Children of the Gods: Arc 2 [Game/Closed]

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"Officer my friend was just forced into a building by a strange man." She gave the address and pointed in the direction. If you asked her she did a fairly good job of portraying the urgency, and indeed the officer did head off.

When she was alone Prail took advantage of a nearby alleyway. She planned her assent carefully and would have done a really impressive set of moves were it not for a fire escape, pulled down by her trusty halberd. She was on the roof pretty quickly and the jumps between buildings were no problem. Quickly making her way back to the building the mystery girl had been pulled into, hopefully the police would be here soon, she checked for alternate entranced on the roof or perhaps a higher story window to make her own way in or out if it became necessary to do so.

"I know it was immature and petty, but I didn't harm them. They'll only feel a bit unwell."

"Yeah alright," Nicole said, taking a deep breath to calm down "We're all tired, so long as its nothing serious it doesn't matter, just... don't do it again. I appreciate the support but I can handle a bunch of drunks."

How quickly Andrew's poison had set in certainly seemed to have freaked out the drunks, something Nicole couldn't help smile slightly at out of schadenfreude, though she trusted that he was being honest that they would recover. Still the attention that would cause was more than enough reason to leave the bar.

"Are there any gods or goddesses with whom you hold debts but do not truly care for? I heard tales one of your number killed the Persian devil at the behest of Lord Hades and I'm certain Vidarr owes you a debt for granting him vengeance for his son. Surely you have more unpaid debts such as these?"

Nicole considered this, he might be right that others might use the gods we're friendly with to hunt us down, but I'd think they'd go for those gods themselves first, why wait for us small fry when they could nab a big one after all? Still seeking out unlikely allies could work in their favor, though with that said she wasn't sure about either of the ones Hymir proposed.

"I doubt we can trust Hades, he probably considers his debt to us paid after he helped us in our previous quest," she said, "As for Vidarr I'm not sure, but he's certainly a better option than Hades."

Prometheus spoke up soon after though, recommending Hades over Vidarr. I suppose he would know more about how things stand, but we'll definitely need to be cautious if we meet with Hades.

"Andrew's right. Some of us are tired. As I said - I have a safe place at the moment, though you're welcome to go as you please. Then again, safety in numbers...Whatever the case. We can meet back at Paddington tomorrow, say 10?"

"Sounds good to me," she said, glancing over at Andrew and remembering his comment about trusting her "I'm sure there are a number of hotels in the area, Andrew and I will find one for ourselves, I don't know about you guys but I think splitting up might help avoid drawing attention some, though we should probably stay at least in pairs so we've got some backup if we need it."

"We're all tired, so long as its nothing serious it doesn't matter, just... don't do it again. I appreciate the support but I can handle a bunch of drunks."

Andrew felt a sting of guilt when he saw how frightened the drunks became when his poison started taking effect. He'd expected a more subtle difference in them, but, as he had never used his poison on normal human beings before, he realized that it might have had more of an effect than he had expected.

It is still better than them getting beaten up by the brute, though.

So he reasoned. Prometheus outright ignored both his apologize and suggestion, not having changed the habit of his that included acting as if he was morally above Andrew. Andrew blocked his voice out completely, the tone, the words, anything. Not like the titan would say anything remotely useful, after all.

The group had to leave rather quickly, and Andrew tagged along, following close to Nicole. When Prometheus looked over at Andrew, his reply was a look full of disdain.

"Sounds good to me. I'm sure there are a number of hotels in the area, Andrew and I will find one for ourselves, I don't know about you guys but I think splitting up might help avoid drawing attention some, though we should probably stay at least in pairs so we've got some backup if we need it."

Andrew nodded, and let her get her replies, before he left, waiting for Nicole to follow behind.

Andrew was quiet for most of the walk to the closest reasonable hotel. He kept himself polite, though, without the messages from his mother and Kirsten having arrived, he doubted that he'd stay civil for that long. He was tired. Eventually, they got a hotel-room with two single beds and an accompanying bathroom, and as soon as the door was closed, Andrew stopped smiling.

He dropped his backpack, removed his jacket and shoes, and laid down in one of the beds, staring at the ceiling. "Nicole," he started. "We can't trust the others. Prometheus is incompetent, and very possibly luring us into a trap. He's just some moron, he doesn't have a goddamn clue, and he'll get us all killed." His tone was vicious and hateful. "Jon is dangerous, he'll likely kill us himself, should he get the chance. He returns after a year, having murdered people for his own sake, then gives us this sob-story about how he's had nightmares because he's too much of an ijeet to know what a psychologist is. Screw them,"

Andrew crossed his arms, there he laid in the bed. "Screw them both, we don't need them, Nicole. I'd hate to rely on dad, but he'll help me, and I'm sure he'll help you too. Heck, I bet that if I sell out Prometheus and Jon to him, he'll be very happy to do so. The two others aren't on the list, so they don't matter." He sat up, arms still crossed. Andrew felt odd as he said it, but he was still furious.

"I'd feel bad for them, but they brought it upon themselves, for being such imbeciles, for being so goddamn judgemental, for..."

For insulting me.

Andrew trailed off. Was that really it? He felt as if they were ready to stab him in the back, to harm him and Nicole, but it was just that. A feeling. His mind running loose, distrust building up from nowhere. No evidence had brought it on, just anger. They'd hurt his feelings, and Andrew was ranting, ready to betray them all and bring Nicole with him. It hadn't struck him for one moment, until now, that the so-called threat of Prometheus and Jon was simply... in his head. All because he didn't want to be regarded the way they regarded him.

