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 To Catch a Traitor (Nikolai)

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Lillianna Dragonè
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Female Join date : 2014-12-11
Posts : 53
Reputation : 2
Species : Vampire
Group : The Tribe

PostSubject: To Catch a Traitor (Nikolai)   Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:58 pm

Lillianna tilted her head as she reread the letter clutched in her brightly colored nails. She had chosen to ascend to the VIP Lounge before reading it and now her dark eyes moved upwards to take in the messenger with the clearly Italian heritage. A taste of home indeed. Leaning to the side, she held the letter out to the candle that burned on the table until the edges began to curl and it caught flame. She watched it burn until she could no longer risk holding it before letting it fall to the marbled flooring. Someone would be along shortly to clean up the remnants. Removing her phone from the pocket of her black leather jacket, she texted the Hunter she felt would be perfect for this job.

Who better to deal with the Chinese Mob then a former Russian Mobster?

Once the text was sent, she crooked her finger to the man still standing there waiting to be dismissed, an evil grin upon her red lips. She stood up from her seat and made him sit in the cushioned chair she'd just vacated. Once he was settled, she retook her place, but this time in his lap. Leaning in, she whispered in Italian in his ear, something that made him chuckle. Here in the safety of the VIP Lounge, only other Supes were allowed and no one was going to stop her from taking her fill. The man's face twisted from happiness to pain as her fangs found the flesh of his neck. She would not kill him, killing was messy and left a trail that needed covering up. She had gifts that would spare this man's life but not before she reveled in the taste of Italy that now ran down her throat.

The sound of a throat clearing behind her brought her out of her feeding, a dangerous thing to interrupt a Vampire mid-feed but Nikolai had nothing to fear from Lilli. She turned her bright blue gaze on him as she licked her lips clean. "I have a job for you Brother. Our aide has been requested by the Nǚwáng of the White Lotus. While I do not trust them as far I trust any Lycan who isn't Kin, I cannot pass up the chance for the White Lotus to owe us anything. Business between our two factions is running quite smoothly and I'd like to keep it that way. Will you go to the White Lotus Tea House in Chinatown and see if you can't help them with their little problem? Do what you need to but if there is even an inkling that you're in danger, you get out. I will deal with the fallout later, your life is more important then whatever they want."

Thankfully, the man she had a veritable grip on seemed to know enough to not try and escape her, though his dark eyes would plead with Nikolai as if he would help the poor soul. Lilli would decide when he left, and she had plans for him yet. "Will you do this for us Brother?" She asked of Nikolai, her Italian accent mixed with her blood red fangs making her words a bit harder to understand but she knew Nikolai would. This was the monster behind the young facade so many fell for.

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PostSubject: Re: To Catch a Traitor (Nikolai)   Tue Feb 17, 2015 5:36 am

"Are you not getting this?  I have to shoot these. They go in the gun and I shoot them out."  The Hunter leaned closer to the spectacled technician,  squeezing the man's face with his hand until his lips squooshed, "If I shoot these,"  he held up a curious looking round of ammunition, "they are going to bust in my barrel and get mercuryall up in my pretty gun."

The  muffled sound of Lt. Warf from Star Trek: The Next Generation called out from his coat pocket, "Incoming Message."  Releasing the wide-eyed armsmaster, Nikolai dug out the phone to read the text message.  The Princess needed him.

"Back to the drawing board, scooter."  Nikolai dismissed the man, tossing the mercury round back at him as he turned to leave.

---------------

Nikolai entered the VIP Lounge, coming up behind Lillianna and her guest.  Quietly, he waited as the vampiress fed.  The fellow seemed horrified but had the sense to sit still as the monster fed. Nik remembered his first time.  Adreana could be a little rough, sometimes that beast inside her peeks out.  But the price was worth what the Seer gave in return.

The soft slurping ceased as Lillianna turned towards the Hunter.  Such a deceiving face.  So young, beautiful and innocent looking, except for the razor fangs and the crimson smear on her lips. The vampire was in no way the virtuous, frail creature she appeared to be.   Nikolai listened carefully to the Princess, nodding in understanding.  "Of course, my Sister."  He replied with a smile.  Lillianna knew she didn't have to ask.  Of anyone, both she and Adreana knew Nik would do whatever they wished.

Looking down to meet the gaze of Lillianna's victim, Nikolai offered a small smile and a wink. "Enjoy it buddy....I do." With a respectful nod to the Tribe Princess, the Hunter headed out to make  his way to the White Lotus Tea House.
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PostSubject: Re: To Catch a Traitor (Nikolai)   Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:19 am

Jade sat in the gardens behind the Tea house, it wasn't used for hosting this time of year due to the weather so she'd found relative serenity. She had given strict orders to be notified the moment anyone came asking for her. Rather then let the rage take over like some cub, she nurtured it, let it roll through her, savoring every drop until she could put it to proper use. Her inner beast wanted to hunt down the traitor that had stolen something so precious from her but wisdom told her to wait just a bit longer.

She couldn't have everyone knowing that something was wrong, if the traitor had friends then she couldn't tip them off by making a scene. She had dispatched her niece with the task of finding a proper messenger to deliver her request to Deviance, but that was more then an hour ago and even Jade was running out of patience. The more time passed, the farther they got. Footsteps from behind her alerted her to the presence of another, merely one of her handmaidens as they held none of the grace of her Lycan family. "Madame Chao, there is someone here to see you." Jade opened her dark eyes and rose from her kneeling position next to the pond.

