♪♫ Lily Quarin ♫♪
Day 3 ~ Morning around (9 am)
Following the incident with Vi, Nabriales had poofed back to his shop and was carefully and quietly contemplating the results of the experiment. The surge in power was noticeable, as were the negative effects thereof - and she had showed no signs of internal or external injury owing to vis overload. He was thankful that the entire operation had been a success, and that he hadn't had to bottle anything himself. His love for alchemy was not greater solely because the process of bottling and categorising potions was so fundamentally boring to him that no matter the exhilaration or sense of numb consternation his potion-making might bring, the high was always brought low by the thought of doing anything after the exciting part had finished. He was, in truth, not much of a businessman himself - though he had the aptitude and the knowledge, he simply did not possess the focus or patience necessary to excel in something that enervated him so: it was far better to leave the logistics to those who found their muse doing busywork.
As he returned, his mind returned to the task at hand and he set about clearing his counter - it only took a wave of his hand and twelve individual yet simultaneous poofing sounds for the flasks to vanish and reappear elsewhere in the labyrinthine reaches of his shelves. Owing to an art he termed Dimensional Folding, the space that comprised his shelves was altered in such a fashion that whenever a potion was taken from its spot, another would immediately take its place provided that it had been made, marked, and stored in the correct place - a marvel of magical engineering, he thought, though in truth it was likely commonplace elsewhere and thought up by someone far less artistically inclined than he. As he moved to finish clearing the counter, he took the bagel wrapper in hand and (wisely) elected to check for any messages that his dear sister might have left - true to form, there was a gaudy scribble explaining how she had paid for an orphan's education! Not to be outdone, Nabriales scrunched the wrapper up in a huff and pulled out his cellphone, making a quick call to a number stored aptly as "Accountant - 8".
A few hurried words and a proper authorisation for the transfer of funds later, Nabriales decided to fund the entire orphanage's educations, with ample gratuities for living and any education beyond a degree they could wish to pursue, and asked only that a receipt be mailed to him as confirmation of the creation of the accounts. When asked for the address for this to be sent to, he calmly stated that it should go to Sophia's place of residence before hanging up the phone and erupting in a fit of gleeful giggles. Oh, he'd outdone himself - and more importantly Sophia - this time!
Part way through his unashamed indulgence, Nabriales heard the telltale chime of the bell on his shop's door ring and he turned his attention to the customer-to-be walking through. He didn't bother to stop giggling, however, as the euphoric rush of both helping the least fortunate among society and trouncing his beloved sister was too much to simply stop enjoying.
Lily naturally heard the giggling causing her right eyebrow to arch in question, her figure edged closer while she located the source: the store keeper. It seemed someone had slipped a giggle potion into his tea when he wasn’t looking, but she pushed the obvious explanation away as she looked to the nearest shelving unit. Her hand raised up to grasp a single potion to examine it briefly. Her eyes turned to the label and then frowned, uncertain if it would do well for her intentions, and casually placed it back upon the shelf.
She realized this was going to be much harder than she originally believed.
Not fully sure what else to do, the Siren made her way to the counter. Upon arriving, her arms folded underneath her and she leaned on it before she spoke, “Hello, I’m assuming you’re the shop keeper, or the unfortunate victim of a prank potion.”
There was a slight amusement in her tone, light hearted and cheerful to ease the conversation to come. She licked her lips a bit before she continued, “I’m currently looking for a potion that could easily subdue a Licenti without harming them. What would you suggest?”
After watching Lily peruse the shelves with what he could only describe as a semblance of a purpose, Nabriales stifled his giggling for long enough that she could ask her first question. In contrast to what he perceived to be a mirthful play at dominance, Nabriales' right eyebrow arched and he looked quizzically at the woman. Her attempt at humour was... Almost entirely unconvincing, as he was the only other person in the store and was sat behind the counter. Still, he figured that jokes were perhaps not her specialty and that she had genuinely attempted to be funny, so he forgave the potion-making faux pas and listened to her request proper.
"You realise that you just essentially asked me to make a potion capable of stunning an animal, right, hon? You're going to need to be far more specific about the effect you want to achieve and the type of Licentia you want it to affect specifically." he replied with a wink, hopping up from his stool and sidling around the counter. With a motion of his hand he beckoned for her to follow, and walked towards a specific set of shelves. He motioned from the top to the bottom of the shelves, highlighting a veritable bevy of potions to be administered in a large variety of ways - there were thrown flasks to send a Nightwalker to sleep, orally administered potions to revert a Kitsune's shapeshifting and prevent it, and self-administered potions to immobilise shades upon being subjected to their powerful fear-inducing abilities. It would be clear from even the most cursory glance that the potion that Lily required could certainly be made or perhaps was even sitting amongst those in the shelves, but more detail was required for her requests to be made manifest.
Even more onerous, perhaps, was that there were no price tags anywhere - only labels depicting the effects of the tincture contained within. If she does not notice and enquire immediately, it would very quickly become apparent that the price asked was far from traditional.
"So, hon... What do you need doing and to whom does it need to be done?"
