Springtide Rosalia 2021 - Rosalia: Keeping the Same Energy

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Description: A chance meeting at the Rosalia yields a lot of information for both parties. It also raised major concerns for one of the parties regarding a project that they are working on.

Castle Alucard, in many ways, defies definition. For one, it's far too big -- miles long, by any human reckoning. Most notably though, it doesn't... work. There are rooms that appear to meet in right angles that can't possibly exist, architectural anomalies that would surely collapse under their own weight in Earthrealm. And time just... seems to have no meaning at all.

How long has Dahlia even -been- in this realm, anyway? It's surely been hours. But it feels like -days- ... and yet, even the insomniac Dahlia has barely felt the need to rest, as if the castle itself has been giving her strength.

Curiosity may end up killing the cat, but if so, the satisfaction of all the wondrous discoveries she's made in this castle will surely bring her back. Clutched at her chest is a small mirror -- more accurately, a fragment of a mirror, chipped in such a way as to defang the sharp edges, leaving a roughly elliptical fragment sized to fit in a 9"x12" frame. The red-haired Akatsuki leader's attention, however, is drawn to a brush painting fixed to the wall.

The painting itself does not seem to be altogether unique -- there are many paintings like it, the brushwork and style dating them to roughly the late Edo or early Meiji period of Japan's history. The picture depicts two bearded gentlemen, bowing in thanks to a man wearing loose pants and an outfit with large, voluminous sleeves.

Scarlet Dahlia's lips are pursed. One hand is raised to cup her chin, as she is lost in thought. And yet -- if someone were to approach, there is little doubt that the psychic would turn to address them.

After at least temporarily parting company with Nikolai, Brandon went to make his way back, if not directly to the party, a bit closer stumbling about clutching his forehead in agony from the second worst headache in his life(The first one was a little before it during the test).

The normally well dressed man looks relatively disheveled with singe marks from fire and lightning, dirt and tears from rock impacts, diluted bloodstains and wet spots from ice all over his white fedora, white vest, white tie, and white slacks. Less of the damage can be seen on the black long sleeved shirt under the vest but is still there.

The map that was on the invite is no longer there with it only being there long enough to guide him to where he would encounter the Archivist.

The detective continues to think about how he would reason through recreating one of his cards but every attempt he has made to get to the spell imprint part causes nausea and his balance wavers for a moment making him desperately reach out for the wall to stabilize himself.

It is at that moment he glances up at the Dahlia and nods in greeting, not quite trusting himself to speak until he gets himself a little more together than he is at the moment.

If it were up to Scarlet Dahlia, everyone would dress 'normally.' There'd be no need for any of the fancy pretenses, and people would just wear whatever the heck they'd want to. Unfortunately, in her line of work, fancy clothing and jewelry is just shorthand for those with the survival instincts and business sense that make such luxuries affordable. So, when in Rome...

Or in Castle Alucard, as the case may be. Rachel ain't messin with no broke, broke, at least not where the fancy dinners would be involved. Not that... Scarlet Dahlia, as a noted monster-slayer, was expressly -invited- to any of those. But still, the Ainu tusukur always strives to fit in, to keep a look that enables her to melt into the woodwork should the situation merit a quick escape.

Which is why Brandon's relatively disheveled look stands out. She'd heard a sound -- and more importantly, felt a presence -- behind her. The amber-eyed woman glances over the rims of her glasses at him, and one corner of her lips lifts in a lopsided smile.

He's looking her way. May as well make an acquaintance out of this chance encounter. "... Rough night?"

But, the more Dahlia looks back at this man, the more she starts to recognize him. One gloved hand lifts, fingers brushing through her red hair. "Oh. You're the investigator, aren't you...?" Her eyebrows knit together, as she seems to struggle for a moment with the thought. "... Brandon... Malone, yes?"

But, with her hand out of the way, something else might catch Brandon's eye, a reflection in the mirror. A reflection of himself -- that does -not- match his current appearance.

