Ch3.60 The Pearl

Night stretches the full darkness of its cloak over the never very brightly lit alleys of Three Rats. In the shadows, the night’s inhabitants lurk, slither and run as they live at the very edge of what can be considered a proper existence. Here and there, muffled sounds betray what the gloom so efficiently seems to hide. Half-choked screams, moans and shrieks fill the black and grey of the slumbering ward with hints of other colors, adding to the nightly pallet the sinister tones of lust, greed and blood, filling the apparent peace with tales of bleak survival and violent affairs.

For now, he welcomes the shadows around him, shrouding his massive body in them, hiding tail and wings and claws from a world that does not expect to see him here. His exotic shape makes stealth a challenge whenever it is required. And right now, he really can use it. Wings tucked tightly against his body, tail curled around his haunches, he lies on a rooftop, watching intently the scene going on in the streets below. His eagle eyes locked in what little light a street lantern provides, he watches as the door to Three Rats Station opens to allow the goddess access outside. In her long robes, she steps out into the dim light, the reflection of which taints her long white hair a golden shade of yellow.

She doesn’t take more than a couple of steps before a figure dressed in a pristine Guardia Dei uniform leaves the building as well, his whole countenance set to charm even the cold stones that pave the ground beneath their feet. Dion…

I knew that following the beautiful lady would lead me to you, my friend .

His beak opening in satisfaction, the stalking figure turns keen ears to the exchange going on below.
“Stepping out this late, Sgt. Alma?” Dion asks in a soft, almost worried tone of voice. “I would take it you would like to rest after the exertion of these past days.”
The goddess stops and turns to face Dion’s inquiring tone. Even under this dim light, her eyes seem to glow with the polite, serpentine ice in her voice.
“I was unaware that I must ask your leave before going about my business in my own free time.”
“Of course you need not,” the god immediately responds, taking a few steps in her direction, the sweetness in his voice rivaling with the best of honeys. “I was merely hoping I could convey to you what a wonderful job you did on this mission. I heard about your actions on restoring the Pearl to its full glory.”
“Ah, but the credit goes to you as well, does it not, Sergeant?” Alma says, mimicking almost perfectly his sugary tones. “Had you not kept Nevieve among the living, there would have been little left to save.”
“Is that a compliment I am getting from you, my dearest Alma?” the god asks, a perfect, bright smile looming on his face like a half moon just showing between the clouds.
“A simple observation, nothing more,” Alma states, moving closer to Dion until her nose is but an inch from his. “And to you, my fellow Dei, it is still Sergeant Alma,” she adds, taking a step back.
From his perch on the rooftop, he sees Dion bow gracefully to the goddess, smiling still as she walks away into the darkness. A few moments later the god turns and begins walking towards the merchant side of town.
“So here is where you hide, Dion, fleeing the First Ring to this forsaken hole without so much as a note…” he says to himself, shaking his feathered head slowly. “You always did have a soft spot for a pretty face. Although, I doubt you would ever leave your hunting grounds in pursuit of such beautiful prize. No...something else has you here.”
Turning to leave himself, he stretches his wings, stealth no longer an issue after he’s seen his clueless prey’s home.
“And I do hope you have not forgotten our bargain, my friend,” he adds with a sneer, almost spitting the last word. “I will soon make sure you hold up your end of it…”

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