Description: Scarlet Dahlia has a history in Southtown. But as the crime boss made a habit of flying under the radar, it shouldn't come as any surprise that there are people who have no idea what she looks like. Including someone whose current lifestyle might be an indirect result of one of her devastating campaigns.
A tall central spire, surrounded by five smaller towers. Looking like a Gothic nightmare sprung to life, supported with slender, needle-like spines. An architectural impossibility for normal building materials -- and clearly wrought by supernatural forces. A blight on Southtown's predominantly rectlinear grid -- a constant reminder of the fel scourge allowed to fester here by Jedah Dohma's willing accomplices.
A limousine pulls up a block away from the atrocious Majigen Embassy. A mild scowl is evident on the scarred face of Scarlet Dahlia as she steps out from the car. Dressed in a white suit and slacks, with a black waistcoat, as if for an impending business meeting. Her jet-black hair is done up, mostly curled into a bun but for the two forelocks allowed to drape freely. Her pale skin is marred by a flame-broiled scarring on the chin and throat. Immediately recognizable, even at a hundred yards.
Which becomes obvious, as a pair of Southtown Syndicate lookouts notice her within a matter of seconds. Both stare back at the woman in white, only tangentially noticing the two black-suited men exiting the car alongside her. One of the Syndicate barks urgently into his cellphone. For, within the bounds of Southtown, Scarlet Dahlia is persona non grata. Apprehend on sight.
And then Scarlet Dahlia notices the pair, turning towards them.
Her eyes turn a brilliant shade of yellow.
She flashes an arrogant smirk back at the pair.
It's clear she's spotted the pair -- and deemed them harmless.
Dahlia goes back to her sightseeing -- particularly the casino which practically -everyone- seems to be arguing about. The casino that, until recently, had been shrouded by a shield of sorts. The casino that, even now, is awash with a crackle of lights and sounds, the locus of an inordinate amount of gunfire. Dahlia turns to one of her two accompanying men -- and gestures at the casino with an open palm. And for the moment -- she seems to be completely disrearding the Syndicate members calling in her location.
It's only inevitable that the two Syndicate men would follow after Dahlia at a distance, even after calling her presence in. Even if she has given the all-too-clear signal that she is aware of their presence -- and the fact that she doesn't think much of them, at all. Or even the potential for reinforcements sent for them.
But, as it happens, while Dahlia and her entourage - however long the entourage might stay wtih her - are tailed, another figure ends up wandering in, amongst it all.
A young, tall man, dressed up in a black suit with a red, high-collared dress shirt. Trailing along through the crowds, with an intense focus in his green gaze, right up ahead on his mark. But... as it would happen, it is not Dahlia he is trailing. But rather, he is pacing a tailing distance away from the two Syndicate men who already flagged her.
Dahlia herself may well be experienced enough to spot tails to realize the man's presence, or even her guard could be informing her of his presence. But wether or not any of them are realizing his intentions may also be a completely different story.
Whatever the case may be, this spiky-haired man in black and red isn't, at least for the time being, deliberately making his presence known even to the Syndicate men.
It isn't exactly like the Scarlet Dahlia to be caught sightseeing in one of the most dangerous cities on the planet. It'd be... too easy, right? And also an incredible risk for someone the Syndicate would be quite happy to scrub off the face of the earth. And yet, here she walks -- away from the relative safety of the Embassy itself, in a lackadaisical journey towards the casino. One of her black-suited guards walks alongside her, pointing out various landmarks along the way and tendering explanations for each. The other guard walks six feet behind, scanning the streets.
Neither looks back. If they're aware of the tail, there's no particular sign of such, for at least two blocks' distance.
And then Dahlia raises her left hand in farewell.
Both her guards peel off, heading down a side street, as she continues walking forward along the main avenue.
And both of the Syndicate tails take chase. Not to the solitary Dahlia -- but to the two Akatsuki-gumi guards. As if the guards were the objective all along.
Leaving Dahlia all alone, humming to herself, her slacks swishing back and forth with a casual, carefree rhythm. Never once has she looked back over her shoulder. But now, without the presence of her guards, she walks at a slower, less hurried pace.
As if she might be expecting trouble of some kind.
After the two tails seperate to go after the two guards, the third remains. Going on further past the street where the Syndicate men gave chase to the two Akatsuki heavies
Though the man in black and red may have been following the two Syndicate men initially, he ends up picking up his pace and going on further, past the sidestreet the four seperated to moving down on.
The distance between him and Dahlia steadily closes. For every step she takes, two from him.
Until, finally, he comes stepping up to the point where he is walking right besides her. Eyes forward, one hand loosely stuck inside a pocket. As if though he were just another pedestrian who just happened to be walking into the same direction as her.
That is, up until he speaks up.
"You know, your escorts are probably getting assaulted back there right now." The words spoken by the man's deep baritone are spoken casually enough, in low tones that are just high enough in volume for Dahlia, and Dahlia alone, to hear amongst the hustle and bustle of urban life around the two of them, without him ever actually looking over to her. Eyes forward still. Walk casual.