There are a few moments where Brandon is able to take a few cleansing breaths before he is able to stand once more without depending on the wall to keep balance. This time he goes over the rituals he would use to create a replacement card for his deck. Energy storage, then the energy transference, he skips over the spell imprint ritual, and directly to the durability ritual. He would have to acknowledge that he would never be able to use the tarot card for casting again if he was to keep himself on an even keel.

He looks at the Dahlia once more, finger tips pressed against his forehead. The pain in his head seems to ease more and more the less he attempts to concentrate on replacing his lost tarot card spell. Even still his mind is reorganizing itself in response to obtaining new knowledge to replace the old. That brief moment of clarity from letting go of his Tower spell allows him to catch what the Ainu Tusukur says to him.

"Yeah, if you call getting roasted by fire, shocked by electricity, smashed by boulders, and smashed and perforated by ice shards almost simultaneously, then followed up by a headache so bad that part of you wonders if your brain is about to explode and then leak out of your ears and nostrils, a rough day."

He lets out a laugh, the sheer act of which causes him to clutch his forehead in agony once again. He takes a deep breath to center himself.

"And the messed up part is that part of me thinks that all of that might be worth it."

He looks at Dahlia and nods in response. Carefully. He didn't want to risk the sudden act of reckless nodding to exacerbate the pain he was currently feeling.

"Brandon Malone of the Knights of Swords and Wands detective agency. Nice to meet you."

His eye glances down at the mirror, and instead of the reflection he'd expect to see, he sees himself wearing fighting gloves in jeans and a black t-shirt, face scarred. He raises an eyebrow.

"Interesting item you have there."

Dahlia's pleasant smile fades gradually as Brandon relates the tales of how his clothes ended up looking as shoddy as they are now. Lips pressed into a thin, neutral line, it's now up to an arched eyebrow to express her empathy towards Brandon's predicament. For she can see the damage. She can sense his agitation, even without making a conscious effort to. It's... pretty apparent.

She remains silent for the moment -- for while the current situation is clear, her assessment on Brandon Malone's personality has not been written. And thus, she waits until he laughs to smile again.

"Then perhaps we can call it a productive night instead." She allows herself a small chuckle, taking Malone's fluctuating moods in stride. "Scarlet Dahlia. A pleasure to finally meet you."

She hesitates, though, taking note of Brandon's gaze down to the mirror held by her arm. She pivots so that she can see the reflection of Brandon as well, glancing back and forth between the two. "... Mm, so it is. That's curious, it was not working for me earlier." For where Dahlia's jacket -might- be reflected in the mirror, there is nothing there. And the scene behind the mirror Brandon is a darker, formless haze, resembling more of a shattered landscape than the hallway of Castle Alucard the two are conversing within.

Dahlia turns back to Brandon, letting the mirror hang once more within her grasp. "I assume you're here by invitation as well, mm? It's good to know we each got... something out of this venture. Though, I hope I'm not interrupting your thoughts -- did you need to write something down?"

And with a casual flick of her wrist, a pen slides out of her sleeve and into her palm. A deft twist of her fingers presents it to Brandon, should he need it.

"Ahhh... The champion of Mortal Kombat. Likewise."

For the sake of maintaining peace, since Rachel Alucard has offered hospitality at her castle, he avoids mentioning the Akatsuki-gumi. The Mortal Kombat champion title should do for now. He takes a closer look at the mirror, especially now that the Dahlia has pivoted to look at the reflection of different possibilities and not seeing Dahlia in the reflection. The raised eyebrow remains raised since there was nowhere else it could go.

"I did receive an invite. And while I did receive something from the venture, I unfortunately had to sacrifice something in exchange."

Brandon smiles when the Dahlia performs some sleight of hand to offer him a pen. It was something he could appreciate considering he built a good portion of his fighting style around sleight of hand and cardisty to get the cards he needed when he needed them in a high pressure situation of being punched in the face. With a bit of a flourish, he makes pen of his own appear.

"No, thank you for the offer though. I don't even think the notes I have at home will do anything but cause a headache."

