The Black Dragon - Black Dragon R3 - Treacherous Paths

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Description: Having been allowed entry into the city without much trouble, the Kings of Illyrias take refugee at a church. There, they encounter a mysterious ally of the NOL, Bela von Podiebrad, who offers an alliance with Illyria to pursue a wider scope of evil associated with Kira and her Dragoons.

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The Sacred Order has been busy since their arrival in Southtown. Leo Whitefang may have led the vanguard, but Ky Kiske has set himself to making up for lost time. His first order of business was establishing allies on the ground, including a base of operations to allow the knights to operate with (relative) impunity despite their highly tenuous relationship with the NOL.

To this end, Ky established some rapport with Father Minato Miyashita, the priest of a small parish on the outskirts of Southtown. The church itself is old, a relic of a different time. It's weathered stone and stained glass is distinctly European, and the local government has deemed it a site for historic preservation despite all odds. Even so, it is unassuming, quaint, even.

At any other time, Ky would have not asked the priest for use of it, even if it the cause is providing sanctuary to refugees and a field base for the SO.

Father Miyashita himself is an older Japanese gentleman with greyed hair, a wrinkled face, and round glasses that sit low on his nose. He is presently seated on the front pew with a cloth that he is using to wipe down a small stack of communion cups. Ky Kiske himself moves a broom across the floor carefully, the steady scratch of the bristles echoing through the quiet church. Thunderseal sheathed at his side as a precaution.

"It seems a little unbecoming," the priest begins, his voice like soft leather, "for a king to occupy himself with sweeping? The security you and your knights have provided is more than if you feel you owe us a debt."

Ky looks up from his work to manage a smile. "I find some manual labor is good for the soul. And besides," Ky stands up straight, the broom held like the spear of a sentry. "I can't ask any of my knights to do something I wouldn't undertake myself."

"Mmm," the priest looks back down at the communion cup. "I suppose so." A pause. "Speaking of, shouldn't your fellow commander be here soon?"

A sanctuary and headquarters in an old unassuming church. A unique fixture in a nation that is perhaps one percent Christian. How appropriately and utterly Ky Kiske.

These thoughts and more resound in Leo's head as he pushes open the double doors at the rear of the church and lumbers in with heavy prowling footfalls that echo sturdily and rumble through the building. He moves with a combo of utter confidence in his station..and respect for where he is. His gait lacking its usual predatory gait in exchange for a steady resonant approach and gazes that linger on the stained glass displays before finally looking forward as he nears the front and approaches Ky. Leo is not necessarily a secular man but to say he is not worldly would be a mistaken view of his character and perspective. Nevertheless, respect must afforded in place such as this.

"Father.." he rumbles, nodding his head in greetings to the priest and then he fully lets his gaze fall onto Ky..blinking a few times as he finally takes in the broom and then quirking his mouth in a sort of 'Oh, Ky' expression.

"..Kiske. You've arrived. Making yourself useful?

With the sounds of the doors opening, Ky adjusts his grip on the broom. His expression changes ever so slightly, relief replacing that deep concentration previously hidden behind his pleasantries with the priest.

"I've been trying," Ky says with a wry smile. "I hope that your patrol went well? I brought Carmen and Hans as well, but they're busy elsewhere. I asked Carmen to clean the old dormitory to make it at least a little more comfortable for future guests. As you might have guessed, it doesn't seem that much use otherwise--no offense, Father."

"None taken," the priest says with a chuckle. "I often tell remind myself that God cares for even the smallest congregation."

Ky smiles at the reverend before looking back to Leo. "It's not much, but I thought we could use a place to house civilians and hoped the father here would be sympathetic to our cause." Ky's brow furrows slightly, his lips purse.

"I would have liked to have been here sooner. It seems the situation is rapidly changing, but not for the better."

"I fear you are correct. This 'Black Dragon'..has seemingly placed a bullseye on Southtown. Foolish but at the same time she's somehow proven capable of repelling the NOL.."

Leo shakes his head, arms folding. He gives the priest one final respectful nod and then fully commits his attention to Ky. "Commander Jin Kisaragi and Colonel Kagura Mutsuki must -not- be involved or locally if the NOL is so easily repelled by this mercenary upstart and yet there's no denying the creatures and now mercenary thugs that seem to have thrown their lot in with her."

