub at the top of her head in frustration. "Yeah, I guess that makes sense."r
Her mind automatically drifts towards the events of the past couple of days, replaying the scenario in her head. Releasing Hakumen into the world had been a hard decision but one she had made in good faith, certain that whatever foolishness he might get up to she could circumvent with the proper precautions in place, only now to find out that her variables were incorrect in a particularly nasty way. Knowing that man is now free to roam about and influence events as he pleases is an unpleasant sensation to put it mildly.
"I guess it was bound to happen eventually. The timing on this really fucking sucks though. I was hoping to atleast have this current mess sorted out before we had to worry about...him. But atleast some of my prediction models anticipated this outcome, so I'm not completely caught with my pants down here."
'No thanks to you,' she adds mentally, but keeps that sentiment to herself. Despite this breach of trust, Kokonoe actually really likes the girl. She's rude and arrogant and infuriatingly cryptic at times, certainly, but she's also one of the few people that can go toe-to-toe with the scientist mentally and she's been a staunch, if enigmatic, ally ever since they first met.
Reaching into a large pocket on her jacket, Kokonoe withdraws a small rectangular device and swipes her thumb across its flat surface. A shimmering holographic display pops into existence, casting the scientist's face in a dull orange light amidst the eternal darkness of the Ever Night's overcast skies. Her thumbs dance across the shimmering keyboard in a manic but precise assault upon its surface and the screen begins to scroll with a variety of data streams that she scrutinizes carefully.
"Well, assuming that Justice doesn't blow up Japan and whatever it is Raiden is doing doesn't throw everything out of alignment, the probability of a full emergent cascade is still pretty low. This situation can still be salvaged but with Teru-". She catches herself and frowns momentarily. "With that man free to do what he wishes, we'll have to be even more vigilant."
The data-readout fades away and she stuffs the small computer back into her pockets, a look of cold determination on her face. One finger rises to her face, pressing against the small frame of her pince-nez glasses to adjust their position on her nose as she turns to stare up at the wan orb of the moon overhead, its light casting their small lenses in stark white reflection.
"I think... it's time I stopped sitting on the sidelines."
As Kokonoe begins to work her way through the range of emotions the unexpected revelation and subsequent response takes her through, Rachel waits quietly, her right hand resting against the side of her head, just above her ear, her crimson eyes shifted to the side rather than looking at the scientist directly. While the avoidance of eye contact would easily be read as sheepishness for having been caught not being forthright in most, somehow the pampered vampire girl makes it seem almost if she's looking down on the frustrated woman in spite being a little shorter than she is.
It's when the device is withdrawn that Rachel's focus shifts. With her attention on the display itself, the so-called Devil Cat may not notice that Clavis's daughter is staring right at the lenses perched on her nose. It may not even occur to her immediately that the Alucard heiress is reading the holographic display by the reflection in those very lenses, following along quietly, her left hand slipping out to her side to rest atop her lumpy feline familiar's head.
"There are a number of potential flashpoints. Even now, mortals move to challenge the Thunder God, a desperate bid to disrupt the ritual that will soon blanket the globe with storms that have not been seen for an era. Their resolve may sway his course, but their irreverence may just as well foment his wrath even further. As he has lived to see all of man's failings from the beginning of time, it is unsurprising that he can justify his chosen course. But it is not purely from anger that he acts... I am afraid he operates from a perspective even I cannot fully fathom."
Her right index finger taps the side of her head once as she continues to muse out loud, "That contraption called Justice... I have seen it defeated before, I believe it will happen again. But should those facing it fall short in their moment of obligation, I may need you to redirect your newly unleashed toy toward it as a final stopgap." The statement is made as if she entirely expects Kokonoe to cooperate simply because she asks her to. But if the two are going to disagree anywhere, it is unlikely the fate of Southtown is to be one of those points, is it?
The young looking monster sighs softly as she continues, "Normally I would care little about the fate of a single city on a single island, but... I have given my word that I would intervene." An uptick of her mouth, that smug if only barely present smirk returning. "I suppose your timely release of the Hero can serve as an intervention that would not weaken my own position. Besides, there is a certain poetic perfection to it, is there not? A city annihilating automaton called Justice verses the animated armor of the destroyer unit who speaks only of delivering justice? May the best justice prevail, I suppose."
Her eyes shift to the side, her finger tapping once again, "Let us not forget the rogue automaton on the loose. At her heart is a weapon that would melt even your iron golem into scrap. The minds behind these so-called Gears are as dangerous and reckless as the scientists who broke the world with-" Her voice cuts off then, "Well, suffice to say, whenever science and magic get too intertwined, the planet has suffered for it."
