Author Topic: The Deal  (Read 172 times)

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Offline Malkavian Riddler

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Re: The Deal
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2019, 12:53:47 PM »
Lan Bao's eyes widened when Ben Samson consumed the tea poured for him. "Wait," she urged, her hand rising palm out to stop him from drinking further. "I appreciate your determination to follow my formal customs, but you do not have to make yourself unwell. You may leave the tea untouched."

She lowered her hand and quirked a smile at the youngling. He was willing to take the risk of consuming what was obviously not blood. Perhaps he thought she had some Kuei-Jin magic up her sleeve, or perhaps he didn't know that she could eat and drink as well as consume blood to balance her chi. It didn't matter; he'd shown blind trust in her and it endeared her to him.

Quite suddenly, she realised why he was the darling of so many powerful beings. He trusted, completely and blindly. She was no longer worried that he would turn on her. The betrayal would have to come from her first. As Ben had declared, he'd respected Jake McCloud from afar but lost that respect in closer proximity. She wondered what McCloud had done to this boy to lose his faith.

It didn't matter. Their feud would work in her favour.

"He has not met with me but may still, especially now that you both are vying for the same votes. However, I take your point, Ben Samson, that he has not visited with me before now." She set down her bowl of tea and watched the steam wend a path into the air before being stolen by the breeze. "I will consider your proposal and the benefits and liabilities of an alliance with you. Whether I become your advisor or not, I offer you this; do not buy a diamond until you have inspected all angles. Glass will shatter but diamonds will wait."
Digital: Of this chalice, I do drink
Lan Bao: Of this harvest, I do reap
Cain: Of this instrument, I do strum

Offline Satyr

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Re: The Deal
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2019, 09:02:25 PM »
Ben froze at her command and he stared at her, feeling the single swallow of the tea he'd consumed warm a path down his throat and into his stomach. By the way she was talking, it would eventually come back up. At least there wouldn't be a lot of it. Embarrassed but also glad that she seemed happy with his mistake, Ben set the cup down.

Did that mean she was on board? Her statement was non-committal. He nodded at her advice about diamonds and glass and couldn't help but think of Digital and his riddles. Who was the diamond? He thought she meant he was the diamond and she needed time to make sure he wasn't a piece of glass; a fraud. But her advice was for him, so what did that mean? Was he supposed to investigate her first? He was fairly sure she didn't mean herself, but the other people he was going to be negotiating with.

The District Leaders.

They were all diamonds though. Powerful and sharp enough to cut him.

"Thank you," he said, then wondered if her advice was supposed to be a parting comment. She'd said she would consider an alliance, and he wasn't going to get an answer now. It seemed rude to cut and run after the negotiation was complete. "Did you have any more questions you would like to ask of me?" he offered.

Offline Malkavian Riddler

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Re: The Deal
« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2019, 09:55:57 AM »
Bao had a question at the ready. "Tell me what you think of the other District Leaders."
Digital: Of this chalice, I do drink
Lan Bao: Of this harvest, I do reap
Cain: Of this instrument, I do strum

Offline Satyr

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Re: The Deal
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2019, 12:55:58 PM »
Ben wished he could take back his offer. He licked his lips and answered as honestly as he could, starting with the easiest assessment.

"Charon, being three thousand years old, is the most powerful District Leader. He's measured with everything he says, like you. He's seen empires rise and fall so he doesn't care about political status, because he knows it won't last. He rules his district with a loose hand, more interested in keeping the status quo than changing anything. He and his family are powerful enough to protect their district."

Ben thought that was enough about Charon. He thought it was obvious he respected and admired him.

"Sabrina isn't someone I've had a lot of personal interaction with but there's something inviting and endearing about her. I paid her to put protective charms on the Academy and she did that during the daytime so I never got to see it." He could hear the disappointment in his voice. "I've heard a lot of stories about how she's helped people and fought against those who would harm others, so I consider her a benevolent type. She's charismatic like you, she draws attention and holds it. She wrote more detailed laws for the south district when she got it so I take that to mean she'll be more protective of it than the Sacramentum were."

He thought about the next District Leader he'd had some interaction with.

