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guy_sas

Wilted Lily (guy_sas x Headless)

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guy_sas
Posted (edited)

Participants:

Guy_sas as William

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Headless as Lily

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Edited by guy_sas

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William found himself inside quite the ornate office, as he watched the noble pace back and forth across the threshold. The man was perhaps just a bit older than William, with red hair that was starting to thin, and a rounded stomach. Not only was the man's hair red, but his face was now red as well. He was ranting and raving about some thief who had just managed to practically financially ruin him, in just one night. According to the man, he would be ruined, if he hadn't had so much money 'stored away.' William waited for the man to take a breath before he spoke up.

"I feel for you Ignatius," he said in a tone that implied quite the opposite, "but, I really hope you didn't summon me to your manor, just to have me listen to your problems. I am a professional, and my time is valuable."

The noble turned towards him and smiled wide, "no, I didn't. I have a genius idea, one that'll get rid of her as an obstacle, help me make my holdings back, and undermine those slavers who have been dominating the market."

Before William could ask the noble pulled a small black pebble out of his coat and tossed it to William. William didn't need to ask what it was, one look and he already knew, a Slaver Stone. He rolled it over in his fingers once, as he considered the power behind it. Enough exposure to one of these could make your mind malleable, turn you into a different person. Supposedly anyway, he didn't have much experience with them, and knowledge was closely guarded. He tossed it back to the noble, and got up.

"500 gold, if you bring her back ready to serve me," the noble said, "5000, if she's ready to serve me, in every way."

William nodded and made his way out of the manor. As he left a very apologetic, and twitchy servant handed him his coat. When he stepped outside, he saw another servant had brought his horse out to the front. He thanked them both, and was even in a kind enough mood to give each of them a copper tip. As he saddled up he thought of how he was going to do this. He started to ride back down towards the city. First thing he would need to do, was find out how he could contact this thief. He believed that she was known as Lily.

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Headless

There was a lamp in the room, a very lampy-lamp that had nothing to do with much of anything, but Lily happened to look at this lap. It was only a glimpse. She didn't see much of it, not even the spoiled white color of the lamp shade. However, consider this. It was just a lamp, and not even a very interesting lamp, just the normal lampy-lamp kind, yet because Lily happened to roll her gaze over it, the aged work had become the focus. Neither beauty nor reputation had anything to do with it, nor did their counterparts. Attention. Attention was the everything that decided that this lamp would become the focal point of writing. It was attention that deemed that the lamp's conical shade, tainted with old splotches of grime that had stubbornly resisted all forms of cleaning, would be described in all of its unassuming details. Within the shade, a bulb flickered weakly, fading in and out as electricity ran through it in intermittent bursts. The afternoon light that streamed in through the open, grimy windows lost itself upon the worn surface of the lamp's ribbed and undulating base. Whatever design may have been marked on it before had long been scratched and worn of from numerous handles and abuse. There was even a noticeable chunk missing. The lamp gave a final flicker and it was dead, it's source of power run dry. However, a lamp didn't really die when it ran out of power. To be fair, it was never alive in the first place.

The lamp wasn't even given the basic honor of being placed on a nightstand. It was just a worn out piece of junk settled into a random corner of the room with other leftovers, but there was a lot to see in this corner. The lamp saw the long-haired resident of this dilapidated, abandoned house come in to rest and then leave when she was fully rested. It got to see her brush her hair, dress, and undress. Sometimes, she'd even paint in this room, drawing pictures of fields of flowers she'd only ever seen in pictures that adorn the houses of the city's nobles. There were times she cried and times she laughed in this room. It had seen the light of dawn cast her in rosy shades that reflected her gentle soul, the unrelenting afternoon heat torment her until she stripped down to the bare minimum, the sunset glow wrap the girl's skin in warmth as she anticipated the cool evening, and the moon and the stars grace and guide her on the path of darkness she was destined to take.The lamp had been privy to more sides of Lily that anyone that wasn't her sister, but that didn't really mater because it was only a lamp. 

Today, the lamp saw Lily very grudgingly pull on clothes after lying on her bed stark naked to get some reprieve from the heat of the summer months. Upon the nightstand, there was a letter, a short message from one of her contacts. Someone requested for her by name, which wasn't terribly strange. She wasn't so sure about the rest, though, but that was the norm for her. Without her sister to help her slow self read people's intentions, she was always ill-suited to meeting new people. Still, business was business and she was a kid of the streets. She knew how to take care of herself.

