Description: Shermie and Velvet Blue travel to the Midnight Channel studio to discuss a new line of outrageous fashions with none other than Lyraelle Darkheart.
The main access of the Midnight Channel Studios (a division of Darkheart Enterprises) is via the front lobby - a sunny, inviting and well-appointed room during daylight hours, in contrast to the Channel's reputation for being the darker alternative to Professional Fighting Worldwide. Appointments to meet Her Infernal Majesty Queen Lyraelle Darkheart (or 'Lyraelle' to most of her business associates) tend to be arranged here, where her main public-facing personal office is located. For such a well-known face in the fighting and celebrity scene (and hard to miss, with the horns and wings and all), she's a strangely slippery one to find unless she's arranged to be found - such as she has today.
There is an obstacle to meeting the Queen, however, and it's currently seated in an oversized chair behind a tall reception desk, completely obscured by an issue of 'Chat' magazine - which, weirdly, has a picture of a beautiful brown Norwegian forest cat on the front. Maybe people are talking about cats?
If one can manage to get a glimpse of the receptionist past the desk and the magazine, they'd notice that it's a stout, red-skinned imp, currently sporting a pair of reading glasses.
"Well, Miss Lyra has been busy out here, hasn't she," Velvet mutters mostly to himself, still somewhat trying to get the sand out of his eyes--as this might be somewhat early for him. The owner of the Gold Lounge has showered and dressed appropriately, of course--in one of their dark suits, long blue boots and a dark fabric coat over themselves. They /were/ out on business, after all, no need to attract /too/ much attention... yet.
"Hello, good morning, good evening--whichever it might be for you--I'm Velvet Blue, I was supposed to meet Miss Lyraelle Darkheart here?" Velvet stops, hand on his hips before the secretary, leaning a bit to spy the red skinned imp past her. Well, they don't even really bother concealing themselves, do they--he might be thinking. Almost makes his own magical mask seem a little redundant.
Shermie has come dressed for both business and pleasure. Wearing a tight fitting white skirt suit that straddles the line between sexy and chic, she struts into the lobby of Lyraelle's lair with her arms full of vast quantities of fabric. There's silk, satin, leather, denim, lace, cashmere and rather fittingly velvet, considering the other person she's arranged to meet here today.
Approaching the reception desk, she curls her coral colored lips up into a smile that she aims in the direction of the scarlet skinned employee.
"Bonjour! I see you are fond of the kitty cats. I am more of a hamster fan myself. I have two beautiful creatures named Achu and Ururi, who are far cuter than that feline.
She points to the magazine cover and starts to giggle, suggesting she may be teasing the imp.
"I'm here for my appointment with Lyraelle. I mean, Mademoiselle Darkheart. I think you will find she's expecting me. My name is Shermie."
As her head turns towards Velvet, she lets out a cry of exclamation.
"It is you! My other model that I am here to dress. I have already seen to the pretty little boy and now it is your turn."
The red-skinned imp peers out from over the top of his cat mag to blink at the two new arrivals through his reading glasses, a dour expression on his face. Laying the magazine flat on the desk, he pumps the elevation handle on his chair a few times, till he can better see Shermie and Velvet.
"You must be Queen Darkheart's three o'clock," the imp minion says in a Metro City accent. "Velvet Blue and Shermie, uhh... Shermie, right?"
The morose minion lifts his diminutive shoulders at the Frenchwoman.
"I dunno, Miss Shermie. I could never stomach ownin' any pet that would eat its own young. I'm sure your hamsters are lovely, but I've always fancied havin' the companionship of a little feline pal. Which is a real shame, 'cause I'm horribly allergic to 'em."
The imp lets out a short sigh before raising his magazine again.
"Anyhow, Queen Darkheart said to send yous two through to the conference room when you got here. So, if you just head down that corridor, hang a right, then look for the room with the sign that says 'CONFERENCE ROOM' in big letters on the door, you'll know you're in the right place. If you get lost, Zee will probably find you and escort yous to where you oughtta be."
Red Minion goes back to reading his magazine, apparently considering the matter to be settled.
"I think felines are just fine, though," Velvet asides, looking over at Shermie with a bit of a grin. The fact Velvet's eyes are fairly cat-like might betray some of the performer's bias here, just a bit. Far from getting 'catty' though, he remains good-natured during this.
"Pretty little boy?" Vel raised a brow at that, his tail flicking up as well, curiously in response to Shermie's comment. "Dare I ask?" wonders aloud, looking between the very imposing lady with hair covering her eyes, seemingly--and the secretary. "Well, glad to... meet you?" he offers a hand, the nails dark and glossy, pointed.
