Description: Though her attempts to exert control over the rogue Command Gear fell through, Scarlet Dahlia was nonetheless able to stir up enough panic to draw the attention of an entity more insidious than she. She plans her next moves, thinking herself safe within the shadows - but is that not where the monsters thrive?
The Scarlet Dahlia -hated- making phonecalls.
Especially from a relatively -risky- location she knows very little about. And yet, as she looks out the eighth-story window of a hotel building, with a dozen of her men stationed in adjacent rooms and making regular patrols down the hotel hallway... it is as secure a location as she can manage for now.
Off in the distance is the big top tent of the traveling Twilight Star Circus. Stationed around it is a bustling crowd, sheltered for the time being beneath endless rainstorms. The later trips on the circus' itinerary had been cancelled -- the product of a conscious effort to keep the circus grounded in a high location, immune to the flooding sure to ravage the lands downhill. And as one of the sole attractions open during the freakish supernatural rainstorm that's already lasted for several days... well, it's raking in big bucks, to say the least.
The Scarlet Dahlia peers through her reflection, her breath fogging the glass. She listens -- Kamui knows, there's no end to the useless information these people consider to be relevant.
"Look. Just.... I know. Just get people out there. We'll reimburse you. -- Really? Do you even know who you're talking to?"
The Dahlia rolls her eyes, even as she spins a knife around in her hand with almost careless disregard for the sweep of the lethal edge.
She lets forth a sigh, and closes the phone's clamshell shut. It's not even a -smartphone-, how barbaric! Irritably, she turns from the window, her hands slapping onto the desk as she takes a seat in the swiveling chair.
"Somebody better give me some better damn news today."
The two door guards glance awkwardly at one another with uneasy smiles.
A taller man seated in the recliner coughs abruptly -- fixing one of the guards with steeled eyes and a noticeable frown.
Both of the door guards click their heels together and stand at full attention. Discipline is important to the Dahlia -- perhaps now more than ever.
There'd be notification given to Honoka in short order that there's some kind of intruder attempting to go through the halls, potentially through an electronic medium she has a higher respect for than corded phones. A slender man in an odd black suit with green hair and a derby hat is being held up on the eighth floor, and from all accounts seemed intent on wandering in the direction of the woman's room. He at first tried to defend himself by presenting a ticket for the Twilight Star Circus, as if that somehow justified some manner of backstage access. When things become a touch more aggressive, apparently he folded like a deck of cards and begged to see the Scarlet Dahlia about something of the utmost importance. Secondary lookouts confirmed he did indeed walk straight to the hotel from the tent after enjoying the performance, and merely entered the elevator, slipped up to Honoka's story, and promptly got caught. He's also refused to give his name, saying with excessive apology that his presence here is clandestine... after the entirely unstealthy approach. Well, there's always the option of having them beat him unconscious and throw him into a dumpster, depending on whether she wishes to deal with such exasperations in the rapidly changing climate of the city; both literal and figurative, as the endless storms are only just beginning to show signs of calming down...
As Sudo conveys the news, Dahlia begins kneading her temples. A ticket for Twilight Star Circus is troublesome enough -- but reports that he literally attended the show? This suggests one of two obvious possibilities:
One -- that he really likes the circus, and combined business with pleasure.
Two -- That he came to the circus with foreknowledge that the Scarlet Dahlia and Honoka Kawamoto are one and the same.
She would not have advanced as far in the underworld by being so naive to believe the first option.
After a few moments of thought, she waves her hand in a dismissive gesture. "Have them take him next door." With a nod, Sudo steps back from the table, conveying the message.
The two penguin-suited guards nearest the unidentified clandestine officer will usher him into the suite, shutting the door behind them. A six-seat conference table is in the center of the room, and the blinds have been drawn. A television is off to the side near a couch. Off to the side are doors presumably leading to the bathroom and the bedroom, currently shut. A popular place for small business meetings, but nothing particularly opulent.
About twenty seconds after the guards have arrived, the door swings open again. In strides a woman with the utmost confidence: blue-irised eyes that can peer right into the soul, framed in violet-rimmed eyeglasses. Her alabaster skin is well-kept with a light dusting of makeup. Her jet-black hair is swept into a high, stylish coiffure. And her key clothing color is clearly -not- scarlet, despite her moniker: a white-and-black jacket, over top of an off-white vest. Lace-up knee-high boots make brief appearances before the long folds of her silken white dress assert themselves back into position.
