Echo - The Bat & The Pendulum[Toggle Names]
Description: Searching for leads to his kidnapped sister, Tairyu stumbles into the Southtown occult shop of none other than Echo, vampire bat necromancer and sleazy mercenary.
In the more kitschy and Chinatown-esque parts of Southtown, just past the red light districts--there is a series of small shops--devoted to fortune telling, souvenirs--and another which happens to red something like 'After Death Miracle Shop' in Chinese ideograms, which probably doesn't stick out too much among the other places devoted to snake oil or essential oils. A small set of stairs lead down to the glass push-style door, leading into what seems to have been the basement of a house once, long ago refurbished into a hair-dressing salon, though it was no longer that even now--instead, it was filled with all sorts of spiritual and black magic curios. A grinning cow skull greeted visitors from one wall, racks and shelves of various bits of glass and pottery, some of which were actually containers filled with insects or strange pickled things like one might see in a laboratory.
At the far end of the sop was a set of stairs that led upwards--into a back area? probably to whatever served asa backroom or office in this place, half-covered by a red silk curtain.
Under different circumstances, people might assume Tairyu to not be a superstitious type. But then, these days in this world, evidence of all things that could be considered 'magic' isn't entirely uncommon. And Tairyu? Tairy is well deep enough into the kind of situation that has him trying to consider all possibilities for getting him out of the situation, too.
And those considerations have lead him right down here into this basement shop of occult curios. He doesn't call out inside to make his presence deliberately known, but he isn't hiding it either; the sound of the door opening and closing is likely audible enough, even more so if there's a bell attached to it. Though he does immediately scan his eyes through the interior to try to find the proprietor-- it's not like he knows enough abotu these things to know what exactly he should be looking for, afterall!
"Just a moment, be down in a sec--" comes a plaintive, excited female voice from behind the curtain hanging over the stairs. It seems to be set up as a partition of sorts, as whoever manages the shop hangs out up there when they're not down on the shop floor proper.
All of a sudden, there comes a flapping--a shape, of some kind of strange white thing with wings--is it a bird? It flies out from beneath the curtain and wheels around the room, likely scaring the shit out of whoever is down there before it dives beneath one of the racks. After a noise like a whoosh of air and puff of smoke, a rather curious sight emerges from behind the rack itself.
It's a woman, definitely, in a black gothy dress with an open slit up one side of the skirt and high heels--however, she's uh. A bat. A winged, furred, lady--with bat ears and fangs and everything.
"Hello there, sugar--what can Echo do for you this evening, hmm?" she smiles, bending over just a bit as she leans toward him, her ivory fangs denting the red painted lips. A bang of dark hair falling over their face.
"What the f-...?!" Tairyu instinctively ducks when the flying creature darts past him, even if he probably didn't actually need to do as such to avoid getting smacked into the back of the head. It leaves him peering curiously ater the door the thing... whatever it was... flew down into, but he doesn't try to go following down there.
His patience, then, is rewarded with... the most curious sight indeed. His brows lift up, and his eyes widen in the subtlest of modicums that may be noticed only if it's absolutely something one is looking for. He stares at the woman for a good moment, in silence, in studying her.
"Not quite what I expected to see," he offers after a moment, in a voice much calmer than one might expect from someone who has just witnessed a bad-lady appear. He doesn't even take a step back or even so much as lean back when she comes closing and leaning in towards him.
"That's... not a costume, is it?"
Echo blinks a little and then looks from the man, then to a nearby mirror, gesturing. "Oh! I didn't know you could see me, honey--terribly sorry," she seemed to laugh this off as if it was nothing. "Welcome to Echo's after death miracle emporium, how might I help you?" she grins a little, almost cheekily, before taking a step back, gesturing at herself.
"Oh, you mean this? No, not at all I'm afraid, dear," the shook her head, her long black hair swaying and wide, ribbed ears bobbing.
"Is that a problem? you don't have to stay if you aren't keen on my 'kind', and all that," she gives a hesitant laugh.
Tairyu gives another look-over of the woman, before shrugging. "Not a problem," he assures. "Just... surprising. YOu say most people don't usually see that? THat's... surprising in it's own right too... Hm." His head tilts slghtly, before his eyes turn to establish eye contact with her, without any hesitation.
