Siren - Down the Rabbit Hole

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Description: Ever on the prowl for fresh talent to bolster their ranks, the Illuminati turns their eye upon a particularly promising young man in the Chinese triads. Though she has yet to earn the trust of her new masters, their agent Siren is sent to make the offer, perhaps hoping that her charming nature will make him more receptive.

Hong Kong. China's "gateway to the world". It is a city that is always on the move, always alive and teeming with activity. A place where the lights never go out. Here, in Hong Kong, Shaolin Monks rub elbows with movie stars, salary men, tourists and criminals all at the same food cart. A place where British rule is still felt in the atmosphere, even if such colonial times are now nearly twenty years passed. It is a city of extremes, where one can simply turn a corner from one street to the next and go from an affluent neighborhood that houses celebrities, to a row filled with homeless beggars and brothels. And nowhere in Hong Kong exemplifies this vibrant duality more than the Wan Chai district.

It is here that the man known as Hei Xuanfeng has made his home. Here, where his earliest memories reside. Back then, Wan Chai was more "red light district" than the multicultural, gentrified neighborhood it is today. It was here that he lived with his mother in a cramped one room apartment with a bathroom shared by the entire floor. Where he used the sound of the leaking roof as a lullaby when he slept. This is where he has returned to make his mark on the world. Wan Chai district.

But Hei is no longer that starving little boy with the hollow eyes and distended stomach. Now, he is a name. A star on the rise, even if only within Hong Kong's thriving underworld. Here, he has joined with a notorious Triad gang, lending his skill with assassination to their cause. It has given him a growing reputation as The Demon King of Chaos, and has lined his pockets. Here, in Wan Chai, Hei Xuanfeng lives atop the world, both literally and figuratively.

Now, he is in his penthouse suite, in a tall tower overlooking Fenwick Pier. It is a luxurious apartment. Marble floors. Decor that is extravagant and speaks to traditional Chinese aesthetics, with red stained wood detailing and lattice work, antique furniture lined in velvet, and art on all the walls. A balcony lines the entire perimeter of the apartment, and the exterior walls are all glass, so that the apartment is flooded with natural light no matter the time of day.

"I'm an outlaw! Quick on the draw! Somethin' you never seen before! And I dare a mother fucker to come in my face!" Hei spits into a microphone from his living room, with his television and sound system set up for karaoke. He's not alone. A few young men, all of them seeming like thugs reside on the various pieces of furniture, talking, laughing, drinking and making out with the assorted young, scandalously clad women that accompany them.

From her place near the back of the room, a lone figure watches the party-goers make merry and enjoy themselves in the manner that uncultured thugs tend to do. She does not cast any particular judgement upon their choices of entertainment. Certainly, she herself has often indulged in the simple pleasures of pleasant company and cheap booze, though such things were rarely her idea. She's always had a craving for the more luxurious things in life. It is only in the past few years, however, that she's been in a position to actually live that lifestyle. Seeing the triad gangsters at their play brings forth not entirely unpleasant memories but she has little desire to descend into that world of violence and petty schemes once again.

How ironic, then, that she is here to entice one of these foolish young men to do precisely that. Not that she has a great deal of choice in the matter. The woman's hand goes to the choker at her throat, slender fingers running over the small oval gems inset into the cold metal band. It is both a reminder of her circumstances and the leash that keeps her in check, should she get any foolish ideas. Though she despises being bound as such, there is little choice but to play the part which she has been given - for now.

The steady sound of clapping breaches the sanctity of the room's atmosphere as the song comes to an end, wafting from the slender woman who nows sits casually on the edge of the lavish marble counter seperating the living area from the kitchen.

The intruder is obviously a foreigner, her pale milky skin and long blonde hair standing out like neon signs in a place like Hong Kong. Her body is swathed in a short Chinese-style dress, the elegant red fabric of the cheongsam flowing around her alluring contours as if it was poured onto her body. Dazzling imagery of a stylized bird, perhaps a phoenix, is inlaid upon its surface in golden thread with thick sweeping embellishments that hug the lower hem. A pair of long shapely legs flow from the bottom of the extravagant outfit like waterfalls of soft cream, vanishing into a pair of equally fancy high-heeled evening shoes. Never let it be said that she doesn't know how to dress to impress.

