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[RP] Enter the Cursed City

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Mina wandered through the Cursed City, as she thought of it. The red tinge to the grey sky no longer unnerved her as much as it used to, though it certainly set her instinctive sense of "Wrongness" on edge. The buildings themselves were in surprisingly good condition, though the city's few inhabitants were faceless, colorless beings of humanoid form. She wondered if they were demons, lost souls, or simply artificial constructs meant to add to the illusion of reflecting the real city. Either way, they were creepy, yet seemingly unaware of those outside their kind. They did finally react to the distant screeches and howls of approaching Shield Heads, retreating indoors. Safe as one might think going inside was, the last time she had tried it, the faceless horde had set upon her, forcing her to fight her way out, and then deal with the Shield Heads. It was safer to stay out and either outrun the creatures, or climb.

She picked up her pace to a jog, hoping to get out of range without notice. After a couple blocks, that hope was dashed as the screeches grew louder. The Shield Heads seemed to track like hounds in the real world; Ironic since most were about that size. She turned, hurling the crystal sphere she formed earlier and striking home. The clanging impact seemed to stun the smallish creature as it slowed, shaking its head.  Taking the opportunity to run down an alley, Mina leapt for the fire escape, hauling herself up. "So much for having a sale piece," she grumbled as she continued to climb to the building's roof, ignoring the squabbling as the Shield Heads began to fight among themselves. Lucky for any prey that managed to outrun them at the start, the creatures had a very short attention span, and a tendency to cannibalize themselves.

" Following me again, Xuzy? " A unmistakably feminine voice cooed out from an alleyway that the Reaper passed. Should he stop to look, he would see his old.. friend was not the word, or perhaps it was? Pale and prefect as ever, the raven haired woman leaned on a wall a good ten feet into the alley, even with the cracks just visible on her lower left cheek-a result of a rather square hit to her jaw from a few years ago during Xu Bai and her owns initial meeting, and the resulting Triad fight- she looked magnificent, which was not terribly impressive considering her body had been made by a master doll maker of China. She wore a black corset that hugged her chest and perked out her breasts in a lovely, but tasteful way, with a long trench coat similar to one might see a German soldier wearing in World War one film footage, the thick leather and wool apparently quite old -but will cared for, and still in quite good condition- had a few shaded areas on the material where something had been removed.. A badge or rank perhaps? She had hip high boots and a miniskirt on beneath that ended just above the boots, making her look like someone from a Matrix movie.

She had always been one to get herself into trouble, intentionally or not. Though in this case, and with every other time she has cone across Xu bai, she was not looking for a fight or confrontation-she had no idea where she was, and he seemed to have his bearings quite well, and they had gotten along well enough in the past when it mattered.. or they felt like it.

She had been sitting in the park a few hours earlier, enjoying the sound of birds and water and such, but more importantly awaiting a meeting with someone she had looked up online. No, not a date, someone who might be able to point her towards a proper porcelain craftsman. Someone of the old style, with skills to help her.. maybe. Sadly this man was in China, and also very hard to get ahold of, much less meet in person. he worked out of a workshop alone in the mountains. His only interaction was with shipment workers who brought him supplies and took away his work for sale. The man was rich, but only wanted to craft his works of art, so the money usually went to charity or directly back into his craft.

This man had offered to book her passage to China, and get her a meeting. It was expensive, but Money had little real meaning to Ember, it rarely does when you live as long as she does. You sort of become one of those idealistic, philanthropic asshats from early 1900s america when you live that long, spending what you need and giving away the rest periodically, always earning more one way or another.

Regrettably, he never showed. Either he got held up, forgot, or something happened to him-information brokers don't always live safe lives after all- so she decided to attempt direct contact again. She was in the middle of writing her email out on a PDA, when she noticed the birds had stopped chirping, and looked up to find everything.. grayer. She looked up at the sky and sighed, not particularly surprised by the blanket of clouds or the red tint of the sky-or the black-ish buildings for that matter. She had seen many strange things in her long life, you stop reacting after a while. She turned off her PDA, since it received no signal here anyway, and had just.. started walking.

She had heard the familiar voice of Xu Bai yelling nearby, noticing him before he noticed her, and had decided to set up a little ambush greeting in the alleyway around the corner.. and here they were.