While the woman may have been fully confident as she walked in, she raises an eyebrow at the figure before her. She glances him up and down, forehead creasing in concentration.
After a moment, her expression fades back to a judgmental neutral. She makes a dismissive wave to her guards, who silently file out of the room behind her.
The door pulls shut with a click.
"Utmost importance, I'm told. I'll be the judge of that," she says, just a moment before a clap of thunder can be heard in the distance.
She tilts her head slightly to one side, the slightest glimmer of a smirk appearing. Conversational, but brief.
"You have five minutes. Go."
There's a stagger from Hazama as he's pushed inside, trying to smooth out his black suit with a look of being legitimately upset. "Just watch the hat!" he declares with a huff, hand holding it down tight atop the shock of green hair beneath. Once left to his own devices, meticulous motions smooth out every wrinkle, adjust the short tie, flick the superfluous rings dangling from the lapels back into order. Hazama is fully presentable by the time that the woman arrives once more, as the unimposing man turns around to look upon her. Although one hand rests comfortingly atop his hat, the other is settled into a pocket, expression just a hint of a frown. "Are you always so rough with visitors...?"
A similar eyeball seems to come from Hazama, although given how his eyes remain seemingly closed, it's a more difficult motion to track. "You don't look like who I expected..." is finally stated. If Honoka were to judge based on her mundane eye, this man is some non-combative. His stance is nervous, slouching defensively, little of the bearing or instinct that might be expected from any sort of trained fighter. The ghost of a frown, unsure, on his face. It might be an act. It might not. It is a rare case where there is a simple void of emotions to draw upon.
"Scary, scary. Five minutes...? That's plenty of time." A slow look around the room follows, before Hazama begins to investigate the surroundings. Running a hand over the television, tapping fingers on the table, heading over to the blinds to part them and peer outside. He's looking for any sort of recording devices or bugs that might be more obvious, but it's still wasting time. Precious time, depending on who he asks.
"What's your favorite flavor?" is suddenly asked. "If they made a candy just for you, I mean. What flavor might it be?"
"Please accept my apologies for any roughness. It's possible the local branch needs a refresher course in guest relations."
Dahlia bows her head in muted apologies.
Granted, if she knew the -true- nature of the being standing in front of her -- such as -why- he has no soul to read, or -why- he lacks a brain -- she might not be so exceedingly polite. As it is, she's hedging her bets that this guy knows way more about her than she does him.
Especially with his next statement.
She coughs out a polite laugh. "Well what did you expect me to look like?"
She has a feeling she already knows the answer -- even though Honoka Kawamoto's last public performance -- a KOF fight against Duke -- was quite some time ago.
The man will find no bugs -- there was simply no time to -place- any such recording devices. And with her guards out of the room, the only devices recording would be the cellphone tucked away inside her vest.
She tilts her head to the side once more, pausing to retrieve the device.
She swipes the smartphone open, flicks the record app to 'off', and sets the smartphone on the table, accompanied by a terse smile.
"Apologies. Force of habit."
The arms fold up again. And just as her mouth parts with what is no doubt a reminder to get to the point, a seemingly innocuous question is asked.
She smirks faintly, arching an eyebrow.
"Presuming I were to indulge my sweet tooth... Let's go with sea salt and caramel."
She could rush him. But that was a surprisingly interesting question to ask, and she doesn't know this... creature well enough to know what it could be in relation to.
If he were sensitive to such things, though -- her physical appearance may be one of curiosity, but her mental fortitude is maintaining a full vigil.
There's a lot of curiosities about Hazama, but any number of reasons could make him a dead zone in his soul. Spells, special meditations, psychic immunity, artifacts. That in and of itself isn't an exceptional tell. However, the strange energy that tingles within him might be another matter entirely. A Grimoire like his is unique; unlike all the others, deeply tied to the Boundary, and that particular flow only exists in nearly undetectable amounts in the ambient seithr found in very specific places of power... and even then, few understand it beyond that it makes spells and chi stronger. Indeed, Honoka's psychic energy would feel somehow amplified running through Hazama's odd form, even though it doesn't find anything useful... an amplifier, perhaps?