"Well, thank you for getting the elevator for us," Velvet gives the red imp a little bow of his head in respect before trying to slip around Shermie toward the corridor. Of course The Frenchwoman might not let Velvet go so easily, lets just hope she doesn't try to grab his tail...!
"Just Shermie" the redhead nods. "I have no need for another name."
She seems to consider the imp's assessment of her pet of choice and in a gesture mirroring his own, she shrugs her shoulders.
"Yes, I have heard of these things happening, but not with my little darlings. They are always on their best behaviour. Not like their owner."
Starting to giggle again, she suggests "You could always hang out with a cat girl instead. I believe they are most popular and perhaps there would not be the same issue with allergies."
Gathering up the mountain of material more securely in her arms, she starts to make her way towards the corridor, apparently unpertubed by Velvet's eagerness to get there first.
"You may dare to ask, yes" she responds to him. "The boy is the other model for the campaign. A young blond named Rafferty. He met me in his school uniform, it was rather sweet."
As she moves along the corridor, her twin tails swing behind her, bouncing against her back. Turning to the right and then spotting the sign in question, she calls out "Aha! It is here. We have found the place where the imp said it was. His directions were excellente."
"Perhaps you may do the knocking, Velvet. My hands are very busy right now."
"Oh, they do. I can always tell when there's a catgirl around," Red calls from behind the desk without bothering to look up from his magazine.
Soon after, as Velvet and Shermie arrive at the conference room, the door in question swings open. Filling the frame - to the point that the owner's head is, in fact, hidden behind the wall above it - is a massive, muscular brown-furred humanoid.
"Enter," a booming bass demands, before the figure, who becomes imminently and eminently identifiable as a bull-man, retreats into the room, tromping off to stand in the corner and fold his arms across his chest.
There's only the one door; one wonders how the minotaur made it into the room in the first place.
Meanwhile, sitting on the end of the conference table (which is flanked by two dozen chairs and a large leather swivel throne at the far end) is the pink-haired celebrity succubus herself, dressed in her usual purple leotard, along with all the typical matching accoutrements - purple thigh highs, elbow-length gloves, wings, tail, and black horns - though most familiar with Her Infernal Majesty would be aware that the last three items aren't exactly accessories.
"Hello, minions~" Lyraelle says sweetly, holding up a V in greeting, before adding, "or should I say, partners?"
The she-fiend slides off the table and sashays over to greet the pair more personally, offering a hand to each.
"Hope you didn't have too much trouble finding me~ Oh, did you carry all that here yourself, Shermie? You didn't have to! Zee, come help Shermie with the pretty fabrics~"
The minotaur snorts defiantly, glaring at Lyraelle - before marching over to the French fashionista.
"Speakest thou the desired destination," the minotaur bellows, holding its arms out.
"What's the magic word, Zeeee?" Lyraelle sing-songs.
"Please," the minotaur seethes.
"Only thing I've ever been allergic to is penicillin," Velvet gestures to himself with a palm against his chest and a grin, course, beneath that is the thought, 'and now probably not even that'. Shit, when was the last time he'd even gotten sick? Had to been before the big changeup.
"Oohh, you know Rafferty," Velvet's tail flicks upa gain in surprise, this /does/ change his initial attitude a great deal. At first Velvet had seemed a little... apprehensive of this rather imperious French woman, though if she worked with Rafferty, it couldn't be all bad, right? Right?
His heeled boots skidding against the floor as he turned to stop at the door, he reached out with a black-nailed fist to gently knock against the door--though firmly, and assertively.
"As you wish--" that is of course, until the door swings open on it's own, causing Vel's eyes to widen in surprise.
Especially at the sight that greets them, what else but a huge minotaur? Christ, he didn't know anymore were still around after Kira's invasion, it put him on guard for, sure.
A black-nailed hand slapped at the hem of his thigh-highed boot beneath the coat, where he kept his knife, before being surprised again to hear Lyraelle's voice, studdenly cheeks reddening as he realized just what was going on.
"Ohh... I should have known you might try to round up a some of those guys as 'help'," Velvet smirked a little as he walked around the large snorting bull man, slinking really, almost flirtatively. "You took care of their indoctrination as well, I assume?" he had held the door open for Shermie at least until the bull got to it, not wanting the French woman to have anymore trouble with that bundle they were carrying.
"My my, what a commanding gentleman" Shermie comments, sounding somewhere between awestruck and amused.
