Sammy squinted her eyes. “Track her backers? Do you take me for a fool?”
The gumshoe tipped her hat. “Anyone can see that your eyes glisten with desires that only the coin can realize. Oh, this'll be just enough to get you that promotion, or maybe you wish to become a fellow test subject yourself? ”
Sammy snorted and turned away. “I lack the manpower to take Binky by force, but mark my words Beacon girl, you have not seen the last of Sammy the Supah Sleuth!”
And with that, she bumbled out of sight. Her cats followed suit, meowing like normal house cats.
Before Alicia could turn her attention back to Binky, She could feel the weight of her captive hanging off of her leg. ”Please don't feed me to the crazy cat lady.”
She buried her head in Alicia's thigh and sobbed. ”Pleeeeeeease!”
For yet another time in this conversation, Alicia found herself in a position where she wanted to roll her eyes and sigh in exasperation. She wasn’t sure what it was about the supposed detective, but she seemed to inspire that reaction a lot. Maybe it was a good thing she had chosen to leave rather than opting for employment after all.
“Beacon doesn’t work like that but sure,” she replied in a low mutter, mostly to herself as Sammy took her leave. It wasn’t like she wanted to get promoted again after being made a Seraph, but if she wanted to buy into all the rumors then fine. Alicia couldn’t say that she wasn’t used to it.
Before she could do much more, she was thrown off balance as Binky grabbed at her leg. “Relax,” she replied, doing her best to remain upright with the dead weight leaning against her. “I’m not gonna feed you to the wannabe gumshoe. Especially when there’s still stuff I need to ask you about.”
Having been on the receiving end of questioning, Janet stayed quiet while Alicia interrogated. The whole conversation was a little over her head, particularly since she had been securing the perimeter and had missed the sudden transition to the Overcity and what had taken place there, as well as the initial conversation between the trio. A large part of the magical world she still hadn’t learned, what was and was not possible. Being corrupted was something the blonde was intimately familiar with and an experience that not long ago had her in hot water. Now there was a new coin that could change one’s magic? Janet really wasn’t sure what to make of that at the moment, other than their methods of testing didn’t sound all that hospitable.
Binky froze in place. ”Uhh...”
She released Alicia's leg and slinked backwards. ”Y-you'll understand if there's certain things I'm not willing to share, but um, what did you want to know?”
Watching as Binky backed away, the fact that she thought she had a choice to make when it came to the information that Alicia wanted was amusing. But it was a fiction that she let stand for the moment, if only because it meant she wouldn’t try to run for it again.
“Sure,” she accepted before beginning. “So, how long have you been working on these Red Coins? And how recently did you make one that actually worked?”She remained where she was, letting Binky get comfortable so as to not inhibit her cooperation. ”A long time.”
Hey eyes shifted side to side. ”But it wasn't until just a few weeks ago that we were actually getting positive results. That was when we started asking people to participate in in human testing.”
Binky stretched out her hand, and a cup of ramen noodles appeared in it. ”They can complain and try to kill me all they want, but I think their living conditions were a lot better than mine.”
Binky popped a pair of chopsticks off the side of the cup before eating.
‘A long time’ wasn’t very specific, but Alicia supposed that it conveyed the point well enough. A few weeks was a bit more than she had expected as far as the trial phase was concerned, though it wasn’t terrible either. It meant the proliferation of this stuff wouldn’t be as bad. Admittedly she could just be speaking in minor degrees of difference, but it made her feel better about it at least.
Binky did leave her curious on a few things, and she said nothing about the meal as she continued on that line of thought. “Why do you say that? Bosses with unreasonable deadlines?””The volunteers, if you can believe it.”
Binky pointed in the direction that Sammy had wandered off in. She seemed to be implying that the people who volunteered for her project were treated better than she was. And of course, Alicia didn't need the ability to detect lies to confirm Binky was in real danger. ”So uh, I realize this is an interrogation and everything, but I do wanna hurry things up.”
Binky was shivering. ”I've spent the entire morning running away from that crazy detective, and I'd like to take a shower before too long. I think we could all use one.”
She stirred her noodles with a pain stricken smile. ”Do you mind just sort of cutting to the chase so that we can all be on our way? Heh?”
She flinched before Alicia even began speaking.
Alicia could appreciate Binky’s desire to get somewhere safe and clean up a bit, especially if she was in real danger. Though one had to wonder why she was in danger in the first place. Wouldn’t her backers want to make sure nothing happened to her while she was doing something so important for them? She got the irritating impression that there was more going on than what she knew.
