Creature City

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She Wolf

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“How so?” Jack sipped his whiskey and waved to the bartender to bring the arachnid more – judging by his bruises, tired eyes and bloody clothes, he needed it. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Arrow stand, shaking the witch’s frail, silvery hand and pressing a wad of notes into his pocket. He kept his gaze focused on the spider, head tilted slightly and russet eyebrows lifted.
 

ResidentPagan

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Jet nodded, hurrying to keep up with her. "We've only had her for a few hours, so it might be likely she's one of the Unstable, as well. If she is it'll make things a little more complex, but nothing we can't handle." Unstable were creatures who were generally feared or hated, one way or the other. They were a combination of two creatures of high power and danger, and more often than not were so overflowed with power that it spilled out of them and often ended up either corrupting other creatures or hurting them. It was difficult for an Unstable to control their power, and it often fluctuated based on the emotions that creature felt. There was, of course, the constant fear when around an Unstable. It might make things a lot trickier to get the child to co-operate, or indeed for them to function, but she would take that challenge for the child.
 

Midnightbackup

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The arachnid propped his head on his hand, another closing around his glass. The creature was charming, and radiated a certain kind of charisma that drew the unwitting spider closer making him want to be able to provide the answers to his questions. He sipped his drink, slowly this time, and made a general sweeping gesture with his hands.
"Everyone here thinks we're the scum of the city, low-life's specializing in organised crime and the majority of us money launderers. And that's mostly true. In my case, anyways. People won't hire us for fear of our pasts, people won't even give us a glance on the street. And fuck, it gets lonely sometimes, you know?" Words spilled from his mouth, a happy buzz filling him. "But all that's gonna change. We're making our mark on this city." His eyes flash, and he turns to the ginger with a small grin. The bartender lingers nearby, giving off the vibes of someone who was trying not to eavesdrop, but all the same listening to the arachnid spin his tale. He lowers his voice. "Truth is, we're looking for something." For a moment, he gives a vacant look, pausing for a second as if processing something. The face he was staring at was familiar. Pixie dust. He was the dealer who hooked him up the week he became homeless! He tried to search for a name that came to mind, but he honestly hadn't seen much of the guy concerning the black market. John? Joseph? Jasper?... Jack!

Minerva runs her hands over her hips, entertaining her client. She's not used to home calls, more used to the blaring of music and the cold steel of the pole meeting her skin, but her client pays good money, and that's all that matters. He props feet on her coffee table, something that makes her lips quirk in irritation. She says nothing about it however, caressing his face and gripping his tie to pull him into a teasing kiss.
A rumble of voice alerts her to him speaking. She stops, hands resting on her lap to listen to him in a crouch. Her eyes are wide, as if she's hanging onto his every word.
"You... Spiders. What do you do with all those hands?" It's an odd question given the situation, but perhaps she can twist the response into something more desirable. "I can show you." She winks, biting her lip and going back to fiddling with his tie. The blonde frowns, and throws her off her routine again.
"What about jobs? You can't all be whores and hired thugs." Her face grows hot, and this time she shows her offense and impatience with a narrowing of eyes. She answers in a level voice. "Some Araneae lead normal lives. Just like any other Creature. It's a common stereotype to assume all of us are into something illegal, although the sad fact is, most of us have to play into that just to get to where we are today. Most people won't hire our kind apart from for something criminal." She shrugs. "Like I said. It's easier to just embrace the idea that society has built up around us instead of proving it wrong." The blonde blinks, as if understanding.
"No more questions." He says simply, and Minerva gives him a bemused glance. He gets up to leave, tracking mud into her carpet and grubbling through his pockets for cash. The spider simply stands, arms crossed over her scantily clad clothing. He slaps the cash on her bench, and she looks at the notes and the numbers piling up. Then, he tips his hat and exits her apartment. Weird. She didn't even have to go through her routine this time.
 
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She Wolf

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Cecilia nodded thoughtfully as she walked between Jet and Altair through the quiet streets, bathed in the gold of the setting sun.
“What does she look like?” she asked, shifting her furs. “Is she showing any outward signs of any creature?”

