The Ashlanders - Chapter 6: The Blind Man's Last Gambit (Closed, Started)

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"Thank you for your... hospitality, Miss Graves. To answer your questions, yes, Lord Basilio has been regarded as his... own man, so to speak." Raphael said as he nervously adjusted his tie once more. He looked to be having some small degree of difficulty with his speech. Viola reckoned that the man was scared of saying something inappropriate about his employer; must be one of the downsides of serving under Lord Basilio. "He doesn't hold many of his peers in high regard. At risk of coming off as a buffoon, I would describe him as a visionary. He has big ideas."

"As for your second inquiry... suffice it to say that my Lord has eyes and ears in all corners of Feroxi. Now, if you do not have any more questions would you like to hear the proposition?" Raphael asked again. Viola took a moment to have a drink from a near by bottle before responding.

"Fair enough, that makes sense I guess; being the man who essentially rules this region certainly has it perks doesn't it? Anyway, now that my initial queries have been put to rest, I shall hear out this proposal of yours Mr. Raphael, given who you work for, no doubt it has a fair degree of importance to Lord Basilio."

Aesop came back with what Ruffles had asked for, and he took it off his hands quickly, starting with the bucket of spirits. "Thanks, man. I know that wasn't easy."

Shoving the door open, Ruffles set the bucket down, and produced a rag from his belt. Thankfully not the one he had degreased the engine vent with. Sticking it in the bucket of alcohol, he gave it a squeeze and then passed it briefly under Elizabeth's nose. The reek of alcohol had a smelling salts effect, and some alertness shot back into her eyes.

"You go into shock and pass out, you're fucked." With that, he soaked the rag again and squeezed droplets into the wound, before setting about dabbing at it to clean it, as Sprout turned up again. The sting must have been unholy. When there wasn't a patch on the rag not stained with blood, he threw it aside. Sticking his hands in the bucket of alcohol to assure they were clean, Ruffles applied pressure to the wound. Where was Florian? He'd rather not act until he could be sure what he was doing was fine. He thought it was, but who was he to judge?

He was running out of time. "Sprout. I need you to go find a shirt. One of mine if you want. Then take it to the kitchen, stick it in a bowl pan of water and put it on a boil. When it's been at boiling point for a couple of minutes, empty the water and bring the pan with the shirt in it back here. You got that? And don't burn yourself."

As an afterthought, he also said, "and bring a cup!"

Ruffles had quickly taken the necessary tools for this job from Aesop, thankfully starting with the bucket of alcohol. "Thanks, man. I know that wasn't easy."

"Man you have no idea." He ran in and knelt down at the woman's side, just to... he didn't know. Comfort her maybe? That probably wouldn't help considering they had just kidnapped her, they did kill the woman responsible for her gunshot wound but that probably wouldn't be of much use unless she had a little in common with Warren, and even then he'd surely prefer to just kill everyone responsible or not if he was hurt. She may be a bit calmed by Ruffles despite him having being the one who killer her he at least looked sorry for it, Aesop on the other hand had bitterly put a bullet in her dead head. So he just sat at the side watching Ruffles work, ready to play nurse if need be. Maybe he could put pressure on the wound or somethi-'Dammit, my strap. Why did I give my strap to Casino and leave it on the train? You can't wrap a strap around someone's shoulder! Fuck me this really is an off day.' Aesop found himself staring at the bucket and resisting the urge to sniff the rag before it was made useless by all the blood. This was getting pretty desperate, looking at a bucket full of booze when it was needed to help someone? There was a reason he stayed away from Valhalla, as well as not wanting to piss of Ruffles again... it was the smell. The sticky, sickly, vile, alluring, wondrous, amazing, poisoning, sickening smell...

Ruffles glanced at Aesop, and then looked back when he saw where he was looking. The expression on his face. Taking one hand from the wound briefly, he tapped him roughly on the side of the head. When Aesop snapped out of it, and looked at him, he said in as kind a voice as he could in the tense situation, "go tell the Captain what's going on."

The underlying point was clear enough. Get yourself away from the booze.

