"This one will destroy all honourable algae in my path. Not because it is eidible, and not utilising mouth components, but perhaps with the warming din of fire, for it is not edible... The hourable algae, not the fire... Alrough hourable exuberant force of fire is also quite inedible to most..." Akaiji made himself perfectly clear, making his ussual grandeous arm gestures, and gazing into the sky, as it always did when he wanted his monotone voice to come across as serious. "This one's humble plan is sound, for it would take no longer for this one to explain himself than it would to-..."
He finally looked down. The dishonourable, stinky little primate was gone. Long gone.
Poor hourable primates.
It seemed by their overtly emotional and confused natures, they were truely unable to consider how a proper plan was supposed to work.
Lin's choice for the first stop, and if all went well ideally the last stop before Shang Lao himself, was a dingy little hole in the wall tavern more that, given it's situation in a dank alleyway, was more or less literally a hole in the wall. It's kind of good Akaiji chose to stay behind because he would have had to scuttle sideways to even fit in the alleyway - and even then it would have been a tight fit.
"If for some reason I happen to need you girls, I'll let you know." Lin said with her usual arrogance, adjusting her breasts in her barely-there dress and her hair before starting in. "Try not to fuck this up."
The bar reeked of vomit, smokes, cheap booze, and the even cheaper perfumes favored by lower class triad molls. Sure, Lin reeked of too much perfume, too, but at least hers was the more expensive stuff and wasn't used as a substitute for regular bathing.
Naturally, most eyes were on Lin's when she entered, or rather on her legs, chest, or behind. Those that weren't, were mostly on Meg's behind. Naturally, as wel, there were plenty fo catcalsl and whistles. Lin seemed to enjoy the attention, even if she didn't much care for the source. To her credit, she somehow managed to only flinch rather than explode into violence or threats at the one or two comments regarding her age from the handful of patrons both not too busy staring at her chest or bottom and sober enough to pick up on it.
Ignoring the dirty looks from the nearby triad molls, Lin saddled up to what was presumably a rather higher up triad goon, given his tattoos, relatively expensive attire, and the number of floozies fawning over him prior to Lin joining in.
In between her flirtations, teasing looks and body language, light touching, and more, Lin made sure to order a very strong drink for her new friend. I guess she was trying to get him drunk and talkative?
Meg entered the bar fists clenched and ready for a fight. Unfortunately the only fight she would be having was with her stomach. She had a seat at the bar and ordered a couple pints of strong ale - the barkeep looked clean enough and the taps sanitary. Hopefully the drink would be good enough to keep down. She motioned for Myfanwy to come join her. She needed the company to keep her mind off of things. Since the incident at the monolith, those visions of death and destruction plagued her thoughts. New images and sounds crept in every now and again: the inside of a barrel, a horse's whinny, the clanging of swords and the shrieks of bats. None of it made any sense to her, but for some reason all of it caused her pain. She just wanted to get rid of it. Maybe some drink would help.
Following Meg's lead, Myfanwy found a seat at the bar next to her. The prospects in this bar were...shall we say less than satisfactory, even by her standards. She ordered a large ale and glanced around the bar once more, noticing Lin make her way to an overly tatooed surrounded by tramps. I've got them beat for looks, that's for sure. she thought to herself as she downed a good portion of her drink. She paused to study Meg's expression for a moment...haunted by something.
"You want to share your thoughts?" she asked as sensitively as she could *not very good as a barbarian* She took another swig.
Meg sat at the bar, staring into her ale's froth. It was pockmarked with holes, a fitting parallel for the visions she'd been having. "I don't know, Myfanwy," she said. "I've been having these... visions since the monolith." She paused to take a swig of her drink. Alcohol had mixed results with her dreams. Sometimes they made them less intense and less frequent, other times they make them worse. "I see death, destruction. Oni killing people. Sometimes I'm watching it from the inside of a barrel, sometimes I'm on a man's back. He's carrying me away, he throws me in the barrel and then he leaves. And there's always flame. The fires eat everything. These people, these two people - I've seen them a few times. The man is smashed. The woman is torn apart. I don't know why, but this one always hurts the most, almost like I knew them, like I loved them. I can hear their screams in the back of my mind, all the time, I can't get them out! A part of me thinks it was a mistake joining this group... That way I would have never had to have these horrific visions." She turned her head to look at Myfanwy, only to show that her eyes were brimming with tears and her nose as red as Akaiji. "I just don't know what to make of it."
"That sounds...odd." Myfanwy mumbled, returning Meg's look. She remained silent for a moment, not really sure what to say. "Are they...well, do you think you should share this with someone? I haven't much experience in these things. I am not entirely sure who could help with this." She paused again, then continued, "and you are certain you did not know these people in your dream? Are they from this country, or your homeland?"
"I was born and raised here, as a monk," Meg replied sharply, almost offended at the idea that she was not who she thought she was. "I am certain of that much. My memories go back to my childhood at the temple, and that is as far as they go because that is where they began." She took a swig of ale. "We should do our part to find all we can about Shang Lao. Come on." Meg ordered another ale and walked off towards a table of burly men playing games. "Can I join?" she asked. There was a certain air about her - she had that crazed look in her eye like she wouldn't think twice about snapping the neck of anyone who so much as breathed at her wrong. She slapped down a purse of coins. "Let's see if you boys can hold your own against the best."
The group had to wait for Lin a few more minutes before she left, presumably having either gotten the information, or realizing that her new friend didn't know shit.
They all met up back with where Akaiji was waiting, several young street urchins eying the crabman from the corner in a mix of awe and fear. "Got what we needed." Lin said confidently. "Naturally," she added.
"Apparently our guy's some rich Dragonblood. Frequents the Baihu Brothel a lot, might own the place." She shrugged. "Told ya he was triad," she beamed, "Baihu's Lingzhu Siwang turf."
Another shrug. "Now what?"
Unfortunately for Akaiji, they were not literal street urchins. :/
The giant crustacean didn't seem to have moved from the spot at all, but or really regarded the onlookers too much. It was their function to be terrified, much as it was for kelp to sway in the sea breeze, or much as it was his function to uphold his great master's law. So he just waited for Lin's return, stoically.
"I would say we investigate and terrorise him, but you have already made your operational status clear on my involvement with such subjects." He remarked in return, apparently without bitterness even through it was worded as it was. "Not unless you give this one the ability of appearing in his sleeping chamber at night. This one believes that would be quite effective, honourable but unstable and humorously flawed huemin psychology in mind."
"Was any additional information gathered regarding the female Hong?"
Ganzorig seemed kind of... buzzed. "Oh yeah, information... I forgot to get mine."