Jack kept himself composed and polite, his claws tapping idly on the rim of his glass. His icy blue gaze alighted on the bartender and he narrowed his eyes fractionally, enough to tell him to stay away. Kastra’s head lifted as if she heard something he didn’t, and she disappeared behind the bar, only to reappear moments later with a fat rat hanging from her beak. Settling by her charge again, she flicked it into the air and devoured it in one swift movement.
“Looking for something?” he repeated, his voice silvery and posture radiating silent confidence. “What are you looking for? Perhaps I could help you find it.” He took a split second to glance beyond the arachnid to see Arrow settle himself on the opposite end of the bar, ordering a cocktail with an adorable, toothy grin – he forced himself not to linger too long on the Nix’s face and met the gaze of the Araneae in front of him again, waiting patiently for an answer.
 

Midnightbackup

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The spider watched the strange creature that seemed a mix of lion and eagle run out from below their master's seat, and go chasing after something across the bar.
He responds hesitantly. "A human brat. That's what we're looking for." There's a pause, as Abner watches the griffin return descend upon her freshly caught prey, powerful beak tearing it to pieces. He searches Jack's face for any disbelief, before carrying on, "The idea is, a human kid's worth a lot of money, right? And one day some guy high up in our kin decides hey, there's been rumors of a small human kid that broke the fence and ran from their end of the borders, so the first to find it claims the money on it. After all, something like that in the black market, it's pretty much a rarity." He explains, drawling slightly. "So competition gets pretty intense, all these Araneae who are in on it, each trying to track down this kid. It's a surprise, because there's families that've been in the same place for generations all shutting up shop and leaving all of a sudden on account of this one rumor. And people get nervous when they hear news of us moving anywhere, let alone one fixed part of the city. So none of us have explained this to anyone else, for fear of the competition getting any tighter if any other kin finds out about this kid."
His words come spilling out, and he grins, slightly proud he managed to get all of that story out without slurring his words once. "I don't think there is a human kid though. Not really. So I wouldn't go on some wild goose chase to look for it either."
 

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Jack folded his forearms on the bar, his head tilted slightly so he could maintain eye contact with the Araneae while still sitting like a gentleman and facing forward. His clawed hands came up to readjust his scarf and brush through dark red curls.
“Fascinating,” he said, keeping his voice casual. “It must be hiding itself fairly well, if even your kind cannot track it down. What corner of the city do you think it’s most likely in?” Kastra shifted against his leg, her feathered ears twitching.
 

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Jet shook her head. "No, which is why I thought they might be a shapeshifter. They have sea-green hair and sapphire eyes, like a water creature, but shows no signs of needing the water." She frowned. "There's a possibility they're..." A quick glance around told both of them it was not the place to discuss the child, in public where they were surrounded by listening ears. She quickly switched the subject. "The Araneae have been moving up, as well."
 
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She Wolf

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Cecilia sensed Jet’s hesitation to divulge her suspicions in public, so she subtly led her companion down a quieter road that would soon bring them through a perpetually deserted park – it was a longer route than the one she intially planned, but she wanted to hear what Jet had to say. As people brushed past them and she was reminded they could not yet further that conversation, she twirled a piece of white-blonde hair between her claws and glanced sideways at her friend.
“I heard about that,” she said, calling to mind an image of the creatures – spider-like things, with six arms as their most defining features. They were known for being street scum, usually assassins or sex workers; being an aristocratic rich girl, she was naturally disgusted by them. “They’ve been very quiet recently – why all the fuss now?”
 

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Jet shrugged. "A few rumours seem to be circulating. There's more than is necessary bouncing around, though. Some say it's for money, new jobs, more places to live. Most know the area where they normally stay is starting to get crowded. However...some say there's a child from the other side that slipped through." The other side was a simple way of referring to the human's side of the border. "They managed to get past all the guards. And that particular thing, if it's true, is supposedly worth a fair amount on the black market, so it's natural they would hunt for it." The word 'human' was generally avoided; in these parts especially, the old stories tended to be blown out of proportion. Tales of how the humans had slaughtered creatures circulated around often, to the point where even the word could send people into a tizzy.
 