Andrew frowned -it was a sad, regretful frown- and looked at Nicole.

"Why can't I be myself without getting disliked?" he asked her. "I've... I've tried to do something about how I am, Kirsten, she... she's trying too. But it's all the same. If I lie, force my smiles and pretend to be someone I'm not, people like me. But then I'm fake, I'm a lie, nothing but the lies I tell everyone else. If they find out, I'm a horrible, morally corrupt human being. And no one ever likes that." His voice was calm, he had not raised it once despite his rant.

"It's so... tiring to lie, yet it's the only thing I can do. The only thing I have done, for almost twenty years. I just want to give it a rest sometimes. Not all of it, of course not. That wouldn't be possible. Everything would fall apart then. But at least now, when we're relying on each other for survival.

However, that's not any better, because I can't do anything without making people dislike me. Why do I do that? How should I act? People are never pleased either way, whenever I do something I think is right, it's not. Whenever I try to be honest, people's feelings are hurt. Is my personality just that rotten? Why am I wrong for thinking that I'm superior when objective results, be it tests, competitions or my appearance, proves that I'm better than most people? I'm pretty much perfect compared to them. More clever, talented..."

He smirked, bitterly. "Some superior human I am, if I can't even figure out these kinds of things myself, right? I can't even rely on myself, like some weakling. I don't know how to explain it better, Nicole, I'm just... tired of making people dislike me. I just want to be myself without doing that, but it seems impossible." Andrew looked at Nicole again, gauging her reaction in an almost fragile way.

"Is it really? Impossible, I mean? We're friends, but... That's different. I don't deserve that, I... I just want to be myself. Am I really so cruel, that people feel the need to distrust, dislike, and insult me?"

Andrew stopped talking, his chest felt tight, and he wasn't sure how Nicole would react.

Nicole listened through Andrew's ranting, at several points she started to speak up only to stop herself and let him continue. She knew he didn't really want to sell out the others, he was angry and tired and frustrated, though it was still uncomfortable and even frightening hearing him talk about doing such a thing. Just try to remember what you've talked about on the phone this last year, he's talked about this stuff before, though its never been this bad...

"Is it really? Impossible, I mean? We're friends, but... That's different. I don't deserve that, I... I just want to be myself. Am I really so cruel, that people feel the need to distrust, dislike, and insult me?"

"No, no it's... its more complicated than that," she started, trying to figure out what to say "You know Prometheus is doing his best to help, and I don't know if we can trust Jon but he's been open with us so far so we owe him at least the benefit of the doubt."

She sighed, that was just addressing his initial rant though, giving her more time to think of how to handle the real problem.

"Everyone is different Andrew, you know that much, just because you think one way doesn't mean other people do," she smiled briefly "and I bet you know how annoying it can be to have someone act differently from how you think they should act, its the same thing for some of the others with you, you don't always do things how they think they should be done and that aggravates them."

Ok I think that was a good start, I should probably figure out where I'm going with all this though. She moved over and sat down next to him, putting a hand on his shoulder reassuringly.

"Its worse when you lie, for everyone involved," she said after a pause "you said it yourself its tiring trying to pretend to be something you aren't, and people hate being wrong especially about other people so lying to others is just setting yourself up for trouble later. Just be yourself, and I know that doesn't always help, some people are never going to get along with you but that's fine, don't lie about yourself just to try and make those people happy you'll just end up hurting yourself and others, worry less about others liking you and worry more about being sure that you like who you are."

God I sound like an after school special or something. I hope what I'm saying helps though...

"So long as you act like yourself you'll win some people over eventually, people will at least respect you for who you are, but if you lie then they can't even do that because they don't know who you are," she continued, then smiled before giving him a brief hug "Friends aren't something you earn or deserve, you find them and when you do you do your best to keep them. Some people find friends better than others sure, but that doesn't mean you're any less deserving of them than anyone else."

Was that nonsense or something meaningful? Hopefully the latter...

She smirked though "You could stand to dial the superiority complex back a bit though," she said, poking him in the stomach and speaking with a friendly joking tone "I mean what kind of superior human lets himself get this chubby?"

It was Andrew's turn to listen to the other in silence. What Nicole was saying was making him think, not only about himself, but also about how he affected others. It made him feel better too, to hear that it wasn't because he was horrible. People were different, he did indeed know that, but he had a harder time remembering that they were not only different from him, but from each other. Not everyone would dislike him, even if he didn't lie. It was a comforting though. It wasn't until she pulled him in for hug, however, that he smiled visibly, most of his doubts having vanished by the time she was done talking.

"You could stand to dial the superiority complex back a bit though. I mean what kind of superior human lets himself get this chubby?"

Andrew was baffled by the sudden joke, but he nodded, seeing the humor in it.

"Well, I suppose I'm slightly deluded when it comes to that," he replied, joking as well. There was some truth in it, though. "I mean, I didn't notice before Kirsten commented on it, and even then I had to hear it twice to even consider it." He looked down at the remaining stomach fat. "If only that was all I had to rid myself of to be perfect, right? That'd be pretty great."

Andrew looked back at Nicole, his expression more serious now.

"Thanks. Really, I needed to hear that. To be honest, I do like who I am. I don't really agree with some of what I've done, though. Deceit..."

He trailed of, briefly, before picking up where he had left.

"Deceit is like a venom, Nicole. Some people use it like a way of keeping others away, to protect themselves from others, and to feel safe. It protects them from rejection, by rejecting everyone else from the start. It keeps people away from who the deceiver really is, hurting others in the process. Even the ones they love."