"Oh, I think nothing of it. I'm Intelligence, myself. Information is an important business. I'm lead to understand you play the game very well! Especially for an independent." Hazama faces the window, back lazily presented to Honoka, with no seeming care of any vulnerability. Then again, to most anyone normal, he seems as harmless as he's presenting. "You had somewhat humble beginnings, isn't that right? Ah. Candy. I'd say my favorite was... honey~"
A slow lick of the lips follows. "Mhm~ I can smell that particular candy on you. It's quite fragrent... Ms. Champion of Mortal Kombat. I'm not sure if you are aware, but those of the Novus Orbis Librarium can detect many people from that conflict who still seem to have questionably corrupt souls after the experience. I daresay, you battled a literal God, did you not? The very same one who made such a stormy fuss about the Gears. Remarkable! How does it feel, to walk again on a more simple path..."
He tilts his hat a touch, grin spreading farther. "Or might you still be a dormant God, waiting for a chance to bear your fangs again?"
The last time she was questioned by such an interesting and eccentric person, it was... Daniel Jack, a man who refuses to stay dead despite her best efforts. And he, at least, was -human- when the interrogation took place.
So she's got her doubts about the peculiar intelligence official leaving his back turned. There are any number of reasons in which he might present his back to someone he's already identified as a source of information...
But first and foremost, it's rude.
Hazama will soon find his reflection standing alongside the Dahlia's, as she looks out the window with him. And possibly at him, simultaneously.
"You sound awfully sure of yourself," she notes with a placid smile. If he knew to find her -here-, after all, the Akatsuki leader can only surmise that he knows about her dual identity. And if he doesn't, well, why bother confirming it for him?
When he clarifies the question about candy though? That's when the woman's eyebrow arches up in interest. Her status as Champion is probably the -least- well-kept secret about the shadowy Dahlia, considering the number of mercenaries and free agents present at such a festive get-together. And yet, the fact that he knows about the honey-hued soul shard present upon her -- though currently quite hidden by several layers of cloth -- speaks to the depth of his intelligence-gathering methodology.
She offers a musical laugh in response to the flattery -- knowing full well that she could unleash the power at any moment, should the need arise. She nods absently to each of the points -- not -fully- committing to a confirmation, but neither is she denying any of the points but one.
"We did not fight. I had a misunderstanding, which was quickly clarified."
But, when the questions end, she shrugs her shoulders, rolling her neck from side to side. "Earthrealm was saved -- no ticker-tape parade, just the smug satisfaction of a job well done." She offers a tight smile -- clearly, there's more thoughts to be plumbed from that mine should the stranger delve deeper -- but she demurs for now.
"The simplest path is the one that elevates my people to the same heights as anyone else in this country. I'm a businesswoman, with much work to do here -- I'm quite happy leaving the god stuff to Lord Raiden." The complicated truth is a bit murkier, but its quite clear that the woman prefers to keep those cards close to the chest.
"... Though, I did note that you mentioned the Novus Orbis Librarium. I've been hearing some rather -interesting- press conferences from this esteemed organization. Would you happen to be standing here in representation of such a faction?" Her smile grows a smidge more saccharine. "I'd ask to see your card, but I'd heard you'd run out of stock."
She draws in her breath, eyes fixating loosely upon the derby-hatted reflection.
"I understand the NOL is seeking to expand its influence into Japan. It's -quite- the difficult market, with so many entrenched businesses unwilling to yield any footholds..."
Unreadable. Hazama's face has a subtle smile, eyes closed, expression calm. None of the fear he exhibited before the guards is present now. This sort of relaxation would be considered reckless to most. It would be easy to strike out with a knife; cut his throat. Stab him in the heart. Perhaps worse. He has numerous blind spots, and the way his weight and position is held, even were he truly able his ability to maneuver is significantly compromised. Without the Shards, Honoka is becoming one of the most formidable fighters alive, and not many would be able to bare their proverbial throat and live... let alone some individual she'd know nothing of. There's no fight records, no rumors, no newspaper clippings. This strange green-haired man merely wandered into her life from the seeming void.
