Two days have passed with the just a message stating that she could use the highway as her only further contact with Trium's branch of the Guild. Her own investigations had turned up nothing and she was beginning to get impatient at the delay so deciding to take matters into her own hands she heads back into Trium's underbelly in search of the nondescript man she had encountered prior and maybe a good fight while she was at it as she needed to take her frustrations out on something or someone.
Donning her thieves jacket (which she had left in her luggage previously) a leather duster with a snarling wolf's head picked out in red thread on the back to match the necklace at her throat with the same motif but picked out in rubies (unlike Zack's which was just an etching on his dog tags) even though she hated being referred to by her title she still loved having it and the pageantry around it. Making sure her various daggers and knives are strapped securely in place, including several throwing knives, she sweeps out of the hotel room and eventually the hotel.
Hours past, after visiting the same bar from her first night Cris finds herself moving from bar to bar in search of one of Trium's thieves getting more and more irate with each failure and now itching for any excuse to get into a fight She enters the final pub of the night, fully intending on getting into a fight and getting chucked out before calling it a night, but before she can enter she feels a sharp object poking into her back and whirling around hammers a fist into her would be assailant's face whilst grabbing her opponent's wrist to disarm them. After her turn she notices that there's more than one would be assailant, grinning to herself Cris settles into a fighting stance, her two daggers appearing in her hands a smile tugs at her lips as she notices just how many people surround her but before anything can happen the nondescript man walks out of the crowd
“ah apologies for the crowd, we had heard you were hitting up just about every bar in the city looking for me with a very dangerous air around you” he says and looks down at the unconscious man “and from the looks of poor Marcus here I was probably justified in bringing a few extras” he shakes his head at this before addressing Cris again
“you'll need to come with me, we have things to discuss” he turns around and beckons for Cris to follow him. Sheathing her daggers and levelling an icy glare at everyone around her Cris promptly follows after the man she had been searching for over the course of the night still seething with anger. They walk a few streets away from the pub to a parked car, the man enters the car before beckoning her to join him. Upon getting into the car she addresses the man
“I thought I told you that I wasn't going to do anything sexual for the information I want”she says, still with that dangerous glint hinting at potential violence in her eyes. The man holds his hands up in supplication
“woah, no need for any violence” he says “as you have no doubt noticed we haven't managed to find any jobs for you that would be of equal value to the information you want so-” before he can continue Cris interrupts
“then why the fuck did you come out to find me? I'm not in the best of moods right now if you hadn't noticed, mostly because of you and your Guild, so you better do some explaining or this car ride is over” she snarls, icy blue eyes boring into the man
“well as I was saying before you interrupted, we've found an alternative for you to pay for the information you want. And no it doesn't involve prostitution” says the man, he looks over to Cris inquisitively before she nods her head for him to continue
“we host some 'entertainment' in one of the clubs in the city, don't worry no stripping it's a bit more brutal than that, and we thought that since tonight's 'entertainment' has a special prize of one favour from Rook we could have you enter and if you win you can ask Rook for the information you require. Genius no?” explains the man. Cris leans back in her seat before replying
“you're lucky I'm feeling violent tonight. I'll join your little tournament so tell me what the rules are” replies Cris, working to calm herself down there would be time enough for her anger later.
“There are only three rules” says the man, holding three fingers up “first, no killing. You know why that is so I won't explain further” Cris just nods at this, it was to be expected of anything involving the Guild
“second, no weapons. This is a hand to hand tournament only, we don't mind cleaning up a bit of blood but weapons can make things a bit too messy for our liking” again another reasonable rule to Cris's mind, she had of course been to fighting tournaments that involved weapons but neither her or Zack had any interest in taking part entirely down to their Blessed Talents trivialising those sorts of events and the dearth of other Blessed meaning there could be no Blessed only tournaments. She nods again before asking
“so what's the third rule? Do I have to fight naked? Or in some skimpy outfit? You've been setting it up as if there third one might be a deal breaker for me” the man shakes his head
“oh nothing as improper as that, although it would be a good show I must admit” he says admiring her curves, the first truly impertinent thing he had done but he stops on seeing the deadly glow of light magic dancing around her body ready to fire at any minute
“the third rule is quite simple, no invoked magic. You obviously can't do anything about the uninvoked magic within your body but at least don't use blades or blasts of light to defeat your opponents” the man rushes to say before finding himself with a few holes in him, Cris doesn't dismiss her magic immediately leaving it active as a warning against any unwise decision on the man's part before addressing him
“I'll fight in your little tournament, fuck I'll win the fucking thing so just drive me to this club before I take out some of this frustration out on you” she says in a low, dangerous voice clearly still struggling to rein in her anger.