Leo gestures, frustrated sounding now, as if the chaos of the situation alone is aggravting him more then the danger, "It doesn't make sense. What of Southtowns own criminal masterminds and overlords and those who were so prominent during the Gear War? This woman comes out of nowhere and the city is brought to its knees? And another thing.."

Leo rubs his jaw in thought, "Outside forces seem interested and involved as well. The NOL contracting additional hunting groups that are quite loyal to them and who wield Chi-Tek and Mana infused weaponry. Guards affiliated with the founding family of The NOL and who are quite ready to give their lives for them. The situation is growing complicated.."

"Yes," Ky says, standing up and pacing. His boots fall heavily on the aged floor of the church. He steps across the sanctuary and sets the broom to the side. "There must be something going on behind the scenes. There's just too many mysteries here to take things at face value. Things have gone almost too perfectly for this to be purely her efforts, no matter how capable she may be."

"Chi-Tek? Mana weapons?" Those get a start from Ky, who seems surprised at the revelation. "I'd have been certain the NOL seized just about anything left from the Gear conflict..." Ky makes his way back toward the center of the church. The priest, meanwhile, sits in quiet contemplation as he continues his cleaning. "Should I excuse myself?" he asks, finally, turning toward Ky, then Leo.

"Perhaps so. For your own safety. Even walls have ears, as they say." says Leo, a wane smile on his features as he observes the priest, "We're not exactly wanted on these lands and though you've done a great service to us by giving us sanctuary here..I'm sure Ky would agree that the less you know the better, should the NOL come knocking and want to know why Sacred Order soldiers were seen near your church. Still there are some things you could probably guess at.."

He nods in some affirmation to Ky, "And I agree..but I believe they dole them out to whom they wish to and this.. 'Raven Guard' seems to be tied to them very strongly by either contract or obligation. And I agree about this Black Dragon. Either way she needs to be taken down and in a way that does not give The NOL any advantage or unfair judgement either. She should be defeated and then fairly tried in a world court.."

"Yes, would you =please= excuse yourself?"

The word rises up with a heavy arrogance, light and flighting over the head of the cathedral. He's a bit overdressed, for church. The spaker is a man with white hair, his face is cut sharp, long and stony with a distant, aloof facade. He wears a headdress of black feathers around his hair, and has hazel eyes that almost seem to change color in the light. His hair is stylized in bangs in the front, with a long ponytail behind him over his cloak. He is deathly pale, and is on the shorter and skinnier side. He is carefully balanced between pews, he dangles his stiletto heeled gold-plated purple boots over the pew, delicately laying his neck on the back of the one behind it.

Very nearly floating as he reclines in blissful relaxation.

He is garbed in ornate robes of purple and rose. His raised collar meets with purple and red striped pauldrons sit upon his shoulders, setting a mantle for his flowing purple cloak. A ornamental plate of gold-pressed leaf is set over his robes, setting against his legs, arms, and abdomen. Each section is embossed with the feathered scale pattern, common in the lower ranked soldiers of the Raven Guard. Silver earrings, bracelets, bangles, and a ring for each finger adorn him, with not a single gemstone amongst his jewelry. A silver circlet sits upon his forehead, above his eyes. His hands are exposed, and his long fingernails are painted beetle shell gold and silver, shining with every movement. How long was he there? How did he get there?

And how long was he listening.

The fey figure delicately plays with a wafer in his hand, rolling it between his fingers. "I have business with these two King of the Illyria." He states firmly to Father Miyashita, very nearly commanding him. He shifts his gaze away from the man, to Ky Kiske, and then, Leo Whitefang, a smile on his painted lips. "Do go on though, with what might be behind the scenes, how the puppet needs to be taken down and tried in a world court." He pops the wafer in his mouth.

"It's absolutely delightful theater, isn't it?"

The priest rises slowly and with a light pop from his old bones. As he moves to step out of toward the front of the church and toward the door to the small office spaces, he stops in his tracks at the sound of a sudden, new voice.

And in the next moment, Ky Kiske has inserted himself between the old man and the newcomer. His fingers flex, placed lightly on the hilt of Thunderseal. "Yes," Ky says coolly, "I think that would be best." He stands firmly planted, glancing back at the old clergyman from the corner of his eye. His gaze returns to the fey-like figure seated toward the back.

"Please forgive me if I presume that you're not here seeking refuge from the current crisis." Ky says, readied, but not aggressive. His expression tightens, however, on the mention of the puppet and theater.