"You wouldn't happen to be Zee would you? I do not believe we got lost."
As the minataur moves out of the way of the doorway, Shermie spots Lyraelle clothed in her iconic costume.
"Partner works better, I think" the red haired sometimes rock star responds, moving further into the room.
She throws a sweet smile Velvet's way, rewarding him for his manners.
"I believe that knowing him is perhaps an exaggeration. I have met him a total of one times and believe he will be an excellent model for the brand. However he puts me in mind of a song by The Sex Pistols, in that he is both pretty and vacant."
She giggles to herself and then proceeds to dump the entire contents of her overladen arms on to the conference table, before Zee can help her out. Then, shaking The Demon Queen's extended hand she says "I have come prepared with some samples for you, Lyraelle. I believe it is good to fondle and finger the fabrics, to get a real sense of their essence and how they will feel upon the skin."
She takes a seat in one of the chairs and leans forward on the table, resting her elbows upon it.
"It seems you have your staff well trained. Firstly that delightful imp and now this wonderfully polite creature. I would consider getting one myself, but I believe it may cause tensions with Yashiro."
The bull-man bristles at Velvet's remark to the Demon Queen, his body trembling as the muscles rippling through his figure go taut.
"I am not indoctrinated! Do you think that this hell-harpy could break down the will of mighty Zee?"
"Don't you mean 'Zander,' Zee?" Lyraelle says in a sickly sweet tone.
Zander goes rigid. Even with the bull-man's bovine features, the mixture of rage and horror can be read all over his face.
"NooOOooOOOOoooOOO!" the minotaur booms, clutching at his head.
"After all, you hate being called Zee, don't you?" the Demon Queen chirps.
The minotaur whirls on his maligned mistress, hands curling darkly.
"By all the gods, Concubine of Dohma, I will choke the life out of-"
"Save it for playtime," Lyraelle says dismissively, turning away from the minotaur. "And please, Jedah wishes."
The minotaur huffs and puffs, but before he can blow Lyraelle's house down, he seems to deflate, slinking sullenly away from the trio, squeezing through the exit and slamming the door behind himself.
"I prefer 'rehabilitation' over 'indoctrination,'" Lyraelle says to the pair, turning toward Velvet and Shermie. "I use him as a guide around the studios sometimes - they never get lost, you know?"
"THAT IS A MISBEGOTTEN STEREOTYPE!" Zee's voice booms from outside the door.
"Plus, I like to see the look on peoples' faces," Lyraelle finishes her thought casually before turning to Shermie. "They're pretty expensive on a good day - but it's hard to find one on the market lately. I don't recommend getting one unless you're ready to spend a lot on housetraining, too. Plus, they have a lot of steam to blow off - gotta exercise them regularly or they start scraping the furniture."
She shakes the fashionista's hand before releasing it. She assists in laying the fabrics out on the conference table - it appears that only the trio are to be employing the expansive surface in the immediate future.
"So, tell me what I'm fondling and fingering today," Lyraelle requests cheerily as she starts stripping her right hand glove off, revealing well-kept and typically human fingers and nails.
"By the way, I take it that you've met Velvet? They're one of my besties, and going to be modelling for the range, as you know."
"Oh my," Velvet raises a brow to Shermie's comments about Rafferty, raising a brow. "Well, definitely got the 'pretty' part right there," Velvet clucks his tongue after that aside, rubbing his chin in thought. He peers over at the massive pile of packages that Shermie deposited on the table, before sliding up to the chair beside her, a little curious. "I see you don't come unprepared, Miss Shermie," he leaned over, eyeing the boxes, noting they all seemed to contain clothes. Just what did she intend to model, exactly...? it is a foreboding question.
"That's what I meant," Velvet had taken a step back from the rather short-tempered, as it turns out, bull-man, his face a mask of concern and curiosity than anything. He didn't apparently feel great about upsetting the poor thing. "Sorry, I was actually kind of impressed and delighted you'd managed to help him, I wasn't happy with how that all went down, you know," Velvet is referring to when Lyra and Vel fought the brainwashed Darkstalkers under Kira's employ.
"Anyway..." he sighs, pulling out a seat and pushing his tail out of the way before sitting down. "I am told she wishes me to model a few things, apparently...?" the tailed entertainer looked a bit slowly and conspiratorily over to Shermie, as if still a bit worried about what the French woman might have in store for him. "Well, it's the least I can do after your help in the past," Vel nods his head, placing his hands flat against the conference table.