The streets cleared around Xu Bai. They always did. The faceless beings that populated this city seemed to fear him, though they didn't trigger his transformation. They hid inside whenever he walked by. Bai ignored them, as he always did, walking past them without looking around much, hands in his pockets. He knew not his destination, though he suspected he'd know it once he reached it.

There were occasionally wandering souls here that did trigger his transformation. He felt one close by right now. However, transformation always left him feeling rather drained for a while, and he avoided doing it twice on the same day if possible. That's why he suppressed the transformation and ignored the feeling, intending to simply walk past that alleyway without even looking.

"Following me again, Xuzy?" he heard a familiar voice calling out. Xu Bai stopped on his tracks. How had he not recognized that soul? Did something in this place alter the feeling? In the human world he'd have recognized the soul immediately. He did his best to hide his surprise and keep his face expressionless, as he turned his head, cocking it slightly back, and replied:

"Hello there, Dolly." Ember was as beautiful as always, especially when the shadows hid the cracks that her clothing didn't. Xu Bai had always been one to appreciate a beautiful woman, despite the fact that he'd spent much of his life surrounded by them, in one of Hong Kong's red light districts. Knowing the fact that Ember was not of flesh and blood did little to abate his appreciation for her beauty. After all, he was no less a freak himself.

After taking a good, evaluating look - she didn't seem intent on fighting - Bai finally turned his whole body. He didn't enter the alley, though, else she might misjudge his intentions. "To answer your question: no, not this time. I'm not in the mood for a chase today. Besides, this place is too dangerous to be running around carelessly. There are demons about."

As if to confirm his words, there was a distant howl from somewhere in the direction towards where he'd been walking. Xu Bai looked to his left for a moment, then returned his attention to the woman. "First time here?" That was unlikely, considering she'd lived for centuries, but he asked anyway.

She pushed herself slowly off of the wall and straightened out, standing at her full five foot six inches as Xu bai turned around to face her. " Glad your not intent on eating me this time.. figure we could run this one out together, hm? " She asked, smiling and walking forwards a little, giving him the same respect distance he did her. Her boots clicked softly on the pavement, but didn't seem to be difficult to walk in. lots of practice most likely. Now that Ember had approached him, he could see the hilt of the womans ever present katana peeking out around her left side, slung around her back waist. It had been inside her coat earlier of course, but when she had arrived here, she had made it more easy to draw.

She flinched just enough to be noticed at the howl, looking up and in the general direction the sound came from. " Sounds nasty.. nastier than you though? " she asks, smiling teasingly. " First time? eh.. probably not. Its hard to clearly remember much past a hundred years ago. " She snickered. " maybe someday you'll have the same memory problems, hm? "

Xu Bai raised an eyebrow. "Scared to go alone?" he asked mockingly, but his smile was good-natured, almost friendly. Then his expression turned serious, he squinted and looked down for a moment, deep in thought.

Finally he raised his gaze and shrugged. "Yeah, sure. I guess. Why not?" He wasn't entirely sure this was the safer option, considering they had no reason to trust each other. Then again, Bai found himself curious: maybe the devil had 'invited' Ember as well this time, for a particular reason. And he did have his... limitations, so having a partner in a dangerous place was usually a good thing. Especially one who enabled him to transform at any time.

"But keep your distance," he added, eyeing the hilt of her katana. The weapon was pretty much harmless against his reaper form, but his human form was just as vulnerable as any normal human. He had a gun on his back tucked under his belt, but in close combat Ember would have a very clear advantage. The fact that Bai was actually quite a good martial artist changed nothing, considering her superior experience, dexterity and weapon, and they both knew it. Better keep a medium distance so that neither her sword nor his gun would gain an unfair advantage.

He was somewhat amused by Ember's reaction to the howl. She hid it well, but he was certain it unnerved her. He replied her question, conjuring up his most unpleasant smile: "Few things here are nastier than me, my dear." That was technically true, most low-level demons avoided reapers, unless they came in large numbers. But mostly it was just his childish attempt to unnerve her even further.

The only answer he granted the memory remark was an indifferent shrug. "Shall we go, then?" he asked, turning away. It seemed obvious that he had no intention of altering his course just because of the howls. They were still distant, there was no need to be particularly alarmed. In this city, danger lurked in every direction, it was pretty much impossible to avoid it by a wide margin.


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