Description: Everyone wants in the NOL vault, Gabriel maybe just wants to escape too, but mostly to get into the Vault. Amandine just wants some decent kitchen help and Sol? Well Sol is just a badguy. Echo shows up to try and bring some sanity to the situation and in the end nothing really matters.
It wasn't that long ago that a certain blonde was brought into the NOL detention center. She was strangle cooperative considering she was being brought in for randomly and quite coldly assaulting an NOL squad during an investigation. Once the fighting was over though, she was a model prisoner. Of course one cannot presume too much, and given the nature of her initial arrest, the NOL were probably not taking too many chances. . But it isn't like she were a threat level of Ranga the Bloodedge, in fact she was brought down relatively speak easy. So her accomindations are probably quite a bit shy of the deepest darkest pits. Eventually the guards might have relaxed a little and no doubt she would be shipped off to a regular prison before long, or a court first, really the NOL couldn't be bothered with such petty offenders. They might even have pity for the girl who surely had a few screws loose or something. Really they were right to be cautious of loose screws, but not right about how cautious they should be.
Once the guard detail becomes lighter, Gabriel makes her move. Most restraints are based on certain ideas. They are based on regular people with bones who do not want to hurt themselves too much. If you could make yourself a puddle. most cells wouldn't work at all. Also a certain willingness to hurt yourself helps too. Break your own bones? Dislocations? It turns out this is all on the table for Gabriel, a fact her shard of glass sword that cuts her own hand would have given away. Of course that was confinscated, but it's just a shard of glass.
This is how Gabriel finds her way out of her cell. The first orderly style staff member she finds she stalks until she can get a uniform and clean up the blood (her blood). She tries an off shift to do her escape, so it is very early in the morning when she finds herself in the kitchens. The look on her face tells that this isn't what she's looking for and so she's trying to extricate herself presently, but perhaps.. maybe she can find a map or something. So a small detour through the kitchen for something, a staff directory? Some information on what is where would be helpful. Surely there is a kitchen office?
It's been said that an army runs on its stomach. Some might assume that Amandine Karnstein, Executive Chef for the Novus Orbis Librarium believes wholeheartedly in this statement with how seriously she seems to take her management of whatever to which she's been assigned. That assumption would be a bit generous where Amandine's concerned.
In truth, Amandine's sense of self-importance means that her chosen career must be done with ELEGANCE and PRECISION because anything less than either would ENTIRELY UNBECOMING of a lady of her stature. (Metaphorically, of course, as Amandine's physical stature remains a meager 4'10.) Indeed, she runs a tight ship wherever she is assigned, but her ability get results from the mess staff has managed to ingratiate her to at least some of her superiors.
But no, Amandine does not normally work in this particular kitchen. Amandine tends to stick to larger NOL facilities--headquarters and the like--where she can suck up to the to br--err, that is, tend to the needs of the high ranking officers.
But sometimes special arrangements are needed. Inspections must be done. Staff must be whipped into shape. This is one of those times.
"HELLO!? Is there ANYONE in this glorfied DAYCARE who has a SHRED of interest in keeping this place CLEAN?" Amandine runs her fingers across a counter, pulling up a glob of dried grease smoke. Today she is dressed in her ever regal gothic lolita attire, her dress almost too wide for the narrow spaces of the kitchen. She looks at the grime on her finger and her nose crinkles with disgust.
"Hey YOU!" Amandine shouts across the kitchen. "I SEE you SNEAKING around there, you SLACKER!!! You were SUPPOSED to CLEANING weren't you?!"
Breaking out of a facility has got to be one of the most stressful things one can do. First you try to act normal and calm, not be seen and not arise suspicion. Luckily for Gabriel she has a great deal of poise and most of the time manages to keep composure in all but the worst of circumstances. So acting natural isn't really that hard. Aided in part by her heart no doubt three sizes too small, missing shame and guilt and a whole host of other emotions that might create a mess when being up to no good. That is also the last part where she is lucky. The uniform she stole isn't one of the snazy officier NOL uniforms, really she wouldn't have wanted such a thing anyway. It is maintanance staff or perhaps a kitchen worker? She has no idea and wouldn't ponder it any longer except, Hey You! Gabriel freezes. She's caught. Slacker? This one catches her off guard and the blonde wheels around to look at the umm, well tiny woman.
Her brow furrows. For a moment a mix of emotions crosses her. Though it's minute, there is the moment when she looks like she was caught red handed. Ironically this goes along with the misunderstanding that she soon finds herself in. Then steeling herself she hesitates before speaking.
"Sorry ma'am," she replies in a voice that is perhaps a little too mechanical, but then these military types, maybe they are used to it. "I was only just transfered here recently and I am not familiar with my assignments yet." The lie sounded good to her so she decides to sell it by falling silent.