"Conflict is conflict, in my opinion. I'm not particularly a fan of such things... I'd prefer to sit in a bath, eating hard-boiled eggs, reading a good book. But we've all got our roles to do in this world, and passionate or not, I've found I'm rather talented at mine." A slight nod of agreement follows the mention of the victorious tournament. "Your people, you say." Hazama coos, drawing attention to the word with a curious tone to the voice. "Yes, all people wish to look out for their own first. Friends, family. Lovers. Such is how human society began. Safety in numbers. From that primal instinct, here people stand."
"But..." A hand absently adjusts the brim of Hazama's hat. "I have it from good sources that being a God is not so grand as you might think. If you desire freedom, then your current course is certainly the best."
There's a few beats of silence. "I'm from Intelligence." Hazama repeats, leaving out anything further. "Regardless of who I work for, that means results. By any means neccesary. What is it you want? Power? Safety? Political influence? Anarchy? Peace? You play with your cards so close to your chest... how long are you going to watch everyone else play the poker game, before finally going all in?"
Appearances are deceiving. Much though she'd -like- to cut Hazama's eyes out and set them on display, the fact that she can't even tell -what- he is -- let alone -how- he can physically stand next to her without collapsing into a puddle of non-sentient goo -- is enough to keep her arms folded quietly before her.
She remains quiet as her own words are plucked out, placed delicately in an ornate knife, and thrust back across the proverbial table at her.
She acknowledges the knife with little more than a brief nod -- much like the one she gives when the man adjusts his hat.
"For starters, o stranger from Intelligence, I'd like a name. I don't care if it's yours, but I need a calling card before I enter into any negotiations about any old thing. You know the name I offer -- Scarlet Dahlia. And you know the organization I champion -- Akatsuki, of whom you've met several, who occasionally chance to treat people a bit roughly."
Her words slip freely out of her mouth, with little emotion but substantial forethought.
And then, a deliberate pause.
"But I know nothing of what you offer, other than that which I have in ample supply -- Intelligence."
She studies the reflections on the glass -- or perhaps the people migrating away from the big top off in the distance. It's tough to be sure.
"So, presuming that is what interests you... Let's say that I do want peace, but in order to keep the peace -- I want the political influence to secure it. But I also need an assurance that I'm not stepping backwards yet again -- fighting for an ungrateful world. One that will squander those opportunities we fight for."
Her lips turn into a frown. "The world did not respect the very credible threat of global devastation -- and were it not for the valiant efforts of a few, the entire world would have been as Atlantis in another week."
She turns her head sideways, looking directly at Hazama.
"What can you do for me?"
"Are we going by aliases, then? Hmm. You can call me Mr. Derby." Hazama reaches up to pat his hat, to indicate the source of the name. He's always been a fan of the clothing, after all. It's the one thing he likes, and the one thing Terumi hates. "And yes, I know of at least that one. I hardly doubt that's the only pie you've your sneaky fingers in, but I'm not here to confirm every little detail on such trivial matters."
A light humming comes from Hazama as he continues to peer through the blinds, hands folded gently behind his back. He gives no particular cues from his body language, his voice, his voice, on what he might be thinking. Given his obviously eccentric and almost playfully lazy nature, many can find it more than a little frustrating to deal with.
"The world did not respect many threats to it. It never does. Everyone sits, expecting the hero to come save the day. Expecting fate ordains a future. Someone, somewhere, is always waiting on the wings. To swoop in, if all else fails. Hope. A foolhardy notion. Heroes are crafted from tragedy, not from warm, loving, happy homes. For to become strong requires a drive. To become strong requires you to desire something with a passion that defies the average person. And I mean true strength, Ms. Dahlia. Not the feeble efforts to make a name in a few national tournaments. Do you think Mr. Bogard, the legendary Hungry Wolf, would be nearly as powerful if he did not wish to destroy Geese with all his might? Everyone has something they want. And that something can always be exploited. Isn't that right?"