Ruffles turned back to what he was doing. He was running out of time. "Alright, fine," he said, more to himself than anyone else. Pausing to get the other Noble to put her hands back on the wound, Ruffles washed off his hands again, making the alcohol a faint pink. Then he opened the red plastic box, which contained an array of needles with their tips pushed deep into a sponge pad. Selecting a small one, he dipped it in the alcohol, then picked up the box of floss. Cutting a strip with the box's edged section, he set about threading it through the eye of the needle.

"Fuck!"

'Now there's the Pixie I remember.' The Gentleman thought wryly. Unlike him, he'd been genuinely worried for a second there, behind the smile and the oily tone, when he'd seen Meredith turn white as a sheet at the very mention of the Basilio name. It was good that she was angry, as Meredith had always been the sort who took inspiration from rage, rather than be distracted by it. He puffed on his cigar again, and listened intently.

"I'm gonna need lots'a these before the day's out. Don't make me sin alone here."

"I'd prefer a brandy, gin, or at the very least a vintage white." The Gentleman said. "However, let it never be said I refursed a lady's offer." He poured himself a small glass of the vodka, took a sip, and briefly grimaced.

"You'll forgive me if I leave the cigars to you. I already have my pipe, and I've had quite enough of those vile implements for one day. Mr. Dufraine just couldn't smoke enough of them, and such a man will insist that you keep up."

The Gentleman too another long puff on said pipe before he spoke again, to take away the taste of the vodka.

"I take it that I am not the only one of us then, who is acquainted with Dio Basilio. Perhaps you'd like to fill me in? There's no need for concern anyhow. The man has his contacts, and the carbon to pay them to be sure, but if any of his other resources were half a match for me... well, he would never have needed me; and I didn't cause such an unsavory interruption of both our little projects back there just so I could leave you in the lurch at the earliest opportunity. So long as we have a deal, then the full extent of my services are yours for the time being, and at no extra cost."

He winked at her, before taking another sip of the vodka.

Josephine stepped back when the door opened to give them a view of Elizabeth. To her surprise, it wasn't the man who locked them here, but several of the men from the train, and they all leaped into action. One of them, Ruffles as he was called, knelt down to inspect the wound.

"Hold her down."

Josephine did as she was commanded as he prepared to extract the bullet. She stroked Elizabeth's hair, whispering comforting words to her. "Do not fret. We're going to help you." When the man pulled out a pair of tongs, she gulped. Elizabeth began thrashing as he inserted the tongs into her wound and began digging for the bullet. Josephine did her best to hold her down as she cried about how much it hurt. Soon he found the bullet and pulled it out. "Good girl. It's all over now."

"Alright, you put pressure on that wound of hers. Push down as hard as you can and don't stop. I'll be back in a minute."

"Please hurry." She continued to hold Elizabeth as the rest of the men came back one by one with Ruffles' requests. When one of them returned with a bucket of alcohol, she nearly reeled back at the smell. With all of riches that they've stolen, would it have killed them to carry some fine wine or something less...revolting? The man who had brought it here looked like he couldn't handle it either, and Ruffles quickly sent him to the captain.

Since she still had to hold the wound closed, Josephine held her breath as Ruffles continued to work. Of course that couldn't last, and when she had to catch her breath she caught a whiff of the wretched alcohol again. "Where did thou procure this ale?"

"Good God man I'm a priest, not a doctor."

Florian hissed at his two fellow emergancy medics, hoping the young patient and her friend wouldn't hear. Since back in the land of audiable speech he was busy cooing calming words and pleasent things to them, putting his voice in that tone that Lilith always made his accent sound sexy or 'Sexay' if she'd had something to drink. Other than that all he could do was wash the wound and make sure there wasn't anything left in it. As far as he could tel the bullet hadn't left any shrapnel. yes, gone were the days when Florian smiled at the thought of making some poor sawbones weep at the sight of their patient's inards turned something resembling pie filling.

Oh lord is this what I put those poor people through? Of course by 'those people' he meant the medics.

"You may want to bight down on something." He handed Elizabeth the leather bookmark for his bible. It wasn't like he needed it, Florian had read the thing more times than he could remember but this wasn't the time to lament his limited reading material.

"Well, you have your extra pair of hands. Let's get to work!" He tried to sound encouraging for Ruffles while rolling up his sleeves, ready for whatever came next.

