Velvet Blue - The Pet Shop (of Horrors)

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Description: Alice Nonomura tracks Velvet to a particular pet shop in Chinatown which holds a dark secret.

Like the 'entertainment', Red Light and Theater districts of Japan, Chinatown has been able to somehow escape most of the carnage that has befallen certain places like Metro or Southtown's more upscale areas. It's a bit of an ironic twist of fate, to be sure. It's pretty much business as usual here, and it's usually packed with people during the day--going to the market, and the like. There's still the vaneer of sleaze and kitschy-ness around the place, course--the neon lights, the rows of shops and foodstands...

If Alice is going deeper in to perhaps try and tail a certain fae half-darkstalker, however, they might be headed down an even deeper rabbithole than trying to look for them at their club--which if they visit, they can quickly tell the queen is not around. The bartender will helpfully inform them to check Chinatown, however good luck finding them there. Where might they be? no sign of anyone with funny ears or tail (hidden to humans normally, course, but Alice is anything but) around here at the foodstands... massage parlors? Pfft, no, well, maybe--who knows--the clubs around here are all bodycon and some themed places... They probably weren't in there.

Maybe down the dark steam-filled foreboding alleyway, with a rounded Chinese arch at the end??

Alice was indeed looking for Velvet, but certainly not on any official sort of business, she really just wanted to talk, preferably in a more one-on-one meeting, but the friendly half-demon was proving rather difficult to track down indeed. She does make it to Chinatown, but looking for one person even narrowed down to just this part of the city, is really like looking for a needle in a haystack. She asks around but tries to keep it discrete by not mentioning his non-human features, and predictably hasn't had much luck.

She gives a defeated sigh as she continues strolling through town, feeling discouraged but not giving up yet. As she passes an alley she looks down through it, wondering what all the steam is from, could just be a lot of restaurants cooking, but the archway at the end catches her eye and with a shrug, she decides to have a closer look, her odds of bumping into Velvet randomly are probably just as high any direction she goes at this point, at least that's her feeling.

Heading through the archways leads to a metal security door which opens to her grasp--down a set of stairs leading into a small darkened foyer and... the scent of something else than just a regular store in here. It's got that strange funk of substrate, wood shavings and a little bit of water, not stagnant--but from a large fishtank--one that Alice can see dominating one wall as she enters the place proper. There is the sound of small creatures and birds from another doorway, with the cloying scent of beast along with what has to be incense...

Is this some kinda... pet shop? then why does the decor inside look like a Chinese opium den from the turn of the century? Red and gold curtains and furnishings, carpet... And just out of the corner of her eye, was that a human face looming up out of the glass of the huge tank in the wall? It's gone in a second. The features feminine, to be sure--some kind of pale woman.

"Yeah, that probably isn't a good thing to see after you've had a few, dear," from another doorway, further in--it's Velvet Blue! They're standing there in their usual fur-collared black full-body outfit, night-fighting attire--with a pair of long platform-heeled boots, of course. Over that there is a long thin dark jacket, which they let hang around their shoulders like a cape due to the warm temperature inside here.

Alice is perhaps a little more dressed up than she usually would be for just walking around town, perhaps because she had gone to The Gold Lounge first. She's dressed in a sleeveless dress with a ruffled bottom and a soft pink floral pattern atop a faint pink background, almost to the point of being white, with a pearl necklace and a pair of tan leather flats. She looks a little lost upon entering the shop, as it certainly is an unexpected sight on the inside compared to the more common outside appearance.

Once she's recovered from the shock of feeling like she's stepped into a different world however, she does start looking around, and she hears Velvet Blue before she hears him, and smiles brightly as she turns to face him, offering a wave if he looks her way but not moving to interrupt his conversation. Instead she begins looking around the shop a bit more while keeping an ear out, didn't want Velvet Blue to slip out into the city without her noticing, leaving her back at square one.

"Well well, look at you--were you expecting to find me at my place?" Velvet grins a little, as he casually approaches and sidles up to Alice to inspect her evening wear. "You /do/ like these loose-fitting short dresses, don't you? Helps with your... well, that's a bit more of a personal thing, I realize," Velvet steps back, since he'd been almost invasively close just now, the black jacket fluttering around him.