Hazama finally turns his head to smile at Honoka. It is not pleasant. Too wide. Too predatory. His eyes have slit open just enough to finally reveal their golden color. "And at the heart of it, that is your difficulty here. I'm different. I told you would I would prefer to do. Does that sound like the path of strength? Collecting silver eggs? No, no. You're talking to the wrong person, there. I'm here out of obligation. An obligation I have no passion for. Kill you, recruit you, ignore you. I have no meaningful opinion on any of them. And I do not say this out of ignorance. You're a remarkably powerful and dangerous person. An enemy who should not be underestimated. If I fought you right now, it may require a few drops of honey, but you would drive me off. And some of our assets are not so... difficult to destroy as me."
A long sigh follows. "Ah... the life of raw ambivalence is so droll. I suppose I'm hoping you'll interest me. The more fun I think you might be to watch, the more likely I am to give you as much influence as you like. And in a way, isn't that a much preferable deal to the ambiguity of two people shaking hands, both holding a knife behind their back...?"
Sure, that works.
Dahlia's go-to answer is, of course, the smirk.
As the man talks, she takes a step back, squaring her shoulders up with him. Even though he had not been exactly exuding strength, fear of the unknown keeps the Ainu woman's defenses raised -- and facing him directly is a bit less risky in this case.
Besides, turning her neck means placing additional pressure on her shoulders, which is still a bit of a problem considering her recent battles.
She is pleased, however, to learn that Hazama has just as cynical an outlook on humanity as she does. She nods wholeheartedly with the idea of what -true- strength is -- and is just as careful to nod along with national tournaments are criticized as well.
Isn't that right, he says?
And then he turns that fearful smile at her.
And the nodding stops, as her lips purse in silent judgment.
Each of the words that follows takes on a much stronger meaning, the golden eyes finding their match in Dahlia's cold blue gaze. She has nothing to say -- finding it preferable to listen, to watch.
Even though, by the man's own admission, that may the boring response.
"You -are- different."
It's stated like a compliment -- and indeed, with the light tilt to her head, the raised eyebrows, it was certainly delivered with sincerity.
"And you offer a Faustian bargain -- a promise of power, in exchange for what, exactly...?"
She breaks her gaze, turning away from the battle of wills. The Dahlia knows that the person who first throws out a number in a negotiation has already lost the battle.
So she reframes the battle.
"Two minutes left, Mr. Derby. Right now -you're- the one failing to interest -me- with your constant evasiveness. My trophy case is full -- as is my agenda. So let's cut the crap. The culling of the old guard is already underway -- and we stand on the precipice of a shattered country. NOL is gnashing its teeth about order and stability as if it's the first to ever make the promise."
She turns back to the golden-eyed one, stroking her chin. "I've already -done- the planning. Humanitarian aid now -- addressing the urgent needs of the people. They'll be eating out of my palm in a week. And NOL..."
She smiles faintly, shrugging her shoulders.
"Or whoever you work for? I need more muscle. An army -- with the white wings of a dove rather than an iron eagle. Someone the people can believe in -- and -trust- to fight in the open, rather than stab from the shadows. To -deter- the criminal element. Work with me -- and I'll show you where -best- to place your men."
Hazama still has the posture of a civilian, lazy and harmless. It's clear that's not the case. The primary question is merely how strong he really is. He implied that he would be a match for the girl, if she didn't tap into her emergency reserves. A bold claim, although there was no hint of ego or arrogance in his voice. Indeed, he sounded quite sure he would lose such, if her life or ambitions were truly on the line. "Different? Am I? We both know the game so well, Ms. Dahlia. I find it tedious, at times. I have no desire to impress you, myself. You can think as much or as little of me as you please. The only thing of importance on your end is that my consideration, and my consideration alone, will deem what happens with you when I return. How much more difficult your ambitions might be."
Idly, Hazama reaches into his pocket and pulls out a silver stopwatch, engraved with a snake. It's flicked open, and the audible ticking of the seconds is heard going down, bit by bit. "What I'm hearing is you seem comfortable enough on your own. That's fine by me. Ah... yes, yes. I know. I promised you, if we didn't resolve anything, you could have the last minute..." Who's he talking to? The ticks seem somehow ominous now. Some instincts are transient of any indication. Perhaps it's the fact Hazama finally looks to be frowning. Not at anything she has said or done, but whatever lurks in his mind.