"When Zeus was an Oligarch he mostly kept to himself and he hasn't been much different as a District Leader. I think being so reclusive worked against him because everyone thought he'd left the city. I don't think Jake would've taken the west district if he knew Zeus was around. Um, the one proper conversation I had with him... I found him intense but surprisingly easy to talk to. He's logical and reasonable and I'd like to know him better." He gave Lan Bao a quick smile before moving onto the last two District Leaders.

"Zoheret is..."

beautiful like you
but it seems disrespectful to say that


"Um... I once tried to say hello to Zoheret when I was living at the Luminary, um, the Oligarchy Chambers, with Kerr. She didn't have a lot of time for me then and I get the impression she doesn't have much time for me now. I have no idea what she's like or what she's about. She's always immaculately presented which makes me feel like she would be organised." He shrugged to imply that it was guesswork. Rather than go on with more guesswork, he moved onto the last District Leader.

"Saraekiel came out of nowhere and muscled into the north district, and it wasn't so much of an asking rather than a telling. It's the same move Jake made, but nobody paid attention because he didn't push anyone out of the way. He's..."

drop dead gorgeous
incredibly attractive
so hot that I can barely speak around him


"um... he's... charming and smooth. A great talker and incredibly charismatic. I... he invited me to meet with him after the trial and I meant to, but I've been too busy. He strikes me as a persuasive type. Talking to him, everything sounds reasonable."

He shrugged again, not knowing what to add.

Offline Malkavian Riddler

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Re: The Deal
« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2019, 04:27:56 PM »
Bao waited until she was sure Ben had stopped talking and nodded acknowledgement. "Thank you for your summaries on them. I have much appreciation of your candor."

She paused for a moment, then with a smile said: "Would you care to ask me anything?"
Digital: Of this chalice, I do drink
Lan Bao: Of this harvest, I do reap
Cain: Of this instrument, I do strum

Offline Satyr

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Re: The Deal
« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2019, 04:48:09 PM »
Her question opened up so many avenues for him and Ben was thoroughly intimidated by it. He had a feeling his question would be judged and if he disappointed her, he might not have the opportunity to ever ask another (or to have her as his advisor).

He racked his brain, moving past personal questions about her powers or intimate questions about her age. He finally settled on one that he hoped would reveal her motives to him, and that he hoped she would enjoy answering.

"Are you hoping for Chinatown to become its own recognised District and that you will be recognised as a District Leader?"

Two questions rolled into one.

Offline Malkavian Riddler

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Re: The Deal
« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2019, 04:53:14 PM »
Bao's smile remained fixed and she didn't react at all but she found Ben's question revealing. Of all the questions he could have asked of her personally he decided to ask about her own ambition. Friendship was not in the cards with this one. He was only interested in what they could do for each other.

"Chinatown is already its own district, and I am already its leader."

A wasted question, but she wasn't unimpressed by it. Bao was fairly sure Ben would be disappointed in her answer but it was honest. She cared little for everyone else and their perception - as long as her domain wasn't encroached, they could squabble amongst themselves until their deaths.
Digital: Of this chalice, I do drink
Lan Bao: Of this harvest, I do reap
Cain: Of this instrument, I do strum

Offline Satyr

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Re: The Deal
« Reply #22 on: July 20, 2019, 04:58:23 PM »
Ben did as Bao predicted, withdrawing into himself and disappointed with what he'd chosen to ask. He nodded his understanding at her answer and hoped his offer would be enough. Her reply made him think she wouldn't care if he won or lost, that she already had everything she needed. At the same time, he thought she did want more but he'd phrased the question wrong. Asking it again with different words would just feel rude, and so he shifted his weight, ready to rise.

"I appreciate you giving me your time," Ben said, bowing his head. "I'll leave you to the rest of your night." His eyes lifted to take in her reply.

Offline Malkavian Riddler

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Re: The Deal
« Reply #23 on: July 20, 2019, 04:59:39 PM »
Lan Bao rose gracefully, leaving the tea bowl on the saucer at her feet. She gestured for Ben to move down the path but she would not join him. As soon as he looked back (if he did), she would be gone.
Digital: Of this chalice, I do drink
Lan Bao: Of this harvest, I do reap
Cain: Of this instrument, I do strum