Siren offers a coy smile to the gangsters, amusement glittering in the sky-blue pools of her eyes as if they were another pair of shimmering jewels while she waits for the usual questions to circulate through their minds. Where did she come from? How did she get in? Why did no one notice? What about the alarms? Etc, etc. Some people panic. Others try to play it cool. It's difficult to tell precisely who will do what, particularly when she knows so little about them.

Gangsters are a violent lot by nature but also over-confident, particularly when confronted with women. Members of the Asian criminal syndicates tended to be mired in ancient modes of thinking that could charitably be called 'tradtional'. Not that this bothers her all that much. Men have always been easy to manipulate. Being underestimated just makes her job easier.

"A fine performance, Mister Xuanfeng."

The woman's hands fold together, coming to rest on her leg as she leans back, crossing them one over the other in such a way as to grant the faint hope of a glimpse of the paradise that lies beneath only to expertly dash them mere centimeters from the destination. She speaks in expert Cantonese, despite English still being the predominant langage of the city even after the laws that were passed in the late 80s that gave both it and Chinese equal status. A gesture of good will? Or perhaps merely showing off. Her voice is silky and warm, flowing with the soft musical undertones of a silver tongue. Yet despite its alluring nature and lilting cant, there is almost nothing memorable about the woman's voice. It is utterly without accent or emphasis, giving away nothing of where she might be from or for whom she has come to speak.

"Though I must admit to being not particularly fond of such uncouth music, you showed great passion in your recitation."

Hei had just finished his very enthusiastic take on N.E.R.D.'s "Lapdance", to the sound of cheering from his brothers in arms among the Sun Yee On, but still, the applause from the other side of the room is enough to draw attention. Hei turns to face the newcomer, seated on his counter as if she owned the place.

Hei is, himself, a striking image. Even here in the comfort of his own home, the young man is exquisite. His hair is a shade of dark green that borders on black, and held in a tail at the nape of his neck that flows to the back of his knees. Bangs sweep down over his brow, coming together in point over the bridge of his nose, with fringe kissing at pale ivory cheeks. His features are delicate and fine, a marriage of elegant Asian heritage with his stronger British blood, to create a striking an exotic whole. Most notable are those large, oblique eyes of gold and jade. Those eyes hold no warmth in them, however, as they cast themselves at the stunning blonde intruder. They stare with a cold, but hungry look.

His form is slender as well. Lithe in a way that suggests grace and agility over sheer, raw athleticism. He's clad in the remnants of a three piece suit given way to casual playtimes. No jacket, with a crisp, pressed white shirt, overlaid by a smokey gray vest, both of which are left undone. This allows a healthy helping of visible flesh that creates a line down the center of his chest, and the flat, taut lines of his stomach where the lines of his abdominal muscles are clearly delineated. A splash of crimson and emerald gives a partial glimpse of the intricate rose themed tattoo work that covers nearly every inch of the assassin, but leaves most of it to the imagination. His narrow hips are cut with a sharp v-line that dips below the waistline of his dangerously tight fitting and low hanging black pants.

The aura in the room becomes tense immediately, like a build up of static electricity that just makes every fine hair on one's body to stand on end. Laughing, revelry, conversation... all grind to a halt and only silence lingers for some few seconds that seem to stretch into eternity. Certainly, they all have questions. And certain most of those thugs are of a mind to take to violence in the light of this surprise, but they seem to be waiting to see how Hei himself will react. The girls? They mostly look like they want to scatter to the winds.

Hei simply lifts a hand.

On signal, the rest of the crew, men and women alike, silently pack up their things, and start to move towards the doors, slipping out. Hei remains still, focused solely on this new beauty settled in before him with an unblinking gaze of curiosity tinged with that coldness and malignant intent.

"Passion is what that music is all about. I would not call it uncouth. I would call it expressive." He says. His voice is soft, almost silvery light. He could have been a popular singer, had he wanted. A popstar and heart throb, all based on that purring, dulcet voice and those boyishly delicate good looks. "There is beauty to be found in passion. May I pour you a drink, while we discuss what reason you have to come seeking out your own death?"

Awaiting her reply, the Chinese assassin seems to glide rather than walk, to an island bar situated just off of the main seating area of the living room. A few tumblers are turned over, right side up, and he plunges a scoop into a bucket of ice, dropping a few cubes to clink into one of the glasses. Unstopping a crystal decanter full of amber liquid, he pours that glass half full, before he turns his emerald eyes back on to her.