Lily stepped out to the streets in her usual revealing garb. Revealing... for the past that is. She wore a tightly closed man's vest without the undershirt, and while she didn't want to, she did wear a jacket over this vest to preserve some of her modesty. Albeit, the jacket had already begun slipping off of her shoulders as she got finicky with how much heat it trapped atop her skin. Scandalously, she didn't wear a skirt. Instead, she wore, gasp, PANTS. Yes. How dare she? Not only were men getting glimpses of her shoulder as she walked down the street, alone, in broad daylight, but they could also vaguely make out the shape of her legs. Whatever, the others could mind their business.

With bangs bouncing in front of her eyes, screening her from the rest of her dreary world, Lily made her way to the designated meeting place. The shadows stretched long in her path. Despite her complaints about heat, the sun was already well on its way to setting, painting the sky in a vivid, exciting orange while the alleyways down below, the ones Lily navigated, were covered in shadows that anticipated the coming of night.

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guy_sas

William made his way through the streets to a local bar, where he had been told before he could get in contact with this 'Lily'. After giving out her name, he was led to a small room in the back of the bar, and told to wait there for her to arrive. William watched the intermediary make his way out of the room, before he allowed himself the chance to relax. He let his gaze wander over the walls, looking for any obvious spot where someone might be watching or listening, he couldn't see one. He had a drink or two while waiting for her to show up.

It was about an hour after he arrived, that Lily also showed up. He looked over her choice of clothes with a raised eyebrow, but didn't say anything. He gestured for her to take the seat across from him, and extended his hand for her to shake.

"William, it's a pleasure to meet you," he said in his usual cold tone, and then continued before she had a chance to respond, "sorry, but I think it's best we get straight to business, don't you? I'm not a fan of small talk. The job I propose is simple, I represent a client who's interested in undermining the local slave trade. I assume you're familiar with the stones they use to incapacitate their slaves. Well, if you can bring me some of the stones they use, then I'd be willing to pay you. So, are you interested?"

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Headless

Lily blankly watched the once-over William gave her, a common look she received from whoever she passed on the streets. She was used to such wordless opinions, but that didn't mean they'd stopped bothering her. They just didn't bother her a lot, but evidently still enough for Lily to avoid the judging gaze and stare, instead, to the side as she took her seat and shook the employer's hand.

"... Lily." William had effectively shut out the slow speaker with his efficient delivery of information, so now she was talking after he had said everything, and she was starting all the way at the beginning with the greeting. She paused after giving the other her name, eyes moving side to side as she mulled over what was said and what needed to be said next. "Yes, I am familiar with the stones. The target is acceptable." Though she appreciated getting straight to the point as it made things easier for her, Lily herself spoke so slowly.

She took a significant pause to think, sitting back, but not leaning sloppily, in her wooden chair with a back too straight and a seat too hard. Her head tilted down. Her arms crossed in front of her. From behind her bangs, her shaded yellow eyes alternated between staring brazenly at William and turning away to turn this way in thought as she searched her mind. Her mouth remained still, but the fingers of one hand tapped out the rhythm of her mind on the other arm. It was, unlike the pace of her speech, some rather speedy fidgeting.

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"So, you'll take the job then." William asked as he noticed her fingers fidgeting against her arm. "I don't mean to rush you, but my employer wants me to get this job done as soon as possible. If the answer is no, then I would like the time to find a replacement. Though, based on what little I've heard, it seems like you'd be the perfect person for the job. Money should be no object, within reason anyway, if that's what you're concerned about." William paused after that and sat back in his seat, "Or I do suppose, I can give you some time to think it over if you need it? Would you like to meet back here tomorrow?"

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Headless

"Wait," Lily abruptly requested, only to fall silent as she finished her thinking after it had been interrupted. Still uncertain of how wary she should be of the man in front of her, she nevertheless had a response to give. She repeated what she said before, "The target is acceptable," possibly cementing any suspicions that she might not be so bright, but carried on with the rest of the deal as one would expect a professional would. Albeit, in a guarded and shy manner. "Exact numbers. Before accepting this job, I require exact numbers. How many stones do you want? How much are you willing to pay me?". Her voice soft. Her words halting. Her eyes... Yeah, even her eyes weren't very impressive, riveted as they were on the wood grain of the table between herself and William. However, as she and William would go about discussing the details of the deal, Lily's questions and responses revealed what her slow, quiet speech did not, that she was both meticulous and insightful of the job to come.