With another flourish the pen is gone but he lets his eye travel to the mirror within her grasp.

"Is there an interesting story behind that? You don't have to tell me if you don't want to."

There is one sure-fire way to get into Scarlet Dahlia's good graces, and Brandon seems to know it. His awareness of her role in Mortal Kombat -- and by proxy, humanity's salvation -- brings a sincere and heartfelt smile to her face. She does begin to wonder how he'd known -- but reminds herself that he is indeed an investigator of some renown.

She shows some concern when he mentions the sacrifice made for his gift -- though, that much was noted. Maybe that's what has been first and foremost on his mind, she considers. "Perhaps it's as they say, then, that nothing worth owning can be obtained without a cost. I am glad for that, at least."

Moments later, it would be time for another grin from the Ainu tusukur, as Brandon demonstrates his own sleight of hand. Turnabout is fair play -- though, it's worth noting that Dahlia is keeping her pen out for now, toggling it idly back and forth between her gloved fingers. She seems like she has some thoughts to offer... though holds off for now, as Brandon asks her an insightful question.

"Oh, there's nothing much to tell. Unlike many I've encountered, I've... been more or less left to my own devices in this castle, and on one of my forays I came across a ballroom lined with these peculiar mirrors. In -those- I had seen visions of myself, from other times, other places, other possible realities." She lifts the mirror in her hand, by way of indication. "But this mirror and many like it were broken, their panes shattered upon the floor. I had felt something... strange, in that it did not reflect me, but it simply appears to be selective about what it wishes to show."

She purses her lips, at that. "I must admit, magic of this measure is considerably beyond my knowledge. To the point that I'm not even sure 'magic' is a proper descriptor." She taps her scarred cheek, tilting her head with interest. "Does this... alternate form from the mirror hold any particular significance to you, I wonder?" She pauses a beat, and then adds with a gentle smile, "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to."

His gut instinct to avoid the topic of the Akatsuki-gumi seemed to pay off for the private investigator. Knowledge of the tournament coming from the combination of investigative skills, connections, and having one foot in the world of the occult. His response to her smile is to smile in spite of the pain that is sort of like background noise in his thoughts.

"Everything has a cost. Sometimes that cost is time, or money, sometimes it's sweat and tears."

Left unsaid are other things that you give up in order to pay in cost. Friendships or humanity or the source of his current pain and distress right now, knowledge for knowledge. One had to be careful that what they give up is worth everything they gained. It was fitting that he gave up the Tower spell in his tarot deck to make way for something better. The thaumaturge believes his price to be a bargain.

Brandon nods slowly and carefully still not wanting to aggravate that headache of his at the story of being able to go as she please through the castle finding the mirror shattered on the floor.

"My experience both within this castle and throughout Earthrealm is why I feel comfortable calling it magic. It is also why I kinda suspect the alternate form in the mirror is a what if I didn't learn magic."

There is a bit of an amused grin at having his own words get turned back on him.

"Indeed," agrees Dahlia. For she too has sacrificed much in her life to gain what she has now. Her face, for standing up to Duke Burkoff in a play that won the loyalty of the Akatsuki-gumi that Brandon refuses to mention. Her own life and contentment, bargained away for the protection of Lord Vega. Her freedom from persecution by the Librarium, in exchange for the agreement to sow chaos wherever she walks.

But she also sacrificed her shadowy anonymity, her ability to lurk in the shadows -- for the sake of humanity, and to claim immortality as the Champion of Mortal Kombat.

Perhaps it's good that Brandon asked his follow-up question, to distract her mind as well as his own.

"He looks scrappy. And perhaps a little sad, unfulfilled." She gives a hopeful smile. "Though there is a certain contentment in being blissfully ignorant, admittedly."