Siren's smile never falters as all eyes in the room turn to find the source of the unexpected intrusion, her gaze remaining calmly fixed upon the assassin's cold stare. The sudden violence and tension in the air is palpable but rather than be cowed by their angry glares, the woman seems emboldened by them, a faint uptick at the corner of her mouth betraying a smirk as the thugs display precisely the sort of behavior she had expected. The new few seconds would determine her approach to this assignment.

Fortunately, it would seem that her target is more reasonable than the rest of his compatriots; or perhaps simply more curious. Curiosity is a double-edged sword, both a source of inspiration to seek out the unknown and a wellspring of trouble should one fail to possess the proper talents to deal with what they find. She suspects that this man has many talents, some of which are obvious and others which are not. The woman allows her gaze to drift down over the front of his suit, making no efforts to hide her interest in the hard lines of muscle peeking out.

Once they are finally alone and he deigns to speak to her, the intruder lets out an amused chuckle. Pushing to her feet, she displays a similar grace to his own, stalking slow and cat-like over to the bar. She picks up one of the spare glasses and spins it on the tip of her finger like some kind of street performer then delicately slides it over towards him, accepting his offer. There isn't much hope for the liquor being of the sort of quality she's used to but going without proper luxuries is one of the unfortunate necessities of her job at times.

"You're very polite for an assassin. I often find such men are more likely to rely on violence than words."

The blonde leans forward, hoisting herself up onto the bar to perch upon it as she had the kitchen counter. An obvious bit of provocation, perhaps, but she's confident enough in her looks to go for it anyways. Maybe he'll play the game with her, a bit of silent jousting between professionals.

A gloved hand goes to the side of her face, brushing some loose strands of her long golden locks over her shoulder. Upon closer inspection, it becomes more noticable that the tips of the flaxen waterfall shift into a dark black as if stained by ink or tar, a stroke of visual style made popular in recent years. The shift in her posture pulls the fabric of the dress tighter against her chest, impossible as that may seem, pushing her ample bosom outwards slightly in the process.

Siren smiles at him, giving the gangster the kind of sultry look that could make a chaste man melt like wax or make a priest question his vows. Everything about her seems to be perfectly crafted to entice and distract, a temptress wrapped in glamour and charm.

"I am a man who appreciates the finer things in life," Hei explains, as he casually drops a few cubes of ice into her glass, and pours her a drink. "I have lived long enough without. I was born right here, in Wan Chai. It was different then. Everything was different, then. But, my life has been one of deprivation. I've had quite enough of that. Violence is a means to an end, but it is not the end, itself."

He takes up her glass, holding it out to offer it over as she turns and seats herself on the bar. In this proximity, his scent is undeniable. He smells of the roses tattoo'ed on his body, with something else coppery and sweet just under the surface. Blood. He turns, leaning his hip against the bar as he takes a sip from the tumbler. He makes no attempt to hide the way his nearly feline gaze sweeps over the curves and contours of her body, admiring, and hungry. And yet, still so very detached.

"But, you haven't come here to learn my life story. I'd be willing to wager that you are here either to fuck me, or kill me. Perhaps both," he says, and those soft, supple lips arc upwards at the corners into a grin that speaks of the cat who just ate the canary. "Or, perhaps... you have some sort of proposal for me."

His eyes lower to her thigh, and his hand soon follows. Even that is elegant, seemingly sculpted from porcelain, with long, delicate seeming fingers tipped with long, glassy nails. His fingertips trace over her bare flesh, whisperingly light in their touch, sweeping down towards a knee. As light as that touch is, it carries with it a nearly electrical tingle, and an astute observer might notice needle thin arcs of golden chi extending from the tips of each digit and into her flesh. "I certainly know which I would prefer. As I said, I do prefer the finer things in life."

The glass is accepted and brought to her lips, a small measure of the spirits within sampled by a quick sip. The flavor is a bit harsher than she prefers but the alcohol burns pleasantly in her throat without being overbearing. She smiles at the drink in appreciation, pleasantly surprised.

Siren remains silent as the assassin lays out his theories admist the superficial pleasantries, merely giving him an amused quirk of the brow at the more crude of his suggestions. Though she is all charm and he has been accomodating, there is an instinctual bit of friction in the air between the two of them, like a pair of predators circling warily in an effort to feel the other out. A single misstep could be the catalyst that sparks the flames of violence and while she has surpreme confidence in her ability to take care of herself, there is no doubt in her mind that it would be a test of luck more than skill on her part should the man decide to stop being sociable.