"I am Ky Kiske, King of Illyria and Knight-Commander of the Sacred Order." Subtlety is not his strong suit. "But it seems you are already aware of that. Who are you, and what do you want from us?"

"You are with the Raven Guard."

Leo's voice states this as a matter of fact and assurance as he looks over the figure and recognizes elements of the iconography. He nods his head as Ky speaks and though he does not move in front of the priest, his physique coils itself, ready to spring forth like a thunderbolt at but a moments notice. His Iron-Cross blades remain in their resting position on his garments but are all to near to his large hands, should the need arise.

"We don't take to kindly to being spied upon. I see some members affiliated with your Raven Guard have considerable honor and some don't." He looks at Ky and nods his head towards the mans garb, indicated the scale patterns on his armor, "However, based on the circlet and demeanor I imagine we speak with no common guardsman. Perhaps someone of a higher ranking fashion, given the arrogance and that he thinks he can speak with us on equal terms?"

The stranger reclines, looking at Ky Kiske with a bizarre hunger. But the laughter escapes the arrogant stranger upon Leo's words however. "With the Raven Guard?" He repeats back. His lips purses at the pair, eyes scanning warily between them. And the smile briefly becomes a scowl."

"I am the Raven Guard."

He descends from the pew, leaping down as he approaches the pair, hips swaying with every step. The jewelry clatters, the silver and gold rattling as he purses his lips. "Bela von Podiebrad, Patriarch of my House, and High Commander of the Raven Guard." He moves to place himself between Ky and Leo, placing a hand on his hip as he looks at Leo. "And you... you bear of a man must be Leo Whitefang. Szabolc had so much praise for you... and didn't even attempt to claim the bounty, as I understand." Bela looks down to Leo's feet, and up to his eyes. He gives a kissing smirk at the king, as he brings his hand up to toss his hair.

"He clearly identifies with number twos."

Turning back towards Ky, he writhes like a snake for a moment, taking in the more elegant of the two. "And this is Ky Kiske. Oh, really, it's admirable that heretics like yourself defer yourselves so obediently to the laypersons of the church." He scuffs his boot on the ground. "Sweeping and cleaning, the humble king so ready to be as the commoner. Well." He wiggles his finger to point a corner.

"You missed a spot."

Stepping away, he walks back to clear the space between Ky and Leo, back turned to them now as he pinches his finger and thumb in the air. "Of course, if it was merely to be rude to you, I would have dragged Lieutenant Shimotsuki with her army here to banter at you menacingly. That is, except for the fact she's too busy being humiliated by that wretched Kira Volkov. At first glance, of course. As obediant lapdogs of the NOL, I should be outing you, and flummoxing your every effort to one up the NOL. But we're losing, people are dying, and Commander Szabolc has been captured. Incompetence is too rampant." He pauses, and turns around, hands extended up in heavenly grace.

"I want to work with Illyria to save Southtown, then."

As Bela introduces himself and continues to move, Ky's hand never strays too far away from the handle of his blade. He adjusts his footing, keeping himself placed to watch Bela as he moves. Leo is spoken of, as is Szabloc, and Ky takes in the exchange with silence.

"I'll be sure to take care of it later," Ky says without missing a beat. "The House of Podiebrad, is it? I believe Sir Undersn has spoken of you a few times." There's a slight grimace at the mention of Lieutenant Shimotsuki, but Ky maintains his composure.

"So you've come here to work out some sort of agreement?" Ky asks, then pauses. "Without the knowledge of your allies in the NOL, I would guess?"

Leo bristles slightly but says nothing immediately. Merely listens as Ky voices, pretty much, precisely what he was going to say and with far more eloquence. Upon seeing that the other knight is willing to continue the conversation and pursue the possiblity of an alliance, Leo merely grunts and adds, "I see this one is into theatrics and grandiose posing. A poor substitute and imitation of Relius Clover from what I can tell so far..."

He cuts his gaze to Ky and then adds, "But I can confirm the combat prowress of his Raven Guard and that they are probably more straight forward and honest then he is painting himself to be. If Szabolc has been captured then the abilities of this Black Dragon shouldn't be underestimated. He kept up with me in combat. The Black Dragon has the resources and fighting power to keep the NOL, it's agents and Southtowns powerful at bay ..the question is why and how?"