She twirls the pen around her ring finger one last time before tucking it away back inside her sleeve. "Ah, well then -- I suppose I should ask while I have your ear, Mr Malone." She taps two fingers onto her wrist. "There's a certain... affliction going around, affecting many fighters I've come into contact with. It causes certain... powers to erupt, uncontrollable. A fighter skilled with the attacks of the mind, suddenly finding his attacks tinged with bone-crushing vacuum. Another fighter, known for his blue flames, suddenly erupting in brilliant orange. Would you call this 'magic' as well, or something else?"

There's a bit of amusement at hearing the alternate self being called 'scrappy.' It was something he'd like to believe he had in common with the mirrored version of himself, hiding it in behind his appearance but never actually lying about it when one could look past the way he dresses. That being said, it probably be more fair to say that while it was a common trait, the alternate one might've had it in more abundance.

Then the Dahlia brings up the energy phenomenon. One that he had personal experience with both within the castle and outside of it. And the experience outside the castle was of public record so he has no problem with sharing it.

"Or a fighter with blue energy suddenly flinging magma, a wind user spontaneously bursting with plants and having a severe allergic reaction, an archer finding that their energy has more of edge to it than it normally would, or a light-based mage suddenly having their energy turn to lightning and then medics having difficulty working on him without him being grounded first. To be honest, I'm not sure. Before I can explain why I don't know, I'll need to know whether or not you know the difference between chi usage and magic."

Dahlia grins as her assessment seems to strike a chord with Brandon. If there's one thing she had found about seeing her alternate selves in a considerably bleaker state, it was the reassurance of knowing that she's made pretty good choices in -this- world. And she's glad to see that Malone can be reassured by the same.

The energy phenomenon, though... In internal Shadaloo discussions, it was considered to be a sickness, a curse. And to a psychic, the idea of any of her power being left to chance or happenstance is an anathema.

So it is with curious interest that Dahlia nods along, clasping her left hand as she listens to Brandon truck out many more examples. Demonstrating that, yes, it's far more than something he'd just seen on the news. She raises an index finger, and points, as if pressing a button on a control panel. "Yes. That."

But then, the question is posed of her. And with widened eyes, Dahlia smiles the smile of someone who'd just had the spotlight turned on her. Or, perhaps, headlights.

Shoulders shrug, as her free left hand turns palm-up at her side. "It's just bright sparkly lights to me. I could say what little I know. But for all intents and purposes, just consider me clueless, hm?"

The widened eyes is an unexpected reaction. If anything, the only reason he paused to figure whether or not she knew the difference between chi and magic is that he wanted to make sure he wasn't condescending to her and force feeding her knowledge she already had. To figure out the baseline of where he had to begin the explanation. When she says to consider her clueless, he has his baseline.

"So chi would be the external manifestation of the energy of the world. The majority of fighters capable of flinging energy around utilize chi to fling around their sparkly lights as it were. Magic on the other hand can be considered chi that channels a little extra spark from the Boundary or the Backyard. When one refers to the Boundary or Backyard they're referring to the same thing and can be used interchangably. The Boundary is another realm. And only those few with the capability of channeling that extra bit of Boundary energy along with chi can be considered utilizing magic."

Brandon takes a moment to pause to give the Dahlia a moment to absorb that information as a starting point. He's also taking a moment to consider how says the next part.

"Now the reason, I'm not comfortable with saying that it's magic nor that I can comfortably rule it out is that I didn't really get sense of Boundary energy interlaced with it when it was incoming in the one time I experienced being on the receiving end and the times I've had it come from me, there was Boundary energy channeled in just from how my energy works anyway. Of course, I'm not infallible and it might just be so subtle I hadn't picked up on magic being involved or it was done so indirectly that it would be hard sense the magic as the source without delving extremely deep into it. When it happened here, the one responsible for my test was saying my energy flow and soul had been tainted but because that wasn't part of my original query, they wouldn't go into detail."

Scarlet Dahlia understands a lot of things well. She understands people -- knowing that she can push certain triggers and reliably trigger certain results. She understands the physical, and to some extent, the metaphysical. She has walked in the Backyard, and borne witness to the terrifying, unlimited potential it presents to humans with the power to harness it.