"Good luck everybody..." But that last part was whispered in his mother tongue

Ruffles nodded, and put the needle to the flesh of the Noble's wound. Ignoring the pain he must be causing, he threaded on, looping around and around, binding the skin and being careful not to prick into deeper flesh. As he pulled the stitches tighter, pulling the flesh taught and shutting the wound. Using the blade of his multitool, he severed the floss he'd used as a stitch and sat back.

"Now. Where's Sprout with that boiled shirt I asked for? I wanna use it to bandage you up proper."

Aesop was snapped out of his thoughts by Ruffles pushing the side of his head and saying in his softest tone "go tell the Captain what's going on." They both knew what it meant.

Aesop whispered "Thanks man," quiet enough just so he could hear and he rushed out of the room just after Florian had entered. He rushed down the corridors before realising he needed to find a window or a toilet or somewhere he could vomit. 'oh shit, too late!' were what went through his head as he spewed out his anxiety all over the floor. That fucking smell, god he hoped he would never have to be anywhere NEAR that bucket of evil once again. "I'll clean this up later." He rushed to the captain's room and pounded on her door, "Captain! Cap-" he then realised Pixie probably didn't care about the hostage and he didn't want to get a lashing for sounding so urgent over something that she may have considered a small priority. "Um, Captain?" he said quieter.

"... So long as we have a deal, then the full extent of my services are yours for the time being, and at no extra cost."

Pixie took another swig of her vodka. Her mouth and throat burned, but her mind was still crystal clear. Getting drunk tonight would prove difficult. She stared at the bottle in her hands as he spoke. Her eyes remained glued to it when she replied, "Ya'wanna know our history, do ya'?"

Pixie's eye slowly moved from the bottle to the Gentleman. Somehow it felt as if she were looking him in both eyes with her one. Leaning over the desk, Pixie came mere inches from the man's face and slowly peeled back her eye-patch. He had never seen under her eye-patch before. In fact, he knew of no one else alive that had. A jagged, deep scar ran across the top of her cheekbone, eyelid and brow. The eye itself was grey, cloudy and lifeless.

Pixie laughed, "Let's just say the two of us go way back." She concealed her bad eye once more and sat back down in her chair. "You don't know the real Dio, Gents. I reckon there ain't another soul alive that does. He's done a mighty fine job hiding the beast inside all these years, but believe you me... he's not someone you fuck with." She snatched the vodka off the table for the umpteenth time and took another swig. "That's all yer gettn', partner."

After a few moments she let out an exaggerated sigh and stretched in her seat, "Look, you leave this Maribel situation to me, got it? You focus on wow'n me with some fancy plot'o yers 'er somethin'."

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"... Anyway, now that my initial queries have been put to rest, I shall hear out this proposal of yours Mr. Raphael, given who you work for, no doubt it has a fair degree of importance to Lord Basilio."

He nodded eagerly, "It does indeed, Milady." He winced a bit as the words left his tongue. He was so used to speaking to nobility that he had completely forgotten how to interact with the common rabble. He shrugged it off and continued. "My Lord was to wed Lady Elizabeth Maribel on the morrow. She was to arrive by train today. Misfortune fell upon her however, as it's been reported the train was attacked by bandits. She, along with two others have been taken hostage by the infamous bandit, Pixie and her 'Iron Maiden'. My Lord would ask that you rescue his betrothed and bring back Pixie's head. If this piques your interest you are invited to come to his tower at noon tomorrow to discuss the contract. Is this agreeable?"

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"...and bring a cup!"

Sprout had already made it halfway down the hall when Ruffles' final words reached his ear. Making his way past the drunk party-goers, he made it to the kitchen and started boiling some water. He had been so frazzled he had completely forgotten about the shirt. Looking down at himself he muttered, "Fuck it," and proceeded the take his shirt off and dunk it in the pot.

I'm gonna make this right. I'm gonna make this right. I'm gonna make this right.

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Elizabeth's breathing had been calm for awhile. Some part of her knew the pain wasn't over and she had been trying to calm herself in anticipation for the second act. She screamed through her teeth when the needle pierced her flesh and tears streamed down her face. After the first bit of thread had passed through, her eyes shot open. Red, puffy and soaked
in tears, she stared up at Josephine who squeezed her hand to comfort her. Elizabeth's eyes thanked her just before the needle returned for another attack on her flesh.