Are alarms about to sound? Probably not, it is still late, or early, really she's not sure about that. What she is sure about is she left a fairly convincing looking sleeping bundle (if by convince she means pillows under a blanket) behind before escaping, so she can probably afford to play along for a little while.
"Also," she starts, hesitantly, probably aware more wrath is coming her way, "I'm unfamiliar with the layout of this -" where is she again? Quick glance around, " .. .kitchen."
And so Gabriel starts to recognize just how bad her luck has gotten.
As the blonde woman stops the steady clack, clack, clack of heels echoes through the otherwise empty kitchen. The tiny woman's hands go to her hips as she comes to a stop, looking up at Gabriel. Her eye twitches ever so slightly.
"Oh! You're NEW." Amandine says, pacing around in a circle as she inspects Gabriel, seeming to size her up. "That explains EVERYTHING." Amandine beams, apparently completely satisfied with this answer.
And then the smile breaks and she's scowling again. "But AT LEAST you know how to address a superior." Amandine huffs, reaching up to rub the bridge of her nose. "Have you ever worked in a KITCHEN before, or are you a COMPLETE greenhorn?"
Pause. An inspection like this is the sort of thing that might typically make you want to stand straight backed, but since Gabriel was already doing that she can hardly straighten up more. Her eyes track the short woman and she remains silent until, is that question rhetorical? Gabriel isn't sure, she looks indecisive.
"New.. yes, I suppose." She replies lamely and then realizes that she knows nothing about a kitchen. She was always fortunate to have hired help. Hired help, she isn't the hired help. She also isn't in a cell, so when in rome.
"Forgive me, I do not," she goes with the truth, "I, do not suppose you are whom I'm assigned to work under?"
Of course she isn't, she doesn't work here at all. She's an imposter. Surely this absurdity will end as soon as the short demon realizes that she in fact wasn't just assigned a new, whatever she is pretending to be.
Amandine squints, standing up on her toes slightly to get a little closer to Gabriel's face. She drops back down onto her flats with a double tap of her heels.
"SHEESH," Amandine says, "If THIS is the kind of help I get, I guess it's CLEAR why they needed ME here." Amandine stomps over to a nearby rack, picking up several metal bowls.
"But WHATEVER," Amandine says with what looks to be a fang poking over her lip. "I GUESS now is as good a time as any to learn. HERE." Amandine thrusts the stack of big metal mixing bowls into Gabriel's chest. "Rinse these THOROUGHLY," Amandine says, "with the quality of EVERYTHING here, I can't trust them to be CLEAN. We'll ABSOLUTELY need them if I'm going to teach you some basics."
Amandine counts on her fingers. "Wait, there were...three there? I need one more to avoid cross contamination. Do you know what that is?" Amandine starts looking around, and spots another mixing bowl nearby. She steps toward it and, overstepping slightly, punts it under under the rack. What follows is a heavy clang that almost censors the extremely vulgar word Amandine uses. Almost.
She looks down at it as if she's going to climb under the shelf to get it. After a moment's inspection, however, Amandine takes the frame of the rack and lifts the entire thing into the air one handed. Shouldn't that...that looks very heavy.
So I guess I'm a cook now. This seems to be the pervailing thought as a blank faced Gabriel starts catching metal mixing bowls. This is different from her usual blank expression as she usually is blankly mechanical and doing something horrible at the same time. Sort of like the look of don't expect mercy from me. This look has a certain confusion in it and finally blank acceptance. After all, to do anyhting else would risk blowing her escape and infiltration.
She finds the biggest metal sink she can, having never done dishes in her life, but assumes there is some degree of common sense she can apply. Also she's like that annoying kid that always sat in the front of class and took everything extra seriously. This sort of trait can really get you far in life if you ever find yourself thrust into kitchen work under a harsh mistress whom is apparently also super strong..? Huh. And possibly a vampire. Wonders truly never cease.
Meanwhile Gabriel is hard at work rinsing these metal bowls and she was told to do so thoroughly so she is going to do so thoroughly! She doesn't need to say anything either, this is pretty easy. Rinse bowls. Then... do.. what. Okay, so this is a kitchen, everything is stainless steel and there isn't exactly a drying rack like a normal kitchen and even if there was, Gabriel isn't used to spending any time with such a thing. No doubt there is something industrial sized or just towels. A moment is spent trying to figure out how to dry. Of course there is going to be a lot of white towels stacked and folded someplace, it's a kitchen, even Gabriel could figure out what to do with that. She thusly picks one up, starts drying and then for lack of anyplace else where to deposit it (not on her shoulder) she decides the empty bin by the folded towels is for used towels.
