Jubei - Turning Back the Wheel of Fate

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Description: Brandon, Clio, and Jubei get together in Metro City Park to set things right again.

Metro City Park is much like it has been for years -- a fel monument to the city's one-time occupants. Rotten trunks of corrupted trees twist up into the sky, their boughs outstretched like hands grasping for final release. Remains of once-thriving species have all but collapsed into piles of detritus. In a more positive sign, a new species of weed has adapted to the fel corruption: broad green leaves wind and weave their way around the old trees, while vines meander long trails through ruddy blades of grass. Left to its own devices, the park could eventually heal on its own -- though that could take decades.

A tall chain-link fence forms a nominal boundary around the park's perimeter. Various portions of the fence show signs of distress; the city seems to have shown no interest in keeping out the suitably determined. Some intrepid souls, shunned by society at large, have sought refuge in the park, making temporary homes in the trees. One of the larger berms to one side of the park plays host to a small tent city, centered around a fire crackling safely within a metal trash can.

One of the park's transient inhabitants, though, is located far from the others, in the aesthetic heart of the park. A cracked concrete ring encircles the park's central monument, a statue of some person of note, destroyed from the waist up during the city's translocation to Majigen. Jubei, the One-Eyed Twin Lotus, sits cross-legged a few meters in front of the statue, his one good eye closed in meditation. His scabbard lies on his lap. On the ground before him is a burlap bundle, roughly the size of a filing crate, tighly wound by a thick woven belt.

Occasionally, the master samurai's ears twitch, a move mostly obscured by his bright orange hood.

A link of chain, colored blue, turns around and round in fidgeting fingers.

A prize from a realm apart. A consolation given for a moment of life stretched infinitum over a span of time beyond mortal comprehension. Loss, and through loss learning. A sight of things that are not, that could be, and that have. It lingers in the mind in the moments it can be grasped. A paean to sorrows of inevitability. A clarion call to the futility of effort.

A nihilistic sorrow as worthwhile as a piss in the wind. Clio St. Jeanne is not her mother. She is not so swayed with the impossibility of forever when it comes to the possibility of her here and now.

She has been, for a time, leaned against the perimeter fence. Hood up, chain wrapped like a languid python around her body, looking all the world as some scrawny punk done a weekend runaway. But she knows enough ninja stories to know when she should play the part of nobody despite her more knightly desires this night. She has to be patient, and she has to watch. Her master is nearby, or near enough for her matters. She is just keeping watch for his time to meditate.

Even if she knows that, ultimately, her guardianship is half-measure a joke compared to the old cat's capabilities.

One of those who could be described as 'suitably determined' is a man standing at a height of the upper end of average, slender wearing a white fedora with a black band and white trench coat to protect against the frigid temperatures this time of year. While his clothing looks pristine, his face is less so. He has a black eye on the left side of his face a split lip only just starting to heal. Other than his clothing, the man looks like he's been through a rough patch recently

Over the man's shoulder is a black leather messenger bag filled with various sundries required for the ritual. Enchanted chalk, crystals, vials of different colors of liquid.

He takes in the scene. The various people close by, the nigh barren landscape with the single bit of visible hope being the broad leaved weed growing out of the ground. He moves next to where Clio is holding vigil near the meditating samurai while remaining quiet as he gives her a nod. After all, it would be rude to disturb an ally while they are meditating.

Jubei's meditation is not so deep that he wouldn't notice Brandon's arrival. But, responding immediately to such would also rob him of a number of peculiar and subtle opportunities. Notably: what Brandon does next.

The itinerant samurai does not wait long, however, before cracking his eye open. One ear flicks rapidly; his whiskers twitch; twin tails swish into motion. He scans sideways for a moment.

And in the next, he rocks forward, scooping up the burlap-wrapped parcel as he lets his swords swing to their proper place upon his back. Rising to his hind paws, he ambles his way over towards Clio and Brandon.

"Hey, you two," he calls out when he gets within comfortable earshot. "Thanks for watchin' guard. I appreciate it." To Clio, a gentle smile.