The trouble with chi and magic is that Dahlia, for all her abilities, has no way of actually -quantifying- them. To hear a martial artist drone on for hours about the practical applications of chi is effectively the same as a magician or Librarian explain the intricacies and nuances of 'magic.' If it was finance, she could apply it. If it was music, she could learn it by rote. But chi? Magic? Without a vector, without a -vessel-, these concepts hold no intrinsic value to her, as ephemeral and ineffable as stage magic to a bystander.

So she is -- in many ways -- paying full attention to Malone's words. For he is, from her standpoint, an authority on both chi -and- magic, and it's from his guidance that she can begin to make sense of the topic. To hear it in his words, Dahlia is genuinely appreciative, nodding her head with fascination. "Right, the Backyard..." Pressing her lips together in understanding, she seems enlightened. "That makes it crystal clear to me now, thank you."

But then, as Brandon moves on from his primer material into the topic at hand, the light in Dahlia's eyes begins to dim. She's still paying attention -- and yet, sorting out the details of Brandon's explanation take a bit more effort. The fingers of her free hand poke and prod, as if allowing her a way to contextualize the information she's hearing, as she purses her lips in concentration.

"So, first off, just to make sure I'm following correctly: you're the light mage you spoke of, now blessed with an uncomfortably charged existence." One finger is raised.

"Second... you sensed no Backyard or Boundary energy in this exchange, so you're..." She flattens her hand, wavering it from side to side. "-leaning- towards it being a chi infection." Two fingers snap out.

"And you just walked in from this... test. In which you learned your own energy is now -tainted-. Or infected." Three fingers raised.

She draws in her breath, having walked herself through the continuity. "And four, that -wasn't- your query. So whatever you gained from this is far more important than curing your electrical woes." Fourth finger.

She spreads her hand wide, fingers splaying out. "So does this knowledge give you the information you need to cleanse yourself of this ... infection?"

Brandon, having given the explanation of the difference between chi and magic and the view of the situation, he lets Dahlia sort it out so she can understand the situation. As she pieces things together, the investigator is observing her and waiting for response.

Brandon has the good sense to keep quiet while she goes over all of the details he shared to confirm her understanding of the details. One item he seeks to correct but when she hits upon that fifth part of the detail, he blinks. Her question seems to spin wheels in his head since he hadn't been thinking about the tainted energy problem when he originally sought out the knowledge but his mind locks in on the word 'cleanse.'

"I'll answer your questions in order. I am indeed the light mage and the reason I'm comfortable sharing that is that it's a matter of public record. Slightly leaning but only because I don't have enough information. Yes that was where I found I was tainted since my energy decided to act up during the test. I'm not sure I'd say more or less important considering how widespread this energy issue but it's been a longer standing problem. As for the fifth, possibly with some recontextualization of the knowledge gained but I will need some time to work through it. Even then I can't guarantee it with one hundred percent certainty since it is pretty new to me."

Dahlia shifts her weight from one foot to the other, curious at how Brandon sorts through her questions-phrased-as-affirmations. As before, her fingers tick off the points as they're raised -- this time in reverse. Her thumb folds in at the light mage confirmation -- garnering a bit of a smile as Brandon notes -why- he says this. It shows he's thinking, and Dahlia can appreciate that.

Her index finger folds in -- the slight leaning. An eyebrow arches, but she says nothing right away; she can only assume that he -has- done research, but with himself as the primary test subject, that might limit the breadth of any experiments he might otherwise like to carry out. Still -- she's willing to count on his experience here.

Her middle finger closes in. She has no particular thoughts on it, but it does start to explain why Malone was so addled when she first laid eyes upon him. And as her ring finger closes in, she flashes a slightly puzzled look. He'd provided information on -himself- before, but whatever he's building towards... it seems important.

And finally, as her pinky finger closes into her palm, she nods slowly, drawing in her breath. She remains thinking for a few moments, before adding -- mostly out of polite deference -- "... I see."