The car ride is soon over, they pull into the parking lot for the club. Getting out of the car Cris is shown through a side door into a private room, obviously a room for the dancers to get changed in but rather than good looking women it is currently filled with big burly fist fighters, taking up a space at the back of the group she folds her arms and proceeds to glare at anyone who looks her way whilst the man goes up to talk to what appears to be the organiser of the fights, he points her out to the organiser earning himself and the organiser one of her glares.
The fight organiser leaps onto a table, after sorting things out with the nondescript man, and addresses the group
“Since it seems all of our fighters are here and presumably know the rules I'll be explaining how this tournament operates. If you'd direct your attention to this here screen” he says, bringing up a screen
“this tournament is a single elimination tournament. At most you'll fight three times and if you're good enough you'll win an audience with our leader, Rook, to ask any favour you wish of him” a tournament bracket appears on the screen before the organiser continues “you've all been assigned a number and our randomiser will match you all up at random. If you're lucky you might make it to the final without all that much effort, if you're unlucky, well drinks are complimentary for out fighters.” he presses a button on the remote he's holding and a series of numbers fill the initial brackets on the chart, looking at the note she was given upon entering she sees the number sixteen on it and looking up she sees that her number is the last to get selected in the last bracket on the right hand side, this means nothing to her as the order of the fights hadn't been announced yet. The organiser on seeing these turns back to the group
“well looks like the pairs have been decided, now for the order of the fights. This isn't randomised, just so you know. But we'll show you the order of the fights on the screen anyway” he presses another button on his remote, this time a series of numbers appear next to the brackets, the number appearing next to her own being the number eight meaning hers was the last fight of the first round. Again the organiser addresses the group
“Oh and as an added bonus, keep your numbers to yourselves. We'll be showing you each to a private room to prepare so you won't know who you're fighting” he says this last part with a mischievous smirk. Cris finds herself quickly hustled into a small room, more of a cubicle really, with barely anything in the way of comfort. Her anger had cooled, but the ability to give angry glares at will was something of a talent of hers, Cris decides to sit down on the chair in the room and attempt to centre herself for the coming fights using various tricks she had learnt not just from Zack but from various other master fighters.
Some time passes and a scantily clad girl pops her head into the room
“ah, miss?” she asks upon seeing Cris sat with her eyes shut, turning bright red as those icy blue eyes open and focus on her seeming to pin her in place with the intensity of her gaze
“I take it it's my turn to fight then?” asks Cris, she gets up and goes to the door giving the girl a once over as well “hmm you're pretty cute, if it was another night you and I could have some fun but I'm in a bit of a violent mood tonight and wouldn't want to damage that pretty skin” she proceeds to stride down the hall to the main floor of the venue, having sent her familiar out earlier to do some scouting, leaving the stunned girl behind.
The noise of the crowd is the first thing that Cris notices as she walks out of the hallway and into the main room of the club. She makes her way up to the arena that had been built in the middle of what would be the dance floor, ignoring everyone and everything except for her opponent a massive blonde northman who seemed to have muscles on top of his muscles. The fight announcer begins announcing the fighters however Cris doesn't pay attention and just keeps her gaze on her opponent, trying to unnerve him.
With a ringing of the bell the fight starts, the big northerner comes rushing at Cris only to find her elbow slamming into his stomach, causing him to double over in pain allowing Cris to aim a roundhouse kick at his head with her Mana strengthened muscles knocking him out instantly, turning on her heal she walks to the edge of the arena and promptly jumps off, leaving the crowd with their stunned silence. On her way back to her waiting room she spies the girl who came to tell her that it was her turn to fight, beckoning her over
“Fighters get free drinks right?” she asks, the girl can only nod her head “Good, can you get a bottle of Whiskey sent to my room.” the girl finally manages to work up the courage to talk to her
“B-but miss, should you really be drinking when you've got a fight? Our whiskey is pretty strong” she stammers out, causing Cris to burst out in laughter
“oh don't worry cutie, I'm pretty much immune to alcohol. So if you can take your nice little behind to the bar and get me my drink that would be fantastic. I might even reward you for it” she winks at the girl as she says this causing the girl to get even redder than she was before and scamper off.