Smoothing the fabric of the black dress she wore, she floated past her handmaid who bowed to her. The dress she wore was simple, clean, yet cut in such a way as to amplify the curves of her figure without seeming ostentatious. It hugged her body till just below her hips where it fell to the ground, a slit up one side revealing her well toned legs as she walked. The back of the dress dipped low enough to show the White Lotus tattoo and the trail of Chinese Hanzi depicting her Lineage back for thousands of years that flowed all the way down her spine. Her heels clicked on the wooden flooring as she rounded the corner into the lobby of her tea house. The entire building was modeled after the traditional tea houses in China, instead of the American version of restaurants where everyone ate in one room.

It didn't take her long to pick out the man who did not belong. Still, she had a part to play. "I am so glad you found your way here, please, come with me, we have much to discuss." She acted as if she knew him already, but if this was truly one of Lillianna's Hunters then he would know to play along. She held out her long nailed hand to him and if he were to reach out to take it, she would pull him in close enough that she could wrap her arm around his, as if they were close friends.

"I am not to be disturbed Jiang," She told the man they passed near the large staircase that led up to the floors above the tea house. Most would think him just a man watching a staircase and directing traffic though Nikolai would recognize him as mob muscle cleverly disguised. Jade would lead him up the stairs to the third floor, a lucky number in Chinese culture. On this floor they passed no one but still Jade did not speak. Sliding open a door to their left she led him inside, pressing a finger to her lips so that he would know to not speak yet. Nikolai would find himself in a Chinese family temple, a spacious room with the wall opposite the door covered in talismans and art. Jade lit a candle on a small table and rather then normal flame, the fire first turned blue and then brilliant purple.

"I am sorry about that, I am not normally one for such theatrics. Did she like her gift?" Jade was testing him, she had no know this was indeed the man she'd been waiting for. If she told anyone else then her chances of finding the traitor dropped to zero. Jade moved with the grace of a predator, though she made no attempt to hide what she was. She even wore her likeness in a rather large ring on her hand. If he failed this test, then Jade would attack him, and she had plenty of rage to fuel her need.
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PostSubject: Re: To Catch a Traitor (Nikolai)   Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:33 am

Nikolai understood the significance of the Nǚwáng's request.  It was an olive branch of sorts.  Not that the two factions were at war, but each kept to their own as natural mistrust permeated either camp.  For the White Lotus to request the aid of the Tribe was a real ice-breaker, if it was legitimate.   The Hunter sensed the apprehension in the Tribe Princess' response.  It was why Lillianna  sent him, a trusted Brother, whom she understood was able to navigate the political implications of the scenario as well as the practical execution of whatever Ling Chao required.

Nikolia tarried only long enough to inform Adreana of his task and change into something appropriate before heading to Chinatown.  The Tribe Hunter entered the White Lotus Tea House clad in a black suit with a white dress shirt, collar opened.  Nikolai went unarmed, a gesture of goodwill that he hoped he would not regret.   He was eyed suspiciously as he requested to see Miss Chao, but was not made to wait long before the lovely Lycan glided into the room.  The Nǚwáng was beautiful and elegant, his heightened senses only detecting a subtle indication that she was more than a mere tea room proprietor.  But Nikolai was well aware of Miss Chao's more fearsome incarnation, and the power the White Lotus wielded.

Nikolai bowed in respect, offering a formal greeting in Mandarin.  Instinctively, the Hunter gently took the offered hand of the Nǚwáng, crooking his arm so she could slide hers smoothy around it.  Complying with the Lycan Queen's request, Nikolai remained silent until they were within the confines of their destination, a private family shrine.  When Jade proffered the test of a question, Nikolai offered a small smile.

"Yes, I personally witnessed her enjoyment of your gift.  You are as generous as you are beautiful."  the Tribe Hunter offered, his tone gilded with respect that he hoped would be perceived as a sincere compliment and not vain flattery.  Nikolai's hazel gaze surveyed the room, noting the artifacts and artwork, the curious colored candle flame, and finally, Chao herself.  It was not a far reach to see the graceful tiger within her.  She was lean of limb but not frail, her posture noble but not rigid,  the contour of her form alluring but not exploited, her presence powerful but controlled, her features delicate yet draped in wisdom and strength.   A powerful ally or a dangerous enemy she would make.
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PostSubject: Re: To Catch a Traitor (Nikolai)   Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:16 pm

Jade's lips curled into a smile that seemed to brighten her dark eyes, so brown they were almost black. Which made for quite the startling contrast when her inner Tiger revealed itself. "Lady Lilli and I have a mutual respect for one another, our business dealings have been quite lucrative these last few years. You may call me Jade, my true name just sounds so...formal anymore. I'm sure you're wondering why I went outside my own faction to request Lady Lilli's help. I knew whoever she sent would be trustworthy, in so far as keeping her happy anyway. I also knew she would not be able to pass up the chance for me to owe her anything." Jade did indeed know precisely what she was doing and the risks she was taking.

"A priceless heirloom has been taken from me. A beautiful Jade Tiger given to my ancestor by the Emperor of China. Legends says that it gives whomever holds it power over my kind. I can't put much truth in that legend seeing as it never worked for Lycans and I certainly wasn't going to let anyone else try it. It used to sit on the center pedestal there, here in our family altar I had no reason to expect anyone to try and take it. I have a traitor in my midst my dear, so you can see why I would need outside help I'm sure."

Leaning back against the table she let her fingers trail through the purple flame of the candle. "My claws are bound, I cannot strike without letting the traitor and any accomplices they may have know how they have wounded me by this act, nor can my honor permit me to admit that such a traitor was allowed to garner so much of my trust. I can gain nothing from my own senses as the traitor has spent too much time amongst my Kin that they smell the same as the others. I need fresh eyes to hunt them down and reclaim what is mine. Will you help me?" She asked him, giving him the choice to decline now. Honor would not permit her to strike at him should he decline, he was free to go if that is what he wished.