She turns aside from Brandon, taking a few steps sideways across his field of view. Pacing, as she thinks to herself. "I've... had a few people studying the matter. And they have been similarly perplexed. They tell me it sounds like a chi thing. And yet, there seems to be no commonality, no root cause. Some surmise that the infection had spread from other fighters. But in other cases, the only combatants who -could- have spread infection were, themselves, asymptomatic as far as anyone can tell."

She stops on her toes, rocks back on her heel, and pivots back to face Brandon. "Mm. In your case, would you say the electrical surges happen most when you are fighting, while doing some other task, or about the same regardless?"

Brandon watched as her fingers curl back inward when he addressed each point. After the finger folds in for the slight leaning he was forced to acknowledge that his limited research is mainly because other than him, he has to rely on observed accounts and he can't exactly test the flow of energy for a fight through video footage and so he would have to be there for the fight as the only way to get actual data even then, he couldn't guarantee that the fight he attends would have the anomalous chi behavior take place. He was limited by his inability to be in multiple places at once.

As the Dahlia relates the findings from her own researchers, the arcane investigator remains quiet, listening intently. No commonality was a problem since it made it hard to establish patterns.

When the Dahlia turns towards him with a sudden movement, Brandon blinks before raising an eyebrow. Do they occur when fighting?

"Only when I fight..."

There was an unspoken 'but.' He in particular was a weird case because of the way his tarot deck worked. He had to prep his deck in advance by charging the spells on his cards. He began to wonder if during the prepping process he was surging the deck with tainted energy beforehand or if in the heat of battle it was reacting to him activating the cards with tainted energy. He didn't exactly want to share why he wasn't certain but from what he was observing from just speaking with her, Dahlia was a smart woman and probably would figure it out anyway.

Dahlia tilts her head slightly as Brandon answers, watching his expressions like a hawk. There are a number of ways in which she can probe into a person's psychological state, each providing varying levels of confidence -- but it's fortunate that observation, the least invasive method, often provides results that are 'good enough.'

The hesitation at the end of his statement is a clear sign that there... -is- more. And yet, Dahlia offers a faint smile. "You've been on the world stage long enough for me to know a thing or two about your fighting techniques, Malone. I think it's safe to say I'm picking up what you're putting down."

She laces her fingers, and presses the tips of her thumbs together. "So it's more about the discharged effects. We have surmised it's tied to the dynamics of battle, the altered state of mind that occurs when one is literally incapable of accounting for -all- possibilities. The 'flare-ups,' as we call them, occur most frequently when the rational mind takes a back seat to survival in some capacity."

Dahlia's chin lifts, ever so slightly. "Generally, these flare-ups are difficult to produce in an isolated environment." One eyebrow arches, momentarily. "Unless..."

And here she lowers her chin to its resting attitude. "Unless one can channel a high concentration of energy into an attack. The longer spent accessing the leylines, or what-have-you, it seems the higher chance of a flare-up."

Her lips purse. "But even that is not a hundred percent."

And just as Brandon had figured, Dahlia figured out that uncertainty in his particular case was. Even still, he realizes that she is still leaning towards the possibility that it's tied to the act of fighting rather than the possibility he was prepping his deck with the anomalous energy. Brandon finds himself nodding as Dahlia speaks but the moment she mentions the idea of a flare-up happening when the rational mind takes a back seat to survival, his eye brow rises slightly. It was a reason for mild concern.

The part that has major implications is the possibility of channeling a high concentration of energy into an attack and that more time accessing leylines or drawing in energy the more likely a flare-up could be. While Kazarov's Purification wasn't an 'attack' per se, it still required a high concentration of energy and considering the mage who created the spell died from casting it, survival would come to the forefront. A part of him wondered if he should table dealing with Metro City park until this energy was either dealt with or it was better understood and confirmed that it wouldn't interfere with the casting of the spell.

"It would appear that I have a lot of homework ahead of me. Creating a more comprehensive list of fighters who this has happened to, collecting as much information as possible, and trying to figure out the origin and a solution to this. Not being able to move energy in a predictable manner is a bit problematic."