She does not flinch away when his hands moves to rest upon her leg, instead leaning towards him to place her palm on his chest, pushing aside the folds of his unbuttoned shirt to feel the hard muscle underneath directly. A shudder runs down her spine as Hei's hand drifts down her thigh, the electric tingle of his power bringing out a mixture of excitement and trepidation in equal measure. She narrows her eyes at him and smirks, her voice taking on a playfully evasive yet sensual undertone.

"Well, I cannot fault your tastes, Mister Xuanfeng."

Siren takes another sip from the glass, running her tongue over her lips. After a few silent moments of giving him suggestive looks, however, the woman pushes him away with a firm nudge and waggles a finger in the air.

"Business first."

Hopping down from the bar, she moves back over to the kitchen counter, vanishing from view as she ducks down behind it. A moment later she reappears, an expensive metal briefcase in hand; likely brought in when she first slipped into the room. Sliding it onto the counter, Siren glances at the combination rollers, dialing in the proper sequence in a matter of heartbeats with deft flicks of her thumbs and both of the locks click in tandem.

A plain manilla envelope is brought forth and set upon the counter next to the briefcase. She opens it, revealing a simple dossier file with Hei's face prominently displayed at the top. The remaining contents of the case, if there are any, remain a mystery for the present, hidden behind the lid which she snaps closed once more.

"My employers have been watching you for quite some time, Mister Xuanfeng. They have been... impressed by your work."

Siren flips the first few pages of the file over, one by one, until she comes to a series of photographs. Delicately, she slides the first one over to the edge of the counter, flipping it around so that Hei can see it properly. The image is one that should be instantly familiar to him. There, in clear and uncertain detail, is a shot of the assassin, his hands covered in fresh blood as he stands over the body of one of his many victims. This one in particular is from several years ago, when he first started to operate for the triads as a professional killer. To say that the image is incriminating would be a somewhat vast understatement.

"You are somewhat lacking in subtlety..."

She flips another picture onto the counter, this one taken during a brief but messy exchange between Hei's gang and another rival group. Whether the fight was his fault or not is irrelevant, as before the timing and angle of the shot seems deliberately angled to capture the moment of a kill with crystal clarity.

"And your skills are a bit unrefined..."

Another picture, this one showing the flower-tattoo'd assassin covered in bloody cuts and dark purple bruises, his shirt little more than messy rags hanging about his torso. The bodies of several assailants lie on the ground around him, spreading pools of dark crimson soaking the floor of a poorly lit warehouse.

"But, we believe that your talents can be an asset to our organization."

Siren offers him a coy smile, flipping the folder closed, though not before allowing him the chance to catch a glimpse of the many other pictures still contained within. Almost certainly each of them is just as expertly taken as the ones he's laid eyes on, a damning record of his entire criminal career in high resolution focus. The contents of that folder could easily destroy him, if allowed to fall into the wrong hands, and she makes no efforts to conceal the obvious threat.

"It's a rather lucrative offer, Mister Xuanfeng," she says, swirling the contents of her glass around slowly. "I assure you, you will be paid quite well. Not to mention the protection that we can provide. These... inconvenient pictures can disappear any time we wish, as can any future difficulties you may face in the course of conducting business."

Her touch touch elicits small shivers in that svelte musculature, as if each one, in turn, were responding to her with a beckoning. Her smirk and comment about his tastes only serve to encourage him further. His eyes seem to alight, practically glowing with an emerald glow, and he lifts his finger to taste her on his lips. However, the shove and finger waggling have him taking a step back. His grin only spreads.

"Of course. Business first, in all things."

His unblinking stare never once leaves the mysterious figure as she crosses back to the kitchen island and disappears behind the counter. His thin, arched brows lift, curious, but he remains silent and expectant as she returns with the briefcase.

He tears his eyes from her, looking instead to the contents she displays from within that folder. If he is troubled by any of the pictures that she presents, evidence of his countless crimes, the assassin doesn't display it. He's got a master poker face. In fact, one of the pictures in particular elicits a small, muffled chuckle from the man, as he lifts his hand to cover his mouth.

"Subtlety doesn't serve my needs. One doesn't build a name for themselves in Hong Kong by being discreet."