Kokonoe pockets the device and Rachel continues to look toward the side, her blonde beribboned twin-tails swaying slightly in the rose scented breeze that passes over the platform. In the distance, the clock toward begins to chime, its clarion call reverberating throughout the complex to the count of three. Only as the third chime fades, does Rachel reply to the professor's declaration of action. "Every moment of your life, every discovery, every advancement, and every acquisition has been preparing you for the fight ahead, Kokonoe. I cannot yet see how the story will conclude. I merely know that we must act."
Her hands drop to her sides as Gii finally makes it back to the island platform and hovers over near the table with the still warm tea kettle whereupon he resumes tea pouring duties while smartly keeping his whiny mouth shut.
"The serpent will start by solidifying his presence further. He will do this by stirring up wrath against him from as many powerful individuals as possible. During this time, he will be at his most unpredictable, likely acting impulsively and without a pattern. Only once stable will he likely begin putting plans in motion." Her brow furrows slightly, eyes closing completely, "But even then, I do not know what his ultimate goal will be. His thought processes are alien to me and I have not had opportunity to watch him long enough to make sense of them."
Kokonoe almost smiles but at the last moment she twists the unfamiliar sensation into a smirk, as if unable to willingly show any positive emotion other than arrogant amusement. The source of this sudden mirth remains a momentary mystery as the scientist silently contemplates her own thoughts admist Rachel's morbid detailing humanity's failings both past and present and the consequences that await them should the worst come to pass. She supposes that from the perspective of a timeless creature like the vampire the utter destruction of but a single instance of possibility is little more than a minor annoyance, a temporary setback in the never-ending struggle to find the perfect and most elegant solution. Which is precisely why she finds it so funny that the girl's efforts seem to be struggling just much as Kokonoe's.
"It would appear there is a lot we don't understand here. Heh. Aren't we a fine pair of conspirators, hiding in the shadows pretending we're in control while we stumble around in the dark. Shit, I'm glad Tager isn't here. I'd never hear the end of it."
Despite her words, Kokonoe stands a little bit taller afterwards. She'd come here to get some sort of reassurance from the immortal vampire who seemed to be able to look into the future that her choice to release Hakumen had been an intelligent one, that she had covered all of the bases before making her decision even if it was a risky one. Instead, all she got was the same sort of nonsense that she'd been telling herself from the beginning, pointless reminders to be vigilant and careful, as if she's ever done otherwise. That brief glimpse into Rachel's fallibility somehow made her feel better. If even someone with that kind of experience available to her could be uncertain then maybe she really has done everything in her power to do the right thing. All that is left now is to watch and make adjustments as problems arise.
"There isn't a whole lot I can do to stop people from feeling emotions, unfortunately. We'll just have to try to keep this mess contained. As for Hakumen, it's likely he's already on his way. I doubt someone like him could resist the temptation to face such a challenging foe for long. Then again, he might not give a damn, so long as Justice doesn't disrupt his precious Order."
She turns to face Rachel again, hands vanishing into her pockets as the breeze stirs. Her long hair, surprisingly well maintained for someone as studiously averse to leisure time or breaks as Kokonoe, flutters alongside the empty half-open sleeves and the wide tail of the coat presenting a profile that almost matches what one would expect from the daughter of two legendary heroes, if only for a moment or two.
"That is precisely why I place my faith in science. You should know by now, Rachel, that power without control is unpredictable and dangerous. It is why the ars magus were created, to provide that stability, but it would seem that there were others with similiar goals and less scrupulous methods. I have to wonder why the Mage's Guild never intervened but perhaps we will never know now that those power-hungry fools have thrown their lot in with the Library."
The vampire heiress frowns a little, her eyes opening only slightly, her focus still off to the side as Kokonoe speaks. Self-effacing humor is not likely her cup of tea, per se. It's perhaps frustrating to hold such a position - to be able to observe, review, and rewatch moments from around the world, to piece together the paths by which events unfolded, over and over again, and yet still find herself uncertain of what lies ahead. Then again, perhaps in this area, the two are more similar than most would realize - in the last few decades, the proliferation of monitoring and recording electronics have possibly benefitted no one alive as much as they have the bunker dwelling hacker visiting Castle Alucard this fine afternoon. The square footage Kokonoe lacks access to shrinks day by day now that even everyday civilians have taken to installing cameras in every house.
"Yes, well," Rachel replies softly, "We shan't be needing to promulgate our collective shortcomings in this area."
It's the last she'll speak of being in the dark; the subject not one she intends to dwell on any further. Her eyes wander back over to the lean professor after a moment. "You should know, the serpent came to my home in the veil of a Captain Hazama of the NOL. And that man both arrived and subsequently escaped by way of teleportation." She pauses briefly to let that statement sink in. The number of people capable of just waltzing right up to the front door of Castle Alucard uninvited is incredibly small.