He looks back to Bela and grunts, "Relius Two..." Yup that is his name in Leo's dictionary now, "...Bela. Is there any truth to the Darkstalker Jedah being involved or is that just a wild goose chase?"

Taokaka says, "Lions, cats, and mouses oh my."

delete above me

Even Bela is forced to huff in disbelief, when Ky Kiske says he will clean it later.

Shaking his head in disbelief, he turns to look and respond to Ky. That is, until the other king interjects with his own commentary and... Criticism. Bela stretches his neck a moment, his lips growing tight. His tone doesn't change from the lilting, gentle sway.

But the content sure has.

"Bashi Bazouk!" He begins with half-lidded eyes, looking at Leo. "Ravening Cur! How dare you-" In a flash, the shorter man is immediately up to Leo, nearly daring the martial reflexes of the fighter to slice him in twain. He doesn't touch the man, however. "-compare me to that boliviating blackguard. That rancid fop has soiled not only the pristine reputation NOL with his sinister schemes, but the delicate undercloth of our family's interwoven relationship with our fellow compatriots, such as yourselves. We were once allies in arms, and I will demand that you revise that filthy smut you spray in that sordid lexicon you smatter in."

Bela slips backwards, almost swaying as he turns away.

Brushing off a shoulder pauldron, he clears his throat, fanning himself. "In any case, yes, yes, I want this all in secret. For the conspiracy may be even worse than we believed. For dear Szabolc is not held by any Dragoon or Darkstalker now, no." Bela shuts his eyes, bringing a groomed hand over his heart.

"For he is being held for ransom by the Southtown Syndicate."

He reaches into his robes, opening his eyes. He pulls out an opened letter, waving it in the air for any of the king's to grasp. "For you see, we have been following a conspiracy of criminals that Kira Volkov had been mingling with. The Scarlet Dahlia. Lee Chaolan. And of course... Duke Burkoff, art trader, criminal underboss..." Bela shakes a fist. "And a traitor to mankind! Poor Szabolc is now captured and held for ransom by those vile brigands. Just as gangsters prowl the streets. I only assume you had run into them on your hunts for Darkstalkers." He turns around, a finger at his chin.

"How peculiar the timing is, wouldn't you say?"

Even Ky can't fully suppress the wince that comes when Leo compares Bela to a certain Clover. He takes it all in stride, regardless, even if Bela's sharp reaction seems, for a moment, as if it'll lead to blows. The talk of former alliances holds Ky's attention, but a frown crosses his handsome face, his attempts at staying neutral cracking at mention of Relius and the conflict between the two factions.

But Ky closes his eyes, inhales, and speaks neutrally. "So your majordomo has been kidnapped and ransomed by the Syndicate." Ky reaffirms. He raises his hand to his chin thoughtfully, tracing his cheek thoughtfully with his thumb. "Not the Black Dragon," Ky continues, "but the Syndicate. Despite the fact that the Syndicate should have their hands full with a new upstart."

His head turns toward Leo for affirmation. "And you fought this Szabloc, Leo? Surely he's formidable in that case...which is even more troubling."

"I think I touched a nerve.." muses Leo, sounding somewhat amused. However the fact that even he recoiled slightly in the face of Bela's sudden outburt and venom isn't very hidden. That was..pretty extreme.

"I'll keep in mind your thoughts about Relius Clover going forward..."

He quiets, merely listening now before nodding his head and then looking to Ky, "Yes. I can confirm Szabloc's skills. I won't say he was a match for he wasn't..but judging by his skills and the skills of the rest of the Raven Guard..I'd fight alongside any of them at any time and put them up against any we have to offer among our ranks in the Sacred Order. They are brave, if a little stiff necked and stubborn." Something he's all to familiar with.

"We should rescue him." This last part is said with some certainity, "I know he would gladly give his life for any cause but he is a valuable soldier and someone loyal to you and yours. Hardly, I would think, a person for whom the word 'incompetence' is applicable.."

Bela pulls out a hankerchief.

"Oh, thank you, thank you." He responds, dabbing his eyes. "I hope my makeup isn't running. I almost have half the mind to pay the ransom, just to ensure his safety. He is my half brother, after all. We in the House of Podiebrad are all family. Some closer than others." He clenches his hanky. "But no, I did not come to plead you to save my brother alone. The conspiracy is spreading. There is mischief afoot, foul play."

"And that hydra hardly had one head!"