She screamed again.

"It does indeed, Milady." Raphael said as his body tensed up briefly for a moment. "My Lord was to wed Lady Elizabeth Maribel on the morrow. She was to arrive by train today... would ask that you rescue his betrothed and bring back Pixie's head.... tomorrow to discuss the contract. Is this agreeable?" The mention of both Pixie and the Iron Maiden had certainly made Viola perk up a little. She had heard tales of the Maiden and it's deeds, how rumours noted that they stole from the nobility, and gave to those who were less than well off. This had caused her to have a begrudging respect for them; sometimes she thought the nobility could do with taking down a peg or two.

"The Iron Maiden huh? Well this certainly got a whole lot more interesting, and this might explain the 'incident' with the trains. I'll tell you now Raphael, Pixie and her Iron Maiden bandits are quite the formidable posse; and if Lord Basilio is smart enough, he's going to have to hire more than one bounty hunter in order to pull this off, I mean I know I'm good, but I am no miracle worker." Viola said as she stood up from the bed, fumbling about with a hand in one of her pockets from a much treasured possession.

It was a circular shaped tin badge, with a star shape cut out in the middle, and engraved on the star, were large letters spelling out 'SHERIFF'. Aside from the revolvers, the badge was one of the few mementos that Viola carried with her of her father, Elijah Graves. Whenever she looked at the badge, it filled her with a feeling of hope and guidance, and knowing that he was with her in spirit.

Viola chuckled slightly to herself as she stared at the badge, then looked at Raphael as she flipped the badge like a coin.

"Mr. Raphael, go tell your employer... that The Gunslinger is coming to town." Viola said with the sound of determination in her voice.

The Gentleman's expression remained fixed, as hard as marble, when Meredith showed him the ruin underneath her eye-patch. However, a particularly observant soul may have been able to see a twitch, as his jaw muscles clenched a little harder. His smile was back by the time Meredith moved the subject forward to his offer, and when she did The Gentleman slipped his hand inside his coat, and produced a newspaper, rolled up and ties with string. He placed the paper lightly in front of her.

"Today's Feroxi Herald. Read it, and see if you notice anything amiss. I'll give you three guesses, if you like?"

"... Read it, and see if you notice anything amiss. I'll give you three guesses, if you like?"

Pixie rolled her eye and sighed, "You know I ain't got time fer yer games, Gents." She picked up the paper and scanned it for a brief moment: Basilio Wedding to be Held This Weekned. "Well there's a typo in the frontpage headline. And they say journalism's dead." The Gentleman could taste the sarcasm on his lips.

She tossed the paper across her desk towards the Gentleman, "I've gotta a lot of shit on my mind right now. Get to the point."

The corner's of The Gentleman's mouth curled upwards, as he shook his head and tutted.

"Ah Meredith, don't tell me that the sight's going in your other eye as well. I might start to worry." he simpered. "Very well, if you're in no mood to play, then simply observe..."

The Gentleman took the newspaper, and rubbed lightly on the headline with his thumb. The ink smudged on the page astonishingly easily, and he held up his now black thumbprint for Meredith to see.

"They just don't make them like they used to, do they? Strange, when you think about how four of the largest carbon mines in the world supply their raw material to the Saatchi Media empire; and yet, every rag under their banner appears to be more cheaply made than ever. The quality of the ink has been getting poorer by the year, I've been testing it myself. So, it leads one to ask, where is all that carbon going?

As I'm sure you're picking up by now, the Saatchi papers have been, for a fair while now, little more than a front for the largest carbon laundering that has ever existed. All it takes is the tiniest fraction skimmed off the top of each delivery, and soon you have a stockpile of raw carbon worth hundreds of millions in the old money. All of it unmarked and completely untraceable. The raw produce is then pressed by some very talented forgers. Other families invest generously in the Saatchi's, and lo and behold, everyone's investments are returned, and them some. If the Saatchi's hadn't started getting greedy, I might never have found them out. What's more, now they've been skimming more and more off their own produce, the secret vaults underneath the Saatchi Central Printing Depot even more well occupied than usual."