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Abner shrugs, showing the fact that he hadn't really considered the human child's possible location. But the guy had bought him a drink, so the least he could do was offer a speculation. "Well the kid couldn't have gone far, so I reckon somewhere close to the border. If the rumors are true, it's probably hiding somewhere on its own."

((Brb lol.))
 
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She Wolf

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“Hm.”
The path had thinned into a gravel track and trees replaced buildings – the small park in the centre of the city was home to many young, playful creatures in the daylight hours, but now that dusk was spreading its wings, the place was empty. Cecilia turned her head slightly, towards Jet.
“You were saying. About the child,” she spoke softly even though there was no-one around to eavesdrop.
 

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Jet glanced around again. The place may be empty, but she could never be too sure. After a quick scan confirmed there was nobody around, she turned to Cecilia, speaking in a low tone, emerald eyes dark.
"I'm not an idiot, Cecilia. You know that as well as anybody." She sighed. "I think the child is the human that snuck across the border. Think about it; I've had them in my care for a few hours now. Even if they were hiding their talents, I would still know what species they were by now. All they do, though, is play with Alexis. When the food came up, they avoided the knife on their plate like the thing would infect them if they so much as touched it. The only difficulty is the fact that they're mute. I can't ask them indirectly what they are, and they might not understand eitherway. They're ten, for goodness's sakes."
 

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“Mute?” Cecilia echoed, careful to keep her voice low. Beside her, Altair kept watch for creatures who may try to eavesdrop on his mistress’ conversation. “As in, they can’t talk, or they’re just refusing to?” She walked for a few moments in contemplative silence, going over the things she’d been taught about humans.
“The hair,” she said, quietly. “I don’t believe they have hair so vivid. Unless, of course, someone dyed it for them? Then that would suggest there is someone – from our side or theirs – that wants them here. Hidden.”

Jack nodded to himself, and after a few moments of comfortable quiet between them, he concluded there was no further information to be had from the arachnid. Dipping into his pocket and pulling out a battered Blackberry, he glanced at his companion and offered some ghost of a smile.
“I’d better be going,” he said. “But I’d love to have a way of contacting you in case I have news for you of this child – or if you have news for me.” The pads of his thumbs tapped at the keyboard until the desired New Contact page flashed up on the screen.
“I never did catch your name.”
 
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Jet shook her head. "They tried to talk shortly after arriving. They couldn't. It's near impossible to coax anything out of them."
She contemplated her friend's words for a moment, before shaking their head. "Their hair colour can't yet be attributed to anyone trying to keep them here. Although that may be a cause, it's just as likely that they ran away a short while after their hair was dyed. If people wanted them here, why would we have found them in the state they were, hidden in an alleyway?"
 

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Abner blinked, liking the feeling of being listened to for once. "It's- uh, Abner." He glances at the battered phone, and is suddenly unsure of what to do. Does he want his actual number? Maybe the guy knows more about the kid rumor than he lets on. He taps his number in, swaying on his feet slightly. By the look of the guy's pale grey skin, he must be a vampire, but some drunk part of him tells the arachnid otherwise. The Araneae's intuiton was something that was often overlooked by others in comparison to their more negative past. He shrugs his coat on, ignoring tne feeling and for once satisfied with the outcome of his decision.
 

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Cecilia considered this and found herself unable to formulate an answer.
“You’ll figure it out,” she said eventually as the two of them emerged onto the streets again, just opposite the restaurant she planned to take Jet to. “You always do.”

Jack took his phone back and stood too, pushing his and the Araneae’s stools in after them.
“Nice to meet you, Abner,” he said, smirking as he tested the name on his tongue. He extended a hand for the creature to shake and heard the pub’s chatter drop a little in volume as this peaceful gesture was passed between the powerful Chief and a lowly arachnid.
 