After all, Hei is still on the rise, after all. Still hungry, despite all that he's seemed to earn. In truth, he is a black hole. There will never be enough for him. Not enough money, not enough recognition, not enough toys. Nothing.

As she closes and retrieves the folder, he takes another sip of the aged bourbon. The declaration of pay does draw his attention once again, and he seems to consider it for a moment, nodding his head.

"Consider me interested. However, I would be a fool to agree to such a deal without knowing who it is that I am dealing with. Both you, and your organization. Please understand that... I would save face by denying you, and accepting this evidence be turned over to the police, rather than blindly falling into such a deal. I am not trying to be difficult, or to play hard to get. If what you say is true... about the money and the protection, and all you want from me is for me to do what I already do, I have nothing to lose and everything to gain."

He pauses here, lifting his glass with his palm cupped over the rim, and using his forefinger to point at her. "Your name. Your real name. Your organization's name. And... Resources. There are specific items that I desire above all else. If your organization can provide them, or even provide me the resources and means to pursue them, then I will accept. These are my conditions. Simple, no?"

Siren smiles again as she tosses the folder back into the briefcase, expertly inputting the code and flipping it open as if it were second nature. In its place, she withdraws from the case a small circlet of steel, a trio of circular orange gems arranged in a tight triangular cluster on the front. It does not take a particularly observant eye to notice that it bears the same design as the collar that the woman herself currently wears.

"You have two options," she says, holding her gloved hand up with a finger outstretched towards the ceiling. "One: You can accept the offer to work with us as an independant contractor. The information that you ask for will not be divulged. Your contacts will speak to you only by indirect communication and will hide their identity behind code names, as will you. While this is primarily to protect our assets, this will also offer you the benefit having no knowledge which any of our rivals might wish to pry out of you."

She smirks and leans forward over the bar, wiggling that finger at him as she lowers her voice to a conspiratorial whisper.

"And believe me, there are many would who would put a great deal of effort into doing very unpleasant things to you if your affiliations became known."

Which is true. The organization that has press-ganged her into service has a great many enemies, from secret paramilitary organizations to the international police. They take a great deal of care to ensure that there is never enough information in the hands of a single operative to pose serious breaches of security should one fall into enemy hands but that hasn't stopped anyone from trying. People like her and him are expendable assets, no matter how skilled they might be. Ofcourse, what she doesn't bother to mention is that it's far more likely that the organization itself will be the one to hunt him down should he become a liability of any sort. Such details do not make for great sales pitches.

"Two," she continues, holding up a second finger next to the first as she pulls back to her side of the counter. "You allow your curiosity to get the better of you and plunge headfirst into the rabbit hole."

Siren lowers her arms towards the collar on the counter, framing it between her hands like the assistant on some cheesy old game show from the 80s presenting a fabulous prize to the home audience.

"All you have to do is put this lovely little darling of an accessory on."

The circlet is eyed with mild curiosity when set down. The gemstones are evaluated. What are they? Of course, this isn't simply a piece of jewelry. The kind of organizations that this woman clearly would represent aren't the type to be so hokey as to wear a specific article of clothing or an accessory so that members can easily identify one another. It means that their enemies can easily identify them, as well. He does note, however, that a similar piece encircles her neck. He's starting to get the idea.

He listens to her retort to his terms. The pitch. His options. His eyes stray from her, lingering on that circlet as she speaks, and he nods his head, listening silently. He doesn't need for her to include the fine print about the "what if" scenario of liability. He may be relatively new to the underworld scene, but one of the first things you learn living the life of an assassin for hire, and a Triad enforcer, is that snitches get far, far worse than stitches. And often times, even the worry that one might snitch finds themselves face to face with someone just like him when they least expect it.

She delivers the second option, and by now, he's put together enough of a picture to put the pieces together in his mind. What she is part of is something with influence. Something that spares no expense in maintaining its power and its secrecy. It is likely that their power is, in fact, that same secrecy. But, Hei? Hei is not truly one for secrets. So what will he choose?

"And if I decide to jump down the rabbithole with you, Alice..." he says, as he reaches down, using the tip of one finger to trace the edge of the circlet. "This will bind me. This will make me jump through whatever hoops that your masters want me to jump through. You wear it around your throat. It is a collar for a dog."

He looks back up, his keen jade eyes gleaming with some sort of impish delight. "What leverage did they hold over you, I wonder? You are clearly someone of incredible means. I would say that you must be rather sly and resourceful, as well, to have gotten in here unnoticed. So how, exactly, did they leash you?"