The Gentleman leaned a little closer, his eyes alive with an ambition that so rarely overwhelmed his usual calm.

"I can tell you now Meredith, without a drop of dishonesty or hyperbole, that this will be the biggest heist either of us have ever performed in our lives, and we may well never surpass it. Say we split it 60:40. I could retire on a haul like this. I won't, of course, but I could. As for you... you'd have enough to keep The Maiden and it's crew in drink, bullets and engine oil even if work stayed dry for a year and a half, and still have enough left over to give every scrawny urchin from here to Diamond Springs hot suppers for a week.

So, if I were you Meredith, I would start becoming a very generous host indeed to your oldest friend."

"... So, if I were you Meredith, I would start becoming a very generous host indeed to your oldest friend."

Pixie leaned back in her chair and laughed, "Oldest friend?! Friends fer the longest er most elderly, 'cause I ain't gonna argue the latter!" Her eye started to well-up as she laughed. "Let me just go get yer dialysis machine and we can start talkn' numbers, you old, fuckn' coot!"

This olive-branch had gone a long way in setting her mind at ease. What was once a cheap facade had transformed into authentic joy. Once the old man jokes started coming the Gentleman knew he had indeed won her over. Unfortunately, it wouldn't be as simple as he implied and they both knew it.

Pixie wiped the tear from her eye and her laughter faded. She tapped her desk nervously as she thought to herself for a few moments, "60:40's a pretty rough split, Gents." She thought a bit longer and then continued. "Fuck it fer now. We'll talk about that later. I reckon you understand things went to shit today and it's lookn' like we're gonna be spread thin in the comen' weeks. If we're doin' this we're doin' it with a small crew. If that ain't an option we're gonna hafta put it on hold. I---"

Suddenly, someone started slamming on the door, "Captain! Cap-"

Pixie stood up, fire in her eye, "Fuckn' Christ on a cross, Aesop! The fuck'er you screamn' about!?"

"Fuckn' Christ on a cross, Aesop! The fuck'er you screamn' about!?" he heard her shout from the other side. Yep she mad.

Speaking quieter but not at all calmer (although he damn well tried and it was more out of nerves from her than urgency), "The um, the the hostage that got shot in the shoulder, she's fucked up Captain. Ruffles and Florian are trying to fix it.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. just thought you should know..."

The Gentleman turned his chair around, before standing and striding over to the door. Opening it, he looked down upon the stammering Aesop. His blue eyes sparkled, but they were light reflected off ice.

"This is most unfortunate." he said, in a tone that was in turns both smooth and tart, like sour cream. "Although, I suppose it matters little if the girl's alive or dead. Dear Dio's not like to show us any quarter either way."

He turned to Meredith, to see what she would do with the news.

"... just thought you should know..."

"Fuck..." Pixie muttered under her breath.

"Although, I suppose it matters little if the girl's alive or dead. Dear Dio's not like to show us any quarter either way."

Pixie met the Gentleman's gaze with what was likely the most frightening stare he'd thought her capable of. Something he said had upset her. A lot. Strangely her rage subsided almost as soon as it had appeared and when she spoke it was with a calm, collected, yet firm voice, "That ain't an option." Her attention shot to Aesop. "Bring me to her."

As the pair were leaving the room Pixie stopped in the doorway and looked back to the Gentleman, "We'll continue this lil' chat later."

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Sprout staggered into the room with Ruffle's requested items and sat them down at his side, "How's she doin'?"

How's she doin'?"

"She's doing fine. Though I doubt she'd agree with me, and I can't say I blame her," Ruffles said in an absent minded way. An uneducated onlooker might think Ruffles lacked concentration for his task in an almost dozing fashion. In actual fact, the oblivious stillness he was enraptured in as he stitched flesh was the result of focus he usually only reserved for his work as an engineer. Even the footsteps of an approaching Pixie, which made everyone inadvertently stand to attention didn't damage his glazed calm.

Pulling the thread taut, Ruffles severed it quickly with the knife of his multitool, and plucked the shirt from the pan Sprout held, and slashed it open down the front, twisted it and began binding the hot, damp cloth around Elizabeth's shoulder. Then he took the tin cup from Sprout, he thrust it into the bucket of Valhalla until the bubbles stopped and then offered it to his impromptu patient. "This'll burn like a bitch going down, more than the fancy-pants port and wine you're used to, but it's all I got to take the edge off for now."