Lily had already noticed the lack of price tags when she had examined the potion she took off the shelf. It was the very reason why she had took the time to look it over and ensure her eyes hadn’t merely missed the price in her first glance over. Being an individual that had traded in Vis and other things in exchange for information, she knew what sort of risk to expect. Some times the gain of an item wasn’t worth the cost so she kept that in mind.
She followed the man at an acceptable distance as he asked his question, inquiring about details over her intentions. The Siren’s gentle expression tightened slightly as she considered how much to reveal and if she was willing to take this risk. She pressed a curved finger to her lips in thought until she decided to play it safe and keep her cards as close as possible to her chest.
“It’s a complicated situation, and I’m not sure I can confidently give you everything you need. Part of the reason I came in was to window shop and learn if some of the rumors I heard were true,” Lily’s eyed the shelves where the shopkeeper indicated she looked. Her arms crossed over her chest, still phrasing her words carefully as she continued, “Right now, my main worry is what you trade in exactly for your products.”
“Well, you see… What I trade in,” he gesticulated, waving his arms around to encompass the various shelves full of potions,
“Is far from mundane. As such, I require payment that is also far from mundane. What that means depends on the product… And the person.” He offered toothily, smiling from ear to ear. Though the smile was genuine, the more interpersonally astute would notice a subtle undercurrent of indignation at the entire affair.
“I cannot quote you a price without knowing what you want, and I don’t know what you want because you can’t ‘give me everything I need’! I’m a very busy individual, hon, and I don’t suffer fools gladly - and only a fool would walk into my shop and refuse to tell me what it is that they’re asking for. I’d thank you to either lay the information on the table so we can discuss terms, or… Maybe there’s another alchemist in town who can offer you the potion of your dreams without any of these pesky questions. I’d advise seeing him if possible.” Nabriales winked, before turning on his heel and beginning a strut back to the counter. Were a serious offer to be made he’d be more than amenable to the request - he wasn’t known for rejecting, well, anything based on moral compunction. He was, however, known for his intense dislike of having his time wasted.
Lily inhaled, then tested the waters while Nabriales made his way back to the counter, “That’s what I thought and as I said, it’s complicated. The race I want to immobilize and fix in place is an extinct one. A Nogitsune. At least, I suspect he might be one but my information over them is very limited and that’s why I’m not sure I can give you everything you might need.”
She let the information linger in the air for the shopkeeper and partly expected him to laugh out loud at her, finding her interest in something considered gone to become a threat again amusing. Most mentions of the Nogitsune were in stories, myths and even legends since none seemed to exist anymore.
”Nogitsune… Kith and kin to the Kitsune, though I can’t say I’ve ever actually seen one…?” Nabriales half-asked, half-stated as he stopped dead in his tracks. With a wave of his hand, he poofed both Lily and himself to a room upstairs (one that had no discernable point of entry, as there were no windows or doors) and clapped his hands, causing the magical lights in the room to activate.
The privacy that the room afforded them would be useful, as would its contents - moving swiftly over to a shelf the effeminate alchemist gingerly picked up a dust-laden tome and pressed it towards his potential customer. Through the grey veneer she would notice its title - ‘Of Kitsune: A Study’ that she would perhaps be familiar with. The tome was popular around the time that the Kitsune were actively hunted, and the fifteen hundred-or-so years it had been around clearly showed with its archaic style.
“As far as I’m aware - the literature gives no estimations otherwise - the Nogitsune were biologically identical to the Kitsune… So anything that works on one should, in theory, work on the other. But what is it precisely you want doing to your foxy adversary? I should probably be a little cautious of what I give you, after all - I’m sure Darius doesn’t want anything that is potentially fatal and/or incapacitating to him specifically being given freely!” Nabriales remarked, surprisingly open and flippant now that the topic had gotten markedly more interesting.
Lily didn’t expect to be teleported and the moment she noticed her surroundings were no longer in the main shop, she had to stop herself from jumping at the abrupt change. Her nerves stood on alert at the change in scenery causing her to inhale to increase her inner strength. She casually turned to face the shopkeeper who now held a book out to her.
Her eyes tightened to observe for any tricks then gingerly took it from his grip and opened the cover, her attention examined the pages briefly. His state of Darius caused her serious expression to crack into a slightly defeated smile, “I suppose it was pretty obvious, wasn’t it? Namely with Darius being the only known Kitsune and no, I don’t want to hurt him. I also don’t want him to have any knowledge of this or my meeting with him later will get rather complicated.”
She brushed over the information in the book a bit more before she closed it, her conversation resumed with the man, “I merely want to be able to paralyze him from moving and casting any magic for as long as possible. This means I’ll likely need something to counter it as well so I can remove it if needed. I also want it to be able to be administer it on fur or skin contact and go into effect fairly quickly because getting him to digest it will be a bitch.”
”Well, there are certainly many things I can do for you on this front… But the question now is why? What purpose will my alchemical concoction serve… and how will it benefit me? You see, hon, a lot of business revolves around our favourite foxy friend and trust is a biiiig component of that - if I were to provide you with what you want, I’d need something that outweighs the potential infractions I might incur upon my humble little shop.” Nabriales smiled, sidling up to Lily from behind and placing his head gently upon her left shoulder.