"I am not aware of anyone within the Librarium with the capability of pulling off such a feat... but many of their more secret places are hidden from my eye." Her eyes open the rest of the way at last, her gaze meeting Kokonoe's. "It may behoove you to ply your own resources to dig deeper. That is the path Valkenhayn's incensed temperament took him, though I fear his methods lack a certain subtle touch required of spycraft."
She listens to the musings concerning the Ten Sages... watching over the reckless of use of magic should have been their burden. After all, they had a second chance to keep it from getting wildly out of control after the first time, how could they drop the ball twice? "Ever since the lot of them placed a monster like Relius Clover at their forefront, the Ten Sages lost their way. They cannot be counted on to have same sway they once did."
Rachel looks to the side then, "However, the Novus Orbis Librarium did strongly caution the so-called United Nations against the creation and utilization of the Gears. The destruction and chaos caused by their arrival will only serve to vindicate the NOL, opening the door to their presence becoming more appreciated by the global powers." She sighs softly, "Compared to the open destruction wrought by the Gears, the Librarium will seem like a stabilizing hand on a swiftly tilting planet. You realize what this means for the future, of course."
Indeed, Kokonoe is not perfect, but she has yet to find a reason to go around letting people think otherwise. Who knows how much trouble she's avoided over the years because her enemies were simply too afraid to act, fearful of her ever-watchful eye and the power of science at her disposal. Even the legendary hero himself had shown a brief moment of unease at the prospect of undergoing another round of experimental tests at her hands. It is that very reputation of perfection upon which she has built her career - not that the reports aren't pretty close to the truth anyways.
"I won't tell if you won't," she promises, her grin fading as yet another unpleasant fact is made known to her. "Damnit... teleportation magic. Even I can't do anything about that."
A hand withdraws from her pocket bearing within it the familiar shape of a cat-earred piece of hard candy on stick which she promptly unwraps and pops into her mouth, slurping softly for a few seconds. While she does not indulge in many vices of a material nature, this is the one exception, the creature comfort which she leans upon to take the edge off of more serious matters. It helps her think, or she believes it does, which is almost as good. The power of positive thought is a surprisingly effective and proven tool.
"Figures Terumi would have something like that up his sleeve. It explains how he managed to slip away so quickly. But if that's true, it means none of my usual measures are going to be effective against him. Shit, that's a real problem. Even if we could find a way to hurt him, he'd just vanish as he pleased and come back later. Damn, that guy is already starting to piss me off..."
Attempting to divert her attention to something else in order to avoid needlessly feeding into the man's strength, she focuses on something else Rachel said, which is just as good of a focus for her anger as the ghostly meddler.
"Relius. Monster is a good fit for someone like him. He's gone way beyond the realms of science. A real pity he managed to survive that incident all those years ago. That's just one more actor on the stage I have to worry about. There's no way he'll be able to keep himself away from something like this. I shudder to think what would happen if he gained the knowledge of how to produce these Gears."
She shakes her head, rubbing a temple with the fingers of her free hand. So many problems and they just seem to keep piling up rather than go away. It's almost starting to make the NOL seem like a sideshow. Ofcourse, that sort of thinking is dangerous. Just because one encounters a snake only to be accosted by a lion does not mean it is safe to ignore the snake.
"This was always their goal. The NOL has been after more widespread power for years and this incident will play right into their hands. I bet the Imperator hasn't stopped laughing for weeks now. All the more reason to redouble my efforts and make sure that my supply lines remain secure. You can bet they'll be out for blood once they get a taste of global authority."
"It is possible for me to seal off this place from such magic, but it requires both my presence and my attention to sustain the barrier." Rachel explains thoughtfully, "Only useful when I specifically know a threat is inbound, or to create a sanctuary, however temporary, should the need arise." She considers for another moment, "As loathe as I may be to have such filth contaminate my home once again, if we were to lure him here when I was ready for him, we may be able to trap him long enough to do something about him."
Crimson eyes slip closed again, her resting hand tapping the side of her head once again, "But we would need not only the proper enticement, but also a stratagem of how to contend with him once we have the viper in our grasp... Hm..."
Rachel's voice tapers off as she shifts her focus back to Kokonoe, considering the additional factors of not only Relius Clover but also a more firmly entrenched NOL in the days ahead. "In that, we are agreed. However, I believe that the NOL will have to expand its recruiting efforts to sufficiently man its wide reach. And with every soul they add to their ranks, the possibility that some of their number may be weak links to be exploited only increases."
