Liam didn't like being told no. He wasn't good at denying something once it battled past the prelude of nonchalance that he wore as armor to make him truly care about something. Reporting to a supervisor made him more than a little uncomfortable at times and even resentful.  It was not easy to be told to wait when he wanted to run. Sometimes, he felt like no one listened and that the cases he brought before the guards were ignored, but thankfully, he had little regard for the rules and being told no didn't necessarily mean that he would leave a lead alone. It had been five weeks ago that he'd brought a case of illegal smugglers to the team, but with so much on their plates defending the city and breaking up fights, it had fallen between the cracks. Somehow, he hadn't been able to let it go, despite being warned that going in without backup was dangerous. He'd been patient this time; well, as patient as Liam Arbor ever got and done two full weeks of recon and location scouting.

He'd actually planned.  

There was a gala for the new casino opening on the river banks and while it had been nearly impossible to score a real ticket, coming up with a contraband item hadn't been that difficult. It was a large party, with a few bouncers for security, but nothing he couldn't handle. At least, that was what the young man told himself, as he buckled his gun to his leg beneath his tuxedo and straightened his bow-tie in the mirror.

Spiffy. He was almost impressed.

Not comfortable, of course, but if he showed up in anything less, he wouldn't make it past security.

There was something connected in all of the this and he was going to find out what that was - or, more likely, get in a lot of trouble while trying.

Soft, classical music poured out of the open french doors as he approached. It was fifteen minutes past seven o'clock and the party guests were already mingling with delicate glasses of champagne in their hands. 

He took one, too seem polite, but he would not be drinking.

Focusing on a job required his full mental capacity.

To his left there were large, round tables decked in red table clothes where dealers started games of blackjack. He frowned. It made him uncomfortable to see people recklessly throw their money at chance. It had ruined more than one person in his family. Still, in order to come back with a report that actually meant anything, he had to catch the croupiers in the act. That meant blending in and even particpating in the games.

He took a deep breath, waited for a chair to empty, and placed himself at a table with a good vantage point. Around him were several stern faced men with cigars, old women in floral, and to his right, a young woman with red hair like his sister's favorite mermaid and a dress that resembled like poured wine. 

I wonder if she's cursed not to speak. Liam wondered, as the games began. 

Her general aura certainly made him speechless. 

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Back to when she was a child she was never taught what was right or wrong instead it was the other way around. How that wrong was right and right was wrong. Learning from a young age the opposite way she should act. Being raised on the wrong side of the tracks so to say. Her biological father thought he was giving her the best shot at life whilst he was doing the opposite in a way. Giving her away to people who would end up using her abilities and powers to do bad. Learning from a young age how to do simple and illegal acts. Knowing how to pickpocket was one of the first things. How nobody would suspect a little kid to steal their money or belongings whilst they weren’t looking. Then it all built up to different things, more bigger and illegal shenanigans. All in all she loved being a con artist it was all she knew before coming to Evermore. The only thing she knew. Never having another job before. Always relying on her own secret talents to pay her way. Like most con artists she loved living the life of luxury. Able to have their hands on expensive things. All that someone could ever dream of. It all came down to how good of a con artist you were to how long you could keep up without nobody suspecting you. So you could perform the con. 

It always amused her how stupid people could be at times. How she was easily able to fool someone in giving her their private details. Whether it would be bank details, security codes. They were too memorised by her to realise they were being conned, then after it was all too late and she was long gone. After becoming Ambassador, Kaelyn knew one thing that she didn’t want to give up that part of her life. That conning will always be a part of her that she couldn’t give up on. That she’d only have to be more careful when doing so, to be more clever at covering her tracks. Too it helped having a fellow con artist in the city, Alexa who was there giving her a helping hand. There were only a few people who knew of her side job that being Wyatt, her cousin, Alexa and her ex-girlfriend Riley. She was still heartbroken over her recent break up but she knew it was for the best. How there were people who were after her, targeting the people who she loves. Both her and Wyatt thought it would be best if Riley left the city for her own protection. Even if it was hurting her each day she’d been gone, that it’s for her own good. Whilst her and Wyatt were trying to figure out the unknown people who were targeting her. Still she felt she was constantly having to look over her shoulder all of the time, even if there was nothing. All she hopes that her and Wyatt are able to figure it soon so she can go on to living her life properly. 