For the sake of her pride, she hoped he would not.
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PostSubject: Re: To Catch a Traitor (Nikolai)   Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:40 am

Nikolai stood still, hands clasped before him as he listened to Jade.  There was little emotion in the lilt of the Lycan's voice, the sign of a true leader, hedging no indication of the rage that must be boiling beneath that serene visage.  A viloation from an outsider would bind the Kin together against a common foe.  But to face the betrayal of one of your own only bred distrust and dissent if revealed.  It was an extraordinary circumstance, one that lead the Nǚwáng to take an extraordinary measure.  As she explained her decision to call upon the Tribe, Nikolai understood the wisdom of Jade's summons, and the motivation Lillianna would have in answering the call.

Nikolai's gaze drifted to the empty pedestal. It was a brave soul that would dare enter this room and steal from the White Tiger.  Greed? Revenge? Power? Whatever the motivation, it was sufficient to risk their lives.  The Hunter began a slow pace, drawing closer to the empty pedestal.   Nik drew in a small breath, his enhanced senses again noting the exotic aromas in the room, and that of Jade, eyes began to search, to become familiar with the trappings of the shrine.

"I have been tasked with serving you in this hunt...Jade." He answered in his thick Russian accent, "And I will bear the trust you have given the Princess.  I will do my best to find your tiger.  I will need to know when you first noticed it missing."  Nik inquired, looking again to the Asian Lycan.
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PostSubject: Re: To Catch a Traitor (Nikolai)   Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:25 pm

"I doubt whoever took my statue was a Tiger, The Tiger's in this city are loyal to me by a calling far deeper then a human will understand. I mean no disrespect, merely stating a fact. Though they can come close at certain points in their lives. If you have ever had the luck to love someone, to love them so much that your every breath, every heartbeat would mean nothing without them...then you have some idea of what a Lycan feels for their Alpha. There are only two other Tigers in this city with the potential to replace me and I trust them with my life. Honor keeps them from killing me just like Honor kept me from taking over China. No, they are not a Tiger but that makes them no less a thorn in my paw." She walked across the room to stand next to him, staring at his face the entire time. "But you do know, don't you? Forgive me, I have insulted you." She told him.

Turning from him, Jade stared at the pedestal, four tiny imprints left in the dust that marked where it's paws had stood. "I noticed it missing an hour ago, when I came in to light the offering for my brother. Today marks the anniversary of his death, three years ago. Which means that this offense is very personal for me, and I am beginning to think...for them. They took nothing else, made no forced entry, in and out without anyone in the building knowing what was happening. There are pieces to this puzzle that I cannot find. I know Lady Lilli, she wouldn't send just anyone. She is clever, intensely so."

Finally, she turned her face up to him. "You have not told me your name Handsome, what shall I call you? Or do I get to make up my own?"
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PostSubject: Re: To Catch a Traitor (Nikolai)   Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:45 pm

The Nǚwáng spoke eloquently, and the Tribe Hunter had no doubt what she said was true.  Jade commanded the room with her presence, her beauty, strength and grace admirable.  Nikolai could see why the White Lotus were so devoted to her.

"You have not offended me,"
he offered as she turned away, "I did not mean to insinuate that one of your Tigers would betray you.  I was referring to finding the jade tiger." Nik added, then fell silent as the Tiger Queen continued.  It had not been gone long.  That means there would be fresh information in the room.

When the lovely Lycan turned again to face him, Nikolai answered her inquiry in his thick Russian accent.  "My name is Nikolai, but you can call me whatever you like." A small smile graced his face. "Handsome works just as well."

Turning back to the pedestal, Nikolai studied it, and then the room around them.   He took a cleansing breath, quieted his mind, trying not to allow the presence of the Nǚwáng  distract him.  The Hunter reached out with his awareness, touching the auras left in the chamber with his newly discovered gifts.  There appeared the shadow of a figure entering the room, hooded and light of step.  Then Nik reached out to touch the pedestal itself.  He could see the jade tiger, a statue of exquisite beauty.  A hand reached for it, lean and feminine.  Clearly, Nikolai could see an designed inked into the thief's forearm.

"The thief had a tattoo, here," he indicated with a finger brushing the inside of his arm, "in the form of a dragon, a Chinese dragon."
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PostSubject: Re: To Catch a Traitor (Nikolai)   Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:37 pm

Jade inclined her head, a minor bow of respect to Nikolai as she understood her mistake. Essentially she was apologizing while realizing there wasn't really anything to apologize for. "Nikolai...as Russian as your accent it would seem. And yet you speak Mandarin, you are intriguing. Bratva?" She asked, tilting her head as she waited for him to answer. The Russian word for brotherhood and the semi formal name for the Russian mob. The Chinese equivalent was Triad.

She watched him, remaining silent as he seemed to focus. She had known enough creatures with special abilities to realize when they were concentrating on using them. She didn't know what his ability was but if it made him a better hunter then she wasn't about to protest. There were many faucets of the Tribe that had always intrigued her, and gleaning even just a small amount of information could be helpful. Jade just couldn't understand how a Vampire ran such a tight nit group, trusting each and every member as if they were family without ever feeling the sting of betrayal.

When Nikolai spoke about a tattoo, indicating on his own arm where the thief had their's, Jade's dark eyes turned a startlingly brilliant blue, the pupils shifting from the round circles of a human's to the vertical slit of a Cat's. "Midori. We pulled her out of warehouse used for human trafficking two years ago. We thought we were saving her, apparently she didn't need saved at all." Jade growled, though she took a moment to collect herself as she pulled out her phone from a hidden pocket in her dress. With just a few taps she made a call, a woman answering the other end. Jade spoke in Mandarin though Nikolai would understand what she said. The woman was ordered to toss Midori's loft.