The gothic child closes her eyes for a moment, releasing a weary sigh, "I am afraid treating with those within their ranks to discover the gap in their armor is a task far beneath one of my station." More likely, even she's aware that militant soldiers in a global organization are unlikely to respond favorably to being interrogated by an aloof twelve year old that just so happens to also be able to destroy them. "But it is a course worth considering."
Behind her and to the side, Gii has managed, by some miracle, to pour tea from the still steaming tea pot using only his spindly legs to manipulate the kettle. Taking a few steps back, Rachel begins to sit down even before Nago wiggles his way behind her, swiftly shifting into the same black and crimson tall throne the vamipire girl had been resting in when Kokonoe first arrived.
Once again ensconced in her seat, her form nearly entirely hidden by the layers of dress and lace she considers casual wear, Rachel's left hand reaches out to retrieve the saucer bearing the cup of newly poured tea. With perfect aplomb, her right hand gracefully lifts the steaming cup closer to her face.
"Now, I have delayed tea time long enough. You are of course, welcome to join me," she inhales, eyes half closing as she takes in the scent of the black tea, seeming to have not a care in the world, as if she hadn't just been discussing a laundry list of calamities waiting to collide into earth shattering disaster.
"But I imagine your aggressive scheduling leaves little room to enjoy the finer things in life, Grimalkin."
Kokonoe mentally makes a note of this tidbit of information. Having the ability to shut down a teleportation spell, even with such limiting factors tied to its use, could be a fantastic boon in the future. Ofcourse, it's something they would only ever get the chance to use once, if at all, but knowing about it lets her factor it into any future plans. Like any great tactician, her strategems are crafted long before they are needed and in bountiful supply. While the famous quote 'No plan survives contact with the enemy' has some truth to it, such a thing had been considered wisdom only before she came along. The solution to the problem is quite simple, in her mind - have so many contingencies that no matter what happens she always has /something/ ready to deal with it.
"Unfortunately, I doubt we'll ever get anything particularly useful from a bunch of green recruits, if we can get them to talk at all. The NOL might be a bunch of greedy idiots but they aren't stupid. Their secrets aren't that easy to get to or they'd have been dealt with a long time ago. You're welcome to send someone to try if you feel otherwise, though, I won't stop you."
In point of fact, Kokonoe herself has long been attempting to do just that. NOL learned very quickly that any information kept on their databases are easy prey to the genius hacker and they'd invested in a rather complex security system that she has no access to through the internet or any other easily accessible channels. Hell, even the pain-stakingly difficulty ones had turned up nothing. Whatever it is they'd conjured up, likely literally, is beyond her ability to reach at the moment.
The scientist watches silently as Rachel descends into her throne on wings of frilly lace with a neutral expression, knowing full well that their conversation is over even before the girl expends the effort to speak. By the time she has extended the offer for Kokonoe to join her, the woman is already holding the small remote device which will send the recall signal to her teleportation machinery, her back turned to the vampire.
"If I had free time to burn, I'd spend it doing far more interesting things than wallowing in a dreadful place like this. It's just...creepy."
Her tails give a final flick which might be construed as some sort of farewell gesture and then the woman's body flies apart into a million tiny pieces which quickly disappear into the darkness with soft twinkle of orange light leaving Rachel alone once again with her thoughts.
Left with only the company of her two familiars, Rachel Alucard gazes silently at the place on the patio vacated by the progeny of legends. Sipping thoughtfully at the cup of tea in her hand, her back propped against the high throne, the immortal vampire wiles away the time, each passing minute marked by the loud echo of the clock tower's eternal advance.
As if breaking the silence for the sake of conversation, it is her throne that does the talking, a pair of cat ears protruding from the top, a pair of crimson eyes, and a mouth just below the origin of the next voice to be heard.
"Well, that went surprisingly civilly, if I do say so myself."
"Yeah! There was barely any yelling at all!" adds Gii with a nasally but chipper tone.
Rachel sighs softly, eyes half closed once more as she takes another thoughtful sip. "There are lines I cannot cross. And victory will require measures considered unthinkable to most that are capable of treading where I cannot. For now, I am in need of her assistance. Such times require the fine art of diplomacy."
Her eyes close completely as she sets the cup back on its saucer, the saucer coming to rest on her lap. "Besides," she continues to muse, her voice becoming softer by the second, "Her parents were held in high regard by Lord Clavis Alucard. It is the least I can do to extend some measure of regard for their daughter."
"The Princess is most kind," Nago declares with pompous reverence.
"Yeah! She'll figure out how to fix the mess she mad-"
Moments later, a pink, lumpy, tiny-winged bat flies past the clocktower belfry.
Log created on 15:47:50 12/02/2017 by Rachel Alucard, and last modified on 23:10:14 12/06/2017.