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William paused as she requested exact numbers. His lips curled up into a slight smile, for just a second, and then his face returned to its usual emotionless state. He enjoyed making deals with people who knew that they wanted and had a good business sense. There was a little game in making business details that he could enjoy, the haggling of prices and details, each person trying to get the best deal for themselves. Sometimes it reminded him of chess, and it was really the only enjoyment he could get out of this process. "Number of stones? As much as you can get. And for price? How about I match it? An ounce of the stones, gets you an ounce worth of silver. Sound fair?" It was a little high to be sure, but he was going to sell it to Ignatius anyway, and for at least twice whatever he paid her. 

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Headless

The stone's weight in ounces in silver. Lily hesitated, trying to figure out his game. She was no expert on the black market, but these prices were too high to be a starting price, no matter how high the stones may have rocketed in price. She had been bracing herself for an unwanted fight as she struggled to haggle the price onto the median line, at least, but here she was, just being handfed a high price from the beginning. Was she just that terribly out of touch, or, and she felt this more likely, was this a reason to be suspicious of the man who sat on the other side of her.

Lily's eyes riveted themselves to William's unreadable expression as she struggled with her decision and...

Her weakness showed itself as she decided that maybe he was just that desperate to get those stones out of the wrong hands. "Your price is quite high. You must have quite the money behind you..." Lily gave her answer in a quiet voice. "I will accept those numbers, but I will warn you that they will be subject to change at any time. The more stones I steal, the harder it will be to reach the ones left. Do you understand?". The equation she meant was simple enough: the more difficult the job got, the more pay Lily would demand.

It appears that, despite missing so many other crucial elements of William, Lily had somehow caught onto at least one factoid left unsaid: that this job would likely extend into a long-term agreement.

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"Sure," he said as he folded his hands, but was quietly surprised. Considering how well the stones were guarded, and the implied cost of getting caught, he actually expected her to try and raise the price. Perhaps, she was just so good, that those weren't factors to her, the only thing that mattered was how much she was expected to steal. That wasn't going to stop him from trying to haggle a bit though. "The increasing risk has already been figured in though, that's why the starting price is so high. Since the stones aren't as well guarded now, it should be easier, right? You're getting the higher risk covered earlier on," he laid his hands on the table, palms up, "besides, shouldn't the stones weight in silver be enough, to cover any costs you need anyway? If you need more payment, then shouldn't the thought of everyone your saving suffice?"

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Headless

"My charity goes to those I trust," Lily bluntly communicated. How was she to know if this man or his client had ulterior motives for the stones? "And I will determine the cost of the risks myself when I assess the situation during each of my 'trips.' For now, however, it's meaningless to haggle future prices, and since you've already given away your ability to pay the present price, I think it's also too late to take it back." Lily spoke her bold words quietly and hesitantly, as if she was cornered and with her back to a wall. Figuratively speaking, she'd begun to feel like she was pressured by the information superiority she supposed William to have. The slaver stones... She'd caught glimpses of them during her other heists, so she knew it was well within her reach to obtain a few. However, she'd never gone specifically for them, so she was left with only speculations on how difficult it would be to pilfer more of the highly secretive stones. In the face of her uncertainty, she wasn't sure what to do other than remembering something her sister had beat into her head for such a situation like this: If she doesn't know, then try to keep as many avenues of possibilities open until she does know. "Besides," she put in a bit of her own thinking and threw William's words back at him, "if you feel like I'm too expensive, then shouldn't knowing that you are paying someone who also despises slavers suffice for the extra cost?" with a side of cold logic, "More than just emotional fulfillment, it's a better guarantee than most anything you'd find down here that your name won't slip from my mouth if things go south. I may not trust you, but I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you really are working on overturning the slave industry."

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William matched her stare for a moment, and then the smile appeared on his lips again, for just a second. He was a little surprised, and impressed at her rebuttal, perhaps this whole job might be fun too. "Alright, fair enough. It sounds like we have a deal." He reached across the table to offer her a handshake. "So, I'll let you figure out when and how you want to steal the stones, and when you do, you can meet me at my manor. I spend most of my time there, and I'll instruct my servants to let you in, and to direct you to my office. From there we can sort out prices. Does that work for you?" 