Dahlia keeps her attention fully upon Brandon. Until now, the detective's words have given her enough to read between the lines. But after she brings up the idea about survival, he... seems perplexed. And this gives her some concern.

She wonders -- has the detective been forced into a do-or-die mentality -outside- of a fight? Or does he -plan- to? Her thumbs brush against one another, as she files that away to consider later.

Brandon then states his plan of action; Dahlia's response is calm and rational. "Yes, that sounds like it would be a prudent course of action. I... wish I could do more in that regard, but the mysteries of chi and magic continue to elude me." She laughs, softly, and bows her head in thanks. "Is there anyone you could compare notes with, perhaps? Other fighters in the list that might be on better speaking terms?"

Dahlia drifts off for a moment, looking at Brandon in a new light. She unlaces her fingers, raising an open palm. "I want to note that our research was -not- complete. And it could be completely half-formed, so... please don't take our observations as gospel." She smiles reassuringly, hoping that disclaimer keeps him from worrying too much -- about whatever would have elicited such a guarded response.

The detective is likewise keeping his attention on the Dahlia but at the very least is becoming aware that he might be giving her a lot more information than she is giving him. Even then, she has given him a lot of information and in fact, it may even save his life. He was made aware of a situation that made an already risky spell riskier.

When asked about anyone he could compare notes with, he nods before saying in response, "Yes. However one of them was just made aware of it not too long before the party and the other doesn't exactly follow the fighting world so they are probably completely unaware of this situation altogether."

The detective's hand rests on his chin. As he continues to think about the situation. Even as the Dahlia gives him the reassuring smile, the thaumaturge finds it struggle to do the same. The magic he performing will be huge.

"Half-formed or not, it would be reckless, when considering that I'm currently afflicted with this condition, to continue my personal project without putting at least some time investigating the energy flare-ups. Which means, I'll look into this, no charge."

It's all a deliberate dance. Dahlia doesn't -need- any information at all from Brandon, really; she hadn't yet sought him out, and was just looking at the paintings here for this Springtide Rosalia event.

So she's not... completely invested in finding out the particulars of this infection thing at the moment. As far as she knows, she's got no stake in the infection, as it's never really come up in her life. It's really just a matter of personal interest -- of wanting to -solve- the issue to sate her personal curiosity.

"Mm." Friends of his, then? But it would seem they aren't... afflicted. Dahlia rolls her shoulders, nodding to encourage Brandon to continue.

Though, he then seems to be somewhat troubled by this affliction, and how it would impact his personal project. Perhaps this is what he's referring to as being more important? An eyebrow lifts slightly, but she doesn't seem overly alarmed.

Until he mentions a fee. Which brings a faint smile back to her lips. Payment isn't something she had worked out beforehand, since she hadn't planned to -meet- him here.

"I appreciate your dedication. I'm sure you'd be doing a number of fighters a favor by providing them a cure. Which would likely be much more valuable than money."

Dahlia smiles, knowing how far a -favor- can go, particularly in response to recent events.

"When you do get to your personal project, though -- I think starting off slow and gradual might be a good way to go about it. Avoiding a point of no return, and all."

Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. Though there are multiple ways the Dahlia was lucky. Lucky just bumping into the detective at the Rosalia, lucky in that he was already had passing familiarity with the situation, and lucky in that he already he had a vested interest in seeing it solved.

Favors go a long way and multiple fighters owing favors could be a boon at a future date or dates. The detective nods and for the time being he remains quiet while he's mentally organizing his list of people to interview and/or fight in the Neo League to see if he can find out more about the 'affliction.'

"Thank you for talking to me about the energy problem. It gave me a lot to think about. I have a feeling we'll each have ways to contact each other if we either have questions or additional information. I hope the Rosalia is as rewarding for you as well."

With that, the detective takes a few steps to walk away.

Log created on 12:59:40 07/02/2021 by Brandon, and last modified on 07:41:26 07/07/2021.