And then he gets a closer look at Brandon, chin cocking slightly to the side. "Y'know," he starts, raising a paw to the eyepatch over his right eye: "they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but this is takin' it a bit far." His free paw flips supine, as he shifts the parcel in his other. "Rough night?"

Dark eyes, ringed in shadow, look over Brandon. Clio doesn't need to question where the injuries came from. That is, ultimately, not something she really needs to know. If the man wants to clear what happened, he can speak for himself. But she does return his nod and looks over toward where the samurai meditates; a silent gesture to point Brandon the way he needs to go.

She takes a hand from her pocket and lowers her hood when Jubei closes in. She has a smile in turn for the cat. "Of course," she tells him, "Anytime, sir."

Her hand returns to her pockets and her chains seem to slither about her to adjust for her posture. She looks at Brandon, she has the same anticipation that Jubei does; wondering deeply what he intends to do, and knowing what she is there for. The blue link turns in her hidden hand.

The mystical private investigator nods to Jubei. "Prepping the area for the ritual started out well. It didn't quite end that way." That was all he was going to say about that matter though he does give Clio a glance.

"Clio, I need you to remember everything that I'm doing right now. Please observe carefully." He knew that she already chastised him for wanting to make sure there was someone else who could do the spell should he go down and he came close enough to it happening he was not going to listen to any backtalk about not passing along that knowledge.

He takes the chalk and draws out a circle and then a couple circles within it. As a result there is two open spaces for the arcanist to scrawl the magical formulas around the area. Then he kneels down as if he was about draw something in the center but then he stops.

"Jubei, could you hand me the Isochromium Arca?"

He rises to his feet but as he does so, he turns towards Clio. "You had mentioned something about having something that could help with this spell?"

Jubei frowns in sympathy to Brandon's response -- though, he's not going to force the issue, simply nodding. If the "kid" feels like elaborating, he will.

Likewise, he keeps a bit of distance between himself and the magic-users -- for there's not a lot he can do for -that- part of the ritual anyway, aside from get one of his tails singed. Magic is fun to watch, but any time he's tried to make sense of it, he finds the urge to nap instead.

He's also kind enough to not mention -that.

He looks up, once Brandon rises again -- and nods amicably. As the belt is unfastened, layers of burlap fall away to reveal something akin to a railroad spike -- some eight inches in length, with a roundish head. Icy cold to the touch, the "nail" is so cold as to freeze the air molecules around it -- all the more reason for Jubei to keep holding onto it with the burlap wrapper.

"Here." He minces the remaining words, the platitudes he might otherwise be full of. It's clear, after all, that Brandon and Clio know how much is at stake.

Clio holds a distant expression. She has forgone the Kaka Clan mask, but the painted smile might be a sight better then the cold contemplation that resembles her mother's in ways that Jubei is privy to. She is thinking. She is thinking and she is watching every motion that Brandon makes. She watches the markings, the sigils and the formulae. Familiar concepts to her. She also has a distinct distaste in her mouth at the familiarity of the actions being done. There's a certain martyr's certainty about them she recognizes.

And in that moment she sees a chained god thrashing at time and reality. She feels the iron tang in her mouth. She feels the infinite. She feels the touch of a soldier pulling a traitor from the precipice of eternity. If you are of service, you hold worth. If not, then you do not.

Clio's hand pulls the small link from her pocket. It has simple etches, done with a nail. But as she lines the link with the wrapping length of the larger chain she wears about her, the markings on both flare with eldritch glow, leaking wisps of predatory seithr into the air.

"My chain," she starts, "This link. . .," she pauses, "Rosellia stuff." She pulls her hand away, welded among the chain is the warm link from the Rosellia. The lights have shifted, the purple seems to hold a steady azure hue. "My chain isn't Ars Magica, it's a conduit for my own, I don't even know, but something to do with how easy I can pull from the Boundary. I blame my mother. With this link, I can spread the wealth. Of any spell. And we're using it for your casting. Whoever has a hold of this will take some of the brunt. Where one person breaks, the chain will hold."