Bela holds up his fingers, one by one as he names them off. "The Scarlet Dahlia, The Dragoons, The Southtown Syndicate all are clear suspects... And a fourth, I fear, has been picking the corpse of Lee Chaolan's ambitions... For Heihachi Mishima has returned in this city. And as Lee Chaolan had mingled with technology to control Darkstalkers.... But this is all theories, trying outwit that Napoleon of Darkness, Jedah Dohma! We lack the key piece, to reveal the truth of this senseless violence and despair!" And he drops the hanky on the ground, throwing his arms apart.

Despair overtakes him, as he brings his hands to his face. "Without evidence, what can we prove to people?" A flicker of hopelessness flashes for moment, the base of his palms rubbing his forehead. "But that's what Szabolc was so close to find. Evidence. That is what I need from allies now, that the NOL fails to understand. But you know all too well, the shortcomings of the NOL." A hand comes on his hip again, as he looks back. He brings a heel on the pew, leaning towards the pair.

"After all, this isn't their first humiliation, is it?"

Leo's description does draw a smile from Ky, particularly when he clarifies about the measure of their skills. He gives the other king a firm nod, however, when he makes his proclamation.

"If you have Leo's support," Ky says, "then you have mine as well. "That's high praise."

His eyebrow raises slightly at the foppish melodrama, but even so the knight commander listens. "Heihachi Mishima as well..." His mind goes back to the assault on the Sacred Grove, to Heihachi's pursuit of Dizzy during the Gear Conflict. His teeth clench, but his composure remains, passion tempered by duty.

"But perhaps with Szabolc's leads," Ky infers, "we could get to the bottom of this conspiracy." Ky steps forward, pacing as he composes his thoughts. "But still...that's quite an alliance if even half of them are truly together. Then again," Ky says, "can such despicable criminals really ever trust one another...?"

The mention of NOL's humilation draws Ky's eyes to Bela once more. "Humilation was never our goal," he says, "we only sought to ensure the freedom and protection of those who had been wrongly accused just because of the natural of their birth."

"If NOL suffers humiliation it's their own fault. Their -Relius Clover-.." Leo says that with such..class .. "..Among others of their blood thirsty leadership does much for setting themselves up for a fall. And what's worse there -are- good people associated with them who just don't know about the darkness and..what's the word..uh..incompetence..that lies underneath. And their 'Imperator'.. What type of person takes that title as the leader of an organization unless there are motives related to the rest of the free world?" Leo hmmphs, "..But right now we are in the same camp.. Working to save Southtown.."

Leo sighs and then tracks his gaze to Bela, "It seems rescuing your subordinate takes priority then, due to the information he has. However..the NOL should have no problem with the Sacred Knights. We reached an agreement. We're here to help. Can't you put in a word to let the NOL know so as to not harrass us? Or do we need to expect to deal with the likes of Shimotsuki and Kisaragi?"

Bela can't help but devour the praise for the Guardsmen.

He takes their words, and gently rubs it all over his body, like a medicinal ointment, a scented oil that traces into every nook and cranny of his body. He can't help but touch himself lightly as both Leo and Ky Kiske heap on the admiration of his soldiers. And yet, despite their extravagant flattery, they keep humble. "Tra La La! Mo Ho Ho Ho ho!" He laughs out loud, covering his mouth as he giggles a high-pitched tittering. When he is able to speak again, he finally announces.

"You are a pair of boy scouts, aren't you!"

Bela fans himself, the heat of the flattery and amusement almost too much to bear. "But your eagerness towards the righteous will keep yourselves safe. I whole-heartedly accept your offer of assistance in rescuing my brother. As for the NOL." He snaps his finger, looking up into the sky. "The NOL will tolerate you as long as you are useful, in a collective sense. The Imperator is a ruthless woman, but a practical one. What is considered useful is arbitrary. Lieutenant Shimotsuki will certianly be hungry to have you trussed up like a turkey, Leo Whitefang; handed over to Relius to be drawn and buttered. As for Kisaragi... well, really, both end up with the same solution. Make them -my- problem, not yours. Let the NOL know that I am scheming behind their backs, patronizing with Illyria for allies. You know that they will never forgive you over that Command Gear." Bela shakes a finger at them, swaying with every step. "Even amongst the Raven Guard we are still... quite sore about your little Illyria adventure. We have family in the NOL, you know, who risked their lives so you could betray the NOL." Bela wasn't changing his light and flighty tone. "And yes, yes, I am absolutely certain its justified. I've seen the pictures of that abomination, that ruthless monstrous gear that you've claimed. I've seen what a Gear looks like, a Command Gear. And she looks as thus:"

"Absolutely beautiful."