"One moment, actually--" he gestures for Alice to come with him as he steps into the adjacent chamber, which is a more elaborately furnished version of the rest of the place, though this time with a pair of red satin couches, the opposite was seated what looked like an androgynous pale-skinned male in an elaborate white and black long-sleeved qipao, hair ink black and in a bob hair-style. Looked quite a bit like something from Madame Butterfly. Perhaps not a stretch this person seems to know Velvet.

"Come in, come in--I hope your... guest finds the place to her liking?" the male spoke softly, with a somewhat thick Chinese accent.

"Alice, this is Count D, don't worry, he's a friend," he nodded, one of his arms gently sliding around Alice's shoulders, perhaps to make it seem like they were together?

Alice nods and chuckles a little at Velvet's obvious comment about her outfit. Indeed she used to own a lot more pants and shorts, but they tended to have a short life when a single transformation tears them to shreds. "A very astute observation, yes. I was hoping to talk, about some things..." She admits, seeming a bit flustered.

As Velvet leads her into a more private room and introduces her to 'a friend' she smiles and nods. "Nice to meet you, I'm Alice Nonomura. This is a very interesting place to have stumbled onto by chance... I might have to look around and find a new friend to take home with me..." She says with a grin as she sits down on one of the couches.

"Welcome to my pet shop, I hope you find everything to your liking," the proprietor announces, nodding and raising a porcelain teacup and saucer to their lips. Velvet meanwhile has angled them onto the adjacent sofa with Velvet, arm around her. Their host didn't seem dangerous or intimidating, but Velvet still seemed somewhat protective...?

"My friend here is a nurse, and is an associate of mine," Velvet explains to the owner, who 'ahs' and seems to understand what this meant. 'Associate' might be a good word for folks in the know about 'their kind'.

"So you're saying it was a bird of sorts, and the owner wasn't happy with it?" Velvet seems to be continuing a conversation from earlier.

"More like a chicken, actually," D replied, with Velvet raising a brow to this.

"Bit more exotic than a chicken, though, I suspect..." Velvet frowned a bit, turning to Alice. "The count here deals in exotic pets, exotic sometimes meaning a bit too much for their own good, trying to help him find something," there is a cough from the other end of the room, from the count, as if to want to inerject to that.

"I'll have to have more of a look around later, but it looks very well managed at first blush. I live alone so maybe adding a nice pet to liven things up would be quite nice." Alice answers Count D. kindly before turning her gaze to Velvet. "It has been a little while since we talked last, how you been? Things at the club still going smoothly I hope? As for the exotic bird, if there is anything I can do to help find it I'd be happy to lend a hand."

"Ehh... well, we can see," Velvet seemed to draw himself closer to Alice, the cutely dressed Japanese gal on the couch next to him, which seemed to subtly annoy the Count apparently, though it was subtle. Jealousy, perhaps?

"The club runs fine even when I'm not there, hon, I assure you," Velvet gives Alice a smile, before thinking it over. "You might be able to actually, you're fast on your feet, right? Rancid, my bouncer, might be a bit unwieldy for this--plus, he's usually watching the place," the flamboyantly dressed half-darkstalker has his attention drawn back to the Count at the throat-clearing they perform.

"Right, so this thing--it's something more like... a basilisk?" Velvet asks, tilting his head, his tail draped over the edge of the sofa next to him.

"Something like that, I assure you--to most it is a harmless chicken, but the person I sold it to did not respect the conditions for it's care," the Count did not sigh, though they did seem melancholy about it.

As Velvet draws closer, Alice does notice the subtle change in the Count, but she doesn't make any move to reject his advances. "I certainly can be pretty quick, especially in my lapine form. With all this talk about chickens though I'd have thought you were talking about something more like a cockatrice than a basilisk, how big is this creature?" Alice asks as she looks between Velvet and the Count.

After a moment though she bites her lip as she remembers she's gotten sidetracked again and hasn't brought up the thing she was seeking out Velvet to talk about in the first place. "Though I should also mention I have a new job, though I will do my best not to let it... complicate things. I perhaps should have mentioned it last time we met, though it just didn't feel like the best time."

"About as big as you'd think, though if I recall correctly it looks a little different to humans, well, normal ones--we can likely see it's true form," Velvet crossed his legs, leaning back a bit, though he leaned forward again soon enough as the Count passed along a scrap of paper with the address for the owner. The petshop apparently took down it's customer's info along with their usual waiver, most likely. It was a semi-legal business.