Josephine watched Ruffles work at stitching Elizabeth up. On the outside, the wound looked much better, and she could only hope the same was happening on the inside. When he finished, she started tapping the maiden's hand to let her know that everything was over. "Good girl. Tis over now," she whispered.

The man then offered Elizabeth a cup of that wretched alcohol. "This'll burn like a bitch going down, more than the fancy-pants port and wine you're used to, but it's all I got to take the edge off for now." Josephine practically reeled at the idea of either of them consuming that fluid. It could have been poison for all they knew! But the more she thought about it, it wouldn't have made sense for him to go through all this trouble in healing her only to poison her seconds later.

She delicately took the cup from his hands and took a tiny sip from it. "Burning like a bitch" was putting it mildly. Her entire body shook as the alcohol went down, numbing it along the way. It was the most terrible thing she had ever consumed, but it was alcohol nonetheless. She held up Elizabeth's body as she raised the cup to her lips. "Hark now. He is right. Tis the most vile thing I've ever tasted! But it shall dull the pain, that I assure you."

The Gentleman met Pixie's death stare with a look of mild amusement. He did wish she'd take things a little less seriously at time. Though, he thought that of almost everyone he knew.

"We'll continue this lil' chat later."

"I can scarcely wait." he replied with a mischievous grin. As soon as she and Aesop had gone, the door swinging shut behind them, The Gentleman rose, wriggling his fingers inside their white gloves, and set about snooping through Meredith's private correspondence. Well, he'd be a pretty poor scoundrel if he didn't spy on his business partners.

"Bring me to her." Aesop nodded and began leading her through the ship, stepping over his vomit as he did looking embarrassed and flustered as they entered the room. Aesop looked on at the scene and smelt the alcohol once again. Even worse, the noble had to drink it to numb her pain. Drink that fucking poison. That same fucking poison that once ruined Aesop's first attempt at sobriety on the ship. He had to get out of this fucking scene, 'I'm useless to them all anyway', he thought as his self doubt and lack of self confidence began creeping back in.

"Um... is it a good idea to leave that guy in your office Captain?" said Aesop as he backed out of the room a few steps. "Should I um... gooooooo check he's not planting a bomb or something?"

Smiles walked and thought for awhile. Seemed people went out of their way to avoid him, as was the usual. Killing men apparently made you creepy if you did it with a smile, but cry like a bitch afterwards and you're a-okay! He sighed in mild annoyance as he passed a door, hearing something inside.

"Blue moon~, I'm no longer alone, without a dream in my heart. Or a love of my own..."

Warren smiled, looking around. Casino's room, or just about. Hadn't he seen Sprout skulking around here a few times...? And hadn't Lilith been on the other side of the mission? Might as well see how that went, not much else to do except keep to himself and lounge about.

Smiles Leaned his rifle on the wall, and knocked on the door. "Warren here, mind if I come in?"

With no hesitation whatsoever, Elizabeth grabbed the cup and downed it. It burned like hell and smelled of death, but it managed to divert some of her attention away from her wound. As she reeled back from the drink she coughed and nodded, "Y-You're right, Milady. It tastes quite awful!"

Pain continued to surge through her body, but the worst of it was over. She loosened up in Josephine's arms and looked to Ruffles, "Thank you. I fear I would not have lasted much longer without your aid."

Sprout sat back and watched the young woman drink the "poison" with envy. Then he reminded himself why she had to do so and felt like an idiot. Getting shot wouldn't be worth all the alcohol in the world.

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As they approached the holding cell Pixie could sense Aesop's growing anxiety. Then the stench of Ruffles' special stuff hit her like a freight train and she understood. However, before she had the chance to send him off they had arrived. Elizabeth looked like hell, but it seemed as though the storm had already passed.

"Should I um... gooooooo check he's not planting a bomb or something?"

Pixie quickly dropped down to a knee in front of Elizabeth to examine Ruffles' handiwork, "Yeah, sure. Knock yerself out." She replied in a dismissive tone. She nodded in Ruffles' direction as she looked over the stitches. "He fix you up?"