A look toward Jubei. "We're really, really going to need you for this, master."

"Ok. That changes the ritual a bit."

When Brandon received the ritual, it came with it the understanding of the inner workings of the spell. Because of that, he enough information that he can make on the fly adjustments to it that one who merely received the documents of how to perform it wouldn't be able to unless they had an advanced grounding in utilizing magic. With the Isochromium Arca in one hand and the chalk in the other he moves towards the center of the circle and plunges the mystical spike into the middle.

"Without your chain, Clio, I would have to draw this circle here where I would have take all the energy through myself like a filter and then redistribute the energy back into the park. Now..."

Brandon pauses to draw out the central circle and then proceeds to draw a trio of circles in the interior of the circle each touching each other. All surrounding that mystical spike.

"Now... We can distribute the burden among the three of us. Clio, I will leave that responsibility of figuring out who to filter the energy through up to you so I can focus on moving the purified energy through the park."

Brandon pulls out a vial of liquid and drips the liquid on the inner circle of the arcane formula on the outer ring.

"Water that mandrake was soaked in."

He places that vial back into the messenger bag and pulls out a second vial and proceeds to drip the liquid on the exterior circle of formula on the outer ring. He then rises and places the second vial in his bag.

"Juice from the juniper berries."

He takes a deep breath as he can start feeling the nerves from perfoming such a working.

"Clio, I will need you to wrap the end opposite of that link around the Arca. Then each of us will stand in those three circles. Then while Clio will need to take hold of the link in one hand and the chain in the other. Jubei and I will also take hold of the chain with one hand... err or paw each and then we can start the ritual."

With that he takes his place in one of the three inner circles.

"Rosalia stuff" sums it up pretty well. Jubei knew what the thing in his burlap wrap was -- he saw it at work. And Jubei knew that this very spike, from the simplicity of its design and existence, would have an influence on a number of pivotal events in his life.

"Alright," he comments with a twinkle in his eye. "I'll do what I can to keep the current steady." The down-to-earth cat can't help much with what he'd call 'mystical, magical hocus-pocus.' But when it comes to regulating the flow of seithr, that's a task he can handle. With another glance at the glowing link of chain, he nods with warm confidence.

The wheel of fate is turning yet again as Jubei hands the Isochronium Arcanum to Brandon. In the grand scheme of things, the gesture itself is no more significant than any of the other times he has changed possession of a priceless artifact. Many of those exchanges did not end up so well -- but there is no trace of those dark memories present in Jubei's reassuring smile. The cat will do everything he can to keep from heaping even more anxiety upon the two young mages.

His gaze follows the vials, and the liquid. Not that he knows the significance -- but just in case they start bubbling and frothing or something. And when he's satisfied they don't immediately explode, he looks up to Clio for guidance on where to stand.

Jubei takes his position. And once he's sure of his path, he takes hold of the chain.

"I just got one reminder for you kids," he starts, face drooping with his somber tone.

A beat.

The feline smile returns.
"It's easy to forget that one."

All magic has a cost. Seithr destroys, but the power it offers is enough that it will draw countless dabblers to risking their existence for the sake of that power. Even a noble use will burn up the user. And this use was a great matter of magic. Clio St. Jeanne, formerly of the NOL, is all too familiar with that rush of power.

She's also familiar with the shape of the relic held within Jubei's burlap bag. She shoulders her chain, the heavy links unraveling from her frame to drape over her shoulders and run from arm to arm. The end in one hand is a similar spike. The end in the other is a heavy bell of a weight. "So, who wants which?" she offers with a shrug.

Clio's thinking lightly on the matter to hand. The etched sigil work she's made will provide. But as she considers the hands of both involved she offers the spike toward Brandon. "Maybe just take the smaller one."