So far common sense and intuitiveness of most commercial scale kitchens saves the day. Also no doubt orders will keep being barked and so her new career gets a start.
Amandine sets the shelf back down after retrieving the bowl, which she subsequently adds to the dirty dish pile. For several moments she paces around, trying to get a proper angle to inspect the dishwashing job. (This is something of a challenge between her height and having to angle herself to see around Gabriel. She crinkles her nose and furrows her brow.
"So," Amandine starts again, "Greenhorn. You SAID you've never worked in a kitchen, RIGHT?" Amandine folds her hands behind her and paces like some of kind of would-be mastermind, making her way toward one of the dry goods shelves. "What were you HOPING to do when you joined the NOL, anyway?" Amandine opens the cabinet and starts sorting through bags of flower.
"Trash," she says, pushing one of the way. "Low tier garbage." Another one is discarded. "Oh, wow, absolute SHIT--where is the GOOD stuff? I can't make something GOOD if all I have to work with is TERRIBLE."
There's a sudden tap of heels. Then another. If Gabriel turns to look at the source of the noise, she'll find Amandine trying to jump up high enough to see a higher shelf.
It's remarkable how well Gabriel can handle this level of intrusion into a simple task. You could be annoyed that someone is over your shoulder the whole time, or that she's being made to do this work at all. Perhaps being treated a little like a slave might bug her or the amount of pushiness. Perhaps if she were actually employed here or something, but no, none of that applies. The first issue is that Gabriel actually seems to be quite comfortable with the authoritarian mindset and thus following orders. Perhaps she would have found this calling in life were it not for being a well to do hieress who would have never considered joining a military organization to begin with. Perhaps.
But then, the question. The Question. Gabriel pauses, her motion mid soak or dry, really washing bowls doesn't take that long no matter how many are thrown at her. She cranes her head to look at Amandine, but doesn't offer to help, or even seem at all sympathetic, she wasn't asked to help, but she was asked a question. She decides to be honest, in that lie by omission sort of way.
"Knowledge and a path to power, like many I expect." her reply is short and curt while her hands move back into a circular drying motion.
"Huuuh," Amandine says, "one of THOSE. I getcha." Hop. Amandine balls her tiny fists and stomps around a bit before shooting a glare at Gabriel from around that mass of long, black hair. She doesn't say anything yet.
"Well if you want to be a MASTER CHEF, you're in the right place," Amandine says. "I mean, I doubt you'll be as good as ME, but I can train you to be world class. Better than world class!"
Amandine finally resolves to climb the shelf. She puts one boot in the lower shelf, pulling herself up to a higher one. She climbs higher and higher.
"But if you're LOOKING for like, MAGIC and stuff, I dunno if they can actually TEACH that, y'know???" The shelf tilts precariously.
"So WHAT, do you want like, REVENGE or something??" The shelf tilts again, as Amandine climbs higher. "I mean, I guess I can GET that. SOME people REALLY piss me off."
There was once no doubt some chef competition somewhere where a chef climbed on stuff and was repremanded for it. What god so cruelly shoved a bizarro Gorden Ramsey in this tiny form surely had a sense of humor. Gabriel does not have a sense of humor though so she fails to see the situation as anything but serious. A serious safety concern? No, but seriously doing the job she was given. It's almost like she's forgotten for the moment why she is even here.
She shakes her head no to revenge and then says in her curt and monotone voice, "No, I typically find it more expedient to deal with issues with people without delay." She's finished washing and drying so she simply turns to face and watch Amandine. Her back is straight, she might have really fit in the military or whatever the NOL is really.
%"I am not concerned with the career path," she contiues, because she was planning on stealing what she wanted anyway and apparently hasn't forgotten that. "I am certain I will be pleased with the results if I am patient."
Amandine teaches hold of a large bag of flour (?) and starts pulling it around to look at the label. She cranes her neck to look up at it, the shelf tilting precariously again.
"Yeah, sure, okay," Amandine says, "but you do know you get paid more at higher ranks, right?"
It is at this very moment that the shelf tilts forward toward Amandine who, still holding on, rides it down until it lands on her with a cacophonous crash.
"I am independantly wealthy," Gabriel replies in a dry voice, still doing that thing where she maintains a loose relationship with the truth that is precarious at best and outright lies at worst. She wasn't going to add anything more to her statement so she doesn't get interrupted by the tilting of the shelf. It takes a moment though to parse out all that happens.
First she has folded the towel she was using before putting it back. The sides are folded -perfectly- it looks unused and since it is early in the morning, it is the first towel to go into the bin. Then she inspects her stacking job of the bowls. Perfection. Then her borrowed uniform. It needs a little smoothing out so she does that too. Also perfection. Her hair? She finds a big spoon made of stainless steel, it will have to do. Kind of like looking at yourself through a fish eye lens or maybe a reverse fish eye lens? She doesn't know photography so your guess is as good as hers. A bit out of place now perfect. This is all while or after Amandine is taking her spill.
