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Bubbling Tea

Postby Skylark » 08/17/2017 2:51 AM

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Thus far, everything had been going according to plan. Although, considering the "plan" was the vague idea to rip his way out of the bowels of the underworld and never go back, pretty much anything that wasn't going back to the underworld was all according to plan.

...A more detailed plan might have helped considerably in his first few days when he was walking around as a flaming corpse, but hindsight is 20/20. A couple charms mixed with a whole lotta luck later and he could pass as a (figuratively) flaming ginger. His situation was much improved now that his mere appearance didn't send the locals either screaming or throwing a bucket of seawater onto his head. It was getting to the point where he even felt comfortable wandering around more and more populated areas! Reading about them in things called "news papers" was one thing, but he needed first hand experience with locals if he was to avoid being hunted down and slaughtered so that his soul would return to eternal damnation!

Today, he was going to explore something called a "coffee shop".

The lucain made his way to one such establishment not too far from the park he'd been hiding in for a couple weeks or so. He'd seen people come in and out of this place plenty of times before. What particularly interested him was that sometimes the same person made the pilgrimage at the same time every day! Sometimes multiple times a day! It was fascinating. He tried the door, delighted to find that there were no locks or magic or secret code barring his way from entering.

The scent was what hit him first. Burning plant-based material mixed in with hot milk and sugary substances. It was a rich odor that he found comforting, almost familiar. Perhaps there had been something similar to it the last time he'd been let loose upon the world? He followed his nose to the counter where he noted a short line. It was a simple enough problem for him to navigate. He'd learned what it meant when the living queues up very quickly upon his arrival and learned even more quickly that you can put yourself in mortal peril by not adhering to the silent Law that you must Wait in Line.

Once it was his turn, he carefully laid down the "news paper" he had been carrying with him and patiently awaited further instructions. None of his previous interactions could have prepared him for what came next.

"Hello! How may I help you?" The female behind the counter would probably be considered conventionally attractive, for a fenling. She had a nice smile and seemed genuinely eager to help him. With what matter, however? He was completely lost.

"Um, yes!" Ok, ok, he could do this. He would not be kicked out of this establishment. He desperately looked up at the board behind the female, reading... gibberish. It was all gibberish. He could see what was probably supposed to be drink sizes, but the actual names the sizes were given meant nothing to him in the context of drinks. There were words listed that looked to be a foreign language, but not one he was familiar with which was impossible since he knew pretty much every language.

He wasn't proud to admit it, but he froze. It was an accomplishment, considering his nature. After a while, cracks in the female's sunny smile started to appear. It wasn't long before she prompted him with a hesitant, "...Sir?" as if that would snap him out of his confusing.

No one was more surprised than him when that did, in fact, work.

"Yes! Sorry, I just want a hot... uh. Water?" His eyes snapped from the board to her face. Unbeknownst to himself, the look on his face in that instant could be described as nothing short of imploring.

"Hot water... for... tea?" The female offered slowly, may her heart never know the fiery torment of hell. Someone, she had regained the semblance of a helpful smile. He found himself nodding along with her suggestion, having temporarily lost control of his neck muscles, only for him to freeze once again as she asked, "What size?"

Luckily for the both of them, he recovered fairly quickly. "Whatever accounts for medium, if you please. I, uh, I do have currency."

"That'll be $2.70!" She said cheerily, maintaining the appropriate customer service smile during the currency exchange and directing him towards another end of the bar where he was to await his drink. He stood there, perhaps more still than the living could successfully manage for a prolonged period of time, but he found that if he tried to relax he began fraying the edges of his "news paper" and he hadn't finished reading it yet.

When his drink finally arrived, he grabbed it quickly, after tucking the paper under his chin, and hobbled over to a nearby low table with comfortable-looking cushioned seating. He lowered himself onto one of the cushions with a sigh, placing his tea on the table and unfolding his "news paper" next to it. He frowned down at both objects for a moment before shrugging to himself. So far, this venture was largely successful. He believed that next time, he'd easily be able to list one of the gibberish words off the board and see what the barista ended up handing him at the other end of the bar. A simple task, now that he was familiar with it. In fact, many of his encounters thus far have been centered around exchanging currency for both essentials and nonessentials. He'd have to look into getting more currency soon, if this kept up.

But for now, he could sit here and read his paper and try his... This was supposed to be hot tea? He frowned down at the cup he'd just sipped from, judging the temperature to be lukewarm at best. These mortals had such dull senses for such things. Luckily, he didn't find it necessary to cause a fuss, this time, since it was easily rectified with a small amount of heat directed into the liquid, taking care to avoid the cup itself.

Now he could sit here and drink his steaming, bubbling tea while reading more "news paper" in peace.
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Re: Bubbling Tea

Postby Indigo » 08/24/2017 6:09 PM

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Objectively, Arabella had not handled this well.

It couldn't be helped, in many ways, since this was the first time she'd pursued what she'd begun to think of as a case on her own, that is, without anyone hiring her to do so and providing some key details. All she had to go on was a series of minor news articles about supernatural phenomena, specifically fiery ones, and then one incident that seemed like it might be specifically demonic in nature but was described in such frustratingly vague terms that she couldn't determine much of anything from it. She'd printed that one out and now it was taped in the middle of her bedroom wall, covered in increasingly desperate and irritated notes.