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Headless

Lily shrunk back with the appearance of the smile, once again plagued by uncertainties that silenced her. However, business was business. She received the handshake, her grip light, flighty, and letting go as soon as she courteously could. Still dumb with her new wave of hesitation, Lily merely nodded in agreement at first. Then, while delayed, she gave the verbal affirmative, "Yes. Then, once I receive your contact information, I shall leave." True to what she said, Lily stood up as she talked. "Expect me in a week... and I will warn you not to have high expectations. My initial runs for the stones will be focused on surveying."

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William stayed seated as he gave her the address to his manor. "I can expect that information is safe with you," he said as he relaxed in his seat. After she left he spent a couple minutes relaxing, and thinking about how he was going to manipulate her. Despite her slow speech, he felt pretty sure that she was both careful and perceptive, two interesting points. He was even considering that she might've been faking the slower speech pattern, just to try and convince other people that she wasn't all that bright. Either way, he knew one thing for certain, that he would have to be very careful going forward. He stood up and started to make his way out of the bar.

He knew of three major Slavery rings in the city. The first was the Felton's, the weakest of all the Slaver rings in the city. It was run by a small group of men so paranoid that they often tried to screw each other over, even to the detriment of the whole organization. They had little to no man-power, and because of paranoia, it was said that all valuables were stored in hidden spots, known only to one of the three men. It was even rumored that they would leave fake information of what they had and where, just to confuse the other two.

The second, and much stronger family was the Eresidae. The leader of that group was a woman known simply as black widow. They were known to be well organized, and had close ties with the local underground organizations of theft and assassination. They are said to be the sole reason the black market still exists. However, they are also the organization most hunted by the law, so they've been forced to go far underground. Even finding out who is a member is hard, finding and getting to the stones they have, might be impossible. Of course, they also almost certainly have the largest share of stones.

The last family, and the one that William bet that she would go after was the goldenleafs. They are on the surface a very well off meadery, but anyone connected with the criminal element knows they deal in slaves as well. The only reason they haven't been caught is because of their close ties with local politicians. Years of only having to barely hide their illegal acts has supposedly made the leaders complacent. One serious detriment William could think of off the top of his head though, was that if they caught her, their ties to the city guard could make things a lot more difficult going forward. Though, he didn't think that was enough to stop her.

As William made his way into the streets, he considered informing the Goldenleafs to a potential break in, just to see what would happen. But that would be far too risky, after having just established the job. Instead he was content to spend the week in his manor, and learn what happened from her, or from one of his underground contacts. 

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Headless

That night, Lily didn't go home. Instead, she strolled through the streets in her bizarre outfit, considering her options. She knew very well about the three largest slavers in the city. This wouldn't be her first job against any of them except maybe the Eresidae.

Her sisters had always forbidden her from doing anything that would get on the bad side of the Erisadae, and while Lily didn't know much about the group directly, she'd heard rumors from others. None of them were good rumors. In fact, even just thinking about it sent Lily shivers down her spine as she cast a furtive look behind her. What if one of them was watching her right now? Damn, that would be creepy. Anyways, she didn't even know where to even begin looking for the Eresidae, and being no informant type herself, she had to give the Erisadae up as impossible.

The Feltons were immediately off the table. They were off even before the Eresidae, actually. It wasn't shiver-worthy, but Lily simply despised dealing with the Feltons. They were definitely suspicious people and the way they couldn't get along with even each other struck a nerve in her. She supposed that was a good thing for her, though. They were all people she had no doubts were suspicious, and in some ways that made it easier to talk to them. Granted, the same could be said of any of the other leaders. Anyways, Lily figured that if she worked the Feltons well enough, she might be able to figure out where they kept their stones. Then it was easy as a breeze, but just thinking about talking to them gave her a headache even if she had never talked to them in her life. Besides, they wouldn't have a lot of stones, anyways. Any of the hard won information Lily would pry out of the hands of the Felton's would go to waste sooner rather than later.

That left... the Goldenleafs. For some reason, Lily felt a chill run down her spine as she considered her final option, already halfway to settling on it as her choice. Why did the choice feel so suspicious? She admittedly felt bothered that it was the obvious choice, and felt inclined to reconsider the other two simply to pick a less than obvious choice. However, she had just gone through all the good reasons why she shouldn't choose them. It would be silly to choose them anyways.