She turns to look over as she places the spoon back and has this look of a lightbulb going off over her head. Like she was just phyiscally stuck and she stands there blinking and staring. A deer in the headlights. Concern over another's well being? No.
Just the profound thought that maybe they're both imposters trying to fool the other into believing they belong.
MEANWHILE, BACK THE RANCH, Echo Lacroix had put Kiriya Teruhiko's outfit to appropriate use and disguised herself with it. How does one do this, considering her body-shape is definitely not huamn standard and contains huge wings, etc? Magic, that's how--it also affords her an (albiet flimsy) manner of disguising the rest of her. Why then did they need those uniforms in the first place? Well the ID tags and information could not be faked, even magically--and this would allow her passage just long enough before security got wise. Thankfully she looked just enough like Kiriya at the moment that it shouldn't give her away, unless scrutinized more closely.
She was just going by the doorway to the kitchen when she hears a familiar comamnding tone--peering in just long enough to spy what is going on in there, gotta think fast--
"Private Teruhiko, reporting, m'am," the disguised Echo gives a salute once she has their attention, hand snapping back. "Request assistance with cleanup in exterior hallway," she announces, trying her best to sound like the rather slight male the uniform had belonged to.
There's no immediately response from Amandine, who is presently occupied with being under what looks to be a very heavily shelf. Her boots are sticking out from under one end, like a certain wicked witch who'd been clobbered by a tornado-borne Kansasian house. In fact, things seem dreadfully quiet for several minutes.
And then there's a great puff of flour as something stirs.
The shout that follows it's quite a word. It's more of a noise of frustration and anger. A primal howl from the tiny terror, who subsequently stands up, holding the (now empty) shelf over her head.
"These IDIOTS are trying to KILL ME," Amandine howls. "Did you SEE that? Who puts FLOUR that HIGH on the DAMN SHELF!?"
Said shelf is normally the type that would take some noticeable effort from staff members to manuever around. That does not keep it from being physically hurled across the kitchen. To her credit, it somehow manages to not hit anything else on its flight before crashing into the wall near where "Private Teruhiko" just arrived.
"WHAT?" Amandine shouts. "I didn't catch that 'cause I'm MAD AS SHIT."
Silence from Gabriel. For a moment she's just looking down at the collapsed shelf. Maybe it would be better if the poor chef really was crushed to death. . But then again she can't just sneak off, since someone else arrives. Unfortunately, the disguise apparently works on Gabriel as well and she decides instead time to double down on the role she is playing. Also, luckily Amandine is not dead!
"Putting something heavy on a top shelf does appear to be rather poor planning," Gabriel remarks, without an emotional attachment to what she is saying. But Amandine is going off the handle a bit and sooo Gabriel just stands with perfectly straight back and her hands at her sides, just waiting for what is assurdely going to be her instructed to clean up the spilled flour. Probably. She shows no signs of having a problem with this situation, actually surprisingly calm, no veins popping. Really has an authority complex.
One aspect of Echo's disguise was she looked a bit unnaturally pale, this is why not being scrutinized up close and in good light as not a great idea. However as the flour is /everywhere/ at the moment, the disguised bat sorceress does not shy away from getting into the mess. 'Private Teruhiko' does however wind up coughing and sneezing a bit as the stuff is now very much thick in the air, waving it away.
"Ack--cough--is everyone alright--are you hurt?" disguised Echo stands in the cloud of flour, still waving it off, but it does make for a convenient aid to her disguise.
"Recruit, once you finish cleaning this mess, you are to accompany me to the office for further cleanup duty," Echo is trying to come up with a good excuse here, but it's also hard to deny the absurdity of this current situation, as well as hide the fact she realizes she's standing just feet away from someone she had fought to rob a NOL base not too long ago!
The disguised 'Teruhiko' then attempts to fade back into the mist of the flour, at least for the moment to try and slip out of Amandine's attention.
"SEE?!" Amandine says, "You understand. Maybe you're cut out for kitchen duty after all!" Amandine continues stomping about in a fury before throwing open a cabinet and retrieving a bottle of cooking sherry.
"SEE," Amandine says, "this is what I DEAL with." Amandine removes the top with a pop. "SOME people are such BUMBLING INCOMPETENTS that they don't GET how HARD this job is." She is chugging the sherry. That can't be healthy.