"Midori has a room here, though she shares it with two of the serving girls. She doesn't stay here often...but she stayed last night. I don't want anyone to know what we're doing just yet, breaking the news that we have a traitor in our midst will not go over well, and they certainly won't think much of you. Do you think you might be able to glean something from her room here while my niece searches her Loft?" She asked.
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PostSubject: Re: To Catch a Traitor (Nikolai)   Thu Feb 26, 2015 5:10 am

Nikolai offered Jade a small smile and a subtle nod as she uttered the Russian word.  The Nǚwáng was perceptive, for indeed Nik had been associated with the Russian underworld.  The mob had its dealings with its Chinese neighbor, the Triad, which explained the Hunter's knowledge of Mandarin.

When he described the tattoo he had seen in his vision, the visage of the Lycan hardened, the predatory gaze revealing the nature of her beast, and for a breath, Nikolai could see the monster behind the elegant features of the beautiful woman.  She knew the thief.   A rescue turned against her saviors.  Midori had spit in the face of those that gave her a second chance, if indeed the woman was what she had seemed at all.  As Jade ordered the search of the suspect's loft, Nikolai did not envy the transgressor.  He knew what the Tribe would do to such a traitor and he was most assured that one who betrayed Jade Chao and stole from her would be shown no more mercy than Nik's family would offer.

Once the phone returned to wherever it was concealed, Jade requested once again the aid of the Tribe Hunter in searching Midori's room there.  Nik nodded.  "Of course, show me the way, and we will take a look." Nikolai understood the meaning of discretion, and would make his presence as unobtrusive as possible as he helped the Nǚwáng investigate.
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PostSubject: Re: To Catch a Traitor (Nikolai)   Tue Mar 03, 2015 5:48 pm

Jade motioned for him to follow her but instead of heading for the main stairwell they'd come up, she headed further into the house. Her footsteps barely bade a sound despite the heels she wore, gliding down the hall with an elegance that was hard to match. Still, she was careful not to outrun him, pacing herself so he could remain with her. She paused beside a beautiful painting of lotus blossoms a moment, her lithe fingers finding the hidden latch on the top. The panel the painting hung on swung inward to reveal a hidden stairwell and she motioned him inside, allowing the panel to close behind them.

"Give it a moment, the floor lights will come on." She told him and sure enough, small lights at the base of each step came on, illuminating the space in a soft red glow that wouldn't harm the eyes and would be difficult to see from outside. "They react to motion." She explained as she headed down the stairwell. At the first landing, Jade pressed a finger to her lips to indicate that he should remain silent as she listened for sounds beyond the door. Once she was satisfied that no one was in the hall she repeated the process as before and the panel swung in, allowing them to exit. she motioned with her hands that he should follow and led him down the hall a few doors.

She slide the doors open, and then shut them behind him once more. The room they were in held three beds close to the floor in the Chinese style, each sleeping place was perfectly organized with only small signs that each occupant was different from the others. Jade motioned to the bed at the end of the room under the frosted window. In a house full of Lycans, silence was important, they could talk about what he found when the returned to the third floor.

Jade wasn't sue what he'd find, if Midori was working for someone else, she 'd be stupid to leave any clue of it in a room she shared with two other people. She also has some small idea of who Midori may have aligned herself with. The girl had a four leaf clover design on her hip that wouldn't be seen on a daily basis. It wasn't the strongest clue, so Jade needed more before she jumped to conclusions.
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PostSubject: Re: To Catch a Traitor (Nikolai)   Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:37 am

Nikolai nodded as the Lycan beckoned the Tribesman to follow. Nikolai trailed Jade, noting the ease with which the elegant stems of her legs moved, leaving barely an audible trace of her passing.  Little by little, the Nǚwáng let the borrowed Hunter into her confidence, revealing secret passages, the grand queen sneaking like a thief in her own house.  Nik understood Jade's dire concern, and maintained a discrete tongue as he was lead to the suspect's sleeping quarters.

The room was simple, almost spartan.  It appeared the Nǚwáng decreed a neat and proper residence, and each sleeping area was kept uniformly maintained.  Nik did not open his awareness in the room in general.  Their investigation was limited to one person at the moment.  The Russian met Jade's gaze as she silently indicated the bed by the window.   Nikolai approached it carefully, wishing to disturb things as little as possible.  His intent was to find an object, something that would hold information carried in from outside.  Maybe a garment that would reveal where Midori may have gone recently.

He opened the small wardrobe, eying the clothing inside, running his hands along the hanging garments.  The psychometropath pulled a scarf from a hook and lifted it to his nose, sniffing.  Cigarette smoke.  Not strong, definitely second hand.  He let his fingers explore the texture of the dark fabric, his being seeking the recent history of the scarf.  A bar.  The beer taps were familiar to him, specifically a large Guinness handle on one.  O'Malley's.   The visit was recent, and ghosts of clues lingering over the clothes indicated Midori was a regular at the establishment.  Returning the scarf to the hook, Nikolai reached to a stack of underwear.  Much could be learned by where things like that were taken off.  He thumbed through the pile, mental eye sifting through the routine of dress and undress and restroom use, until he found something that stood out.  The red panties had been removed, not by Midori's feminine hands, but by masculine hands, a Caucasian.  On the man's forearm was a tattoo of a four leaf clover.  He could not discern the location, but it was not the room in which he and Jade stood.