And then she'd interviewed some people, which seemed like the most logical next step, though many of them had no interest in talking to a random stranger about their supernatural experiences, and that was understandable. The sword had helped a little to make her look more official or at least like she knew what she was doing, but also had the downside of being a big green sword she was carrying around in public, so she couldn't use it very often.

As things had progressed her evidence-gathering had grown more frantic and less selective, and now her room and the fridge were covered in printouts and chunks torn out of several free weekly papers, everything from actual news articles to sections of the police blotter and a couple of missed connections postings that sounded relevant. To be fair, they'd given her a decent picture of what the creature had been doing—though not what it was; that had come from Silas, when he returned from book club one evening to find her switching rapidly between six different tabs and had mentioned he'd heard about a hellhound in town.

"You could have said something sooner," she'd snapped.

"I had hoped you would focus on your midterms," he'd said mildly, and there was no arguing with that.

After all that buildup of stress she'd decided, only partially at Erskine and Silas's insistence, to take today off from hunting. No research, no interviews, no wandering around affected areas looking for a fight—usually her goal was to avoid a fight but she was beginning to be truly peeved—just attend her classes and do her homework and maybe grab a nice, relaxing lunch at her favorite coffee shop near the campus. It sounded pretty good, actually. She was looking forward to it.

She arrived at the coffee shop after a blissfully uneventful morning spent taking notes on dead poets, texted Erskine while she stood in line so he wouldn't accuse her of running off to look up hellhound lore some more, and was most of the way through placing her usual order—though no one working today seemed to recognize her, she'd been holed up at home far too long—when she noticed a rather intense burst of steam from a nearby table.

Of course! Of course her work would follow her here, the one time she wasn't trying to pursue it. That was just how trying to find things worked. She should have tried taking a day off from the beginning and saved herself all the trouble.

She finished ordering with only a half-second stutter, impressive considering the intensity of her distraction, and then she carefully brought her latte over to the relevant table. This was hardly even a ruse, since she'd arrived a little late in her scheduled lunchtime and things were pretty busy; there were only a couple tables left and she would just have to hope this guy didn't notice them.

"Hi there," she said. There was no need to start things off confrontational. Based on the hellhound's recent activities it seemed like a bad idea to start by pissing him off. "Is this seat taken?"

What I love is
What I love is to hear you talk
Coming straight from the heart
Though you can't hardly walk
Nearly midnight
Honey for heaven's sake
Nearly midnight
Honey for heaven's sake

We're barely getting started here
It's almost time to go
Will time stand still
If loving you
Is all that I know?


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Re: Bubbling Tea

Postby Skylark » 10/08/2017 7:48 PM

So engrossed was he in the strange stories of his news paper he nearly didn't notice when a moral was asking to sit with him! He looked up in apparent shock, his eyes zeroing in on the young woman in front of him before shifting around the store to get a more accurate read on the situation. Understanding quickly spread across his face as a noted that the store was becoming crowded rather quickly and seating was very limited. It seems that he was lucky to have had a table to himself for as long as he had!

With this in mind (plus a working knowledge of social niceties that were commonplace amongst local mortals), he shook his head before remembering, right, no, he was supposed to nod. So he started nodding instead. That was correct, wasn't it? Bless it all, he was flubbing this! He was better than this! Say something!

"You may be seated." He stated simply, secretly hoping that the mass of bodies inside the establishment was making the temperature in the room rise and it wasn't a startling lack of control on his account. With that supremely painful acknowledgement out of the way, he buried his face in his "news paper" and prayed to the inner ring that this moral would just consume her beverage and simply chalk his fumbling down to a disease of social awkwardness that ran rampant in young mortals and not his own failings in memorizing mortal culture.
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Re: Bubbling Tea

Postby Indigo » 11/08/2017 3:32 PM

She sat down across from the hellhound and frowned; even considering that she hadn't accused him right away, this wasn't the reaction she'd expected. Based on the events she'd been tracking she figured he was amoral at best, and probably worse than that, and so he shouldn't have been so accepting of her request. She would have expected avoidance or outright hostility, and there had been that brief headshake but that didn't seem quite intentional. He just seemed confused.

But there was no reason to believe he wasn't just a very good actor, after all. If not he would certainly have been found out long before now by someone with less free time than her. Caution was the only reasonable way to proceed.

She took a long sip of her coffee, considering her next move. The difficulty was in drawing him out without his immediately suspecting she was onto him. Small talk would take too long, and he might not even participate in it. Questions, then. "I don't think I've seen you around here before," she said, "and I come here a lot. Are you new in town?"

Her phone buzzed. Erskine, probably, either congratulating her on resisting her impulse to work all the time or asking for proof she was actually here, or perhaps both. If she didn't answer he would know something was up, and then he'd worry; much better to tell him what had happened after it was over. She dug her phone back out and scanned the message, then replied under the table, eyes still fixed on the newspaper that hid the hellhound, telling her brother that visiting a coffee shop wasn't that hard and he should really have more trust in her.

What I love is
What I love is to hear you talk
Coming straight from the heart
Though you can't hardly walk
Nearly midnight
Honey for heaven's sake
Nearly midnight
Honey for heaven's sake

We're barely getting started here
It's almost time to go
Will time stand still
If loving you
Is all that I know?


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Indigo
Celebrity Pet Specialist
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