"AND YOU," she calls to "Teruhiko" before stomping over toward her. She has to step over the busted shelf. "Uh, yeah. Clean up the flour, huh? That'd be a HUGE help -- she's on MY watch for right now, but YOU can have her when the kitchen's cleaned up." Amandine squints at Teruhiko, taking another swig of cooking sherry. She stands up on her toes to see better. She sniffs the air.
"Do I know you from somewhere?"
Amandine is still going off, it's getting to be kind of familiar and of course she is going to have to clean the mess, but now she's on edge. It's Teruhiko. The thing is, she never saw him when the assault on the NoL occurred so she really doesn't recognize him or who he really is. All Gabriel knows is she is currently breaking out of a cell and trying to sneak around an NOL base and suddenly she is being summoned? Her? She almost wants to imform them politely that she isn't a member of the NOL, but that would make things worse. Instead she frowns and starts to look for a broom. It takes her a moment, but there is some industrial style brooms with huge stuff bristles.
Okay, this is a problem. She has to touch commoner cleaning tools. The things she does for her art. She takes the broom and starts to sweep, but she's taking her time. The very last thing she wants to do is go off with this other NOL person when the first one, whom is shorter and probably crazier is also a good cover story.
"Ma'am, I don't know what he is talking about, I think he has me confused with another." She tells Amandine stiffly, "Besides, I do not think it would be prudent to lose any more kitchen staff at a time like this." What time is this? Who knows, she's throwing things at the wall to see what will stick.
Meanwhile the flour is looking very confused too, if flour could. The problem is that while it spread itself on the floor in a very respectable fashion that truly made a mess, Gabriel seems intent on sweeping it up in such a way to actually make the mess worse. It is almost, ALMOST like she is avoiding something.
A pair of guards can be heard down the hall from the kitchen. By their pace, they aren't suspect of anything, of flour or guards or angry cafeteria ladies, and are involved in their own conversation. They keep on chatting as they turn the corner, oblivious to anything else.
"You'll never believe who I beat at poker last night." The first one, a tall lanky figure, says, grinning like an idiot.
"Oh? You suck at poker. Who the hell did you find worse than you?"
The guard doesn't answer immediately. He just keeps grinning smugly. He ignores the off handed insult and continues, very proud of himself. He lowers his voice several notches however. "Sol. Bad. Guy."
"Get out." Second guard waves a hand dismissively.
"Serious. He beat me first few, then I swept the carpet out from under him."
The second eyes him more carefully now. "Do you know how much trouble you can get into for that? He's Wanted Class S."
"Nah, it's cool. He said it was 'Neutral Ground'. So no worries. Besides, I beat him so badly he even signed the promissory note in his own blood so you know he can't back out of it." The idiot just keeps grinning as both guards come into view of the kitchen.
"W-Wait wait wait! He did what?? Y-You're not carrying it on you are you??"
Right at this point the first guard realizes what he just did. You can see it on his face, the transformation. The exact moment he loses all smugness, because you can't remain smug when you realize you just walked a spellbound blood sealed note into a high security area, through several checkpoints, hidden away in your back pocket. He reaches behind him to pull the note out, but it's too late. It's already glowing red hot.
Too late. The spellbound note detonates, a huge eruption of light and force and burning smoke in all directions, like the sun itself kissed down in the hallway. The accompanying shockwave throws both guards against the wall hard enough to KO them. Bits of flour still hanging in the air momentarily flare and disappate.
And as the searing light fades a figure can be seen, silhouetted by the fading light, smoke rising slowly from his body. From Sol's body. The force of the summoning, of using the Backyard to shift laterally through space was enough to ignite his clothes in a few places but rather than pat them out, he pulls out a cigarette and lights it on one of them.
"Private Teruhiko, ma'm," Echo replies, keeping their head and face down as they grab a broom and dust pan and begin trying to sweep the mess up. They are keeping their head down and trying to distract Amandine with literally anything else they can for the time being.
Suddenly, there is a huge /woosh/ of air and a literal snowstorm of flour and other debris is thrown up as the note explodes outside the kitchen, somewhere. Likely dirt and dust rain down from the ceiling of the room and lights flicker--this is pretty much perfect for a distraction, however. 'Teruhiko' is thrown to the ground--actually intentionally stumbles, before crawling around for a bit and trying to find Gabriel.
"You okay there, honey? just stick with me~" Gabe might be a little confused at this whispering greeting, especially since it's in Echo's voice, which is underneath all the sudden commotion and loud voices outside by now!
"Well DUH, it's never prudent to lose KITCHEN staff," Amandine seconds. "Those ASSHOLES always assume they can borrow MY staff. Ohhh, Lady Karnstein will MANAGE." Amandine purses her lips, putting her hands on her hips.