Stepping away from the wardrobe, Nikolai closed the wooden door.  He turned to the Lycan, nodded again, and pointed a finger to the doorway, indicating he had something to share, when they were in a secure location.
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PostSubject: Re: To Catch a Traitor (Nikolai)   Sun Mar 15, 2015 3:06 pm

The deep vibrations of bass rumbled through the streets of Starling City as a small, black Ford Fiesta whizzed down them. A young woman sat in the driver’s seat, her eyes seemingly intent upon the road as she barreled down the main stretch. Bars spiked and dropped on a display, showing the progress of the musical beats, but she didn’t bother looking down at them. Her senses were focused on the sounds permeating the area within her car, judging every millisecond with a critical ear. She would prefer to gauge her songs from home, but her schedule was a busy one. Still, she was exceptionally adept at utilizing the time spent driving for other things. Multi-tasking was a necessary trait for DJ’s, and she’d mastered that ability long ago.

Cassandra’s attention zipped away from the road as the music cut off silently, only to be replaced by a different song. It was a familiar one, and she didn’t even bother looking at the name now displayed on the screen before accepting the phone call. A smile rest on her lips, and could be heard in her voice as she answered. “Shì de?” Yes? Nowadays, she mostly spoke English, but conversations with her Aunt were usually done in their native tongue of Mandarin.

With every syllable that echoed out over her car’s speakers, Cass’ face hardened. She didn’t need to be asked twice to help with such an important task. Bright eyes skimmed the street names as she continued on slightly above the speed limit. The sound of tires screeching could be heard over the intercom within her vehicle as the street she was looking for came up quick. Her left foot found the clutch while her right hand slammed the car down into third gear before her other foot stomped down on the gas.

“Wǒ hěn jiējìn. Wǒ huì dǎ diànhuà gěi nǐ jǐ xià.” I’m close. I’ll call you in a few.”

As the call disconnected, her own music started up again, but she quickly shut it off. It wasn’t long before she eased into a parallel parking spot across from the side of the building where Midori rented a loft. Dark chocolate orbs skimmed the area while her chest heaved outward in a large inhalation. She could taste the woman in the air, but it was a stagnant scent. Once certain Midori’s vehicle was not parked out front and there were no prying eyes in the vicinity, Cass stopped beneath the fire escape nearest Midori’s loft and jumped.

Her fingers grasped the bottom of the second floor landing, but instead of pulling the ladder down, she simply climbed up and over the rail. Secure on the metal staircase, she quietly eased her way up to the fourth floor where she knew Midori’s abode resided. Her eyes caught the flutter of curtains as she neared her destination and she shook her head. The smell of cigarette smoke hung thick near the window, causing Cass’ nose to wrinkle in distaste. Midori didn’t smoke she knew, but clearly one of her friends did. And rather than sending them outside to do their business, she let them simply sit near the open window. “Stupid girl…”

A cursory glance around the apartment painted the scene well enough. The woman who lived here was clearly a bachelorette, judging by the take-out containers filling the counters and garbage cans. There was a distinct lack of dirty dishes, but that was probably because pizza and Chinese food required no utensils and disposable chopsticks, respectively. Cassandra avoided the kitchen as she made a slow circle of the apartment, mostly in order to avoid the stench.

The living room was somewhat disheveled. Pillows were strewn on the floor and the couch was at a slight angle that seemed incorrect for the layout of the small room. Bookshelves lined the walls, but they were mostly filled with photographs and small trinkets. A lamp with a stained glass shade rest on each coffee table, causing Cassandra’s right eyebrow to arch. Even more peculiar, however, was the old horseshoe hanging above the front door.

With a look of concern etched onto her pale face, Cass ventured further into the apartment, her hands rummaging through every drawer she came across, in search of more clues. When she reached the bedroom, she understood the scene from the living room all the more clearly. Whatever had begun out there, Midori and her friend had finishing here. The sheets were torn back in a chevron, its point resting near the pillows to show that two people had last slept in the bed (that is, assuming they’d slept at all). Beneath the scent of whiskey, cigarettes, and sex, Cassandra’s nose could make out two people - one was definitely Midori, and the other was definitely male.

A quick, but thorough search of the room did not uncover her Aunt’s missing tiger, but she found a clue nonetheless. Stuffed into the jacket strewn across the chair in her bedroom was a crumpled slip of paper with a bunch of numbers scribbled onto it. It didn’t take Cass long to figure out what the numbers meant. Lifting one arm, she gazed down at the numbers on her watch and scowled. “Stupid, stupid girl…”

She stuffed the slip of paper into one pocket of her skinny jeans before heading back out towards the living room window. Easing the window back down into its half-open state after climbing through, she began to make her way down the fire escape stairs. One hand was already fishing the cell phone from her back pocket as she moved, two steps at a time. She spoke quickly when her Aunt’s voice answered the phone.

“Wǒ fāxiànle yīgè rìqí hé shíjiān, dàn méiyǒu dìfāng. Hángyè zhèngzài fāshēng de shìqíng xiànzài.” I found a date and time. The trade is happening right now.

Instead of climbing over the rail in order to drop down, Cass jumped from the second-to-last step onto the rail. She paused there for a moment as a thought hit her, and her head tilted some in realization. This time, when she spoke, her voice held a slightly higher pitch as she posed a question in regards to this new revelation. “Nǐ kě zhīdào Midori shì ài'ěrlán?” Did you know Midori is Irish?

The sound of combat boots slamming against concrete echoed noisily up from her landing, but she was already in motion towards her car before the sound reached the microphone in her cell. A soft chirping signalled the vehicle was unlocked and she slid into the open door with a sigh. “Wǒ duì wǒ de fāngshì gěi nǐ. Wǔ zài nàlǐ.” I’m on my way to you. Be there in five.