"If they're doing that just to make sure your help is seperated from you, I imagine their friends won't have any qualms about making moves in broad daylight, on the open street like this."
Scarlet Dahlia continues at her casual, unhurried pace, giving no sign that she notices anything out of the ordinary. It's far from the truth, of course -- for Dahlia has a sixth sense, a perception about the world that almost all the citizens of Southtown lack.
Her acute sense of awareness would become patently obvious, when the single woman glances sideways at the man who has pulled up alongside her, a beguiling smile playing across her lips. The advice given is met not with alarm, but with an arched eyebrow and a hint of amusement.
Veins of golden radiance dance within tea-colored irises. "That's certainly possible," she answers, as calmly as if the stranger had delivered his expectations on the weather for the next couple hours instead of a dire warning for her safety.
But after that one, expectation-defeating moment, her gaze droops to take in the curious Syndicate member's attire.
Golden-laced eyes rise back to meet the stranger's. "You said 'their' friends and not 'my' friends." Her gaze lingers for just a moment longer, before she turns forward again. With an amused tone, she asks, "Are you hoping to earn my trust somehow?"
The stranger doesn't answer Dahlia's questions right away. There's a moment of lingering silence long enough that some might end up interpreting as a deliberate stalling tactic.
"I'm not too concerned about having your trust, ma'am," he eventually tells her, with only the briefest sideward glances given to her with one emerald eye. "Afterall, I probably won't be seeing you at all after today no matter what happens here. I just have my own principles, that is all."
That's when his head cants just enough that he can direct, for just one brief moment, both eyes upon the woman.
"Though I have to admit, this isn't what I was expecting. You speak with the kind of experience that is used to dealing with something like this... I suppose I didn't need to concern myself at all." Does... Does he not know who she is?
"I guess I can't blame you for thinking I'd be associated with the two back there," he says then, with a subtle sigh stifled against hs teeth. "I must have the same kind of air about me. But..." In that instant, both his expression and his voice are steeled. "Under no circumstance would I call them 'friends'."
Dahlia doesn't turn back to the stranger, though it's clear that she hears his words because her face returns to a look of almost bland neutrality. He doesn't seek trust, but... he seeks... conversation, perhaps?
Though, when he presumes that she has experience with these sorts of situations, and that he postulates that his action was not required, Dahlia offers a curt, but polite chuckle. "Heh. I have that, yes -- and no, you didn't."
Leaving it on such a note would just be rude, though -- and she dismisses the air with a lopsided smirk. Which, when she casts her eyes sideways, allows her to notice the stranger's steeled expression. "... The 'air' about you is secondary to the whole 'tailing a woman you've never met before.' thing. But... I digress."
She snaps her left wrist -- and into her palm flies a small black fountain pen with gold trim. Effortlessly, she spins the pen into motion, twirling it about her finger. "We're here now, and I neither trust nor distrust you, per your wishes." As she turns to face the stranger, she is once more smirking. "And -you- seem hellbent on conversing. So... introduce yourself. And perhaps I will indulge your curiosity."
"In my defense," protests the stranger, although he doesn't seem particularly put off by Dahlia's words. "I wasn't really tailing you, in the beginning. What I saw was a bunch of goons tailing a woman with the intent of kidnapping or any other number of things. That's all there was to it. But... Clearly there's more to it than I alone can see."
He doesn't so much ask any questions, as he states his own observations. And for that matter, when he stamps his heel down to the curb to set himself into turning to face her fully, he seems more surprised than anything else when she urges him to introduce himself.
"Hmh." An amused sound, rumbling deep within his throat. "Truth be told, I was willing to leave it at that." Afterall, in his eyes, she seems more and more like the type who would be able to hold her own in the situation that could be unfolding without much trouble, rather than some damsel-to-be-in-distress he may have originally pegged her as.
But, she must have hit him on another one of his own principles, for he cranes his neck to dip his head into a deep nod -- as much of a bow as he can manage without fully stopping the momentum of their walk along the street. "Tairyu Katashi. Yoroshiku."
The pen keeps flipping about Dahlia's fingers as she walks. Regardless of where her eyes might be directed, the raven-haired woman has no trouble keeping track of the pen as it spins about -- never faltering, never fumbling.
Which is particularly notable as she starts to laugh. A man, walking about the center of Southtown, with a red high-collared shirt and a black suit jacket. Hoping to protect a young woman from the ravaging hordes of murderous Syndicate agents. The very thought is amusing to her.
But then the man stops short -- and slows her pace. For when one is bowed to, it is only polite to bow back -- in some fashion. In her case, her shoulders only rock forward a few centimeters.
"Fascinating," she answers. "All the pieces fall into place." She nods downward to indicate her gaze. "The red shirt. I had assumed you were one of ours at first, but I don't know you, so..." And why would that piece of information be relevant...?
"But no. This makes sense." She moistens her lips, drawing in her breath. And she ditches the 'casual condescension' vibe she'd been trying for, as her pen stops moving entirely, clutched firmly in her left hand.
"I am most sorry for the loss of your father."
And, for a moment, she actually looks... genuinely sad.
A hand is drawn to her heart. "Scarlet Dahlia. Yoroshiku." She bows again, stiffly.