“The chase is that while I’m confident you’re being truthful, I doubt whoever is supporting you to do this has good intentions for these red coins. So I’d like to know either who is providing you with the resources to do this, or where it’s being made so I can go and ask personally.” The flinch might have been warranted, Alicia giving Binky a stern look as she pressured her for the information she wanted. ”Ah, oh, um, hmm...”
Binky stirred her noodles faster. ”See, that's a bit of a sore spot for me. I mean, as far as where the coins are being made. Well, the escapees destroyed most of the building. So, heh, not a whole lot to find there.”
The tiny girl sunk to the ground. ”And telling you too much about my backers would have an adverse effect on my health. Presumably.”
She set the cup of ramen off to the side before propping herself up on her hands and knees. ”I'm pretty sure whatever fate they have for me would be far, far worse than anything you might be able to subject me to, heh!”
Binky made another pained smile. ”N-not that I'm saying you have to kill me or anything! N-no! I don't want that at all.”
She pulled a coin out of her loin cloth and flicked it to Alicia, only for it to veer off course and land in Janet's hair. The red coin floated in her pigtails, gently “sinking” in her water-like hair. ”I could always make you coins right? Beacon coins? Of course! That's what really has to happen here! You'd get to see how the coins are made and everything! Because these coins aren't evil, they're for giving girls second chances! It's a real win-win for everyone right?”
Binky spread her arms. ”R-right?”
One would think a snake had just bit Janet the way she reacted for a split second. Only having been mildly engaged when the Red Coin came out the girl looked at it curiously before it was flung in her direction. Having almost no experience with how the water that was her hair worked a foreign object flying into it was a new sensation. One doesn’t usually feel with their hair but in this case Janet could. Couple with that this coin supposedly had some unknown properties she really didn’t want to be in contact with the thing. Flailing for a moment before realizing nothing was happening the girl calmed herself before calmly reaching out her hand. The coin was caught in a flow of water that made its way to her palm. ”Be careful what you do with these things. I still don’t get exactly what they do but I wouldn’t be tossing them around like that.”
Rolling the coin over in her hand she looked over to Alicia. ”There might be some advantage to what she’s saying though. If she’s being chased then we could offer some protection while we get to learn more about these things.”
She gestured to the held coin.
“It sounds like there’s already an adverse effect on your health imminent,” Alicia noted as she glanced back in the direction that Sammy had departed in. The ramen-eating girl was in an unenviable position to be sure, with however many test subjects there had been looking for her now. “Besides, are you sure that your backers aren’t going to blame you for this mass breakout?”
An eyebrow rose as a red coin was tossed to Janet, and an offer made along with it. “So just to be clear, you’re suggesting that you would make more of these red coins, specifically for us?” she asked, wanting to make sure that she was clear on what was being offered. It could be useful, even if it wasn’t exactly what she had hoped would come of this. At the very least she wasn’t going to dismiss it out of hand. ”Well.”
Binky froze again. ”I mean, I'd need a few things, but if you gave me a lab and got what I required I could make them for you.”
She took hold of Alicia’s leg again and shook it. ”If that's what it takes to get out of here alive, I'll do it. I just hope my servitude isn't eternal...”
This little arrangement, or potential arrangement, had plenty points of failure. Not the least of which was they knew very little about Binky. Though thus far most of the information seemed good, otherwise Alicia would have called it out. But Janet was also thinking about their patron. Beacon was only just starting to accept some change faster than she would have thought. But it would be hard to say what the response would be to a new coin coming into play when they already couldn’t even possess a Black coin. Janet half wondered if she ever took a wrong step at HQ if some of the members would burn her at the stake. ”Maybe we should discuss this somewhere safer.”
Slinging her backpack around she reached in and pulled out the mermaid pendant she kept there. ”Let’s get you on your feet first though.”
Placing the gem against Binky the magical healing effect kicked in immediately. The battered and bruised girl would be ship shape in no time.
Feeling like something of a scratching post by now, Alicia focused more on Janet than on Binky at the moment as she voiced something quite sensible. Considering what had already happened today, she didn’t want to risk that thing
from earlier coming back and doing whatever it had intended to do before. Definitely not without backup to handle it.
“Good idea,” she agreed with a nod, waiting for her leg to be free so they could actually move from this sot. “I’ll talk to the Beckoners, explain the situation. We’ll see what they say.” She suspected that they would have some leeway given her position as a Seraph, but it couldn’t hurt to keep them informed. Especially when it came to something that could be very destabilizing for the magical girl community in Penrose, perhaps even globally. They would soon find out either way.
Together, the Beacon girls departed the scene, Binky in tow. Time would tell what came of this unexpected meeting