Pressing the ‘end’ button, she tossed the phone into the passenger seat and brought her car back to life. The engine hummed, ready for her next command. One foot on the clutch, she kicked the car into first gear and surged forward as the sounds of her music resumed at the press of a button.
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PostSubject: Re: To Catch a Traitor (Nikolai)   Thu Mar 19, 2015 7:29 pm

Jade waited patiently, watching Nikolai's every move. You could tell a lot about a person b the way he moved. Nik's movements were graceful, sure, he never hesitated not even when some would. She arched a brow as he pawed through midori's personal affects but remained silent. Once he had indicated that he had finished, Jade returned to the door and listened for a moment before sliding the door open so they could return to the secret stairwell and back to the third floor the way they had come.

The moment they exited the red glow of the stairwell, Jade's phone vibrated and she fished it out of the secret pocket in her dress. Sliding her finger across the screen to answer it, Jade allowed it to play on speaker instead of to herself. Nikolai was fully engrossed in this seek and find mission now, there was no reason to keep what Cass found from him. "Nǐ fāxiànle shénme?" She asked of her niece. Cass was a genius, held back only by the difficulties that being a Chao often had, especially a Chao that had been disowned by the family before she had even been born.

"Rúguǒ wǒ zǎo zhīdào, suǒyǐ nǐ huì." Jade responded to Cass' question in a low growl as the girl bordered on accusing Jade of lying to her. "Wǒ huì mǎnzú nǐ zài wǒ de jū kù." She instructed her. She knew Jade would want to be in on this and if any of her upper echelons knew she'd taken on such a mission on her own without at least one of her Vanguard in tow and she'd never hear the end of it. Still, some things you just had to do on your own. "Tell me what you learned while we walk." Jade told Nikolai as gently took his arm once more to lead him further into the third floor.

It would seem that this floor were the private apartments of the Chao bloodline, and seeing as Jade didn't have very many of her blood family out here it was often very lonely. "My niece is meeting us, she would never let me leave on my own and I keep nothing from her. I trust her with my life, much as I will be trusting you. Midori knows us, but she does not know you, perhaps we can use that to our advantage." Jade mused.

She led him to yet another secret stairwell, but this one took them much further then just one floor. It led them to a tunnel below the tea house and brought them up into a garage a few blocks away. In order to gain access to the garage, Jade had to scan not only her finger prints but also the retinas of her eyes, well, her Tiger eyes anyway. It was a nifty security system, Jade would have to be alive if anyone wanted to use her to get past it, if they killed her she'd be trapped in whatever form she was in upon her death and one of the measures would be rendered useless.

Cass would need to do much the same thing on the outside door to get in but she held the alpha gene so it wouldn't be difficult for her and her biometrics were programmed in, by Cass' own hand of course. Once inside, Jade turned on the lights, revealing quite the collection. Two beautiful cars took up most of the floor space, a bright cherry red 1961 chevy convertible and a deep blue Lamborghini Superveloce. Sitting next to them was a much more conspicuous Dodge Charger and it was obvious which one Jade took when she wanted to blend in. Everything about the garage was just as meticulous as Jade herself, everything in it's place. Two motorcycles also occupied space on the other side of the cars, betraying the adventurer that Jade used to be before she became Queen.
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PostSubject: Re: To Catch a Traitor (Nikolai)   Wed Mar 25, 2015 5:20 am

Once the Hunter and the Nǚwáng slipped from the quarters, Nikolai waited patiently as Jade conversed on her phone.  He did not bother to occupy himself with some obviously manufactured excuse to pretend he wasn't listening.  The Lycan queen made no effort to conceal her conversation, well aware of the human's understanding of Mandarin.   The tone of the exotic woman hardened as she spoke, the authority she so easily wielded surely unmistakeable even through a tiny cellphone speaker.  The conversation ended, and the phone once again disappeared into the dress.

Her niece.  Nikolai was not as well versed on the players in the White Lotus as he would liked, for he was not familiar with the younger Lycan.  But it seemed that Jade trusted her, still wishing to keep this matter close to the cuff.  The Hunter readily accepted the elegant Lycan's arm again as they traversed through the tea house, then beneath it.  Only when it seemed they were in a secure part of her domain did Nik share what he discovered.

"Either this Midori is part Irish, or she has a thing for Irish guys."   He began.  "She seems to visit an Irish pub regularly, and has slept with a man with a four-leaf clover tattoo on his forearm.  And when I say slept with, I mean they weren't sleeping."  The snarky man added with a slight curl at the corner of his mouth.

The long tunnel finally terminated at a door, the security measures required to access it impressive to the Hunter.  Jade may have conducted her business according to traditions, but she was in no way a technophobe.  Nikolai followed the beautiful tigress into the garage.  It was immaculate, in fact more clean and sterile than any place he had called home.  The vehicles were pristine, raising the brows of the impressed Tribe hunter.  He could not help but emit a low whistle.

"The Nǚwáng travels in style.  These are some real beauties, Jade."   At first thought, it was not easy to imagine the graceful White Lotus leader straddling a motorcycle.  But picturing her in some leather pants, boots and jacket, Nik agreed she could definitely pull it off.

As they waited for the younger Lycan to arrive, Nikolai paced around the cars, admiring them. "Yes, my guess Midori would have no idea who I am.  Which means I can get close to her.  I wonder if she is as much into Russian accents as she seems to be into Irish." He laughed casually.
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PostSubject: Re: To Catch a Traitor (Nikolai)   Mon Mar 30, 2015 8:24 pm

Cassandra caught the irritation in her aunt’s voice, but she couldn’t place the why of it. Instinct begged she growl a response, but the human portion of her brain kept her quiet. If Jade was upset with her for some reason, she would tell her. Perhaps the stress of their current predicament was getting to the Nǚwáng. No matter the reason, Cassandra would continue to do as she was told.