Bela casts his hands on his face, working his hands over his chest, and then hips. "A face like an angel, and a body like the most sinful of devils. The curiosity of a child, with the appetite of a demon. It would be one thing if it was a hideous creature, but she looks... almost... human." Bela covers his mouth, tracing his nails on his lips again as he circles around Leo. "Very curious why she's done up in thighhighs, garterbelts, and leather." He lingers on Leo a moment, before breaking away towards Ky, hips swaying with every click of his heels. "Rumor has it that she seduced the pair of you during the Gears War, after savaging poor Noel Vermillion. Lured you in with her innocence and sultry charms, a poisonous friend that corrupted the Sacred Order, drove you to abandon your allies, and run off to Illyria for a shotgun wedding to play King and Queen. Certainly, it's suspicious that the NOL isn't scraping Illyria off the map, and only King Leo here has the bounty, and not you. But sincerely, I think it's completely ridiculous at this point, the rumors I mean." Bela looks up and down Ky Kiske again, as one would be inspecting a piece of meat. He shakes his head, dismissing it in a low voice.

"I can't imagine you boy scouts sharing."

For a time, Ky Kiske manages to maintain his composure. The talk of Illyria, the accusations leveraged against him do not manage to penetrate the armor of his patience and humility. His teeth clench, but he holds his tongue as a saint, if not a buddha.

But then Bela discovers the heel of Achilles.

"That woman is a victim of circumstance," Ky says, his voice flickering with the fire of anger. "The sacrifices of men and women--good men and women--in the war still way heavy on my conscience, but I did only what was just" Ky's hand moves from the hilt of Thunderseal as he gesticulates firmly. His face reddens at the comment of "sharing." "Dizzy may have been born a weapon, but she desired a chance to live peacefully, and deserved such just like any human. I know little of you and your Raven Guard, but could not let the Relius Clovers and Katarina Shimotsukis of the NOL twist into some living weapon when she wanted a chance to live a better, more peaceful life! Say what you will of me, but she is no monster or manipulator." Ky inhales sharply.

"But for the sake of good men like this Szabloc, and for the people of Southtown, we will do everything we can to assist here."

"As to the NOL ... We are on better footing then you may realize where they and their ability to spin doctor anything is concerned." snarls Leo, "We're not some second string, backyard, low tier gaggle of soldiers they can wipe out with a whim nor are they some global organization with ad hoc world authority as much as they wish it. They're a gang of thugs that appeared out of the blue during a moment of vulnerability and morale imbalance in the United Nations and gained -some- degree of notoriety with willing nations who were angry with the current status quo. Let them make a public mistake or a terrible incident and set of plans become -known- and the world will turn against them."

Leo waves a hand dismissively, "We are on more equal footing then perhaps you're giving us credit for. There is a 'reason' for why the choice to do what we did in Illyria occured and it was not just for Dizzy's sake but a much larger threat and a power The NOL sought but could not be allowed to have. As to the details of's none of your business. Ask Relius."

Ky's own anger is not ignored either and Leo just stews softly as he looks at the younger knight and king and then finally adds, "And as to the matter of Dizzy."

There is a pause and Leo simply says, "Shut your damn mouth." with all the venom and baited fury of a Lion ready to finally take down the prancing antelope and feast.

"Then you do care for her."

Bela covers his mouth, recoiling away from the combined anger of both. He had needled, and he had stung. But he would not press on the matter of the Command Gear- no, on -Dizzy-, any more. Bowing his head, he brings his hands up, showing his surrender. "I yield, I yield. When the alternative is asking that foul-headed plastic nightmare Relius, I would rather remain in blissful ignorance for now. I will say nothing more of... Dizzy."

His expression shows that to be a lie.

Tapping his nails together in steepling fingers, he paces away. "So. Here is the riddle. The Syndicate. Scarlet Dahlia. Dragoons. And Mishima Zaibatsu. Four cups. Which one will be holding my dear brother, if the conspiracy is complete? My guess is Duke Burkoff, and the Southtown Syndicate. But what happens if they are in alliance with Kira? IF he is held in the very casino that is being besieged? Or north to Hokkaido, where the Scarlet Dahlia is rumored to lay waiting? Perhaps he is forced into a miserable V-Gage, and tortured into turning against his bretheran by Lee Chaolan's wretched technology. Four cups, gentlemen." He holds out his hands. "And I have myself, you two, and my men."