While many of the things she says are confusing to some measure, the man in the red shirt doesn't question any of it, in spite of the bemused scowl that occasionally tugs at his brow.
But... It's those last two sentences that truly catch him by surprise. "...Eh?" Both the commiseration on his father's passing and her introduction.
A number of emotions run through his features, eyes widened briefly while he looks down at the stiffly-bowing Scarlet Dahlia. Ultimately, he manages to maintain his stoic figure enough to not draw any attention from unwanted eavesdroppers, at least.
"... I see," Tairyu breathes out, then, with his head dipped down. "I did not expect to meet the woman I've only heard stories of, today. But... I thank you for your condolences, Dahlia-dono." AWful polite he is, for someone who had just been revealed to that this woman is in fact a mortal enemy to the organization that has forcefully imposed itself as his master.
Scarlet Dahlia's stiff bow is at least in part due to the need to keep her focus on the reluctant employee of the Southtown Syndicate. Her reputation has undoubtedly preceded her -- one not only based in her ambitious consolidation of the nation's yakuza families, but also steeped in her bloodthirsty last-gasp drive to cull the numbers of the Syndicate from within their very own stronghold. As it turns out, commanding a considerable portion of the inhabitants of Geese Tower to leap to their deaths can be a tough act to live down.
Not that the solemn-faced woman standing before Tairyu would have had it any other way, of course.
"Thank you for the warning." She offers a clipped smile. "I assure you..." She raises her open palm, gesturing to the sidewalk which had been traversed by the pair. And along come her two Akatsuki heavies, their shoes clopping noisily on the pavement as they hasten to catch up. "... the situation is in hand."
The pen spins into motion again -- though with Dahlia remaining mostly still, it's less of a dexterity feat. Her expression takes a turn towards sadness, the scarred wrinkles of her chin dimpling. "I am glad that the Fates led you to me today, Tairyu-san -- though, perhaps it's best we part ways for now. The eyes of the Syndicate are everywhere." She has heard him confess his loyalties -- and she knows that the meeting would be good for the future. But here? In the -open?- Perhaps not the best location.
"...Like I said," Tairyu murmurs, with a subtle upward tugging at the corners of his lips, preceding the glance sent over towards the heavies coming back into view again. "I did not expect the woman I was warning to be you, of all people."
Whatever Tairyu personally might think of the Dahlia's reputation - of both her own character and her deeds - and how his own principles reflect on them, don't seem to matter too much right now. The thing that rings ultimately true is that this is no place for either of them to discuss anything. And that right now, it is not in either of their best interests to be making enemies out of each other.
If only because under the surface they do share another enemy.
"And like I said before, too... You may very well never see me again, Dahlia-dono," he points out then, in a necho of his earlier statement given to her. "For a number of reasons both of us understand very well, I'm sure." Reasons including reprisal for the rest of the Syndicate realizing his interaction with her. And reasons she might not realize, too-- it's not like he is advertising the motions made within the Syndicate itself that a certain other person has made him privy to.
"But we'll see. I don't really believe in Fates, you know. Men and women build their own paths."
Dahlia offers a conciliatory smile. "Nor did I expect the leader of the Aizawa-gumi. But we make the most of what we have before us."
While the two men rush to catch up, that black car from before slides its way around a corner. While her earlier statement about Syndicate eyes may be true, the fact remains that there is only one employee of the Syndicate present -now-, with the car driver making four for Team Akatsuki. The car pulls to a stop just as Tairyu finishes his statement -- one which receives another brief bow. "A little secret between you and me -- I don't believe in them either."
One heavy piles into the car. The second holds open the door for Dahlia as she keeps her gaze locked upon Tairyu. "And, there's something else I don't believe in..."
Dahlia regards Tairyu with a meaningful grin, even as she slides into the car seat. "... Contracts lasting forever. So perhaps we -should- see each other again."
"That's not... quite right," Tairyu points out, though his tone is much more rueful this time around, and for the first time, his gaze ends up averting itself from Dahlia. "I never took that seat. After Aizawa-san... passed..." After he was murdered, that is. "...Well. I don't think Aizawa-san would approve of the Patriarch the Syndicate put in place. Best I leave it at that."
Even with the Akatsuki men and the car storming in to prepare to pick Dahlia up, Tairyu doesn't waver. Either he doesn't feel there to be any chance for danger to be present for him, or he is particularly good at not showing any concern within himself. But then, the affable interaction he has been engaging with Dahlia up until now probably helps with that.
The suggestion she leaves with that grin while she's settling into the car, that brings a single dark brow to cocking upwards. "...You know it wouldn't be right for me to make any kind of promise on that," he points out to her. "Especially with how uncertain my future is, right now. But I get the feeling you will find me somehow, anyway..."
That being said, he dips his weight forward into a stiff bow now, while the car door is still open enough for her to see. They may be officially enemies now, and there is still a chance they will be enemies in the future, too, but none of this seems to stop Tairyu from holding himself to certain manners with her, either.
Log created on 09:48:14 06/25/2020 by Mint, and last modified on 20:03:17 06/25/2020.