"I'm... trying to find someone," he tells her, bluntly. "And I've run out of all the... usual methods. Do you think you can help.me with that?"
"What, you never seen a darkstalker lady before honey? Aww," Echo sighs a little, as if she finds Tairyu a little cute. "Poor thing, nothing bad about me, dear," she waggled a white-furred finger, the nail on the end was painted red.
"Hmm? find someone? well, honey--this isn't /that/ kind of place, but maybe we can talk about it..." Echo grins a little as she takes a step toward the man again, this time invading his personal space a bit as her face hovers just inches from his, where he can clearly see those orangey-yellow eyes of hers, seeming to glow in the weak light.
"Maybe we could go out and have a bite--you look like my type," she winks.
"I... think I have seen one, actually," Tairyu admits, voice briefly a it sheepish. "I don't mean to offend. I was just... surprised, that's all."
Her initial answer to his question, though? That brings a few confused blinks from him. "WHat do you..." He starts asking before she comes in closer. For his credit, he still doesn't back away, but once her face is damn near touching his, his expression does turn a bit towards something embarrassed and sheepish. How he manages to not blush is anyone's guess.
"...That would be nice," he murmurs, with only the faintest little shake to his voice before he recomposes himself. "Though that's not... what I meant. I'm looking for--" Wait, should he admit that he's looking for someone who has been kidnapped? What if that went back to the people who *did* the kidnapping? "...A lost person."
"Hmm...?" Echo smiled, like a cat that's just caught a canary--when the man finally manages to explain what they were actually there for, Echo's eyes widen.
"What?! Oh, OH!" Echo steps back a bit again, the distance between them seeming like a gulf opening up. "Aheh, I see, you meant something else," she grinned, mouth open a bit as if she was both amused, bashful herself, and excited a bit at the same time.
"Right, so finding someone, you'll require some kind of divination tool, or service..." she nodded, snapping her fingers--a bat flew down from the ceiling above--pausing in mid-air as it glowed and instead morphed into a sheaf of paper, whcih fell into Echo's outstretched, open hand--which she then began to leaf through.
"Lets see, Tarot cards, ogham, numerology... nahh, too much bullshit--Full moon water scrying--you need to be naked for that, is that okay with you?" she looks back up at him, flipping through pages of stock.
Though Tairyu himself seems a bit abashed too, there is an edge of amusement finding it's way to his expression, in the form of one corner of his mouth tugging upwards slightly. He elects not to comment any more on that though. For now.
His eyes track the bat, curiously, though by now he doesn't seem all that surprised when it turns into a piece of paper magically. "YOu were that bat that flew over my head earlier too, weren't you?" He asks of her, almost as an aside, while she's going through the things.
And just like that, another blink. "Why do I need to be--" He starts asking, before he shakes his head. "No, no, it doesn't matter. I... I *need* to find where this person is. So if that's what it takes, it's fine."
"Hmm?" Echo looks back up at him, having gotten an answer right away, so her eyes had darted back to the papers. She seems to pretend that she doesn't know what he was talking about.
"Oh, there's lots of bats around in here, honey," she wets her finger tip as she flicks a page, then eyes light up on a particular item. "Ah, here we are, pendulums, follow me, honey," Echo turns, and careful not to knock things off shelves with her folded wings, struts away to one of the glass counters, opening it and taking out what looks like a long silver chain with a round piece of turqoise on the end of it, looking to be about the size of a large marble.
"Here we go," Echo looks at the thing, and then frowns a little. "This one's not magical, I will warn, humans like to buy these cheap things, probably be better served as a piece of jewelry, if you ask me," she shrugs, sighing a little.
"Hard sell, I know--but you can't just walk into the demon world to find new stock, and even then it might have some horrible catch like requiring a blood price, yadda yaddda..."
"...Uh-huh." Tairyu doesn't seem particularly convinced by that answer, but he doesn't try to press on it any more than that.
WHen urged, he comes following after her, with one hand idly slipping into one pocket of his pants. Eyes firmly on her, at first, up until she brings out the amulet. He leans in over to study it from a bit closer... until she gives her explanation.
"Okay..." He lets out in a breath, turning a peek down from her back to the amulet again, and then up to her face once more. "How does that help me?"
