Kira Volkov - The Dragon's Den (Cutscene)

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Description: A new casino opens up in Southtown. Catch the interview with the owner!

New Casino Opens in Southtown

Amidst the regular news cycles on Japanese television stations, a short report makes the rounds regarding the presence of a sizable new addition the Southtown skyline. The segment starts out with a young woman dressed in sensible business clothes and a short neat bob of hair speaking into a microphone. Behind her a towering structure consumes the background.

The main complex of the building is composed of half a dozen stories laid out in a broad circular fashion, each floor slightly smaller than the one below it, stacking upwards in a fashion reminiscent of a wedding cake. Atop this miniature mountain sits a large statue of a Western-style dragon, its body lying coiled on the roof in repose, though one of its large reptilian eyes is half-opened, peering down at the courtyard where the main entrance lies. Hanging over the entrance, a bright neon sign spells out, in blocky English letters, "The Dragon's Den". The name is also laid out in kanji off to the side.

Behind the primary facility, a much taller rectangular building that appears to be composed of tinted red glass thrusts skywards. The layered panels that comprise its surface give it the look of a fancy office building or hotel, striking an eye-catching sight as it glimmers in the morning sun like a polished multi-faceted jewel.

"Good day, viewers! This is Hiroko Kimura for SNN, bringing you a breaking report on a brand new addition to our town's entertainment business - The Dragon's Den Casino, located right next to our famous Sound Beach."

The young woman turns to gesture at the elaborate casino and the camera zooms in, panning upwards from the spacious parking lot to the eponymous mascot perched on high before returning to the reporter's face as she turns to smile to the audience once more.

"Construction began on the ambitious project nearly a year ago and it was scheduled to open its doors at the beginning of the year, however, the unexpected military actions of the rogue Gear, Justice, understandably delayed its schedule. But despite this setback, the Dragon's Den has pushed forward in the past few months and is now ready to launch its grand debut."

The camera draws away from Ms. Kimura's face to get a wider angle as another figure steps into the frame to stand next to her. Dressed in an expensive black three-piece suit, the foreign woman strikes a commanding figure, towering nearly half a foot over the Japanese anchor. Her dirty blonde hair has been pulled back into a loose ponytail leaving a mop of rugged windblown bangs hanging loosely around her face. Sharp narrow eyes the color of the sky stare confidently into the camera as it brings her into focus.

"Today we are fortunate enough to have the chance to speak to the person responsible for this luxury entertainment facility, Kira Volkov."

The reporter struggles somewhat with the odd forgeign name but turns to face Kira, smiling at her brightly, earning an amused smirk in response.

"Volkov-san, thank you for joining us. After a somewhat lengthy delay, your casino will be open to the public starting next week. Naturally, you are excited to finally start doing business, but we've heard rumors that there may be a somewhat controversial aspect to The Dragon's Den. Would you care to comment?"

Kira's smile widens slightly as the microphone is pushed towards her, nodding her head in terse acknowledgement. When she speaks it is not in Japanese, but English, her thick Slavic accent coloring even that rather heavily. Subtitles pop up at the bottom of the screen providing a translation for the native Japanese viewers.

"Yes, I would be glad to. You see, the world has experienced many changes of late. Strange and shocking developments that have brought new elements into the lives of humanity. I ofcourse speak of the individuals we now know as Darkstalkers. Like any unusual element in society, these unfortunate creatures have found themselves ostracized and feared, even hunted as wild beasts."

The reporter nods along in agreement with this statement. Japan has suffered more than its fair share of trials relating to the emergence of these once mythical creatures. Somewhat insular by nature, the people of the nation have rather mixed views on their continued presence.

"That is quite true, Volkov-san, but what does that have to do with your casino?"

"I am a student of history. Every time some new group has come forward throughout the ages there have been long periods of strife as they attempted to integrate with the rest of society, to become accepted and 'normal'. I see this happening even now. Darkstalkers are frequently pushed to the fringes of society, blamed for all manner of crimes and misfortune for which they are not responsible. This sort of treatment inevitably leads to resentment and conflict. It creates an environment where hope and kindness become rare or even vanish completely."

The foreigner turns and sweeps an arm out towards the distant casino, prompting the camera-operator to follow her gesture and focus on the building once again, though the two women remain in frame as well.

"The Dragon's Den aims to help those misfit outcasts find a place in society by ensuring that they have access to proper respectable jobs. The vast majority of the casino's employees will be Darkstalkers. We have already launched a massive recruitment drive and have many of the positions filled. The turn-out was rather impressive. Would you care to meet some of them?"

Hiroko turns to the camera and puts on a big smile, clearly excited by the idea.

"Why, that's an excellent idea, Volkov-san! Perhaps if our viewers get the chance to meet some of the employees they'll feel a little more at ease about coming to enjoy themselves at your casino."