The drive from Midori’s pad to the tea house was not a long one. It was made even shorter by the fact that Cassandra rarely kept to the speed limits posted every half mile or so. She’d managed to keep her driving record clear thus far, but deep down, she knew she was only tempting fate with each rev of her little Fiesta’s engine.

When she arrived at the garage, she took no time rolling down the driver side window in order to reach a hand out to the pad. Once the system had acknowledged her fingerprints, she looked straight into the scanner, her usually brown eyes shining a bright green hue around a narrow vertical slit. A quiet beep confirmed the completion of her security pass and as the garage door lifted, it revealed a curved path leading down into the bowels of the earth.

Cassandra spotted her aunt from across the garage as she entered the main area, and the beast inside stiffened at the sight of a man beside her. Her outward appearance remained calm as she slid her car into an empty area beside the Lamborghini, and she even allowed a tiny smile to tug at the corner of her lips. “Hellooo, Lola,” she whispered, her fingers trailing half an inch above the side of the foreign speed machine. It was her customary greeting to the vehicle, one that had begun ages ago when she’d first laid eyes on the magnificent beast.

The sound of laughter drifted over from where the man her aunt had dragged along was inspecting Jade’s convertible, causing one eyebrow to shoot upwards. Dark chocolate orbs zeroed in on the man, sizing him up as she inhaled a low, steady breath. Her lips parted enough to allow his scent to trickle past, landing on her tongue. Immediately, her upper lip curled as the faint aroma of death hit her squarely in the nose.

“Nǐ zài nǎlǐ qù wā zhège jiāhuo?” Where did you dig up this guy?

The wrinkling of her nose slowly lessened as her senses grew somewhat more accustomed to the scent of death lingering on the otherwise healthy human’s body. Turning, she finally gave the male her full attention as she stepped up to the pair, offering him a hand. “Cass,” she purred, not bothering with the other two syllables of her name. Her grip was firm, perhaps a bit on the supernatural side, but she didn’t seem to either notice or care.

“So, we gonna go pummel some leprechauns or what?” she asked, her eyes flickering back to her aunt, the natural ferocity of the beast within shining out of her emerald orbs.
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PostSubject: Re: To Catch a Traitor (Nikolai)   Mon Apr 06, 2015 11:23 pm

Jade smiled as Nikolai whistled in admiration of her babies. "Thank you Nikolai, I restored the convertible myself...and I won the Superveloce in a poker game last year. She is my grand entrance as it were." She smiled to herself, remembering that poker game for a moment before the outer door opened and Cass' Fiesta rolled in. Jade removed her shoes while she was waiting and pulled open one of the drawers under the workbench. Setting the shoes inside, she exchanged them for a pair of knee high leather boots, a pair of black leather pants and blue tank top.

"Fāhuī bùcuò, tā shì zài dàikuǎn cóng yīgè péngyǒu." Play nice, he is on loan from a friend. She told her niece as she eyed Nikolai. Cass was understandably distrustful of practically everyone who came near Jade. "Nikolai has agreed to help us find my missing statue. What did you find at Midori's?" She didn't bother explaining herself any further on the subject of Nikolai. She knew enough about Princess Lilli to know that she was a woman of her word, and she loved a good deal. Jade didn't bother trying to hide as she unzipped the dress she'd been wearing and peeled herself out of it. There wasn't much in the way of modesty amongst Lycans after all. "Nikolai, second drawer on the left. Take your pick." She told him, motioning to the drawer she spoke of before pulling on the blue tank.

Tonight did not call for Jade the diplomat or the business woman, tonight called for Jade the warrior. When Nikolai opened the drawer, he would be greeted by an array of weaponry from handguns to knives. "I figure, we send in Nikolai, see if he can pull Midori out of the bar all quiet like. And if he can, we go in and get her. If she thinks she can drum up good favor with the Irish by stealing from me. Well, let's just say the next Hunt for the Streak will have a very different kind of prey." She finished, shimmying into the leather pants and pulling on her boots.

Moving to the mirror over the workbench, she pulled her hair out of it's careful bun and tousled it out, letting the gentle curls fall around her shoulders. She finished the ensemble with a leather jacket hanging from a peg near the bikes. "I want her alive, though I will not shed a tear if she does not survive this. She will pay for the insult she has thrown at me, one way or another." She joined Nikolai, pulling out one of the handguns and a loaded magazine of ammo. The gun went into a special pocket on the inside of her jacket, while a set of throwing knives disappeared up her sleeves. More hidden knives were tucked into each of her boots. "I miss the old days, been a long time since I've gotten to carry my sword around." She mused quietly.
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PostSubject: Re: To Catch a Traitor (Nikolai)   Tue Apr 07, 2015 5:36 am

The hum of an engine echoed down from the wide passage leading out of the garage.  It was the higher pitched whine of a smaller engine, but it's purr was smooth without a miss.  Seconds later, the black Ford rolled into the large concrete room.  The Fiesta was not as glamorous as the Superveloce or had the character of the '61 Chevy, but it was sharply detailed, the kind street racers might supe up.  From the small vehicle a woman emerged.  Jade's niece appeared culturally polar to her aunt, dressed in street clothes, the younger tigress sporting several piercings and a swagger that was in contrast to Jade's graceful elegance.  But, like her aunt, Cassandra possessed an exotic appeal.