"Four minutes." he finally intones. Carefully tucking the watch away, he then sighs before reaching up and removing his hat. Immediately, his empty body floods with a soul. It's like a geyser roaring into an empty vessel. In a few seconds, an unbelievably wild and chaotic power seems to be bursting at the very seems of Hazama. His eyes snap open and golden, mouth twisting into a wicked smile, a massive personality shift unfolding before Honoka's eyes.
She can read him now. A soul of pure chaos. Pure anarchy. And something more. Deeper, there is something... dangerous. The spark of a God.
"Hahahaha... What a boring conversation!!" he states, immediately unbuttoning the top of his shirt. In a few angry tugs the tie is undone and allowed to hang loose around his shoulders, hat flung into a corner. Green fire ripples up his body, hair spiking upwards amidst crackles and burst of lightning. He twists then, for the first time leaning forward, looking upon Honoka with an unsettling interest.
"Hello, human. My name's Terumi. Yuuki Terumi. I've seen your sort countless times before. Waiting for the perfect motion. Inching forward, bit by bit...! I'm a large fan of the manipulation game myself, and talent sees talent!! Aren't you itching for it? A chance to flex your muscle? I don't give a damn about the Librarium. It's just a toy to me. A tool. I want people who will change this boring, stangant world... destroy what's in their way. Take what they want. Do what they desire!! That's the only debate here that matters in this alliance... Honoka Kawamoto!! So tell me this..."
Suddenly there's a buzzing from his pocket, and Terumi pulls out the pocketwatch. He flicks it open, revealing the last minute is gone. "Oh... shoot. I've gone over our budget. Well..." He drops the time device, clattering on the floor. A hiss like a nest of serpents boils from his parting fingers as two long, ethereal chains slither out, topped by wicked teeth. They begin to whirl around him, billowing the air with a disturbing and chaotic energy.
"Time's up. Does that mean we kill each other now...?!"
Dahlia arches an eyebrow as Hazama patiently deconstructs her bold words, picking apart her crafted business plan with the unenthusiastic vibe of a copy editor.
"Your -consideration?- Please. I'm not going to sing and dance for you, it cheapens both of us..."
And though she takes umbrage at the 'you seem comfortable enough on your own' line, she can't help but notice that the green-haired man's attentions seem to be directed elsewhere...
And then she feels it.
An intoxicating rush -- the arrival of someone else entirely different.
Someone she can -resonate- with, as opposed to this anxiety-causing anomaly.
She winces, shrinking back as the oppressive presence presses against her. Dahlia's heart pounds in her chest, as she feels... -alive-.
Her pupils dilate.
Her teeth impress upon her lower lip.
Raw, unfiltered chaos ripples through the body of the double-talking fiend who had entered the room. Fear sends a shiver down her spine -- and golden energy begins to lace its way into her bloodstream, starting from the heart and radiating outward. Each new word excites her.
To inch forward, bit by bit.
To change this stagnant world.
To destroy what's in her way.
To take what she wants.
Within her mind, she's already predicting what this man will say next --
And then he flips the script -- he speaks her name.
Her response is instantaneous.
"Nngh-, no! Don't drag that flashy, sentimental -tool- into this! We had such -chemistry- going until you mentioned her...!"
The stopwatch goes off.
Dahlia's eyebrows knit together -- disappointment reigning upon her face.
"No! God... dammit...!"
And then twin chains make an arrival.
Twin chains whip out -- ended with snapping teeth.
And rather than show fear -- of which she has none, emboldened by a healthy surge of adrenaline -- her lips curl into a broad, predatory smile.
Her eyes -- lighting with golden flame -- lock firmly upon those of Yuuki Terumi. Naturally, the juggler is able to peripherally keep track of those snapping jaws as well, even without direct observation. And her body, coursing with golden radiance, is likely able to stand up to the threat.
Having fallen onto her back foot, she's now able to press forward into Terumi's space, craning forward in a defiant show.
"Fine -- I'll grant you a time extension. Just this once!"
A confident, self-assured smile crosses her face.
"You may be my new best friend, Mister Terumi. I've needed someone just like you to come along."
A finger is raised, tapping upon her chin.
She snaps her fingers.
"That's -exactly- what the problem was."
With a dark, throaty laugh, Dahlia reaches up and unpins her hair. Long, raven locks spill down onto her shoulders. She trails her fingers through her hair, licking her lips enthusiastically.