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Jet smiled. "I'm grateful for your unyielding faith, Cecilia." she commented. And she was, truly. Most people took it for granted, her abilities- when you ruled the middle-class district, that tended to happen. But Cecilia had genuine faith in her, and encouraged her. It was why she was always happy to visit her. Most high-class folk sickened her; small talk about the latest fashion and stuck-up folk weren't really her thing. Cecilia was more complex. The girl was smart, and excellent company to keep, for both intellectual and motivational purposes. It was a fresh change from dealing with the normal clients; she came, demanded information, got what she wanted and left. With Cecilia, she'd initially donned the friendly disguise to be able to talk to her, but over time it had become more of a natural and genuine thing as she'd warmed to her. She was also on alright terms with the Chief, but in a different sense, in the fact that they had a mutual respect for each other and exchanged information as a pair, rather than just handing it over. She supposed it ran in the family.
 

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The arachnid shakes the Chief's hand, eyes flickering around the bar and its low murmur of conversation. "Yeah so- thanks." He doesn't know what to say in response to the vampire's charismstic words, so he smiles plainly, and moves to exit the bar. The bell chimes as the door swings open for the second time , and the spider stumbles into the cold of the night.
 

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Cecilia smiled absently as the three of them entered the restaurant.
“Miss Aster-Pitch,” the doorman bowed his head in greeting. “Right this way.” She looked down with wide brown eyes at the other diners as she was led to a beautifully decorated table in a candlelit, quiet corner of the establishment. As she sat and smoothed out her expensive furs, she glanced over at Jet – always a friend to her. Keeping company with other high-class families could be entertaining at times, but there were only so many dinner parties accompanied by soft jazz and mind-numbing small talk she could take. At heart, she was an adventurer, as she was told her mother had been before she so tragically fell ill and died. She recalled playing in the acres of woodland her family owned when she was tiny with a redheaded boy who helped her climb the trees and let her ride on his shoulders. They were just fragments of memories – some felt imagined or dreamed – but the basic instinct to explore stayed with her through all the years. That was what endeared her to Jet. She was mystery, she was adventure, she was the shadow in the corner of the room. She told tales of thieves and powerful hybrids and green-haired human children. Cecilia shifted in her chair, ghosting the grey pads of her fingers over the engraved cutlery.
“So tell me. What adventures have you been on recently?”

Jack chuckled as the drunk Araneae stumbled out of the pub and he pocketed his phone, pleased with the evening’s unexpected spoils. A human child, wandering free across the border? His grin widened at the thought of the chaos he could cause with the information, and of the money he could potentially make out of it. A movement across the bar caught his eye – Arrow was standing and making his way to the back rooms to go up to the flat. Jack nodded gracefully to the pub-dwellers and disappeared after him.
 

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Jet chuckled. "Ah, adventures aplenty." It was the usual way she started off her story- she found it amusing to talk like someone from a book. "I've been sent out of town on more than one occasion, tracking down thieves and ne'er-do-wells. There was one occasion that was particularly interesting. I was sent out of the city altogether, actually- into the surrounding woods. A thief decided it would be a fine idea to rob the restaurant of one of their jade statues." It was known between the two of them Jet's home resided above a restaurant in the center of town- she trusted Cecilia not to tell, and so far she hadn't, so that was all good. "So, packing my things, I ventured out into the thick woods beyond the city, and thus started my little adventure."
"I trekked through the woods, periodically stopping to climb trees and gather my bearings. It did take a little while, and I will admit I got more than a few branches snagged in my hair along the way. But oh, the thrill is something I dare not forget. The scent of the forest never leaves you once you enter, nor does the excitement that comes with exploration. It was remarkably quiet, since it was nighttime and all. You'd have expected the night wildlife to be out, but it seemed in those parts of the woods they're scarce. So, there was little else aside from the wind rustling the leaves, and the sound of leaves and branches cracking underfoot. I was getting quite into it, becoming more and more alert, when suddenly there's a loud thump a little ways off, and a loud cry of "Oh, shit!"" She let out a small giggle despite herself at this bit. "It appeared the thief wasn't very competent at navigating forests, however good his thievery skills were. It didn't take long to hunt him down; only a few ivy bushes later and there he was, sprawled headfirst at the base of a fallen tree that he must have fallen off of, looking rather sorry for himself. So, I did what you would expect, picked him up and put the cuffs on, got the bag and brought him back." A grin crossed her face. "It's when I re-entered the streets that things got a little more interesting."
 
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