Like a stalking panther, Hei circles the end of the counter, his face lowered, so that his face is cast in the shadows of his hair. It only serves to make those eyes of his seem more intense. He moves close. Too close. Their bodies nearly touch, as he looks down at the choker around her throat. He speaks again, his voice soft and quiet, a silken purr that spills forth like molten honey. The kind of voice shared only between lovers in the most intimiate of moments. "Of course, there is the third option. I kill you here. And every one like you that comes after."

His gaze ticks up, locking onto her blue eyes. It seems like his eyes might just be capable of peeling away the layers of deceit and mystery that she shrouds herself within to peer at the soul residing underneath it all. "Would you like that, Alice? For me to free you from the bondage that this collar represents? I would be swift. I would not want to ruin your beauty by twisting it with pain. No. I would immortalize you. You would forever be as perfect as you are standing here before me now."

He leaves a pregnant pause, drawing in a breath through his parted lips as if he may speak again. He looks down, and to the left, holding his breath momentarily.

"Fuck it."

He swoos up the circlet in his left hand and slides it onto his right wrist, wiggling it around slightly as he examines it. "Does this thing adjust to me, or what, because I do not believe that I would look as stylish as you with it around my neck, and there is no way in hell I would be caught dead wearing something like this around my head."

The assassin's musings are allowed to be voiced uninterrupted, his beautiful liason offering no opinions as to which of the two offers he should chose nor any hint that his guesses as to the nature of the organization she represents are correct. The decision must be his alone. Even if she had been ordered to try and trick him into putting on the collar, she would have not done so. Being held responsible for another person getting drawn into the shadowy world that she now inhabits is not one she wants on her conscience.

When question of her own involvement comes up Siren merely smiles and shrugs, leaning on the edge of the counter in a nonchalant pose. It isn't a particularly touchy subject but she's not in the habit of divulging the details of who she is and what she does. It's just easier if no one knows without a very good reason.

"The same way they snare everyone, Mister Xuanfeng - with information."

Hei's sudden shift in her direction earns a curious quirk of the brow from sultry blonde but she makes no efforts to evade him, even as he puts on his best 'I'm dangerous' mask. While she has no doubt that this man could easily end her life if he so chose, she's spent the majority of that in the company of people just as dangerous, if not more so. It's part of the thrill of the job and, in some respects, she rather enjoys it. Rolling the dice, playing the odds. Things have mostly worked out in her favor thus far but it is that ever-present chance of failure that makes it all worth it. A life without a little excitement isn't one she's interested in living anyways.

Ofcourse, that doesn't mean she's stupid enough to leave herself defenseless. Getting a thrill from danger is one thing, but she's not dumb enough to walk into the jaws of death with open arms. It is in spite of that danger that she yet lives and that's where the fun part comes from, proving that she's good enough to beat the odds. So when this dangerous man draws close, she's all smiles, because she's confident that she's prepared to deal with him.

The woman smirks coyly at his offer but once more rejects him, putting out a hand to rest on his chest and push him slowly away. Her palm withdraws but she keeps the tips of her index and middle fingers upon the surface of the exposed skin, walking them upwards towards his sternum before playfully rising up to flick him on the nose.

"Hmmhmm... a tempting offer but I shall have to decline, Mister Xuanfeng. My present circumstances may not be ideal but they are hardly so tragic as to seek out death. I would not come to offer you the same if I felt any other way."

She stifles a faint chuckle at his reluctance to don the choker properly, allowing him to dangle the obviously too large circlet from his wrist for a moment before dashing his hopes.

"I am afraid not. It has been specially crafted to be worn around the neck - yours, to be precise. I think you'll find it a comfortable fit. And you needn't worry. The leash is less chafing than you might expect."

"Not ideal," Hei repeats, as he turns his attention from the circlet around his wrist to the fingers tracing a line up the center of his chest. The flick to his nose is retaliate with a playful snap of his teeth, a baring of his teeth that doubles as a grin. His emerald and golden eyes blazing with impish delight. "Perhaps I could help you, you know. I have important friends, too."

His gaze drifts down, drinking in every sultry curve and contour of her body in that perfectly fitting carmine dress. The tip of his tongue slips out, wetting his lips, and he slowly lifts his eyes back up onto her face. "It could be one of those you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours situations."