"It doesn't," Echo tosses it back onto the counter behind her, carelessly. It's an old counter and a piece of turqoise, it's likely hard enough to take it. "I'm trying to figure out something that might... tell me about this person, perhaps? how old are they, gender, relation...?" she sets the sheaf of papers down as well, leaning against the counter itself.
"I think we might need something a bit more... drastic," she nods, brow raising. "Like, you know... of the actual intelligence variety, perhaps? Since we can't rely on magical trinkets to solve /everything/, well... there might be one way," she rubs at her chin, in thought.
Tairyu blinks once, twice, at the amulet getting tossed away so carelessly. "Okay..."
THe hand that isn't stuck into his pocket gets drawn up, and guided to scratching lightly at the back of his head. "...It's my little sister," he tells her, after a few seconds of hesitation. "Thirteen years old." His brows furrow into a tight scowl. Probably at the thought of his sister being stuck... wherever she is. Even more so because he knows *why* she is stuck there.
He manages to cast that away, at least, before he focuses properly on the bat-girl again, a bit more curiously-- and hopefully. "What is it?"
"Hmm, where was this? and how long ago?" Echo tilts her head. "Human traffickers? ...or just kidnapped?" Echo doesn't look so amused saying that aloud. That usually meant the squirt was no more, with how these things worked.
"Well, I do have something, but I try not to use it a lot, except in the most dire of circumstances, and I'm not even sure what I ought to charge you for it," Echo looked a bit annoyed and conflicted. As if whatever she /could/ do was a little uncertain, or out there.
"I'll be blunt Mr, uhhh... well-dressed man, I'm a necromancer, and a sorceress, but primarily the former--I work with dead things, and most of my divination comes from spirits--you know, not nature spirits, like great grandfather wolf, or something--I mean the dead, ghosts--my expertise with divination past that is... ehhh... I can try..." she winced a little, reaching up to scratch her hair a bit.
"...About a month ago," Tairyu answers first, and there's visible hesitation on him once again when the followup questions come. His eyes drift away from her, and his lips purse. He... ultimately just falls into silence completely with that. He doesn't confirm nor deny the possibility of human traffickers and kidnappers alike.
"...Ghosts?" That's when his attention fully moves to Echo again, with the frown persisting well into it. "You're not implying--" He shakes his head and cuts himself off in the middle of those words. No, don't overreact. "... She is alive," he clarifies instead. "I have... proof of life. But if there's anything at all you think you can do, I... I'll pay anything. I'll *do* anything." THere's a certain grim determination in his voice and eyes alike. "Please."
"The dead, yes--people that don't move on after they die," Echo is completely serious. "That's very much what a necromancer works with, but I wasn't implaying /she/ was--just this world is not as gentle and pretty as it first seems," Echo shrugs. Of course, this was still pretty pedestrian compared to what /her/ world was like.
"I'm sure you would, but that's not a wise thing to say to a person--demon, darkstalker, or otherwise," she gestured to the man to follow her, ascending the stairs and parting the curtain halfway up it. It does more than just part the curtains, of course--but also dispells an illusion--instead of just a ratty upper former residence chamber, it's instead a rather lavishly furnished study room, complete with a large round handcrafted table, which she leads him to. It looks like something out of the playboy mansion, if y'know, Heffner kept skulls around instead of stuffed dear heads.
"...YOu don't need to tell me how not pretty this world is," the man murmurs, voice quieter now. "I know all too well already."
At her warning, he clicks his tongue against the roof of his mouth and notes, "I know-- but I can't let this stand either. Not as a man, or a big brother." Or a son, for that matter, but perhaps it's better he doesn't mention the Yakuza portions of his life.
His hand finally leaves the pocket it was staying in when she urges him to follow after her-- which he does obediently enough. And on the way, he finally offers, "And it's Tairyu. Tairyu Katashi."
Inside the... uh, study room, he peers around curiously. If she were to look at his expression, she'd probably gather this wasn't quite what he was expecting, either. And not just because of the skulls.