"So no, you can't have my--"
The note explodes in a terrible commotion outside, which in turn manages to make Amandine wobble on her feet. "Oh, GREAT," Amandine says, "Are we under attack now, too?? Guards? GUARDS? Do I have to DO EVERYTHING around here?" Amandine stomps her foot, which manages to make the entire area around her rattle. "TANTALUUUUUS!"
Something heavy and metallic makes a horrible, cacophonous grind from another room. In a moment, a heavy metal cauldron rolls from storage before slamming over onto its feet. The thing looks painstakingly crafted and old, its feet shaped like some variety of monster, with similarly ornate etchings along the sides.
And suddenly, chains unwrap from around it, shooting across the room like living things before wrapping around Amandine's arms and waist.
"Uggggh," Amandine says, "INTERLOPERS!!! OK, greenhorn, BATTLE STATIONS!!"
Just when she was starting to get things clean, someone has to go make a mess! Though Gabriel doesn't really care about trashing this fascility, there is a certain OCD aspect to a job well done. Now she is irritated. That is, thrown to the ground and coughing from dust, but also agitated. . . And a little freaked out. You see, this NOL guy is like a creepy stalker who is talking to her in a sultry voice all of a sudden and her ears are ringing and that is NOT alright. Gabriel thrusts the broom toward the poor 'man', trying to whap him on the head. Luckily for him, she's a crusader of light and not a red witch and therefore not versed in the art of broom fighting.
Scrambing to get away from creepy stalker but also to maintain her cover and the dust in the air, this is a perfect escape. Instead, Gabriel finds the biggest kitchen knife she can and shoves it into her belt, that weapon will have to do.
"Roger," she tells Amandine, for reasons that make sense to her now, but probably won't make sense to her later, Gabriel is keeping up the act and preparing to join the fight in defense of the NOL.
Sol takes a look around as the dust begins to settle. This isn't the Artifact Vault. The tall lanky guard had been bragging about working there for weeks, so Sol tailed him, conned him and lost a few games to him to get that note in his pocket. He had been at it for a couple weeks, and it doesn't look like there'll be any payoff.
He takes a drag off his cigarette, glancing at the fool guard and his partner. Then he turns around.
It's a kitchen. Likely for a mess hall. Not a vault, not even a little one. His eyes narrow and he looks deeper. The same eyes that scan combat, eyes can analyze and predict the movements of enemies. Eyes that scry magic from the deepest depths of the earth, that see into the Backyard.
It's chaos. People are already fighting. Some shit is going down here and Sol's dropped himself right in the middle of it somehow. He's often wondered if there's an intelligence out there that likes to throw people in the right places at the right times, or rather, the wrong place. The right place would have been NOL's Artifact Vault.
One cafeteria lady, arming up. With a kind of Disney style cauldron. Got it. One guard, stinking of magic. Nothing special. One very exotic blonde grabbing a knife. Dyed? This definitely isn't the vault he was looking for, but perhaps all is not lost.
Cigarette still in his mouth, he walks into the kitchen, reaching into his back pocket and pulling out a kind of badge. He flashes it once then flips it back.
"Whoever the hell is in charge here, I need sandwiches. A lot of them."
"What? hey, come back here--" Echo says, still in her disguise as 'Private Teruhiko' says aloud in her best stage whisper voice to Gabriel, who doesn't seem to catch the hint that she'd used her own voice for that and she should pay attention--gaaaaah. The disguised Echo is cringing, eyes wide as she realizes she now must /chase down/ the unaware Gabriel, slipping on flour as they struggle back to their feet and get up again--stumbling after Gabriel and into the cafeteria--where a very pissed off lunch lady is apparently prepared to go after Sol Badguy, of all people.
"Ahh, I didn't sign up for this--lovely girl, but dumber than a stack of hammers," Echo sighs, putting her thumb into her mouth and seeming to 'blow' on it, like a whistle--the illusion of her disguise disappearing--as well as the rest of the uniform tearing off her as her huge bat wings flare out behind her. Thankfully she's still got the uniform pants and a sports bra.
"No sandwiches here, honey, just a whole lot of bat--she peers over at Gabriel making 'come here' motions, frantically.
"I'M IN CHARGE HERE!!!" Amandine interjects. "And WHO the HELL are YOU?" she tugs the chains taut. "...and why do you want sandwiches?" The next question is much less...loud.
"Oh, wait," Amandine looks over at Echo. "You again?? Didn't you get enough trouble LAST time?" she asks.
"UGH, why are people invading during MY SHIFT."
Now things are complicated. Before Gabriel can see what Echo is doing she sees what Sol is doing. Whatever he did it is really pissing her off. Her eyes narrow, her forehead looks taut, her teeth grind together, her hands clench and unclench (especially odd since her fighting style includes open hand strikes and no actual fists or punches). She is _furious_. Then she sees Echo.