Lily shrugged off her fears, assuring herself that there was nothing she had to be suspicious about for her own decisions. Hm... Though, maybe she should tolerate the Feltons for a little before striking the Golden Leafs. She could set the groundwork necessary to coax their secret hiding spots out of each of them if she played her cards right after the Golden Leaf hit. She could attack the Golden Leaf and then, once news spread and the Feltons' suspicions marinated for a bit, she could hit them when they were weak.

It took her hours to formulate the simplest of plans for this set-up against the Feltons, and she hadn't even decided on how she was going to infiltrate the Golden Leafs. It was the middle of the night, now. The dead of the night in respectable parts of the city, but perhaps not so in this ratchet neighborhood Lily's feet carried through. She wasn't here just by coincidence. She had come to this particularly seedy part of town in search of the Feltons using whatever she happened to know about the habits of these gang leaders. She hoped to meet each of them alone and act as a false messenger.

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Trying to find the locations of the Felton leaders wasn't an easy task, but it wasn't all that difficult either. Each of them were known for being erratic in their movements, presumably so the other leaders wouldn't know for sure where each of them was going, and that made locating them based on the of their previous movements, more annoying than anything else. However, none of them liked to delegate, when they didn't have to, for fear of their fellow leaders manipulating anyone under them, that meant they all traveled around fairly regularly in any given night. It was perhaps an hour until Lily saw the first leader. She would see them all before the night was up though. 

He was a tall looking, spidery man, with black hair and almost sunken eyes. He had the kind of slow, deliberate movement of someone who thought faster than they could act. He dressed in a long black coat, and constantly looked to either side, in a obvious sign of paranoia. He had some kind of package under his arm, and was trying to move through the crowd as fast as possible. Each of the three leaders derived their names from part of the Felton, he was known as El. 

After him, Lily met, Ton. He was a dwarf of a man with short red hair, and a stocky build. He pushed his way through the crowd, creating a disruption through street traffic far more visible than he was. He wore thick clothes of deep browns and oranges, and had a sword quite visibly strapped to his back. He was known to have an explosive temper and to even attack those who barely suspected were trying to screw him over. He only managed to avoid prison through lucky connections.

The last one Lily got to see was Fe. He was a willow sort of creature, of average height and with long blond hair. He was easy enough to spot, just because the crowd seemed to part for him, naturally. He had the type of good looks others would kill for, and his voice was as smooth as silk. He wore elegant clothes dyed deep blues and purples, and somehow manged to keep them clean even walking through the slums. However, just a couple minutes talking to him, would reveal that he wasn't exactly a mastermind, and in competitions of strength he had little chance of succeeding. His natural charisma made him the closest thing the Feltons had to an actual leader, though.

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Headless

Each of the Feltons were such different creatures, so it was only appropriate that Lily devised a different method for approaching each.

For the spider-like man known as El, Lily knew she had to keep her interaction short, simple, and sweet. Too long, and she would be viable to slip up and make a mistake that would spell her failure. At worst, she wouldn't just trigger his web but be trapped herself. She approached him fully cloaked, enduring the heat of not only wearing her jacket fully buttoned but also further shrouding her identity under a large, ragged cloak she had picked off the streets some time during her walk. Suffice to say, she didn't smell pleasant, but no worse than the rest of this unpleasant place. With her face covered and even her gender enigmatic in this attire until she spoke, Lily stepped purposefully in front of El, blocking his way forward and declaring, "I have a message for El Felton. My client wishes to anonymously inform you to watch your back. It appears your so-called partners are making their own moves to take away what you have, starting by amassing a significant quantity of slaver stones. As proof, you should hear about the stones some time next week. Whether you believe or not is up to you." Then, she stepped to the side and disappeared back into the crowd before he could act.

Ton was a simple man. He was also a loud man, and a violent one. The last thing Lily desired was a fight, so she defaulted to the least interactive method with him. As he bashed through the crowd mercilessly, the discreetly dressed Lily happened to one of many he shoved through. She reverse pickpocketed him as he passed, slipping a notes into his pockets. The note read: "The others plot against you. The will secretly gather slaver stones to use in their plans against you. Keep your blade sharp and your wits steady. They will try to trick you but you cannot be fooled. If you do not trust this, then wait. Next week, you will hear of the stones they steal."