He remembered not only the past shared with Kirsten, but also others. Some, especially the first girl he had ever been with, came to his mind. Andrew continued.

"And the deceiver thinks that the venom won't harm them, because it's their venom, they are the ones using it. However, it seeps through the skin, into the veins, and makes you numb and cold, it poisons your thoughts and makes you believe that your close ones will harm and discard you, the same way you have done with others. And you become worried that the ones you want to let in will see you for what you are, and leave because someone like that is... simply not worth it. I was... so worried that Kirsten would leave me that I ignored the fact that she knew and still didn't want to abandon me. And I lashed out, and hurt both of us.

Lies are an useful tool, though. I don't think I can abandon them completely. I'll try not to do anything I will regret later. But I might need a little help understanding and letting people close."

He sighed. "I'll ask them myself, though, to go a little easy on me. Do you think I should... I don't know. Talk to Prometheus to start with? I'm sort of... hesitant to ask why he reacts like he does, but if I do find out it might help me understand what I'm doing wrong, and if I should change it."

As he waited for her reply, Andrew stood up and stretched. A familiar sound from his stomach reminded him of that it'd been a while since he had eaten, and using his powers had only made it worse. While he certainly wanted to sleep, he doubted he'd be able to before having at least had a snack.

After making sure that there was a shower in the bathroom, he looked to Nicole.

"I was thinking about taking a shower and heading out to eat," he started, as he went through his backpack. "Would you like to come along? I saw a pretty decent-looking restaurant close to the hotel. It's on me, since I'm inviting you and all." Finding a sort of fancy shirt, and a dark pair of jeans to wear, he realized what it might sound like, and added;

"As friends, of course. I might have had... a number of girlfriends, but I've never cheated."

Prometheus couldn't help but sigh as Andrew and Nicole left - while it certainly was to their benefit to be aware of the state of things, he considered that perhaps it was a mistake to try and shelter someone who was going to actively fight against them the whole time.

Turning to those remaining, he shrugged and led the way. Pacing briskly through the sodden streets, they quickly left the hyper-developed concrete jungle and emerged into a rather suburban row of brick-houses. Built wall-to-wall, the Titan led them up an external flight of stairs to a second-floor unit. The door to his current lodging had a long, red-stripe down the pale blue door - ending neatly on the brass lock. Twisting the key hard, he shouldered the old door open.

The unit had a combined kitchen-lounge, one bedroom and one bathroom. Opposite the door was a large window overlooking the opposite street. Warmly lit and sparsely furnished with mismatching tables, chairs, couches and drawers, all elevated surfaces were covered with an amalgamation of papers, clothes, and trinkets. Several blades of various make and origin were hidden amongst the piles. Prometheus closed the door behind them and turned a multitude of heavy locks, before hanging his coat over a chair and putting the kettle on. The TV nestled amongst cardboard boxes full of clothes was on, showing a documentary about glaciers.

"Sorry about the mess. Make yourselves at home - mind anything sharp. There's lamb and vegetables in the fridge if you hungry."

Removing his boots, he poured himself a strong tea before taking a seat at the kitchen table. Wary of probing Jon for anything but light conversation, he spoke to anyone who cared to listen.

"So, save Jon's questionable antics, has anyone done anything productive over the year?"

It was a poor conversation starter, but Prometheus wanted to establish some form of kinship with the group. If it came to a choice between turning him in or fighting by him, he wanted the odds in his favour.

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

The officer quickly rounded the building, talking quickly into his shoulder-radio, passing straight by the red-door as if it didn't exist, and entering the closest door - a set of doors that entered into a rather high-class bar; a building adjoining Prail's target. The guard at the red door quickly peeled off and followed the officer, sliding a thin blade up his sleeve.

Prail quickly found a skylight entering into the building - however, the frame had long since rotted, and she quickly fell through. Dropping onto dimly lit grey, slightly-rotted planks, she could hear the low thumps of combat below her; brief flickers of movement could be seen through the rafters. There was no set of stairs or ladder below - the attic seemed to be unused and annexed for some time. The hum of a dangerously live fluorescent bulb sounded from below.

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

Rias' strikes proved to be ineffective, until nicking a small patch of skin at the base of the mans neck. This revealed, strangely, a large metal nail. Dislodging it slightly, blood began to trickle from the wound, and the powerful figure began to slow.

Both of their attention was then drawn upwards - Prail's soft-foot fall above them caused no small alarm to the colossal man, who now eyed the stairs leading out - guarded only by Rias.

"Move."

Hymir smirked at the Titan's statement about him and food and replied "We'll see Shield-Brother, we'll see." From there, he followed the titan to his "home"

Hymir had little experience with mortal dwellings outside the motels he'd been living in for nearly a year. Still, it was an interesting place. Hymir followed Prometheus inside and made his way directly to the fridge to stow the rest of his keg. While there, he saw the food Prometheus had - lamb and vegetables indeed - and decided to use one of his older skills; cooking. Though he was much more used to the consumption end of making food for Asgard and Valhalla had no lack of servants, he'd taken the time in his youth to learn the finer arts of food preparation. Thus began the roasting of lamb in whatever combination of sauces he could scrounge from the fridge and cabinets.