The hesitation lasts less than a second, she says, probably talking to Echo but not breaking eye contact with Sol for even a second,
"I... Detest. Smoking." Her voice is low and venomous, like she could murder someone over that crime.
"The vile must be purified for their sins," She's dropping the act, in as much as using her normal lines, but well, she's still in uniform and maybe she's just a religious fanatic who is also a member of the NOL? At any rate, she seems to still be siding sith Amandine for the time being.
The guard loses the illusion, motioning for the pretty blonde, and it doesn't take much else to piece together the puzzle of this chaotic little scene. Wheover they are, they don't belong. They're not NOL. Which puts them high on Sol's priority list.
You try to break into a high security vault and fail, you usually end up empty handed. But karma's a funny bitch. So Sol rolls with it.
He walks calmly towards Amandine and the others. "This is kitchen, isn't it? You're a chef? An amazing one from what I've heard. Enough for me to go through all this trouble." He hasn't heard anything. He has no idea who he's talking to but he exhumes a presence about him. Very calm and very serious."
He slips one hand into his pocket. Always calm, especially around chaos. If you can't keep a level head when others are losing theres, then where? He looks over to Gabriel, one brow arching. He speaks, voice dropping a notch in volume. "Are you in any position to complain? Shouldn't the two of you be taking off right about now? Chastise my bad habits when the sky is over your head again, unless you prefer /her/" he says, head nodding Amandine's direction, "and the guards who should be arriving in around 5 minutes, to escort you back."
It isn't difficult enough to piece things together. And Sol is nothing if not an excellent bullshit artist. But he hedges he's right this time.
"But as a sign of good faith, I'll put it out." He raises one hand towards the open hallway behind him. A bout of flame materializes, licking a smoke detector out in the hallway, triggering the alarm.
And the sprinklers. Sol takes the cigarette and flicks it away. "Make that 2 minutes." He's also an asshole. So much for the sandwiches.
"Hey if it helps, we were just leaving," Echo asides to Amandine, however she then narrows her eyes with a little grin. She can't help it. "With that big pot of yours I am not surprised you're hanging in the kitchen," Echo had, if memory served, actually tried to /cook/ Amandine during their last encounter. To be fair, the short noble girl /had/ been trying to punch a hole in her head.
"Good thinking!" Echo replies to Sol, then takes Gabriel by the wrist, trying to half-drag half-pull her out along with her, as she begins to try and head for the nearest exit.
"Less smiting more speeding, honey!" Echo can be heard calling after Gabriel, whom she's trying to pull out by her wrist, scampering along!
Amandine does not seem to notice the change in demeanor that occurs in Gabriel. Perhaps, in her heart of hearts, she too detests smoking. Maybe she doesn't hear very well. In any case, her attention rests elsewhere.
"HUH," Amandine says with a hint of genuine surprise." "WELL!" her arms cross over her chest. "Never had anyone break into a NOL base to ask me about my cooking, but of course my reputation precedes me!"
"But you know, you could have like, written me an email, or something." Somewhere, 100+ unread inbox messages says otherwise. "I do work by contract--"
Amandine was in the middle of her self-aggrandizing ramble when she realizes the conversation has taken a shift. Her teeth grind. Her tiny fists clench. "Oh...it all makes sense now. That DAMN BAT is probably trying to STEAL something and YOU'RE an accomplice!!" She thrusts a finger toward Gabriel. "UGH," Amandine stomps a foot, subsequently putting spider cracks in the floor with the sheer strength of the impact.
And then the sprinklers turn on.
Things were going from bad to worse. First there is a man who is smoking in a kitchen and then worst possible time, Echo shows up. There are few things Gabriel enjoys more than smiting, so she is notciably displeased that things have progressed in this manner.
"What are you doing," she asks in a low voice as Echo tries to get her out of there, "He is smoking in a kitchen, do you not see the problem with this?"
She looks from Echo to Sol and is frowning bigly when Sol is playing his mind games. Worse of all, her new found suprior is cross with her too. She frowns some more.
"Who I am with," She starts to say to Amandine, but no doubt Echo is trying to drag her off.
"I am just a lowly kitchen staff-" She's getting dragged off, though she might protest she's not actually putting force against Echo. She really looks like she woudl rather be smiting Sol though. She's a very pouty looknig crusader of light just now. Kind of unlike her composure.
There is a certain satisfaction to be gained when shit hits the fan. Especially when yuu have a hand in doing so. Sol isn't a sociable person normally, so throwing a room into chaos is a relatively simple thing for him. And while he would never admit it out loud, it draws aggro onto himself, which is half of the point here.