“Though there is always a deal to be struck, a bargain to be made… for the right price.”
“Those myths had to have some base in truth or a whole race wouldn’t have been wiped out over bad behavior. I much rather not discover first hand what happens when a Kitsune becomes a Nogitsune and is allowed to run loose in the city,” Lily commented. Interesting enough her mind drifted to the sullicitus, the worst sort of Nightwalker kin, and the fact they had done terrible things daily which hadn’t yet brought their race to extinction. At least to her knowledge. She continued to hold the book in her right hand as it rested at her side, her eyes still fixed on the individual with the horns decorating his head.
“Would that help some in your decision? I also don’t think I need to tell you how important Darius is to keeping the streets in Ominar from running red. Imagine if that influence was completely lost or worse, twisted?”
Lily then chuckled when she finally noted the mention of the price.
“Interesting enough, the price was what worried me the most. Especially if the gain isn’t worth the price paid in return. One thing you should know, I’m not asking you to make it until I’m completely sure he’s becoming one. I just wanted to be sure you could if I needed it.”
The almighty ‘tsk’ that came from Nabriales’ mouth would almost certainly be enough to shock Lily, especially given its proximity to her ear; accompanying it was a sigh of both contentment and disappointment in equal measure.
”You seem not to understand, darling. There is no decision to be made - at least, not by me. I do not decline any requests based on any sort of moral compunction - I frequently deal with elements that are neither savoury nor sweet and I refuse none of them any of their requests. The transaction is simple - anything you want, for an equivalent price. What I want in return for your potion is quite simple: An ancient Vis crystal, the like found deep beneath the crust of the earth in Torqueo… So deep, in fact, that it has not been plumbed by hands living nor dead.” came the decidedly softer reply, serpentine in its seductiveness and solemnity. It was not so steep a request, in truth, for any backlash would far outweigh any sort of gain obtained by the procurement of a single alchemical reagent - but the potion he longed to create was so close to completion that he could almost taste the new experience.
”Understand this, though: This agreement is for the assurance of the creation and successful effect of a potion, not for the potion itself. You agree to the price now, and upon receipt of payment the agreement will be made valid… Or you turn away, and any opportunity for the concoction that you covet and clamour for will be gone. Do we have an understanding?”
‘We reap what we sow.’ The phrase seemed to be innocent enough except when applied to this situation. She suspected the request wasn’t as harmless or easy as it seemed since it only covered the potion’s making and success. The man came off as arrogant and boastful, two traits she never enjoyed dealing with when it came to business transactions because he was too smug in his abilities. He also failed to see how Darius’ absence might affect or hid it very well.
“So bluntly, I have to give you an answer now before I can even be sure I can give you this Ancient Vis crystal? Is that correct? You realize there’s very few places to get what you require and most of them are very dangerous considering how Vis barren Torqueo is,” Lily pointed out as to make clear it would’ve been a waste of time and energy for both of them if she couldn’t deliver the goods at all. She never traveled much in the region herself so locating one, even with her connections, might become rather difficult. The siren hoped he would see the reasoning in that or she was going to have to walk away completely and figure something else out that didn’t require she make a dead end deal with a devil.
”Indeed, a bargain must be struck now or not at all… But you seem to misunderstand the terms, hon. I will give you an assurance for the provision of goods in return for the assurance of the provision of goods. Just as you may not need the potion for quite some time, I am also not in need of the reagent for quite some time. I am patient; I can wait.” he quipped back, though a single eyebrow was arched for the duration of his speech.
”Realistically, the demands of the potion and its implications far outweigh the difficulty of the task I’ve given you, darling. Torqueo surely isn’t so daunting for one such as you? I’m sure you can find a way to not only get what I want, but to expend minimum effort in getting it… You’re obliged only to provide what I want should you need what I can offer you. An assurance for an assurance, you see?”
“I understood it, but the time allowed for acquiring it wasn’t mentioned. Some people aren’t patient and something like this could take months or longer to gain even with vast connections,” Lily pointed out logically, ignoring the arched eyebrow and debating on a moment longer. It seemed harmless enough and the final price allowed her to back completely out should she not need it.
“I’ll have to call in some favors, but it shouldn’t be much of an issue. So you have a deal,” She said handing back the book on Kitsune.
”Stellar, hon. You get in touch with me when and if you need that potion… And even if you don’t, if you can procure that crystal I’ll pay you handsomely for it! Now… Where are you going? I’ll take you there for free.” Nabriales smiled in return, readying his hand to poof her wherever she wished.
“I’ve yet to actually decide that as I’m waiting for a call. I figured I would kill some time and get some information over a rumor or two while I was in the neighborhood,” Lily eyes looked around to notice the lack of doors or windows. Being aware of it now was making her rather eager to leave this particular place because it reminded her of things best forgotten.
“Just drop me off in front of the shop as I’m not really a fan of this room.”
“Noted!” Nabriales said, and with a flick of his wrist he was back behind the counter and his companion was precisely where she wished to be.