"...has anyone done anything productive over the last year?" Prometheus asked before an awkward silence could settle in. Hymir was quick to respond. "You know what I've been up to and how non-productive it was." he said, referencing his poor luck in catching Loki's trail. He remained quiet for a few seconds before remembering that wasn't all he'd done. "Oh, and I also took a class on "computers" to aid me in my search for Loki during which I slew a "Computer Wyrm" which was much less exciting than the name would suggest. It didn't even breath fire." he added.

Once the lamb was done, he placed it on the table for the others to partake of and grabbed a fairly large cut of the meat for himself before settling in on the couch to learn of "glaciers".

Rias took note of both the foot steps above them and her opponents reaction. Was some one hunting the hunters? That'd be nice. She also took note of how he'd slowed after she'd struck and loosened something on the back of his neck.

"Move"

He said while she pondered how to proceed. Rias finally decided on making a go at finishing the fight, and aimed to hit the same spot she'd hit before that caused him to bleed a little and slow. Though given he was more interested in leaving then fighting she wasn't sure if she'd be able to put him down before he could get away.

Shiro was quiet on the way to the apartment. Things certainly were getting complicated, but he couldn't back out now, not with so much at stake.

"Sorry about the mess. Make yourselves at home - mind anything sharp. There's lamb and vegetables in the fridge if you hungry."

Shiro nodded gratefully, and seeing that of the others was already cooking up some lamb and vegetables, s he resigned himself to waiting patiently.

"So, save Jon's questionable antics, has anyone done anything productive over the year?"

"Not much," he admitted, "Just some training and doing some research." Up until the reveal of his parentage, the closest Shiro had gotten to any sort of mythology was in some of his video games. He'd spend the last few days looking up various different mythologies. It had been... interesting, to say the least.

[Damn, double post. Please ignore.]

Prometheus looked on in fascinated silence as Hymir raided his fridge for an impressive amount of meat. The strange and somewhat overwhelming aroma of whatever sauce he concocted quickly filled the room. The Titan quickly grabbed an orange from the counter, before it could be added to the Northmans platter.

"I'm impressed you picked computers up so fast. Took me a good while. As for Loki, do you have a plan for when you find him?"

Pausing to consider his next words, he spoke carefully.

"Removing Loki means one less power between Zeus and any who could challenge him; Odin, your father. And even with your...enthusiasm, he may well just kill you and claim your father's heirlooms."

Noticing Shiro waiting patiently for food, he made a gesture to the fridge.

"Training is good; research is better. I assume your sword was a gift from your father?"

The fall was unpleasant but she'd had worse, at least there was light, she could make out a humming or a buzz she wasn't exactly sure of the difference. Prail paced a little, but there's no obvious exit so she'd have to make her own. The buzzing could have been from a light which would make sense of the lack of windows.

Twirling her blade a few time helping to match her cyclotron of ideas, with a single motion almost instantly she stabs the spear down onto where she'd identified the light to be before leaping back away from the new hole just in case there was a counter attack.

"I'll ask them myself, though, to go a little easy on me. Do you think I should... I don't know. Talk to Prometheus to start with? I'm sort of... hesitant to ask why he reacts like he does, but if I do find out it might help me understand what I'm doing wrong, and if I should change it."

Nicole nodded, happy that her words seemed to have helped, though she had to think about how to respond to this question. Well it can't hurt I suppose.

"Yeah, that might be a good start," she said"Just don't be surprised if some of them don't want to 'go easy on you'."

"Would you like to come along? I saw a pretty decent-looking restaurant close to the hotel. It's on me, since I'm inviting you and all. As friends, of course. I might have had... a number of girlfriends, but I've never cheated."

"Hmm, dinner would be nice," she said, considering the idea "though it might be safer to just order something to the room, someone might spot us if we go walking around outside."

Is that a little too paranoid? Hmmm.

"Though if you're buying I suppose its your call," she continued, then grinned jokingly and spoke again her tone making it obvious she was ribbing him "And it damn well better be as friends, if you tried to pull anything I'd call up your fiance."

"Yeah, that might be a good start. Just don't be surprised if some of them don't want to 'go easy on you'."

"I know," he replied, a bit absent-mindedly. "I honestly doubt it will do much, I don't really think I've got the chance for any of them to be a friend. But something less than openly hostile would be nice, I don't really react well to getting insulted," Andrew continued, then sighed.

"I suppose you already know that, given what I said earlier." Being calmer made it easier to see that he'd been in the wrong, there was a difference between being careful and being paranoid. Andrew decided to let Nicole continue, as he had asked her about something else.

"Hmm, dinner would be nice, though it might be safer to just order something to the room, someone might spot us if we go walking around outside."

"You have a point," Andrew started, walking into the bathroom. He realized that he probably should have asked Nicole if she wanted to go first, but she'd probably address it if she felt a desperate need to take a shower. Turning away from her and taking off his t-shirt -door still open because they were talking- he continued.

"Being careful is good. I don't think we're in too much danger, however, as long as we keep to the main streets and stick together. I would be very surprised if anyone out to kill us would attack us among other people, in that regard we might actually be less safe in here. Then again, even if there's not an awful lot of attention around the matter yet, that doesn't mean that some creature or god can't decide not to give a damn."

"Though if you're buying I suppose its your call. And it damn well better be as friends, if you tried to pull anything I'd call up your fiance."

"You have her number?" Andrew asked, surprised. "Since when?" He then turned back to her, a little. Andrew assumed she'd seen enough bare chests to not care, seeing as she was an athlete. "I'd rather you didn't, though. Call her, I mean. It pains me, but contact should be kept to a minimum, I wouldn't want to put her at any more risk than she already is. Of course, I told Kirsten to call me if anything happens, but hopefully, nothing does." He sounded worried.