Brandon takes the spike from Clio's chain into his hand, lifting up and down as he considered the weight of it and the chain attached. He then lets Jubei take the chain in his paw as well. After that, Jubei would probably be happy to know that at the very least, Brandon will be taking his advice. He takes a deep breath, chest visibly expanding before it contracts afterwards as he attempts to release all the nervous energy through exhalation.

It starts slowly at first, a spark of energy is used to start the ritual as it travels from his hand down through the chain and into the Isochromium Arca. The mystical spike glows with a prismatic light before the energy goes into the trio of central circles encircling each of the participants of this ritual with light from multiple wavelengths.

Gradually as more and more power is poured into the ritual, the energy extends into the outer circles bathing the entire park in light.

Jubei reaches for the weight. The mass and size of the bell weight pose no problem for him. Not an ordinary cat, not by a long shot.

The samurai squares his stance in the circle, his mechanical digits curling around the bell as, similarly to Brandon, he draws in a long breath. The light swells; his smock stirs into motion. Seithr begins to flow into the Isochromium Arca. This is all normal behavior, of course -- power goes from A, through conduit B, to destination C. And the Arca acts as a battery of sorts, growing brighter with each passing moment.

The power modulates. Jubei leans a half-centimeter to the right, his grip shifting to compensate. But still, he smiles. A good start.

The Wheel of Fate is turning.

A tortured land poisoned by a vindictive would be conqueror. Young heroes putting their lives on the line to bring about a spell to renew. A cat. The links that bind them, made manifest in the form of a weapon, take on the glow of the energy being poured into it. The etchings are conduit, they take and direct the energies from one place and toward another. Diffuse along the links, spreading to the trio that hold fast to their positions.

Clio is quiet in her place. She breathes slow, steady. In. Out. For a moment, she reaches to pull her hood up; it brings a sort of comfort to her. But her grip returns, easy in the palm, focused on the fingers. She traces the arcane formulae she herself carved. She knows their meaning, she knows their power. But with the growing strength of the magic, she does hold a clinical form of doubt in her mind.

She knows Jubei is the anchor, she gave him the weight for a reason. But as she looks to the old cat, she suspects he has the strength to handle the majority of the power the spell will take. He's a beast beyond herself and Brandon, she knows that. She can only aspire to be half of his capability.

And in the vein of that thought, she takes on a heavy brunt of the spell. She knows Brandon is strong. She knows he is able to handle himself. But still she won't have him martyr himself. She will take a heavy toll, even if not near the force she will channel into her own teacher. Brandon has, Clio thinks, taken enough pain from all this. And besides, if it didn't hurt, how would she know any of it mattered?

The energy that Brandon is pushing into the ground through the Arca eventually reaches the arcane formula drawn out with his enchanted piece of chalk. The script begins to glow white with bits of vivid reds, oranges, yellows, greens blues, and violets mixed in similar to how one would see rainbow sprinkles covering a vanilla ice cream.

The second stage of it was an on the fly modification to the ritual taking advantage of his own ability with divination magic. It wouldn't be required should Clio be needed to cast this ritual but serves as an enhancement that allows him to monitor process. He reaches his senses into the ground and can sense the energy swirling and burrowing through the ground. Brandon guides the energy to the roots of the corrupted plant life.

Oddly enough that on the fly modification to the ritual gave him an insight that he might've taken longer to realize if he hadn't done so. He was utilizing direct access to his magic rather than from his deck of cards. This should be hurting more and hadn't even done the heavy lifting on project, yet. He glances at Clio for an instant before he goes into the next phase.

He starts drawing in energy from the unravaged parts of the park. Drawing on the energy to act as a catalyst for bringing in and producing the type of energy that could sustain this area.

The next phase then becomes pulling in the corrupted energy through the Isochromium Arca. This was the important part of the ritual and the one where he would truly need Clio's ability to redistribute the responsibilites of filtering the energy the rest of the ritual is working to fill the empty gaps created by drawing out the corrupted energy.

At first, Jubei was unsure of what role he would play in this. He knew he would be helping to control the pace -- but it wasn't clear how until the energy began to flow. But as that energy flows -- ushered to him by Clio, guided away from him by Brandon -- it starts to make more sense.