He doesn't know who BatGirl is, and he doesn't know who BleachGirl is, but they don't belong. They're obvious trouble, from the way Echo is so urgently motioning to Gabriel, and the way Gabriel sticks out. A drab uniform does nothing to hide her vibrance.
But it just isn't in Sol to help someone without enjoying himself, and throwing everything into chaos is altogether hilarious to him. But he'll laugh about it later, when he's contemplating tracking them down for 'Emergency Assistance Fees'. Nothing's free afterall. For now, he's all serious.
"That's right, BatGirl. Time to fly this belfry." The he turns back to Amandine, the obvious authority here. He figures guards will be on their way any minutes now, but this one is right here, up front, and very loud. People will often tell you not to underestimate the quiet ones, but while you're busy not underestimating a quiet one, a loud one will knock you out cold.
Sol slides laterally, boots skidding aross the wet flood, and he smoothly transitions into leaning against a counter, conveniently positioning himself between the two and Amandine.
"How about just a bento box to go then?" He says calmly, knowing that her patient ran out quite a while ago, but presses on. He knows his role here. Hold aggro. Then find the two later on and see what the hell they were doing here.
"I can give you an IOU. I'm good for it." And at that, he pushes the wet hair out from in front of his face, grinning darkly. Somewhere out in the hall, a tall lanky guard is groaning to himself.
"That guy--the huge one back there--he's bad news, trust me--we hear a lot of things in Shadaloo--there are guys out there as strong as Vega, believe me--" Echo manages to explain this to Gabriel as she's half-dragging, half-running along with her. The combat boots that Teruhiko donated to her at least come in handy against the now quite wet floor, as the sprinkler system is set off by the explosion. Pausing briefly as personnel come running their way, Echo brings a hand up with a dull crimson glow to her eyes--quickly summoning several wraiths to distract the guards as they try to rush past security.
And that is how a bat and a crazy religious fundie try to escape a high security clandestine prison facility!
Amandine's pale skin seems to get steadily redder as water soaks her clothes and runs through her massive mane. Her fists clench tightly enough to cause several pops as her meticulously styled hair loses shape and the ruffles and frills of her dress and blouse become waterlogged. Her right eye twitches.
Do you THINK this is a GAME??" Amandine shrieks. "An IOU?! You could at LEAST offer to open a TAB!!!" Amandine pulls the chains hard, forcing it to go taut before it smashes through several plates stacked on a counter. The giant cauldron on the other end meanwhile bowls over a toasting oven like a wrecking ball in its path toward Sol!
"...wait, aren't YOU that ONE GUY??" Which one guy?
Sol maintains his composure as Amandine explodes. BatGirl and BleachGirl are moving, albeit with resistance from the latter, but they're moving. A few illusions cast and they slip by a few of the arriving guards out in the hallway.
Amandine snaps the chains with an audible metallic crack, shattering nearby plates. Sol pushes off from the counter he was leaning on, demeanor shifting. The chains send the cauldron hurling forward, perhaps just as a hint of recognition hits Amandine, but there's no stopping it. Its a vessel of pure destructive force.
"I'm not that One Guy." He says, sliding his rear leg back into stance. The cauldron collides into the counter, blasting straight through and continuing straight onward at Sol.
The bounty hunter reacts, thrusting one hand forward and striking the cauldron with his palm full force. It connects with a flash of red light, a magical glyph materializing on the cauldron's face for a single second, and the rain from the sprinklers momentarily stops. For one long breath, the water is suspended in the air from the strength of two opposing forces, but then momentum catches up and the cauldron shoves Sol backwards. Along the wet floor, he skids back a good six feet before he manages to dig in, then rears back his other arm to counter before Amandine retracts the deadly weapon.
"I'm the Bad Guy."
He slams his other fist into the cauldron, aiming downward. Another thunderous clap of magic, another flash of red and another glyph appearing on the cauldron's dull surface for a heartbeat before and the massive thing slams into the ground, splintering the floor into a huge crater.
There's a moment where the floor begins making a horrible cracking, splintering, straining and groaning sound, but then it stops. At which Sol simply smirks, then "flicks" the cauldron, half buried in the floor, once. The sound echoes in the broken wreckage of a kitchen, but only for a moment before the floor gives way, Sol escaping along with it.
Amandine's eyes widen when the first glyph stops the cauldron. When the second impacts it and knocks it into the floor, she slides along the floor, her heels scraping as she does. When he executes the final flick, Amandine falls on her butt with the cracking of the floor.
It takes her several more moments to try and get back up, during which she slips and falls again.
"UGH!" Amandine smashes a fist-sized crater into the flooring. "those JERKS!!!"
Log created on 14:10:58 07/18/2019 by Gabriel, and last modified on 22:19:05 07/29/2019.