"Regardless, unless you have something else to say right now, I'm going to shower. I'll let you decide on the restaurant thing, if you don't feel like going outside would be safe, we don't do it."

"I'd rather you didn't, though. Call her, I mean. It pains me, but contact should be kept to a minimum, I wouldn't want to put her at any more risk than she already is. Of course, I told Kirsten to call me if anything happens, but hopefully, nothing does."

"Relax, I was joking," she said "I know better than to call people who should stay uninvolved in this."

"Regardless, unless you have something else to say right now, I'm going to shower. I'll let you decide on the restaurant thing, if you don't feel like going outside would be safe, we don't do it."

"Alright, I guess I'll think it over while you're showering," she said, before lying back on one of the beds to try and relax. I suppose some real food would be nice after the stuff I got on the plane, so long as we're careful it shouldn't matter too much...

"I'm impressed you picked computers up so fast. Took me a good while. As for Loki, do you have a plan for when you find him? Removing Loki means one less power between Zeus and any who could challenge him; Odin, your father. And even with your...enthusiasm, he may well just kill you and claim your father's heirlooms."

Hymir frowned at the question and paused his eating. "My plan is simple; once I find him, I'll kill him." he said, pausing to let that point sink in. "This is Loki; he's not the type to fall for cheap tricks or cunning plans. To combat him, you must be unbending in will, merciless in stroke, and observant and quick enough to counter his many ploys."

Once that was said, he moved to the point of the "politics" of it all. "Loki is no aid to the All-Father and certainly no ally of Heimdallr. His removal would allow them to focus their efforts away from the enemy within in toward those without. As to Zeus, if the self-proclaimed "King of the Gods" is so cowardly as to ride the waves of our victory, than so be it. If he tries to harm those I care for than he shall be my next prey." he said, not caring one bit of Zeus or his minions had enough omniscience to hear him. He would not make an enemy of Zeus, but if Zeus sought to make an enemy of him, than Hymir would be ready to strike down all who stood in his way.

Rias struck hard at her foe, cleaving away the nail the fastened the strange vein, just as Prail plunged her weapon through the fluorescent bulb. The nail clattered to the floor, rolling to a stop by Rias' foot. Blood began to flow from the wound - glinting in the small amount of light that came down through the skylight. The colossal man slumped in the darkness, nursing his injury, grunting.

The door above the staircase opened slowly, and the door-guard from earlier peaked his head around. Noticing a distinct lack of both his companion and light, he cursed, pulling his jacket hood over his head, and fled, slamming the door behind him, his hand smearing small amounts of blood where he pulled. The noise of sirens soon filled the air - those belonging both to police and medics. Their footsteps could be heard pacing straight past the door, and down towards where Prail had seen the guard follow the officer.

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Turning the handle for the shower, Andrew brushed away the laminate sign, proudly claiming to use 100% recycled water. As he unwound in the spray of a rather ornate-looking shower-head, the fog gathering on the glass screen was parted, and the water turned uncomfortably hot. Steam began to fill the room, and the rough image of a womans face took shape, eyes level with his own. Her voice was airy, yet menacing - her accent hard to place - some form of South American perhaps.

"Murderers are not good company, Andrew. I want the Celt. Name a price."

The head of steam faded away to form two, large eyes, hanging on the glass, watching with patient determination.

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As Nicole lay on the somewhat itchy bed, the sound of sirens outside quickly caught her attention. The red and blue flashes cut through the early evening dark, sending strange shadows sprawling erratically through the window looking over the next street. Her eyes caught the image of a hooded man fleeing from a large, red door - while the police interviewed people on the street, and the medics tended to an obscured body.

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Prometheus was somewhat pleased to hear Hymir's willingness to oppose Zeus, if it came to it. The mans determination was certainly unearthly, though the Titan reckoned that alone, he wouldn't last a few minutes against the trickster-God. Keeping such revelations to himself, he added his heartiest support.

"You are truly committed to your cause. I don't doubt we could subdue Loki. All it takes is planning. Anyway - I'm going to go bathe and then rest. If anyone needs anything, don't hesitate to wake me."

Leaving to run a bath, he snatched a clean t-shirt from one of the many boxes. Removing his drenched clothes into a large garbage bag, he left only the boots. Sinking into the piping hot water, he continued to think with a rather stern expression, his thoughts endless and unhelpful.

Andrew's shower took a turn for the more unpleasant when the water suddenly turned a little too hot for his liking. Normally, he would have just have left the shower and tried to fix it without risking it getting even hotter. However, that suddenly wasn't the main thing on his mind. Actually it was pretty far from that, as the face of a woman appeared in the mist, the rather misty face at the same level as his own.

"Murderers are not good company, Andrew. I want the Celt. Name a price."

The Celt? Jon, right? Why would they ask me? Wait, what's even going on?

"I see," Andrew replied, voice and facial expression making it clear that he was more than a little confused. He wasn't sure where to start, though he decided that the first thing to make sure of was that he stayed calm, even though he was tempted to leave the shower and pretend it had never happened, or even call for Nicole. Instead, he kept standing there, taking it all in, surprised, but certainly not so surprised that he was scared. Just... sort of unsure of how to react.

This is definitely real, though, I doubt I could imagine something as strange as this.

Of course, there was a number of concerning questions to deal with as well. Who was this woman, how did she appear like this? Surely a goddess or something, but still, it seemed... odd. And, how did she know his name and where he was? The way the eyes was hanging on the glass-sceen didn't trouble him too much, honestly, he certainly wasn't oblidged to cover himself up when she was the one appearing -partly- when he was showering. Besides, she sounded like she meant business.