It's also rather -hot-, as can be evidenced as the cat tilts his head to the side, shrugging his black-and-white mane free from the orange hood. Drawing in his breath with a pleasant smile, the samurai keeps his eye on the flow of energy -- gently coaxing it to maintain a steady pace as it thrums its way across the chains. The Isochronium Arca acts as the capacitor, storing the energy in a holding buffer so that the ritual can do its work -- but it also serves as a shunt, drawing the more harmful, unstable elements of the energy out of this plane of existence. And bleeding them into the Boundary, instead...

It reminds the cat of old times. Happier times, perhaps. Times where action was clearer, to be certain.

The cat lifts his eye -- first to the amazing miracles taking place in the park. And then to his disciple, and to the light mage. The cat's brow furrows from the extended effort -- channeling this much seithr at once isn't something he's had to do in a -long- time.

But he is, at this moment, happy to play his part in a larger effort. One with lasting benefits.

Iridescent incandescence flits to and fro over the nail-scratched sigils. The power hot and the potential a heady realization in the mind of Clio St. Jeanne. A glimpse beyond, an awareness of all things. A notion of what it means to be in the dark. What it means to know the futility of the overarching, but the necessity of the now. The Old God stretched time to such a point as to engender pointlessness into her mind. But she could see something else. She could see, as the energies guided by Brandon work their way into corrupted and dead and salted land, that there was always something else.

Beyond destruction, there is rebirth. An endless chain, tying one to another, moving onwards, always, linking the lives and actions and spirits. The energies of Seithr destroy and rot, but they birth power and potential. Fire burns, but it renews the soil. A soldier cuts ties only to take up arms. All things that seem obvious, simple really, but the revelation is something so simple that she wonders if that's why it was missed so easily.

"Dispatched and mankind's darkest hour. We are knights of the blue flame."

She whispers the words without realizing it. Calling the mantra, pulling painful cost into herself. She looks over at Brandon, watching him, feeling the heat of the chains grow. Her hands tighten, knuckle whiten, on the slack of the chain. She breaths in.

She takes the pain.

It hits her like a truck. A flare of deep indigo flame lights, flicking off of her back, writhing and twisting as a backburn of poisoned magic flows through her.

She gasps, sucking at the pain, eyes widening as a rictus grin cuts itself across her face. She turns the magic, siphoning the flow from Brandon, taking it through herself, and finally, twisting it toward her master. Opening to him her need to carry the burden of this dreadful potential.

The light mage is beginning to sweat in spite of the cold winter air of Metro City. The combination of the heat generated by moving so much energy around as well as the physical and mental exhertion required to perform that task, sweating was pretty much a foregone conclusion.

All of this energy manipulation still required him to be tapping into direct access to his energy but instead of the agony that he has all but gotten used to while doing so has been reduced to a dull ache. He can feel Clio sharing the burden of him using his power. It's not exactly something that he's used to but he had to acknowledge it was probably for the best since he still had to share in the burden of acting as a filter for the corrupted energy and that was a new sensation. A new pain that he wasn't used to and if he was feeling that, so must the other two.

He takes in deep breaths to renew his focus. He couldn't afford to let his concentration slip. There was too much at stake between how much energy was being moved around and the fact that both Jubei and Clio were as much a part of this as he was.

Those hanging about had been watching to see what was going on but as more and more energy had been moving around and through the park it had been harder for those outside of the circle to watch. There were protections inside of the circle which would allow the participants to continue the ritual.

The ritual was nearing the end and a column of light erupts from the circle into the night sky. For a few moments, Metro City is bathed in enough light that it was as though it was daytime. The light fades and then all returns to the darkness illuminated by artificial light normal to city living.

In the middle of the circle is a single iris growing in the ground in spite of it not being in season especially for the north east region of the United States. If one understood the language of flowers, they would see it as a symbol of hope. Even the fact that there was growth there in the first place could be interpreted as a hopeful sign of the park being able to flourish once more.