Shermie observes the exchange between Lyraelle and 'Zee' her unseen eyes twinkling with mischief beneath their curtain of red bangs.
"I know about being around those with steam to blow off. I too find that exercising them regularly can help the issue."
As her new employer enquires about the fabrics on display, Shermie starts lifting each piece in turn, enthusing over their quality.
"As you can see, I have chosen only the best examples of the particular materials for you to view, Lyraelle. I believe that el should stand for luxury, as well as being a representative of the first letter of your name. I have a vision that el could be so much more than just fashion. It could be a whole lifestyle. I'm thinking interiors, beauty products, fine foods and drinks. The world is your huitre! Perhaps I am getting ahead of myself though. I am sure a successful and smart business woman like you has already come up with such ideas, as well as many more. After all, why should we limit ourselves?"
She turns to face Velvet as Lyraelle introduces him officially.
"We arrived at the same time and of course, I know him by reputation. He is the proprietor of The Gold Lounge, which I'm told is a fascinatingly fun place to spend an evening."
"It seems you have an eye for the pretty ones" she teases their hellion host.
"I confess to a weakness for such things myself. I so admire a handsome man."
Speaking directly to Velvet now, she confesses "As have yet, I do not have any finished designs. Today is more about choosing options, seeing what would compliment your body and sense of style. I believe in working with models and not against them."
This isn't strictly true, since the last campaign she designed for was proceeded by a hotel bar dust up with the female model.
"I'm thinking something along the lines of what Calvin did in the nineties. Creating designs that move beyond gender, that can be worn by a man, a woman, or anywhere in between. I know Lyraelle has a vision for items that will accomodate some of the more unique traits of darkstalkers too. As far as I'm aware, nobody has cornered that particular market and it is there for the taking. Why should everyone not have the choice to wear comfortable and cutting edge fashion?"
She gestures towards the samples laid out on the table.
"Do any of these interest you, Monsieur Blue? Perhaps maybe the velvet?"
"Neither was I, obvs," Lyraelle says to Velvet, her tone unable to shake the pervasive sense of levity that fills it as she bends down over the table to examine what Shermie has brought to it, leaning her elbows against it as her tail waves in the air behind her. "I've spent the whole time since doing damage control on a literal global scale while trying to make time for personal pet projects like Zee's societal integration. The upside of a forest fire is that you can decide what grows out of the ashes, if you put your mind to it. Which this is all part of, of course!"
The succubus smiles tightly before turning her eyes to Shermie's display, then to the fabrics after another moment.
"Uh huh," she nods along enthusiastically as Shermie speaks. "Oh, yeah. That's definitely the angle and vision I was thinking. I want it to be aspirational, like it's elite, but an elite anyone /could/ achieve, you know? I want everyone to own a Lyraelle t-shirt but be saving up for an 'L' dress. I've got a -lot- of ideas, and I'm coming into the capital to act on them."
Lyraelle blinks her eyes innocently at Shermie's remark regarding 'pretty ones.'
"Oh! Have I been surrounding myself with eye candy without thinking? Gosh, maybe I'm more shallow than I thought."
She stifles a coquettish giggle.
"I think Shermie's totally in sync with what I'm thinking - and it's true; if nothing else, I want us to be 'the' go-to for custom darkstalker tailoring. Maybe even accessorizing for people who aren't, but wanna be."
Unspoken is the fact that that was once her - or was what she pretended to be. It's not really clear to the general public which was the case, at this point.
"This is true, I should have offered more help--but I already got a pretty good bouncer for my club now, so perhaps it's best he's with you," Velvet nodded, though he seemed a bit pleased by how things worked out. "Anyway... miss Shermie, I think perhaps I could assist with this, yes--though I have to see your selection here," he briefly rifled through the boxes, checking the contents, nodding a little as he went over each one. "And if you're going for something that defies gender, well you kind of came to the right place, I am a makeup artist and have some experience with illusion creating in the practical sense, cameras wouldn't work too well with the magical kind, after all," Velvet briefly mulled over the prospects here.
"I like that idea too, we're less hunted than we used to be, /despite/ Jedah and Kira's efforts, but I'd still want to be a little careful," Vel responded to Lyraelle's ideas of a line of accessories for people who wanted to look like Darkstalkers. Clearly he was thinking of people being attacked over such fashions, at least by his look and tone. "Not that I suspect most people would /care/ if folks wanted to have funny ears or horns in this day and age," he smiled, then to Shermie, "I suspect I'm needed for the more androgynous sort of looks and styles, well then, lets get the velvet and lace and you can do your worst," he drew a bit more conspiratorily closer to Shermie and grinned.