Given her tone, I don't think that this is going to be something I can decline easily. I wonder if there's a personal interest in this for her, if so, I should handle it carefully.

"Who are you? And what do you want him for?" he asked, looking towards the eyes. "If you don't mind me asking, of course. Knowing what he's worth to you would help me figure out a better price, or if it's worth putting myself at risk for."

He wasn't going to sell out Jon, of course not, though, if there was an actual argument there, he might give it a second thought. Not because he disliked the guy, and certainly not because of the insults, but because justice made sense to him, someone killing someone else without a very good reason to do so should be punished. Not by death, though, and hopefully after this mess was cleaned up.

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, and all that.

Still, if this really was about that, wanting to punish a murderer, he supposed he could at least give the goddess a chance to make an argument.

"I doubt certain other people would be happy about me even talking to you, after all. So give me a reason to consider it, and I might."

"Shiiiit," Nicole muttered to herself, hopping off of the bed and yelling to Andrew "Hey, somethings going on outside, hurry up in there I'm going to check it out," before darting out of the door, not bothering to stop to grab her sword and forming her wings behind herself invisibly to move faster. Whatever happened the police missed that hooded man, I can't just sit by and let him run off...

She had to admit she had no idea what exactly had happened, and it was possible the hooded man wasn't actually involved, but that hardly seemed likely to her. This just had to happen right after I said we shouldn't leave the hotel didn't it?

She emerged onto the street quickly and took off after the hooded man, though she slowed her pace to try and avoid attention, only trying to keep the hooded figure in sight. Wouldn't help if the police thought I was the one fleeing the scene, I just need to try and keep pace with him and keep him in sight. I really shouldn't go too far from the hotel though, with that last thought her pace slowed even more though she still tried to keep focusing on the hooded figure.

Shiro was lost in thought, so he didn't really notice when Prometheus addressed him. But by the time he looked up, the man had already gone to take a shower. So, he decided to turn towards Hymir and make some small talk, maybe get to know the guy.

"So, um... Hymir was it? I take it you're here to help us? What's your story, anyway?"

Hymir called out to Prometheus as he left "Plan all you want, but Loki will find a way to break and exploit it." The best laid plans of mice and men do so often go astray and gods were no exception.

As he turned back to the very interesting documentary on glaciers, the Japanese demigod - Shiro he thought the name was - asked him a question; what his "story" was. Hymir shrugged and answered; there wasn't much to it. "Like I said before, my father is Heimdallr; the god who watches over Asgard and the Bifrost. I was raised in Asgard; mostly by him, but in part by the other Asgardians Odin All-Father and Thor Odinsson. When the Loki aligned himself with the Greek drunkard to free Fenrir and Jormungandr, all Asgard realized Ragnarok could be at hand. In hope to stop them, Asgard sent most of their demigods and goddesses down to battle at the Hold where your group stopped Dionysus. I came with them." he said; all true.

It was there he had a decision to make; to be deceptive of his reasons or to be honest. If Prometheus's group of heroes proved untrustworthy, it would likely destroy any meaning he had in catching Loki and perhaps all the power he had to bring to bare. Yet, if he said nothing of them, it gave Loki the opportunity to destroy their team at a crucial moment. In the end, there was but one option.

The truth. "I however wasn't sent." he said. "I wasn't born strong in arm or fast in leg like most demigods; most of my power was lost to me before my birth. My only gift was insight; I inherited the intelligence of Heimdallr and as such no mortal skill is beyond me." he explained. "All my power comes from this-" he said, pointing at his necklace, "-this-" he added pointing at his horn, "-and this." he concluded, hoisting his sword. "All of these I took from my father to delay Ragnarok indefinitely and to stop Loki in the bought time." he explained.

He'd have gone into the explanation of how the apocalyptic prophesies of the Volsung were immutable and how the theft of Heimdallr's sword and horn delayed the apocalypse, but he felt the explanation might take more time and energy than the others were willing to commit at the moment.

"What of you Shield-Brothers? What tale have you to tell?" he said, indicating both Shiro and Jon

Rias's ears twitched at all the sounds.

The shattering light, the slamming door and cursing, the sirens, which where actually bothering her a little from the pitch.

The cops, and maybe paramedics where here, or so she was guessing from the two different types of siren, the other guy had fled, ether because his partner lost, or because of the police, she couldn't be sure which, though her more immediate concern was the person above them.

They hadn't come down when they broke the light, which struck her as strange, as they had passed on an opportunity to take advantage of the element of surprise. She knelt down and picked up the nail by her foot while she pulled out one of her knives. The nail she figured was important enough to not let her attacker have back. "You've been abandoned, and your defeated." Rias said to her attacker while still keeping an ear on whom ever was above her " You've a choice, you can tell me where your partner will be heading, and I'll grant you the mercy of a swift death, or you can refuse, and I'll leave you here, and to Zeus's 'mercy'. Assuming you don't bleed to death first."

Clearly a good time to intervene, Prail leapt into the air plunging her spear down before her, smashing through the floor or ceiling depending on who you asked and landing next to the defeated goon.

"Sorry to interrupt kitten, but you seem to know something I don't. So I'll be taking your hostage hostage." While speaking she'd turned her axe blade on the goons neck, just close enough for him to feel the cold of the blade and the tiniest bit of pressure.