No significant progress comes without a cost. In the ideal situation, such a cost is one that can be recouped over time.

The cat grinds his teeth. His forepaws shudder from the stress of the increased workload. His two tails lock downward, providing extra support for the feline's bipedal stance. And over the din of his oversized sleeves flapping in the supernatural wind, he hears his disciple's duress, all the same.

Before, he was a passive filter, a conduit, a resistor. But the more he stays in position, the more keenly he is aware of fluctuations. As he becomes increasingly aware of the energy flow, the cat learns what is 'unstable' and what is not. Such that when the azure flares, the fluctuation increased.

And Jubei compensates. A minute adjustment of his hand, a slight twist to his internal chi signature, lets him draw in a bit more from Clio. His input fluctuates, the incandescence flaring at the center like a rapid jumprope -- but his output remains constant, a nearly straight line.

The cat increases his burden. For his journey may be at an end any day now -- but he knows that the wheel of fate holds much in store for his companions. And as the iris shudders, it draws his eye. And he sees the light.

"... breathe."
His word floats like a whisper on the wind.
A calm reminder that this is a battle of minds, and not just bodies.

A flower grows in Metro City.

More than the glowing light. More than even the surging waves of pain coursing through her body. More than the faint clatter and clink of her chain under the strain of the spell. More than all of that, that little flower is the sign that the moment was in their grasp. The moment was theirs to take.


Clio had been, if only through the virtue of the vow. She releases what she's been holding back through Jubei, letting him take the rest of the energy to filter. She closes her eyes. Breaths come in rolling heaves. Her eyes close. At least she could still see the flower in her mind. At least the chain held.

The energy eventually stops flowing through Clio's chain. And as Brandon releases it, he can feel a dull ache and tingle in his arms not unlike the sensation when an adrenaline crash happens right after the moment of overexhertion.

He lets out labored breaths as he takes off the fedora, revealing hair matted down with sweat, as he wipes his brow to keep his perspiration from dripping into his eyes.

"Its over. The corruption is purged. Now all that is left is to give the ground time for it to heal itself."

His eye travels to that lone iris. That unexpected surprise. He didn't expect for anything to grow there. For all he knew, the ritual was just supposed to clear out the corruption allowing for something to grow there next spring. But there was that miracle flower.

While the ritual was complete, he could still feel the energy moving under their feet, continuing the healing process of the Majigen scarred grounds.

The Isochronium Arca vibrates with a low, almost inaudible thrum as its collection duties slow to a halt. Left behind is a faint violet aura hanging in the air around the spike, all but invisible.

Jubei holds on firmly to the weight, even as the last wisps of iridescent energy make their way to their respective goals. It may be inert, but it is still a weight, and he doesn't want to drop it.

The cat's eye turns to Brandon as he speaks. And from there to the iris.

"Yeah," he notes. Whiskers twitch as he pads sideways, restoring bloodflow to his tense limbs. "It 'smells' nicer already." Though his mane and coat are dripping with sweat, he refrains from taking care of the dampness in any of the usual feline manners.

"So, as I understand it, the Arca will hold onto the corruption till it can get sorted back into the Azure. The, uh, Boundary. Yeah?"

The work is done, the work yet remains.

The cathartic release of the energy bleed the tension from Clio's body. She drops back to the ground, breathing heavily, arms straining to prop herself up. She looks ahead, toward the flower. The little bloom of hope for a future of greenery and a return to health of her home.

She finally just lets herself flop back onto the ground. "We did it," she states, disbelieving in herself even as the results stare her in the face. She repeats, "We did it," with a burbling laugh, holding onto the reality with repetition.

She adds, even as she grins, a bit of reality to the situation. "Tomorrow is gonna suck. I'm going to be so sore."

The private investigator slumps forward from the exhaustion. It takes a few moments for Brandon to collect himself since for that portion of time where the ritual was active, his focus was that spell. He needed to take a moment let any thoughts besides that act of thaumaturgy to enter his head.

