Boys' Night Out
At the Bonsai Aviary
The pathways of the bonsai aviary are enclosed by green jade hoops; these repel the flying miniature trees that zoom through the air. It's a pleasant spot to stroll and chat.
"Well, friends, what have you been up to since we last talked?" asks Hollow Moth.
"Chain-smoking," replies Arkadi, "kicking ass, digging up dirt...the usual."
Osprey sits on a jade bench beneath one of the streams which arc over the central pavilion, enclosing it in a cage of flowing water. Ripples of light play over the four Sidereals; the shadows of flying bonsai can be seen though the watery arches.
Malic lounges on the ground, watching the bonsai plants float past. "Getting to know Ember, filling out paperwork. Sleeping.
"And you, Hollow Moth? Staying hollow?"
Hollow Moth leans back against a jade hoop, arms behind her head, and smiles at Malic. "How did you guess?"
Osprey rolls his eyes at Malic.
"I didn't guess. I used my intensely trained and highly honed skills of deduction to deduce it."
"...leave the deducing to the coppers, bookboy," mutters Arkadi.
Osprey straightens up. "Speaking of which, friend Arkadi, what is it you discovered that led to you calling us here?"
"Funny thing about the dead...there's always someone who knows someone who knows someone who's one of 'em."
"Turns out that one of my bar's patron's best buddies' nephew has an in with one of these guys...."
Hollow Moth raises an eyebrow at the description of the source.
"One of the dead?" asks Osprey.
"Yeah...member of Eyeball's court."
Arkadi looks at Moth "I trust these guys, they're good cops..."
"What sort of in are we talking about?" inquires Hollow Moth.
"Brother. Well, ex-brother. And yes, I know...patron's friends' nephew's brother is a cliche...but it happens."
Hollow Moth shrugs lightly. "Alright, then."
"Now, the problem is that I can't FIND the little shit. He exists, I've confirmed that...but he's a fugitive, so he moves around too much for me to get a solid lock on."
Hollow Moth frowns.
"And trust me on this one...when *I* can't track down some punk, he's slippery."
Osprey folds his arms. "Then our course of action seems clear." He stands up, slinging his daiklave over his back.
"Find him, roast him...." says Arkadi.
"It is harder to evade four than one," Osprey notes.
Arkadi fingers the bronze band around his finger. Hollow Moth smiles.
"Err...just to warn you all, everythign I've dug up on this guy is that he's a real sleazy piece of work," warns Arkadi.
"Sister Gia is still training with her sifu," says Osprey, "so she will not be able to accompany us. And I believe Brother Malic mentioned that he has business to attend to with his new... friend."
Arkadi rolls his eyes. "Thinking with his manhood again, isn't he ?"
Malic blinks, having been distracted by a floating tree passing by his face. "What? Oh. She decided to stay with me for a while and I've just been getting to know her, showing her around. You know, all that."
"Knowing her, indeed." Hollow Moth titters.
Osprey doesn't quite smile. "Your heart truly overflows with generous and noble spirit, brother Malic."
"I try, I do."
Osprey turns to Arkadi. "Then let us part ways for now, and reconvene at the gate."
"Back to the East?" asks Malic.
Osprey walks off, passing out of the pavilion's watery shadow and into the golden sunshine.
Arkadi walks off in his usual way, somehow blending in with the crowd despite the fact he never eVER seems to dress like ANYONE in Heaven. Malic drags himself off back to the Bazaar, moving lazily and slowly through the streets of Yu-Shan with Osprey and Moth.
Osprey addresses Hollow Moth as they walk down the path with Malic. "Am I mistaken in assuming that you, too, have contacts within the ranks of the dead?"
"None in particular, I'm afraid."
Osprey looks mildly surprised. "I apologize, then, for making assumptions. The manner of our meeting led me astray."
"I don't get along so well with them. It's a matter of professional pride, you see."
"We can ask Black Ice Shadow," offers Malic. "He's generally not totally unhelpful."
"Professional pride?" Osprey acknowledges Malic's words with a glance only.
Hollow Moth frowns delicately. "It makes something of a mockery out of a funeral if the subject refuses to acknowledge his death."
Osprey nods. "A funerist, then, from the City of the Dead." He raises an eyebrow at Moth, seeing if he has guessed correctly.
Hollow Moth looks surprised. "But no, I assure you, my hometown is living quite well. Unless... have you heard something you're not telling me?" Hollow Moth inquires innocently.
Osprey sighs almost imperceptibly. "I think you and brother Malic are going to get along excellently."
Hollow Moth chuckles to herself. "But no, I came from Lookshy, as it happens."
"Then I once again must offer my apology for assuming. When the word 'funeral' is said in the East, one's mind naturally turns to Sijan. I should have been quicker to recognize your accent; sister Gia also calls Lookshy home."
Malic steps in, saving Osprey further embarassment. "When we get back to the East, we should start looking for the Eye's minions. What did that stuff the nice Deathlord gave us say?"
A serpentine dragon with a feathery crest navigates through the floating trees. As it draws nearer, it becomes clear that it is actually no more than a foot long; its proportions are to the bonsai as those of a full-size dragon would be to a normal tree. The little dragon produces a scroll and hands it to Hollow Moth. Upon reading the scroll, her brow furrows slightly, and she excuses herself. The two men continue on their way.