Fe was an even simpler man. Lily approached him directly like she had with El but with a small degree of greater confidence. He seemed like an easy idiot. It also helped that his natural charisma made him the most likable of the Feltons. He was easy to look at and easy to listen to. Even Lily felt a small draw to that charisma when she saw him. For a moment, she felt like wanting to talk to him, but she shook herself out of such a silly fantasy in the next moment. Stepping out of  the crowd that parted for him and directly into Fe's path, Lily looked hesitantly up at the man. She had shaken his charisma off at first, but up close, it was even stronger. She began to have her hopeless hopes, again, that maybe there was some good hidden even in the worst of the slums. Her voice broke, but she stammered only when she delivered the same lines she had delivered to El, "I have a message for Fe Felton from my client, who wishes to remain an anonymous benefactor. One of you Feltons seems to have discovered something about the slaver stones and wishes to use that to tip the power balance of your group in their favor. I-it's up to you whether you choose to believe this, but you should hear news about the stones in the next week." Then, like with El, she sought to leave as quickly as possible. Although, quickly in the face of Fe was a second shorter than quickly in the face of El. She took that extra second to peer into the face of the charismatic El, wondering if maybe she was wrong to so quickly assume this man was pure evil. He was certainly mostly evil, though.

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As the night turned to morning the three Felton's met up briefly, in their usual spot. It was a tiny little shack located in one of the many shady parts of the city. They all took their seats and began to discuss events, and plans. In theory they were working together as one unit, but anyone watching could tell that wasn't the case. Ton would treat the others with outright hostility if they ever asked for clarification on anything he was saying, which was devoid of any details. El would keep everything vague, and only respond with further confusing statements when asked what they were doing. Fe would just smile, when the other two would call out his meaningless reports. All in all, nothing was said between the three of them, just the same as every report. However something was different this time, tensions were just a bit tighter, everyone just a bit more paranoid.

It wasn't that hard to tell that the strings that held their "orginization" together were starting fray more than usual. However, it was only El who really noticed it, and managed to think about what had caused it. Was one of this brothers of the movement really planning to move forward and take him out? Who was it? Was it one of the other two, or perhaps it might've been someone planning to move in. Perhaps someone was trying to get to turn against each other, so they could move in and claim the throne. Warning his fellow leaders would then disarm this potential new threat, but if it was one of them, then his own fall would certainly be cemented. He was determined to shift all focus of his branch of the family, though. He needed to track that mysterious stranger that met him on the street. He had no idea how, but he was sure, that he could do it. 

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Headless

Morning came and went, so did the beginning of the afternoon, passing swiftly under the shadows of sleep. Lily awoke mid afternoon, when the sun had traversed about three quarters of the sky above. She spent about half an hour in her home, considering how she should move today if she was to tackle the Goldenleafs by the end of her week time limit...

Today, she was dressed in a loose, light cotton shirt and pants. She wore no jacket this time, instead covering her head with a broad brimmed hat. All in all, something a bit more normal, which better suited the bustling afternoons. Now then... She should start by taking a fresh look at some of the properties owned by the Goldenleafs. What were her options there? The main building was an obvious choice, but Lily tried to think if she remembered hearing about any buildings that were related specifically to their slave business. Though, while she knew more than the common, upstanding citizen, she wasn't that different from the majority of the others that trudged through the underbelly of society.

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As far as she knew, most of their business, both illegal and otherwise, ran through the Goldenleaf estate, a selection of a couple large buildings, well protected, on the ring of the city. However, it was rumored that their slave business didn't run through there, which made sense, it was a public building, and it would be inconvenient if any random person could wander in on a slave deal. Instead, what was known, or at least assumed by the underground, was that most of the main trade was located at the  from one of their "suppliers". Though,  it wasn't public knowledge by any means which of their suppliers was the location, presumably that knowledge was kept somewhere on the main premises. 

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So the Goldenleaf Estate would have to be her starting point. That was the conclusion Lily came to after racking her head for ideas. Well, not like it was a completely bad thing. For one, by the time she made the choice, she was already lurking around the estate, milling in with whatever crowds there might have been. She was in easy reach to approach the estate, but... she didn't. Instead, she turned into whichever bar seemed to be popular with the common mooks of Goldenleaf. It would be suicide to infiltrate in the middle of the day, like it was now, so for the time being, Lily ordered a drink and sat herself down at an open table, her ears open to hear the latest gossip. Perhaps hidden among the ramblings, she would find information related to the Goldenleaf slave trade, even if it was only indirect.