Shermie joins in with Lyraelle's giggling, finding it to be contagious, but her face soon shifts to a more serious expression as she contemplates The Demon Queen's previous words.
"I like this rising out of the ashes you talk about. It is a very good attitude I think. I believe I will enjoy working with you Lyraelle and you of course Velvet and also the pretty blonde boy."
"I am happy to hear we are on the same page of the book. This is a very clever technique that designers and brand owners often use. You get them with the t-shirt, jeans and perfume and then have them coveting the dress, handbag or boots."
She turns to look at her own and both of her current companions feet in turn, as she mentions the footwear.
"As for the darkstalker wannabees, I suspect their number to be many. Especially when there are beautiful examples like the two of you around."
A smile plays on her lips, as she listens to Velet's words, nodding her head as he talks of his skills in cosmetics and illusion.
"Excellente! I have no experience in the art of makeup, other than doing my own, which of course is magnifique. If only you could see my eyeshadow work, you would simply die! It seems you will bring more than your physical self to the party."
Her eyes scan the room at the mention of the P word.
"Speaking of which, what does a woman have to do to get a cocktail around here? I would adore a French martini.
As she contemplates the prospect of a drink, she selects a sample of midnight blue velvet from the pile, holding it up to its namesakes face.
"This with perhaps a black lace edging for one of the high end creations. Maybe in an evening jacket cut to flatter all forms."
"It would work well with a blouse with ruffles and ultra tight pants and of course, some fabulously high heeled boots. I believe they should have many buckles."
"Mmm. I guess you like to leave more to the imagination than I do," Lyraelle says to Shermie with a sly wink in response to the French fashionista's comment on her own eyeshadow. "Although, in my experience, the imagination never really reaches the horizon..."
The she-fiend runs her fingertips along the velvet - the fabric, that is - before smiling and nodding.
"Excellent. Almost enough to make me consider putting on some pants, for once."
The infernal entrepreneur straightens up, stretching her arms behind her head languorously, then looks up at the ceiling.
"Alexa. Tell Dodge to send us some drinks. Two French martinis, and whatever Velvet wants."
The pink-haired temptress turns her eyes to the other darkstalker questioningly.
"What would you like, Velvet?" a hidden speaker asks from overhead.
"I'm not sure they're convinced, Alexa," the demon royal remarks.
"S-sorry, your Majesty. I'm not very good at English accents," the speaker above says.
"Oh, well. Thanks for the effort," Lyraelle replies, green eyes rolling.
"I would be interested to see that sometime," Velvet nods in agreement to Shermie, replying to her comment about her eyeshadow. Right now, neither of the two in the room could actually see her eyes due to the bangs. He was perhaps beginning to wonder how she got around like that...
"I just hope people don't think I like that Lynch movie so much that I'd actually /only/ wear blue velvet, I wear a lot of dark blue because it blends in well, and well," he motions to his tail, "Comes with the territory, a bit, as well," he smiles, shrugging and holding his black-nailed hands up.
"Pants are highly overrated, I say, and some red wine thank you, if you have any--I think it's going to be a long night, somehow, it wouldn't do to get very messed up, I don't think," Velvet seems confident about that.
"There is much I leave to the imagination yes" Shermie grins. "Not too much though, we have to keep our many fans entertained."
She giggles at Lyraelle's remark about her pants, or lack of.
"I have noticed you like to dress in a very skimpy fashion, but if you have got it then you should flaunt it. I know I certainly do" she says, running her hands over her curves and leaning further forward on the table, which gives the others a clear view of her considerable cleavage.
"This Dodge you speak of sounds interesting. I like their name. It suggests they are as the English people like to say, dodgy."
Cue more giggles. It seems the French woman is enjoying herself, or perhaps she is just easily amused.
"You know, people have stopped naming their children Alexa, since the invention of these machines. Apparently it was troublesome to call out to them, when it would stimulate the device. It is a shame, as it is a pretty name."
She sits back now, placing her long legs up on the conference table in front of her.
"Blue Velvet is a very interesting and unusual movie, but Betty Blue is my favourite blue movie, followed by Blue Is The Warmest Colour. Us French people make wonderful cinema."
"As for this being a long night, I am all for it, but I cannot promise to not get messy. First we do business and then it will be time for fun and pleasure."
Log created on 09:07:49 08/28/2021 by Velvet Blue, and last modified on 22:33:29 08/30/2021.