"So, kitty, how about you tell me everything you know? Then this man can tell you everything he knows."

A look of 'really ...' crossed Rias face, weather this girl saw it was another matter give how dark it was. "I very likely know many things you don't, that doesn't give you just cause to try and hi-jack my prey." she said, her tone understandably irate, as she pocked the nail and flipped the knife around so she had a hold of it by the tip. "Now leave, if you don't know what going on, then it doesn't concern you and your only, foolishly, making your self a target."

"What of you Shield-Brothers? What tale have you to tell?"

"Not much to tell really" Jonathan replied "Abandoned at a young age, raised in a catholic orphanage, left and travelled across Europe fighting every place I went and then I got involved with this group"

There was obviously more to tell, but Jonathan didn't really feel like telling the new guy and Shiro his life story at the moment. I time would come when he would; but right now he was more concerned with eating and possible going to sleep, it had been a long day and sleep sounded like the best course.

In the dark of the basement, the injured man grumbled and groaned, the deep sound rumbling beneath Rias and Prail. A slight chuckle escaped him at their bickering, as he continued to try and plug his wound.

"I think I'm going to die regardless. But I have no loyalty to Autolykus - though I don't know where he would flee to. Perhaps to barter for another bronze man..."

Sighing low, his breathing became laboured and shallow. Though slight tremors indicated he was still alive, it was clear he would soon die.

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

The hooded figure began to slow his pace to a brisk walk, and at the intersection at the end of the street, he stopped. Turning to scan the crowd, his eyes met with Nicole's. A bright grin spread across his face, before a sleek, black Mercedes pulled up quickly next to him. The car seemed strangely familiar, though Nicole couldn't quite place it. The man jumped in and the car sped off into the night, leaving a strange silence in a normally bustling city.

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

The eyes narrowed at Andrew's negotiation - there was no humour in her voice, but anger tempered with impatience.

"This is not market haggling. Who I am and why I want him is of no concern to you, as it is no concern to me what benefits you enjoy from his company. I can offer many things. What do you want?"

A small pause, and then her eyes crinkled at the side, as if some malicious smile had spread across some unseen lips.

"You dislike the Titan? I can disable him. Tip the balance of power. Name a price."

"This is not market haggling. Who I am and why I want him is of no concern to you, as it is no concern to me what benefits you enjoy from his company. I can offer many things. What do you want?"

Andrew was unimpressed by the woman's dismissal of his questions. Annoyed too, but most of all unimpressed, if she really thought he'd deal with someone he had no idea was... well then she was either stupid or too proud. However, unlike her he didn't let his annoyance show, just shrugged.

"As you wish." His tone was warm enough for him to still sound interested.

"You dislike the Titan? I can disable him. Tip the balance of power. Name a price."

"If I wanted the Titan disabled I could do it myself," he replied, trying his best to sound like he didn't care. Honestly, he didn't dislike Prometheus, of course not, but if the supposed goddess really could harm the titan that easily, then it was best to pretend he didn't care.

"I see no reason to, it would just make the others angry with me. Now, let me think..." Andrew muttered, looking thoughtful as he washed the last of the soap off his body. Of course, what he was thinking about was how to deal with this. She had made the water hotter, and she probably could do that still, which was not exactly a pleasant or desirable outcome. That meant that he had to get out of the shower. Running off, however, as tempting as it sounded, seemed to be a bad choice too, making her angry was the last thing he wanted.

"I'm sorry, but I'm not interested," he finally said, and turned off the water, stepping out of the shower as he did.

Hopefully, this will work.

"I don't have any reason to believe that you're trustworthy, you know my name yet refuse to give your own, and your offer is vague. It's not worth it, I'm afraid."

Andrew was attempting to be a little polite as he put a towel around his waist and grabbed his clothes. Not waiting for a reply, he went towards the door.

"Don't think there's anything I can do to ever stop being a target, but the two of you have information it would seem, you want to know what he knows and I want to know what you both know. Now seeing as I have a blade to this man's throat. I think the balls in my court."

"Now I intend to be merciful to this man one way or another, I can slit his throat before he tells you want you want to hear or after. If he talks before you do I'll kill him now and you won't here. So get talking. Cute knife by the way."

Her halberd was held out with one arm the axe head pressed to the neck of the strange man while Prail locked eyes with the cat. Prail smiled pleased at how she'd seemingly got the upper hand.

Standing on her tip toes she could roll back if the cat swung and even in this limited room there was more than enough space for Prail to keep her distance especially when her weapon was so many times the length of her opponent's knife.

"So let's start simple, who are you?"

Rias looked at the bronze man, taking in what he said, and back to this arrogant woman. "Really? You think you have control? That's amusing." Rias said as she started sizing her up "He's going to die regardless, and I have the only means to prevent that. There's a nail I removed during my fight with him that has left him in the state he's in now. With out it, he will bleed out regardless." Rias smirked "All your presence has done is made it easier for him to take his secrets to the grave with him."

"IF you stand aside and let me prevent his death, I may yet see fit you humor your request." Rias said as she sheathed her drawn knife and walked over to where the other two had landed to collect them "Cause if he dies, what exactly do you have to barter with again?" she continued as she walked over to her coat, shook it to make sure no glass fragments where on it, and tied it around her waist before returning to where she'd been standing to await this girls reply.

"What of you Shield-Brothers? What tale have you to tell?"

Shiro shrugged. "Not much," he admitted. "My life was pretty dull until a few years ago until I found out who - and what - my father was. Then I got dragged into a struggle to fight a mad God... yeah. It's been an... interesting couple of years."