"If she's alive, then well, I can try to find her," Echo sits down at the far side of the round hand-carved table, which seems like it was made out of boards that were cut, sanded and then finished, rather than as a commercially-made table set. The chairs don't seem to all match, backing this up. As if it hadn't been there before, there is a snowglobe-looking object on the middle of the table, which she draws over to herself and actually gives it a shake. It /is/ a snowglobe, but as the white motes inside flurry about and do their old trick, the little gingerbread castle inside disappears, showing a series of odd images. Parts of people and places, things. Times.
"Looks like they're related to you... family? No, not /that/ kind of family," Echo casts a glance over to him. "I knew there was something funny about how you dressed, you're a gangster, aren't you," she said, as if she was curious, amused, but also a bit accusatory.
Being a bit restless as he is, Tairyu doesn't take a seat, as opposed to just staying standing besides the table, leaning against it with one hand pressed to the surface. A bit to the side from Echo rather than opposite from her.
At the accusation, he doesn't flinch too much. He just gives her a leveled look and asks, "DOes it matter?"
HE shakes his head then. "...Technically they're not... *that* kind of family either, but I guess it's close enough. Do..." His eyes turn a bit more hopeful again. "Do you have something?"
"I didn't think you were a pimp... bit too young," Echo snerks, shaking her head at the Yakuza's very flashy if somewhat gaudy style of dress. She turned her attention back to the snowglobe, peering at it, and not seeming to get something... at least not right away.
"Stapler... office chair... ahah, there she is," the view inside the globe alighted on the girl, it looked like she was chained up with handcuffs with a length of chain running across her, likely attached to something. The interior of where she was looked like someone had attempted to furnish the inside of a shipping container. There was furniture, a little desk or table and paperback books scattered around, along with food boxes and wrappers.
"Not much for creature comforts, are they," she tilted her head back to the man as the image winked out. "Office building, it would appear," she sighed. "That's about as much as I was able to get.
"...I am definitely not a pimp," Tairyu insists with a brief narrowing of his eyes. If he's at all self-conscious about the way he's dressed, he doesn't really show it.
When the young girl appears in the snowglobe, Tairyu is almost immediately reaching out to grasp the globe-- though he does stop himself just short upon the realization that it might actually disturb the scrying. "Miku-...!"
His fingers curl up and his hand withdraws completely when the image fades away, and his teeth dig down into his bottom lip. "...Nothing else?" He mumbles, head hanging down a bit, with both his hands now pressed onto the table's surface, nails pressed into it with frustration. "...Kh."
"A shame," Echo says off-handedly, while twirling the snowglobe about in her hand again, holding it close to her face. "Hey," she pauses when the yakuza's hand comes dangerously close to the globe. "If you try to grab it and I drop it, we're going to be in some trouble," she clears her throat, instead setting it down, now that it's gone blank.
"Well? What did you want? I'm a necromancer, not your fairy godmother," she huffed a little, placing the now still artifact back into the center of the table.
"I would start hunting down office buildings around the city if I were you, any place where your 'family' might have put her, I've already stuck out my neck a great deal, now that I fear these brigands and thugs," she rose from the table herself, pushing her chair in.
"Of course, you might be needing my help... unlike my brethen, I'm not exactly disinterested in this world or it's wealth, y'see, I came here and stayed because I like it here, so I'm sure we can figure out something... getting a bit tired and hungry, however, and I'm irritable when either, unless you'd like to stay for dinner...?" she grinned at him.
"I..." Tairyu looks purposefully away, still frowning. "I don't know. I was too hopeful. Of course it couldn't be that easy."
He straightens up from his lean against the table, sighing. "...Thank you for... doing this much, anyway."
His eyes find her again, with the frown receded by then, and he gives a bit of a sad look. "...No. I don't want to draw you into any of that any more than this." At the suggestion that comes from her after, however? His expression loosens up, and he lids his eyes subtly at her. "I do owe you dinner at minimum, don't I?"
"I think I'll take you up on that, just when we get outside--pay no heed to the fact I'm an alien being to this plane, ok, most people can't see me due to the magickal illusions I've cast, alright honey?" she slips an arm around his and proceeds to lead him down and out of the shop, turning off the lights and locking the door behind her as she goes.
Safe to say it's going to be a weird night.
Log created on 21:07:12 06/09/2020 by Echo, and last modified on 01:07:08 06/10/2020.