Elizabeth nodded in response. She was still trembling. Pixie was surprised she hadn't gone into shock considering their lack of anesthetics. She was a tough girl, this one, "Good work, but I'm gonna haft'a kick y'all out of here now." Pixie said as she placed a hand on Ruffles' shoulder.

Sprout hopped to his feet, "But I was gonna--"

Without turning her gaze away from Elizabeth and Josephine she barked, "Out. Now!"

Sprout bowed his head and wandered out the door. I just wanted ta' apologize to her is all... He thought.

Elizabeth looked to Josephine and back to Pixie, "What's this about?"

Lilith raised an eyebrow as she heard a knock at the door.

"Warren here, mind if I come in?"

"What the hell does he want?" She said quietly to herself as she got to her feet, swaying slightly as she did so. She had drank most of the bottle of scotch, and it was kicking in quickly. Her hair was still quite damp as she picked the towel off the floor and wrapped it around herself. Lilith drunkenly sauntered over to her door, clumsily slipping back the lock, she opened the door, propping herself on the door frame as she did so, mostly to stop herself from falling over.

"Why hello there handsome." She smiled at the scarred man, her speech slightly slurred. She slowly blew a plume of smoke towards him, before taking a swig from bottle of Scotch. "What brings you to my humble boudoir?"

"Well hello handsome. What brings you to my humble boudoir?"

"Usually the clothes come off after talking to me. Nice change of pace." He mused, still using all of his will power to keep his eyes on her face. At least he wasn't bothered by her smoke. Combined with the slurred speech and lack of clothes, seemed she was celebrating...

'Not that slurred, definitely not with Sprout.'

"I wanted to know what happened on the other side of the mission. Busy?" He offered what was once an affable smile, leaning against the doorway.

"Yeah, sure. Knock yerself out."

Aesop gladly left, running down the corridor in a hurry as he dashed throughout the ship. This day was just... "Fuck I really need to just go to sleep. Just hurry up sun and go the fuck down and end this fucking day already!" he talked to himself out loud as he ran. The stench was killing him. Maybe he could find something to distract him from the booty of the train, booty? Was that the right word? Ah fuck it, doesn't matter. Games, books, smokes, dirty magazines, just fucking something. He didn't even care what it was just something. He sped through the rooms and in his anxiety kicked in the door of Pixie's office. In the speed in which the human mind works in the space of one second a million thoughts exploded in his mind but they were all the same thing 'THE FUCK ARE YOU KICKING THE CAPTAIN'S DOOR IN FOR DUMBASS!!!!! ARE YOU INSANE!!! YOU'RE BEING RETARDED AESOP!!!!'

Ruffles shrugged and straightened up. "Yes, ma'am." Glancing at his patient, he said, "you can keep the booze." Collecting his needle box and the box of floss, he turned on his heel and left. "C'mon, Sprout. We got some sodas to open. But first, Aesop."

Taking the boy by the shoulder, he moved through the door and turned to head the way to Pixie's office, where Aesop said he'd be.

I wanted to know what happened on the other side of the mission. Busy?

"Oh, that." She frowned before turning around and sauntering back to the chaise lounge, raising a hand and lazily waving in a beckoning motion. "Take a seat." She thought about getting dressed, but decided that she really couldn't be arsed. Besides, she knew the crew long enough to know the guy wouldn't try anything.

Lilith sat down, elbow on the arm of the chair, she rested the side of her head on her hand, her legs curled up behind her, leaving enough space on the chaise lounge for the man to sit. She shook the bottle in her other hand. "Can I offer you a drinky drink?"

'Knew it; knew it; didn't know it; already stole it; he'll be dead in a week; boring; not going to happen; I'll make sure there are no witnesses...'

The Gentleman's train of thought went on in this fashion, as he ruffled through Meredith's personal logs and private correspondence, having taken only a few seconds to pick the lock on her desk draw. Even when you have known someone fro as long as The Gentleman had known her, it was only sensible together some insurance. He was not a man to be blindsided by unforeseen developments. Besides, either leaving him alone in her office was such an uncharacteristic oversight that Pixie deserved to have her privacy invaded, or more likely there was nothing in here that she didn't want him to know.