His thoughts turned to his mother, who must have been wondering how he was doing. "Hey, I need to make a call, but it's kinda long distance."

Nicole stood for a moment or two after the car sped away, trying to place the hooded man. She felt like she'd seen him before, but where... Fancy car... might be connected to Apollo somehow, then again I'm sure plenty of other gods like to travel about in expensive vehicles. She shook her head and started heading back to the hotel, she doubted there was much else she could do out here, the police and the ambulance hopefully had the situation well in hand and she'd been spotted so it was probably a good idea to tell Andrew what had happened.

As she was walking back she decided to get a peek at the scene, she still didn't know if the hooded man was actually connected to it, or if it actually involved the gods at all. Besides I can't go if there is some way I could help, however unlikely that is. Andrew can wait another minute or two, he's probably not even out of the shower yet.

She walked up to the nearest officer, trying to stand on her toes to see past them to the scene and spoke "Excuse me sir, what exactly happened here?"

The tall officer spun on his heel to look down at Nicole, his dark eyebrows hunching over. His shoulder radio spatted something regarding a secured scene, though he quickly muffled it with his hand. The stripes on his shoulder indicated his low rank.

"Sorry miss, this is a confidential scene. Details will be released in a press statement tomorrow!"

Folding his lips, he looked over to the hotel doors, and then back to Nicole. He was clearly posted on guard duty, and remained standing stock still, trying not to make eye contact. Another officer behind him began rolling tape across the entrance stairs - with bold black and yellow, it barred the entrance to all unauthorized personnel.

Briskly striding out of the double doors, a surly, grey-haired gentleman in an expensive suit strode down the stairs, narrowly avoiding being taped. He spoke loudly on his mobile with a thick, cockney accent.

"Dead - that's right, a copper keeled over on the casino floor. And a right lot of chips are missing too. I'm not fucking about - if this isn't handled right, I'm out of pocket and you're out of a job. Find who did this, or don't bother calling back!"

Shoving the phone in his coat pocket, he pulled out two cigarettes and lit them both, the lightly-glowing ends illuminating his short beard and mustache.

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

There was no reply to Andrew as he stepped out of the shower, nor hint of any communication. Opening the door, he discovered the room empty, the occasional red or blue emergency light flickering past the window.

Well, that was simple.

Andrew remarked in his head, and left the bathroom. He opened his mouth to explain just why he was walking into the room with just a towel on, then noticed that Nicole was gone.

"Nicole?"

Where was she? The sight of emergency lights flickering made him worried, somewhat. After all, he had just talked to a rather driven woman, if Andrew's refusal really had made her upset, could she hurt Nicole? That didn't exactly make the emergency next to the hotel better, and he looked out the window. Luckily he spotted her, or what he thought to be her at least.

That is Nicole, I'm sure of it. Why is she checking out the scene, though? What happened?

He could see both police cars and ambulances, but he didn't think there was anything suspicious about that in it self, though it was a bit troubling that it was right next to their hotel.

Still, that doesn't make it right.

He was tempted to rush out and go see her, remind her of that they weren't supposed to split up, but he certainly couldn't go like this. Quickly drying his body and putting on the clothes he was still carrying around, he made another attempt at drying his hair completely -a failed attempt, there was something about his hair that just seemed to hold onto water- and went outside, taking the key to the room with him. He locked the door, then took the stairs, they weren't high up either way. A bit annoyed, he then strolled over to Nicole.

"Hi," he said in order to get her attention, though he masked his annoyance. It wasn't her fault she was curious, he supposed. And who knew, she could have told him, he hadn't heard anything, but he had also been having a conversation with the steam goddess.

"What are you doing out here? I thought we were supposed to stick together." He looked to the scene, from the lack of action from the medical team, it seemed whoever they had found was dead, or had died. Well, lack of action was perhaps a bad word, they weren't standing around doing nothing, but they didn't seem to be in a hurry either, not the kind of hurry one would be in if someone was dying.

"Do you know what happened? Wait, give me a moment." He took in his surroundings a little, clearly working something out in his head. "Someone was killed, probably very recently, the police are involved, they seem stressed, so it might be rather serious. I don't think more than one person was killed, though, it doesn't look like there's enough activity for that, though from the amount of medical personnel they might have been expecting more." He sighed.

"It doesn't really seem like we can do anything about it, though. We might as well go back inside," he muttered, and grabbed her arm. "I've got something more important to tell you." Andrew realized that his way of saying that might seem like a murder didn't matter. Of course it did. It just didn't concern them.

"Well, that's not true, this is important. I meant something more important to us."

"Ok I accept." Prail lowered her weapon and backed away to a wall, twirling her halberd back onto her back. It gave her more time to inspect the girl and confirm the suspicions Prail already had.

Leaning back she relaxed a little but kept ready to move if necessary, "If you're intending to go after the guy that bailed on his friend here then you'll need someone to track them down. Now I'm a veritable bloodhound and there no one I can't find, how's that for a bargaining chip?"

Rias approached the bronze man "Turn on me and I will finish what I started" she said as she pulled the nail from her pocket and handed it to him. She wasn't sure of how good an idea this was but he had information she wanted, she did take a step back though.

"That is a better offer to be sure, though it does raise the question of why your so eager to get involved" Rias said, her tone and stance less hostile then before. "But I should introduce my self before more is discussed. I am Rias, Daughter of the Egyptian Goddess Sekhmet" She said as she waited for the bronze man to fix him self.

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