In truth, he doesn't expect her to give him any of the answers to his questions, or simply agree to some sort of clandestine alliance against her masters. No. None of this little game is at all about what it is on the surface. For Hei, it is about reading the subtleties of her reactions. Those give him greater truths than any words that might spit forth from her lips. The look in her eyes, the way she defelcts and defers. All of it gives him just another clue about who she is, and in turn, who the people behind her are. While, on the surface, Hei Xuanfeng may seem like a brash, arrogant playboy, behind those razor blade smiles lies a reptilian cunning.

But, he wears his mask well. Turning his attention back to the circlet, Hei lifts his wrist and stares at it dejectedly. "What kind of bullshit is that, Alice? This isn't the sort of thing a man wears around his neck. It is not masculine. It is perfect for a beauty like yours, but for a man like me? It will look tacky as hell. Gaudy!"

The green haired Hei slips it off of his wrist with obvious disappointment at this shadowy organizations lack of fashion sense, as well as proper technology to at least have self-sizing control devices for the assassin on the go. His soft lips curl downward, and his tattoo covered chest rises and falls with the heavy, world-weary sigh that he releases. Finally, rolling his eyes, he slips it on, around his neck, while stating rather firmly, "I'm going to expect a new one, more fitting for me. At least make the torque look like a dragon or snake or something cool. And red gemstones. Definitely red gemstones."

But, he adjusts it, ensuring its fit, and centering it. It may seem like a foolish decision. In truth, Hei knows that it is. The better option would have been to remain in the dark and just received the benefits of cash donations from time to time in exchange for some service. But Hei knows that operatives like that are the first to be the fall guys, as well. He also knows that knowledge is power, and if given even a single iota of information regarding this beautiful woman's employers, he will be able to dig up the rest. He is nothing if not resourceful. And with that knowledge, he will be able to ensure himself some measure of autonomy, leash or no.

"Alright. It is done. Do we need to sign some contract with my blood now, or what?"

Siren shrugs, offering an apologetic smile but says nothing more on the matter. She's given him the information he needs to make a decision. If something as silly as not liking how it looks is going to turn him away then he isn't the sort of person that her organization wants anyways. There's plenty of room for vanity and eccentric proclivities, so long as they don't interfere with getting things done. Fortunately, despite his whining, the assassin lets his curiosity win out in the end.

The choker proves to be rather easy to put on. What looked like an unbroken circle of metal proves to have a single hinge hidden behind the cluster of decorative gems, allowing it to fold open. It gives a sharp click once he slides it closed once more, followed by a soft electronic beep.

A look of satisfaction overtakes the woman's features, clearly pleased at his decision. She pushes away from the counter and slinks past him, moving back towards the more open area of the living room, giving him an opportunity to admire her seductive profile from another angle. It also ensures there's a bit of space between them when she tells him what comes next.

"Something like that."

Siren holds up a hand and reveals a small device nestled into the curve of her palm. It almost looks like a key fob, one of those digital remotes that allow most modern vehicles to be unlocked from a distance. A tiny red LED light blinks on its surface, just above the only other distinguishable feature on its surface, a single small button.

In the other, she holds a gun. Turning slowly to face the assassin, she levels the pistol at him in a nonchalant fashion, her smile as bright and playful as before. The neon red bead of a laser sight comes to rest neatly on top of his heart, the pip unwavering in her calm grip.

"If you are in possession of any special techniques that might prevent a needle from penetrating your skin, I suggest you do away with them. You might want to hurry, too. You only have about ten seconds left."

Hei doesn't move when she does. He remains fixed in place, leaning against the marble countertop, following her with his eyes. Oh, she does present quite the show, doesn't she? Perhaps it is his English blood, but he has always had an affection for the fair skinned, blue eyed blondes. The way she moves, too, pleases the former monk.

When she reveals the small devide in her hand, thin, dark brows hike upwards, and an amused smile paints his fine features. That, he guesses, must be the leash that goes with this collar.

The gun only brings more amusement when it is presented. He has nothing to fear from firearms. They're clumsy and brutish things, meant for those who lack the skill to do what men have done since the dawn of history. At a range greater than a few yards, aim is unreliable, and within a distance beyond that, it is easy enough for a skilled fighter to read the movements of the shooter to avoid being where the bullet is going to fly. Still, with a silent chuckle, he holds up his hands at his sides at his sides when the laser paints a red dot on the center of his chest.