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guy_sas

The day passed slowly, for Lily, with little information being gathered. Unfortunately, most of the men getting drunk around the middle of the day either weren't directly employed by the Goldenleafs, and even if they were, they weren't high enough to know much of anything about the slave trade. Most things said, that she could even understand through the drunken slurs that seemed to be common among most of the patrons, didn't seem to be related to much of anything important. If she wanted to stay longer after dark, when perhaps a few of the higher tier workers might be coming for drinks, she might be able to pick up some important tid bits, of course, relying on anything useful to just float to her might not be the most efficient option. Instead she might have to fish some of it out, if she choose. Though even then, it might just be easier to sneak into the base anyway. 

While this was going on, El had taken his time to move through the streets towards any information brokers he knew of, that he could trust to not be in league with his brothers. After carefully considering his options, he could think of one man who fit that bill. An "independent worker" who went by the name of William, a rich man who he heard was strictly professional. The main reason for suspecting this was simply, that the man had been known to charge high prices, and then haggle much higher after the job was done. If either of his 'brothers' had lost enough money to employ him, then El would know. After talking, and trying as hard as he could to get an apoitment with the man, he was pushed away from the door, and told to come back tomorrow since this William was "very busy."

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Headless

The plan, for Lily, had always been to just sneak into the base. It was dangerous. It was undesirable. However, it was where her skills lay. Spending the late afternoon in this bar had only been an attempt to pass the time productively, one that had spectacularly failed.

Still, perhaps it was still salvageable. Some notable length of time passed, anywhere from an hour to a few, and Lily eventually switched location from a random table to a stool at the bar. It took her about another 10 minutes, probably closer to 15, to find her words and wave down a bartender. It had been 10 to 15 minutes spent nervously eyeing the bartender, wondering and worried about what kind of person he was, how he would react, and all the usual concerns Lily, with her bad experiences with reading people incorrectly, had. When she finally did wave him down and, presumably get a chance to speak with him, she spoke softly and carefully while sliding him a coin for his troubles, "I'm... in search of... um... I was just... wondering, what kind of goldenleaf customers do you get here? I'm interested in making a good impression on someone who can get me started in the group on the right foot..."

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guy_sas

The bartender looked her over once, as he reached his hand over to take the coin from her hand. He turned it around in his fingers once, before he handed it back to her. After he did, he lowered himself down, so that his elbows were resting against the bar, and he was rather close to her. Close enough to talk quietly without anyone overhearing. 

"Look, miss," he started, in a low voice, "I don't know you, or why you're interested in people like the Goldenleafs, but I'd suggest you just stay away from them. I'll be honest, you seem nice, and that's not good. I've worked this bar for almost fifteen years now, and everyone nice who joins the Goldenleafs, and especially nice girls, they don't come back here, if you catch my drift." he shifted back, and sighed, "but, if you really want to make this decision, then go talk to Henric, over there," he gestured towards a balding man in the corner of the room, wearing purple and golden robes, currently laughing raucously at some joke one his table mates said. 

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"Thank you..." Lily spoke with genuine regret after she had glimpsed the balding man and the bartender finished what he had to say, "very much... but... this is something I have to do." It wasn't so much her job that she regretted having to do. It was more that she felt like she could trust this man and wanted to trust him but couldn't bring herself to. It made talking to him harder.

Luckily, she didn't have to talk to him. Bidding farewell with a final, "... Thank you... for worrying about me...," she even loosened up enough to show a small smile, "and I hope I'm the first to break the record." Ahh... Lily's smile quickly disappeared as she immediately regretted her decision. She couldn't help it. It was so tempting to trust and she had fallen into that temptation.

Lily turned and quickly switched her focus to her newly acquired target: this evidently joyously celebrating man. She was, regretfully, going to have to trick him. She just hoped that he was a terrible person who deserved her deception. Though, if the nice people who approached this man were known to suddenly disappear... then he probably was someone evil.

"Excuse me?" Lily quietly asked as she stopped besides the balding Henric. The long pauses of her slow speech would give him plenty of time to appraise her. Despite being dressed as a young man, she still very much had  the body of a woman, after all. Nice girls were known to disappear, right? If the disappearances had something to do with the slave trade, then this was a shortcut. Albeit, a dangerous one, and not one Lily had been planning to take until... right now, actually. "I... I was wondering if... I am interested in joining the Goldenleafs, and I heard... I should talk to you..."

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