Kira nods and together the two of them wander a few feet to the side, the camera following along. A trio of Darkstalkers stand waiting nearby, each of them looking well prepared to be put in the spotlight. Kira wanders up to the first, showing no signs of hesitation or fear that they might strike out at her. She places a hand on the creature's shoulder and it steps forward to stand at her side.

Dwarfing even the tall foreigner, the large wolfman is dressed in a similiar fashion to the casino owner herself. His muscular frame is wrapped in a dark suit that has been custom-tailored to fit his animal-like body, leaving a gap at the back to accommodate a long bushy tail. He grins at the reporter, his lips peeling away from his muzzle to reveal shiny white teeth and Hiroko smiles back at him but glances to Kira, waiting for her cue to continue.

"This is Max. He was one of the first to answer our call and now serves as the head waiter at our beachside restraunt. Introduce yourself to the people, Max."

The wolfman pulls himself up straight and clears his throat, staring directly into the camera. He speaks in a deep and gravely voice but his words are clear and refined.

"Greetings, citizens of Southtown. As my employer mentioned, my name is Max and I will be serving as a waiter at The Dragon's Den's excellent restaurant. We will offer a wide variety of cuisine that is sure to be agreeable to any palate - though, if I might offer my own opinion, I would suggest that you try the fresh seafood, which is caught right off the coast. The chefs make some truly exceptional lobster."

The reporter's eyes widen a little but she covers her surprise by smiling again and offering an enthusiastic nod to him.

"That certainly does sound appetizing, Max-san! Thank you for the tip."

Max inclines his head in a curt bow and then steps back, giving way for the next person in line to step forward. At first the figure in question looks rather human, resembling a young woman in her early twenties. Her shapely body is clad in a tight leotard of the sort made famous by pop-culture, affectionately called a 'bunny suit'. It's only when the long pointy ears poking out the top of her fluffy brown hair twitch that it becomes obvious that they aren't part of the costume. The bunny-girl smiles cheerfully at Kira then at the camera and she offers an energetic wave to the viewers, speaking up on her own without waiting to be introduced.

"Hey there, folks! The name's Marie and I'll be one of the dealers at this fancy new playhouse! We have all sorts of entertainment lined up: slot machines, black jack, roulette, you name it! There's even a stage for live performances from our in-house band and special guests. So make sure you all come down and see us, okay?"

Marie winks and blows a kiss to the camera before happily scooting back into her spot. The reporter glances at Kira who grins and lets out a soft chuckle.

"Many of our employees are quite happy to have the chance to work here. Marie's boundless enthusiasm has been rather infectious in the past few weeks. We are all eager to get things rolling."

The last member of the assorted Darkstalker crew proves to be the most bizarre. A woman with a long snake-like body below the waist slithers forward, her eyes half-closed in a sedate but amused fashion. Long black hair is tied up into a neat bun at the back of her head, held in place by a pair of crossed golden pins. Her torso is draped in a glitzy red evening dress that sparkles in the sunlight, terminating in a short skirt just past her waist. She holds herself aloft in such a way that her head is around the same height as Kira's with the majority of her inhuman body coiled up neatly behind her.

"And finally this is Hikari, the head concierge for the Dragon's Den hotel, which you can see connected to the back of the main complex."

Hikari smiles coyly and inclines her head, clasping her hands together at her waist in a demure fashion. A long slender tongue flicks out briefly, tasting the air before she speaks, using perfect Japanese save for the obvious drawn out slurs on certain words.

"It isss nice to meet you. Pleassse, call me Hikari. Our casino offersss excellent lodgings for those who would prefer extended staysss or are travelling from out of town. We have accommodations which have been rated five ssstars by numerous inspectorsss, offering indoor heated poolsss and extensive gym facilitiesss, as well as complimentary meal servicesss and a twenty-four hour bar. All of your needs will be taken care of while you stay with usss."

The naga bows again and slithers back to her spot. Kira steps into the fore to stand beside the reporter again, her smile almost shark-like with content.

"As you can see, Ms. Kimura, everything is well in hand. When our doors open next week, we will be well prepared to receive guests. I know that there remains a good deal of unease in Southtown thanks to the city's recent brushes with disaster but the Dragon's Den will be a place where everyone, human and darkstalker, can come to enjoy themselves."

Hiroko patiently lets Kira say her final words before nodding at her and smiling, turning to the camera one last time.

"You heard it here, folks. The Dragon's Den casino will be open for business soon bringing a wide variety of entertainment to our town. While the focus on hiring Darkstalkers as personnel might be something of an unexpected twist, time will tell if it proves to be the bridge needed to mend the gap between humans and these new residents. This is Hiroko Kimura for SNN, signing off!"

Log created on 01:19:41 06/22/2018 by Kira Volkov, and last modified on 01:29:10 06/22/2018.