"You've got me. Dead bang."

He gives her a playful wink, coupled with a finger gun gesture. Then, he lowers his face, and closes his eyes. His arms sweep out wide to his sides, turning in a large circular motion, and cutting in. Motes of golden light leave tracers in the wake of his fingertips, which in turn, paint a shimmering image of a Taijitu, or more commonly known as the yin-yang symbol. It hovers there, sparkling in golden fire as he cups one hand before his waist, and draws the other up, open palmed, over his head. Suddenly, he lifts his leg, bent at the knee, and at the same time, he slams that upraised palm down as a fist, into his other hand. His foot stomps down with a thunderous boom, and a faint golden shockwave passes across the floor as a similar Taijitu manifests, bearing the eight trigrams branching off in their respective directions. A wind picks up from underneath of him, sweeping up his ponytail and blowing his shirt open wide to reveal more of that intricate and perfect inkwork of roses and a dragon that are etched into his flesh. His skin takes on a hazy, golden aura, but that diminishes as the wind dies down.

And when the glowing symbols fade, he opens those emerald eyes, and raises his chin to give her a look that is both amused and defiant at once. His skin looks, perhaps, a bit paler than it had moments previously.

"Go ahead. Do as you will."

Siren's eyes scruntch up cutely in response to his sarcasm and she chuckles along with him. Naturally, someone as skilled as he is has little fear of firearms. He's probably spent his entire professional life easily crushing masses of clumsy gangsters and hired goons who barely know which end of the weapon to point at their enemy. A true master of the modern arts of warfare is an entirely different animal, however.

Fortunately for him, she isn't quite that good, but that's mostly because she's never been a fan of violence. It's so much more elegant and stylish to slip in and out without being noticed, taking what you want in silence and leaving naught behind save for a mysterious calling card. The gun is mostly there for show, something to give him pause long enough for her to tell him the warning. If a fight did end up breaking out, she's got far more interesting options up her sleeve than a simple pistol.

She waits patiently while Hei works his magic. She's seen things like it before, having travelled all over the globe in the course of her career, but it's impressive nonetheless. By the time he's finished dispelling whatever mystical aura or wards he might have been maintaining, the pistol has vanished once more, leaving her hands free to offer him a short burst of applause.

"Very pretty."

A sharp pinch suddenly sends jolts of pain lancing through his nerves, emanating from the back of his neck as a small needle plunges through his now exposed flesh. Siren watches quietly as the machinery does its work, only letting out a soft sigh once the collar gives another electronic chirp. Her smile widens slightly and she stands up straight, crossing her arms beneath her bosom.

"Congratulations. You are who I thought you are. Forgive the melodrama but I needed to make sure you were paying attention, it would have made an awful mess if the needle had failed to take a sample of your blood."

By now the secondary effects of the injection will have started to manifest, the obvious signs of a heavy sedative quickly seeping into the edges of his mind, wrapping it in the fuzzy comfort of a warm blanket. Siren moves over to the mini-bar and pours another small measure of spirits into a fresh glass, peering at him over the edge as she sips it. Whatever it is he's been drugged with, it's incredibly powerful and even a body trained to resist poisons won't be able to stave it off for long.

"See you soon, Mister Xuanfeng. And welcome to the club."

When the pinch comes, Hei's boyish face twists with the wince, and he lurches forward while drawing one hand up to the back of his neck. One eye left squinting shut, he looks over his shoulder as if he might be able to see what had just happened, despite himself. "Ngh! No. I know the game. You don't need to apologize. So, I'm expecting that just dosed me up with the nanomachines that are going to make me say La-li-lu-le-lo, or blow up my brain inside my skull if I ever decide not to toe the line."

He straightens himself, and starts to walk towards her, holding his hands out in a welcoming gesture to show that he still means her no harm. After all, he's made his own decisions in all of this, and so far, while he knows just from her arrival that she could be a threat, she has yet to actually pose one. "So, now that business i--..."

The sedative starts to kick in. His words trail off, and he tilts his head to one side, leaving his dark, dark green bangs shifting to one side and covering an eye. He scowls, as if in deep concentration, though he starts to lilt to the side, as if off balance. As he reaches out towards her, the world starts to fade out, becoming a blur of colors before growing dimmer and dimmer, and finally to black.

Log created on 00:48:45 05/17/2018 by Siren, and last modified on 04:09:49 05/19/2018.