The girl strolled up to Nik and Jade.  Nikolai, of course, understood the niece's Mandarin inquiry of her aunt, and simply offered a smile.  Deep cocoa eyes met the Hunter's, and the man could see the predatory mistrust harbored in the woman's gaze.  Nevertheless, a hand was offered with a truncated introduction.

"Nik."  The Tribesman replied with equal brevity, taking hold of the slender Lycan's hand.  Cass' grip was anything but frail, as firm as a grown man, a very strong grown man.  It reminded the human that he was not dealing with beautiful frail lotus flowers here, but with powerful creatures.  In fact, like his vampiress benefactors, Jade and Cass were certainly much older than he as well, though certainly not in appearance.

When Cass posed her bravado question, Nik coughed a laughed.  Leprechauns.  It would have been even funnier a few years earlier, when Nikolai had no idea they actually existed.  The Hunter decided he liked Cass.  She was a pot full of piss and vinegar, the hardass side of the Lycan women's coin.  Or so he thought.  Jade was about to prove him wrong.

The  Nǚwáng chided her niece before moving to the workbench and producing a change of clothes.  Nikolai made little effort to avert his eyes as the lithe Asian shed her dress and donned more appropriate attire for their mission.  Nik agreed, the high boots and leather pants fit her as admirably as the gown.  Appreciative eyes were rattled to the location of the drawer the alpha tigress indicated, and the hunter moved to open the well oiled drawer.  Inside, a gorgeous array of arms were laid in carefully made cutouts, ammo and magazines included.  As Jade revealed her plan, Nikolai's hand brushed over the gunmetal of the weapons.  His hand closed around the grip of a .40 caliber Glock.  He loaded the handgun, then picked up it's twin, clicked a magazine into it, then snagged two spare loads.  The guns were tucked in his waistband behind him, the magazines slipped into his pocket.  Lastly, the hunter selected a small tanto knife and tucked it into his jacket.

Jade appeared beside the human, now looking as hardcore as her niece. Nikolai stepped back and allowed the Nǚwáng to select her weapons. "I will get her out of the bar, nicely or not." He vowed.  "We don't want anything messy to happen before you can find out what she did with your statue, and allow you the chance to... express your displeasure." The snarky hunter gave the tigress a wry smile.  To be honest, Nik hoped for some kind of altercation, just so he could see how the two beautiful Lycan's fight.
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PostSubject: Re: To Catch a Traitor (Nikolai)   Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:29 pm

Cassandra grinned as Nikolai accepted her handshake, a hint of respect filling her eyes as they faded back to their mundane chocolatey hue. He hadn’t winced at her strength - smart man. Judging by the stench of him, though, her sheer strength wasn’t anything surprising to the human. He consorted with creatures of death on a regular basis. Vampires, if she had to wager a guess.

A sly grin formed on her lips at the reprimand and she purred out a playful response as her gaze flicked back to her aunt. “Huǐle wǒ suǒyǒu de lèqù… Ruin all my fun…

If Cassandra noticed the fact that her aunt was changing clothes, she didn’t show it. A low rumble formed at the back of her throat as she watched Nikolai, however. His gaze seemed appreciative, which Cassandra in turn, did not appreciate. Although she knew that Jade could care less whether the stranger in their midst saw her human form, it didn’t stop her from being protective of the woman. Jade had taken her in when she was little, freshly orphaned after the death of both parents, much to the chagrin of her extended family. And so it was her personal duty now that she was of age, to repay that kindness to the Nǚwáng.

Everything about her shifted at Jade’s next question, her entire demeanor taking on a much more serious tone. Slipping into English as easily as Jade had, her own voice held no hint of the Chinese accent most transplants were stuck with when they learned America’s native tongue. The daughter of a Chinese woman and an American man, she’d learned both languages growing up, which offered her palate a much wider variety in terms of speaking.

“Not a whole lot. She’s got a new boy toy, it seems. He’s a smoker.” Her nose wrinkled at the memory, distaste evident on her face. “I found this on her nightstand,” she continued removing the slip of paper with the time and address, and placing it on the workbench. “Aside from a massive amount of traditional Irish paraphernalia, her place was clean. She’s a damn fool, but at least she was smart enough to move the statue quick.”

One hand slid up, ruffling the short ebony locks framing Cassandra’s face as Jade let her hair loose. Her eyes followed the human towards the drawer as he opened it, watching him peruse the arsenal before making a decision. His selection wasn’t bad and she nodded in silent approval, chuckling as he snagged a knife at the last moment. Turning towards the sound of Jade’s voice, she almost seemed to pout at the notion that her aunt wanted to keep this as low key as possible, but she didn’t argue. “And a-hunting we will go…” she sang quietly.

While the pair made sure to grab enough ammunition for the possibility of a fire fight, Cassandra moved back to her vehicle. Popping open the hatchback, she lifted a hidden panel and pulled out two shiny rods and a belt before putting the car back together and closing it up. Guns weren’t really her thing, though she was well-versed in using a large array of them. No, she prefered to get up close and personal with her foes, using the hand-to-hand techniques she’d been taught since childhood, and wielding a pair of titanium battle staves allowed her to do just that.

Each battle staff measured out to be roughly two feet in length, but she twirled them between her fingers as if they were pixie sticks. Shoving each weapon into each armpit, she quickly fastened the belt under her jacket, around her midsection. The weapons slid easily into their slots at her back, hidden from view, but easily accessible to the Lycan with the jacket unzipped. Also hidden from view was a butterfly knife given to her by Taki, which she kept tucked safely into one of her many pockets, one of few items she kept on her person at all times.

Stepping back up to the pair, she put all of her weight onto one hip and crossed both arms across her chest. “So, is this occasion special enough to warrant bringing the babies out?” she purred, her eyes drifting lustily towards the Lamborghini.
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