"Mm? just a second hon... alright, I know where that is, I will call you when I have it, and we can arrange to bring it home," Velvet uncrossed his legs, rising from the sofa.

"Do be careful, and make sure to not look directly at it, without a mirror..." the count sips his tea, but side-eyes them as they get up to leave.

Once they're out in the foyer, however, Velvet turned back to Alice, curious, gesturing to her with his chin.

"What's this about a new job, now?"

Alice blinks once at the 'as big as you think' answer and chuckles. "So big, got it." She also nods at the mention of not making eye contact and follows Velvet out of the pet store, it appears they were going to get on this right now, which she was certainly fine with if Velvet was, no plans for this bunny's evening. As Velvet asks about the new job she nods. "Right, well, I'm working for NOL now, I was looking to get into something bigger, with more travel, and it kind of fell into my lap... I'm currently working with a tiger girl named Meifeng."

Velvet stops and pauses at this, having probably just been about to put an arm around Alice before they head out again, likely D was watching somewhere, after all--but this is a development.

"The Library, you mean?" Velvet looks down, blinking, before looking back up and raising a brow a little, before sighing, keeping the arm around her shoulders.

"So... you gonna turn me in? put a tag on me, treat me like a pet gerbil?" Velvet peers over at her, smiling just a bit.

"If a medical exam was all you wanted, y'know--you just had to ask, honey~" he lightened the tone of his voice with that, into a teasing kind of falsetto. "I might be able to pencil you in of course, after I take you out to dinner, or the like," he paused again. "Oof, that one was a little more of a double entendre than even *I* intended..." his tail-flicks.

At first Alice tenses up, as Velvet teases her with the very reaction she was afraid he would give, but isn't long before it's clear he's teasing, and she giggles at the taking her out to dinner line. "Was that an invitation for a date?" She asks with a wink.

"But no, I'm not going to turn you in or anything like that, it's crystal clear that you are doing your best to have a positive impact on the world around you, especially for... folks like us. Though in all seriousness, if you ever do feel a little under the weather, feel free to give me a call. I may only be a nurse officially, but I have been studying to become a doctor. Who knows, maybe I still will someday." She smiles and puts her own arm around Velvet and tugs him into a gentle half hug.

"Now, where are we heading to help out with this special serpent?"

"Well, as it stands, I might not have a choice--if I don't have enough energy to use my healing powers on myself, you're pretty much all I got, we don't have anyone with a medical background at the club," Velvet looked over at her. He then blinks.

"Oh, you really wanted to come with me for that? you don't have to, you know," Velvet looked down a bit, as if a little ashamed. "I really wouldn't rather you get hurt, but..." he thought about it. "And you /are/ dressed for a night on the town, all you need is your eyelashes done up," he grins, leaning in to peer at hers, during the hug.

"Maybe we can find you something a little more practical to wear if you're coming out with me then on business, because I'd hate to do something to that dress," he purred.

"Well yeah, I did offer to treat anyone at the club that needed it, and that offer still stands, including you, as for me getting hurt, look at it this way, with two of us watching each other's backs, less chance either of us gets hurt, and even if we do, the other can help, even if you just end up finding me someone who can help. Besides, I have nothing better to do tonight anyway, if I did I probably wouldn't have been wandering around Chinatown looking for you in the first place." Alice says with a laugh.

The comment about her clothing does give her pause as she looks down at her dress, it was a nice one, and in practically new condition. "Hmm, you make a good point, would this dress survive me going bunny to the point of not being naked when I change back, probably, would it be wearable for another day after that? Not so much... You know a place where I could grab a quick change of wardrobe?"

"Well, some of us don't heal like normal, others do," he nodded, before listening to her, leaning against the big Chinese archways that lead out of the pet shop. "Well, I can be hard to find sometimes, I know, well, lets go then," Velvet slapped a long dark-nailed hand against the archway, at that, before opening the door for her.

"I think I might know a place we can for that," Velvet is rubbing his chin as he looks back at her, half-turned at the door way, holding the door open for her.

"You don't mind wearing a lot of spandex, do you?"

Log created on 17:36:18 05/08/2023 by Velvet Blue, and last modified on 15:09:55 05/11/2023.