The approaching footfalls were so heavy that they could only some from a grown man out and out sprinting. Out of the four options, Ruffles was indisposed, Florian was hardly the type, and Smiles could have come in anytime he wanted. That left Aesop as by far the most likely choice. Calmly, The Gentleman gathered all the notes and files in the correct order, and placed them swiftly back where he had found them.

By the time his suspicions were confirmed, and came Aesop bursting in, The Gentleman was back in his seat, having lit his pipe once more, and was humming some half-remembered tune to himself. He swiveled around to face the door, his eyes first taking in the panting and perspiring Aesop, before travelling over to the sheered lock piece and splintered frame, that now hung forlornly out of place.

"Oh..." The Gentleman said in greeting. "Was the knob stiff? You should have knocked."

"Oh...Was the knob stiff? You should have knocked." Aesop blinked repeatedly as he looked back and forth from the man and the fucked up door.

"Ahhh fuck. Shit shit." Aesop made a weird hissing noise as he stepped out of the room. "Um... get out the room," he continued waving his hand toward himself in a circular motion, "I don't want you looking through her things c'mon I know you will c'mon c'mon..." Aesop's head was getting hazy and he was missing details around him. He wasn't feeling good at all.

"Oh, that. Take a seat."

'So far so good. God that sounds rape-y in my own head.' Smiles shook his head and took the seat, noticing a lack of other men. His mind only got to 'solo par-' before he forced the thought out of his head. He also noticed this room was pretty nice overall.

"Can I offer you a drinky drink?"

"Regular drink is fine." He sat down on the... fancy chair. Looked a bit like a therapist thing. 'O lawdy, daddy hit me!'

"So, what happened?"

"Regular drink is fine."

"Cheeky wanker." She smiled, giving him the bottle.

"So, what happened?"

"Christ, what didn't happen." She stubbed out her cigarette and immediately lit up another. "Did you see that posh twat? The one that wasn't a hostage? I don't think you've met him before, anyway..."

Lilith then proceeded to tell the events of the day.

"Christ, what didn't happen."

'The death of you and all the crew with you.' Thought, and filed it away with all his other snarky thoughts, in the 'shut the fuck up' file. Oh, how brimming that file was, with stupid thoughts and mean observations. Warren noticed her need for cigarettes, was it truly that bad? No one seemed injured, particularly. Did this have something to do with Ruffles, and why his mouth was bloodied?

"Did you see that posh twat? The one that wasn't a hostage? I don't think you've met him before, anyway..."

Warren kept his thoughts to himself, seemed she was getting ready to tell the story. The man had all but told Smiles it was better to work with him than Pixie. If there were any truth to that, he didn't give a shit. He listened intently to the recounting of events, the hostage situation, the double hostage situation, everyone flipping shit, the third gun and immediate execution, and Pixies supposed sadism.

Sounded like quite the afternoon, really.

He waited for her to finish before talking. "Hm. Sounds like I missed most the fun... if you can call it that." Warren didn't exactly have much more to say. Still, knowing two sides of the story was better than his one, even if he suspected heavily she was being biased. Gentleman or whatever he called himself could offer the third. Then he'd have nothing to really do.

"Hm. Sounds like I missed most the fun... if you can call it that."

"If it had been anyone else, it wouldn't have been so bad, but that kid?" Lilith paused for a moment, closing her eyes while she slowly blew out smoke. "I swear..." She smiled slightly, thinking back to the moment in the corridor with Sprout. "But whatever, the Gentletwat and Meredith go way back, so who am I to say who we can and can not trust?"

She tried to gauge what Warren was thinking. In all honesty, she was a little afraid of the guy, she had seen him in action. He enjoyed killing, and that put her on edge around him. Yet here she was, sitting half naked with him, and quite drunk. You've been in all kinds of fucked up places today haven't you Lilly?

Lilith began to chuckle, "Anyway, I'm sure Ruffles has already been whipped by the Queen Bitch, and I don't doubt I'll be up for a good lashing soon as well." She stretched her arms in the air.

"Ah well, thems the cards we're dealt." She glanced at Warren, "What about you, I imagine your end wasn't a clusterfuck."

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