The Akatsuki leader felt out of place with Mr. Derby.
But now, her heart racing, she feels more alive than ever.
"You want excitement, Mr. Terumi? Keep the Librarium off my ass, and you can watch as the world -burns-."
"Oh...? You don't like that name?" Terumi states, although from his tone it's clear he has little sympathy for the vulnerability. "I always find the name that someone hates most is who they really are. The person they try to hide. I'll confirm... I hate /my/ real one just as much." Susano'o, ward and guardian of Amaterasu, fallen far from his roots in this current realm of chaos. It seems clear that the weapons are not truly real, merely magical energy made tangible through some application. Indeed, to one so keen at sensing auras, Honoka will feel nothing more than chaos, anarchy, and destruction coursing through him. Although his soul is certainly massive, it's also incredibly pure and simple at the core. Some interference exists, all the same. It's not... quite here. It's as if Hazama is filled with the energy of it, but the actual soul, the thing that can be touched, felt, and most importantly killed, remains elsewhere.
"A time extension? Well, rules are made to be broken..." With a last flick, the created Ouroboros vanish, dissipating into nothing. "Hazama is hardly a 'fun' individual. Effective enough, to do the things I could care less about... but I always watch in the background, for something that might ACTUALLY interest me..."
At that last word, Terumi's grin goes wide. Hands stuff deep into his pockets, leaning back with an arch that causes multiple pops along his spine. "That's a good enough agreement for me. There's nothing I find more delicious than despair!! I'll keep your bounty off the board. And if you give me a fun-sounding plan, I'll even give you the manpower you need. In exchange... if I find something I need your specialized skillset for... I'll come calling. That should be good enough for now!"
Dahlia bristles as Terumi brings up her name -- all it really results in, though, is some irritable shifting of her fingers through her hair. She knows that to express -further- irritation is to pour more fuel on the fire, and yet... well. It's -not- something she really cares to go into further explanation on.
She has no idea if Intelligence is still listening, after all.
Dahlia is certainly -aware- of the chaos -- particularly with how he responds to her capricious turns of emotion. Interesting data to sort away for later, but the conversation is moving too rapidly for any deep dives of logic to be had. ... She's perfectly content riding along with Terumi's waves of emotion until she has a better grasp on how to navigate them.
Nothing he finds more delicious than despair? Despair is but one of many flavors in a smorgasboard of emotions. It just so happens to be one of the more useful ones for instigating change.
It's with that in mind that Dahlia nods in response, her grin growing wider by the moment. "A fun-sounding plan you will get, then."
The grin grows a bit more pointed, her eyebrows drooping in conspiratory fashion.
"Just check in on me in a day or two, unless you can convince... Hazama-san to leave a calling card."
Honestly, she's fine if he doesn't want to be contacted -- she has her own peculiar preferences for communications, herself.
She chuckles softly, echoing Terumi's earlier sentiment.
"Thank you for the housecall. It's given me plenty of food for thought."
"Don't worry about it. I'm the one who can smell out your honey-scented soul. If not for me, Hazama-kun would never have found you so easily." That might make Honoka wonder just how much of his seemingly suspicious well of information came not from the suited man's meticulous investigations, but the exceptional powers of a God who can lurk in the Boundary itself. "I'll find you easily again. No matter where you go. I'll come check you out soon..." A few runes and sigils suddenly manifest beneath Terumi, as he flicks out a hand and summons a rippling chain, biting into the hat and drawing it back to his hand. "Well, if you want the world to change... the Librarium is exactly who you should support. I'll say that much. For now!! Until next time... Honoka~" He clearly says her name on purpose. Resentment, hate, dislike. Even minute, even if it doesn't change the pair's working relationship, it still fuels him. Not every fire must be stoked to an inferno, after all. A black disc opens beneath, before in a slow, smooth motion he descends down, at the last moment moving to place his hat atop his head. A moment after, Hazama looks thoroughly confused, before vanishing out of sight as the short-range teleportation goes off. Nowhere near as broad-ranging and quick as Phantom, but perfectly suited to these kind of encounters...
Log created on 16:05:18 12/28/2017 by Honoka, and last modified on 07:02:02 12/30/2017.