"What do you choose?"

"Mm," Ky turns his back as he tries to regain his composure. He scratches his chin thoughfully, considering the options. "It only seems reasonable that we split our forces between several targets. I can reasonably pursue one, and I am certain Leo can handle another..."

"But which? Leo, what say you? I will go where I am most needed."

"If your intelligence is wrong, we also run the risk of angering someone that might have nothing to do with these matters...but.."

Leo shakes his head, "It doesn't matter to me either. Our methods won't be to dissimilar. If you would like, I can look into The Syndicate. A strike against Kira herself may also prove a worthwhile endeavour and sooner or later we -will- have to work with the NOL to make this all come to some form of conclusion so being prepared to be..diplomatic..maybe necessary."

Leo was making a dangerously close point.

"If we anger people, let us anger them." Bela says, with a calm air. "Let them be irritated as the city melts down. We are god's chosen." The aristocrat sways his hips, as Leo makes his choice. "If you are going for the Syndicate, well, we can all save Kira for last. The Harbor is crawling with Syndicate enclaves, but I am most curious about the recent real estate activities of Duke; you would explore the Downtown for those, to find a brand new prison." He shifts from Leo, back to Ky. "That would leave either traveling out of Southtown to visit with the Scarlet Dahlia, or... to challenge Heihachi Mishima, and dig into his dirty laundry for signs of my brother."

Bela had such a way with words.

"Heihachi drove Dizzy from her hiding place during the Gear war," Ky says, "so I have my doubts about whatever motives have brought him out of hiding." His brow furrows, his fist clenches. "If there's some way for him to profit off of this conflict, he will certainly find it. Even if he is not responsible for the kidnapping, we should at least assess his situation. If he's made himself known now, he may be in a position to threaten Southtown himself once more."

Ky paces along the front of the church, his head slightly bowed as he talks through the conflict.

"Is this agreeable to you?" Ky looks toward Bela, "Can you locate the Scarlet Dahlia with what little information we have?"

"Mishima for the blonde, and the Syndicate for the bear."

Bela inventories, fingertips dancing as he sways. "And the Scarlet Dahlia for myself. A careful balance of the three; and when we are ready, all three of us will join to strike against Kira and her Dragoons. As for finding the woman, the crime boss is intertwined with the fate of the Ainu." Bela purrs, dragging his fingers through his hair. "A rivalry with the Southtown Syndicate had driven her out from here. I will find her in Hokkaido one way or another. If she wishes to hide, there are a few sacred groves ripe for pillaging and pilfering that will flush her out." Bela pauses a moment, before looking to Leo, a coy smile on his painted lips.

"I am kidding, of course, I would never seek to make more trouble for us!"

"I am -not- a bear." says Leo firmly, "Are you trying to insult me? Are the lion motifs not obvious enough?"

That snark aside, the second king nods his head and muses, "Yes..this is satisfactory to me as well."

His gaze settles firmly on Bela once more, "I tire of your theatrics...but it is said that we are often measured by the people around us. If you've given your brother and the Raven Guard just reason to not leave you a jester in some NOL court..then I trust we can rely on you to do your part and ..not..make more trouble for us?"

Ky narrows his eyes at the comment about sacred groves, but he holds his tongue. "Then it's settled," the comment comes quickly to change the subject. "Then it's settled. Leo and I will mobilze as quickly as we can to fulfill our obligation."

Ky turns his head, his blond hair shaking when he does.

"And I assume we can trust that you'll do the same."

An alliance, tenacious.

Bela was sincere, at the least, about their goal. Calling Leo a Bear might be concealing a more secondary message, but of course, boy scouts. He would share them locations.They would investigate. And they would have answers. And by sharing the load, they would be able to coordinate in the chaos.

"Trust... me?"

Bela's laughter echos throughout the church, a high noble laughter, as he turns to stride out, hips swaying as he moves between the aisles. "Of course you can trust me... to do the same." He adds, as he makes his leave.

Log created on 15:05:33 05/18/2020 by Daniel, and last modified on 14:05:57 05/22/2020.