Soon enough Cris is sat in her room with the bottle of whiskey and a glass drinking, the girl from earlier had gotten it to her quite promptly at the mention of a reward which Cris obliged causing the girl to almost faint upon receiving said reward (a quick kiss on the cheek) she smirks over the rim of her glass at this memory, toying with cute girls was something she never tired of much to the exasperation of both Zack and Crow. Her reverie is interrupted by the nondescript man waltzing into her waiting room, taking one disapproving look at her whiskey before addressing her
“It's time for your next fight. Also the open bar for fighters was supposed to be for after you got knocked out of the tournament.” he says reaching to take the whiskey off her, only to find a blade of light hovering over his arm, ready to sever it at a moments notice
“unlike everyone else here, I can actually hold my drink and if you don't want to lose your arm I suggest you you move it” she threatens in a low voice, the dangerous glint in her eyes had returned. The man moves his hand away from the bottle making sure to keep it within view of the deadly woman
“fine, fine. I kinda need my arm for my work, as you well know. Now will you get off your lazy arse and get to your next fight please?” asks the man. Cris finishes the last of her drink before getting up
“sure, I've only had the one anyway. So where did that cutie who came to get me earlier go? Her coming to get me would have been much better than seeing your, well not ugly, but bland mug” says Cris, leaving the room and striding down the hall, forcing the man to hurry to keep up
“It's because our fight organiser wasn't aware of your reputation when it comes to 'playing' with pretty girls, the rest of the fighters have male staff fetching them and he didn't feel that was the right thing to do in your case hence the girl. I wasn't around to warn him against it of course or you'd have either me or another of our male staff coming to get you for that first fight” says the man, finally managing to pull up next to Cris “and speaking of your first fight, it was over a bit too quickly for the audience's liking so maybe play around a bit for this one and the next please?”resulting in a burst of laughter from Cris, before she whirls on him
“No I don't think that's going to happen, I'm still in a bad mood with your organisation so I have no plans on humouring you any further. If you want a fight to last longer then you better hope your chosen fighter is actually good enough to force me into actually putting in some effort!” she states, pinning the man with her gaze just as she had done with the girl earlier however it doesn't work nearly as well on him as it did on her
“how the hell do you do that? If I wasn't as experienced as I am with dealing with the powerful people of this city I'd probably be shitting myself right now” he says, barely keeping his voice level
“years of experience, Zack's even better at it then I am” replies Cris, turning to walk out into the main room for her second fight which ends just as quickly as the first, as does the third and final fight with Cris ending both in one or two attacks annoying not just the crowd but the tournament organisers as well. Soon enough she's ushered to a private booth to meet Rook, the leader of the Trium branch of the Guild. Rook isn't a tall man, he is of average height with white hair peppered with black flecks and ordinary brown eyes, nothing like Crow (the immortal thief) who is tall dark and handsome personified but Cris know it is not the cover of the book that matters but rather the inside and from all she has heard about the man sitting before points to a incredibly intelligent and shrewd man
“ah, miss Antares, it's so good to see you. Take a seat” says Rook jovially, motioning to the seat across from him “you're as beautiful as Crow says, how is he by the way? I've not seen him since the last Guild leader meeting” Cris takes the seat across from Rook and sends the server to get her whiskey from her waiting room
“Crow's just fine, he's immortal after all, he's probably got his cock in some whore right now” replies Cris resulting in a guffaw of laughter from Rook and a sigh of exasperation from the nondescript man
“charming as always” me mutters eliciting more laughter from Rook
“come now Paul, you yourself have met Crow and you have to admit what she says is most likely correct” he says addressing the nondescript man, Paul, this amuses Cris greatly
“Holy shit, your name is just as bland as your appearance. But I didn't come here to discuss Crow and whether he is or is not fucking someone right now” she says “I'm here for my prize. I did win your shitty tournament” any veneer of civility dropping from Cris as she bluntly cuts straight to the heart of the matter, Rook keeps his smile plastered on his face while Paul just pinches the bridge of his nose as if he has a headache
“of course. We're both busy individuals Cris, I can call you Cris?” he asks, Cris just nods at this preferring to just be referred to by her given name rather than her surname or her title “I have the general gist of what you want and as my aide” continues Rook, nodding to Paul “has probably informed you we have no jobs that would be considered a suitable payment for the information you seek. In fact it was my idea for you to gain the information through the prize for this tournament since I can't just give it you for free, I can't be seen to be playing favourites” Rook takes a sip of his drink whilst Cris leans back in her chair with her arms folded waiting for Rook to get to the point
“We of course do have some of the information you seek, but it's not really much. The priests are incredibly secretive around the existence of Godslayers so it might be faster to just let you investigate on your own with all the resources you can find. Paul give her what we've managed to find out so far and tell out informants that they are to cooperate with Cris here” says Rook before draining his drink and leaving. Cris sits a while longer with her own drink in order to receive what little information Trium's Guild has on the Godslayer as well as confer with Paul as to where she could find the informants she needed to talk to. Before long Cris has a plan of action to get what she wants and has also finished the bottle of Whiskey and after cajoling Paul into giving her a lift to her hotel she leaves the club, sparing only a moment to direct a playful wink at the girl she had been toying with before.