"Whew. That was intense."

There is more heavy breathing. After a while, Brandon manages to gather himself and a relatively sobering thought comes to mind.

"We have a whole bunch of witnesses. Plus, this was a huge spell that might have drawn a lot of attention. We probably should make ourselves scarce before authorities of the MCPD or..." Brandon glances at the feline samurai before continuing, "... otherwise decide to make their appearance."

The arcane investigator flicks out his wrist, making The Hermit tarot card appear in his hand. He doesnt activate it yet but instead nods to both Jubei and Clio.

"Thank you, both, from the bottom of my heart. As cliche as it may sound, I couldn't have done this without you."

Jubei's ear flicks towards Clio as she lets herself drop to the ground, a small smile creeping its way back upon his face. He nods quietly in response, adding a small chuckle of his own to the laugh as he sets the weight down somewhat close by to Clio. One paw does go to his back as he rises, as he considers the follow-up statement. "... Tomorrow's tomorrow, though." Pain is just a fact of life for the old cat.

Jubei blinks, though, as Brandon brings up the possibility that the city might not have wanted the park restored. He chuckles softly, moving to the Arca -- and if he receives no objection from the two mages, he'd pick that up to hold on to. Eventually Lady Alucard will want that back.

He sees the tarot card, but isn't sure what that -means-. "I suppose that's true. But..." He glances over to Clio for a moment. "Is that a ticket out of here? 'cause if we're gonna be hoofin' it, we could probably wait another moment or two."

As for the thanks, he grins and shakes his head. "All in a day's work. I'm just glad to be helpin' make a difference in this world. You two deserve all the credit, all I did was stand there and soak for a bit."

Reality seeps into the moment of exhaustion. "I was going to ask if anyone wanted any ice cream," she protests, waving a hand in the air above her. But those things aren't happening and so she heaves a sigh to let the world know of her feeling of being put-upon.

She sits up, pulling up her hood and shifting the grinning Kaka Clan mask over her face. Turning, head tilting, the red eyes are directed at Brandon. "We've been running long enough to know that my old family is still out there, always close to hand," Clio says with a shrug. "We did good, we can take a rest."

Her fingertips run to the chain, tightening around the link and in pulling it, the lengths coil and twine crossways from waist to shoulder. "If you're offering a way out. I don't think either of us are going to turn you down. I can trust that the work has been done. And that you'll be worth keeping an eye on this place. Someone has to."

Brandon certainly has no objections to Jubei taking the Arca. He wasn't exactly sure he wanted it in his possession right now. Instead, he wants to make a trip to his agency, get some shut eye and hang around the city for a bit so he can closely monitor the park.

"I'll be in the city for a bit. I can monitor how well the process is going and I have a way to contact Clio to keep her updated."

The Hermit card glows for a bit before the investigator begins to fade out from sight as the cloaking illusion takes effect. A disembodied voice from where the detective was standing says, "Stay in touch."

There's a vague, detective shaped outline not unlike the cloaking device seen from predator walking away from the other two that's hard to notice if you're not actually searching for it.

The One-Eyed Twin Lotus favors Clio with a broad grin as she makes her desperate plea for dairy delight. And, as she explains that the pair is quite used to being on the run, he turns back to Brandon with a nod. "Yeah, well said." No further comment.

The warrior wraps the Arca back up in its burlap sack. Bystanders may be starting to take notice of the trio, but it's nothing to raise the cat's hackles. "Alright, you both did great. We'll be in touch. Travel safe."

He sees that he won't have to worry about that, as the investigator is soon cloaked in the Hermit card's protective shroud. And then...

Well, Jubei remains standing, one claw curling around the Arca, close to his chest. If the cat sits down, he won't want to get back up again.

His tails flick into motion, a playful grin on his feline features.

"Ice cream'd be great. My treat."

Log created on 11:51:34 01/27/2022 by Jubei, and last modified on 15:15:28 02/02/2022.