Each heartbreak hurt more than the one before. For so long she kept her walls up not letting anyone in or herself to love again. In fear of her hurt being hurt feeling broken, that's how she’s feeling right now. The Diviner knew she needed to do something to get her mind off Riley. Choosing to go back to her old habits of conning. Her safe place. Instead of going to something little, she chose to go to something more bigger. Having her eyes set on a bigger price. It was one that took weeks in the making and planning. How it was the same for any con, all needed a lot of preparation and planning. To think of anything happening. Kaelyn had heard talks from different of her contacts that there were big gamblers in the city who were having their own underground casino night. All was perfect to what she wanted. How she was always good at playing poker, easily able to read people. Seeing what their next move was. She was able to get herself access into the place using different of her own contacts who were able to get her in. Giving her the perfect opportunity to rob people blind under their own noses. For this she knew that she had to dress the part to blend in. How this was a classy event with people with big money going to it. Picking out one of her expensive long red dresses that showed a bit of cleavage something that was a must for cons like these. 

Night had already fallen in the city. The redhead made her way to where the casino was happening. Giving the secret address and access code that took her to a building that had a secret access point. Taking to an underground basement that was like it’s own casino and old night club. Walking down the stairs, Kaelyn had noticed how all eyes were on her, memorising people who her appearance. A small smirk appeared on her lips knowing her plan was already falling into play. Walking through into the crowd as she entered the place she took champagne glasses from one of the waiters walking around. Sipping the free and expensive champagne whilst she looked around to seeing where she wanted to be. A few minutes later after figuring out where to start out her con, she took a seat at one of the poker tables as one of the bystander watches so she’s able to figure out what the person’s moves were. The person who was sitting beside her left with someone taking its place. Looking over she saw a male with blonde hair in a cheap suit sitting beside her, making her raise a brow almost. Almost able to guess that he got a ticket just like her, someone who isn't meant to be here but got themselves into the secret access. 

Liam had never exactly had an eye for trouble. He'd had to be responsible for as long as he could remember. It was seldom that he got time off and when he did, he was usually sleeping. It had been several months since he'd had a night out, let alone one where he'd had to put on a tie and pretend he knew something about upper society. Those kinds of graces were all but a mystery to him. He'd practically raised himself, so apart from the manners books that his middle school had prescribed as part of their curriculum, he was completely in the dark when it came to how the affluent functioned. If he actually had money to bet away, it may have been an interesting past time. he enjoyed cards and logic, but there was something off about the way the dealer was behaving tonight. He hadn't spent much time in casinos, but he could tell that the twenty-one cards in the deck for the game of blackjack should have been spread a lot differently around the table. Either a player was holding cards, or the casino was running a scam just like he had suspected. Liam watched carefully as the redheaded woman came to sit next to him. Her smirk was subtle, but it was enough that he knew she was judginging him. He'd used the look one time too many not to recognise it on another face. 

The cards in his hands were good, but not good enough that he'd consider himself lucky. However, the human wasn't hoping to win any kind of prize by showing up tonight. It had been hard enough and he'd fibbed like Pinocchio just to get inside.  At least his nose wouldn't grow while he was trying to take down bad guys. That would be an extremely awkward tell. The blonde crossed his legs under the table and examined the two jacks and random numbers that littered his hand, while holding it close to his face. Despite that he didn't have ambition to win, it was never a good idea to show the other players the cards that you held. His time with the guards was showing him how to slow down and formulate a plan. This night had been impromptu and Liam was aware that he was positioned in a fairly guarded underground facility without backup, but sometimes a lead was too good to wait. It wasn't like he'd get lucky and the elderly woman in floral to his left would wield knives or the pretty woman in red was a master of...

He peered of the edge of his cards. The initial hope would be mastermind, but in that outfit, he was more prepared to say seduction. Her dress was lowcut and the earrings that she wore reminded him of tiny ninja stars; she was appealing, but not in a way that was desperate. Simply, confident. Liam chuckled. He didn't tend to go for women who looked like they could eat him alive, but he'd always been impulsive and the mysterious aspect of his seattmate was about to drive him crazy.  

The dealer called the round and one by one, each player made their bets. Liam looked again at his cards; well, hopefully, he didn't come out of tonight completely broke. That actually sounded worse than dead. He hated not being able to control the direction his life was heading and as much as he disliked it, money ran society, which mean if he had less than little, he was likely doomed. As others made their bets, Liam folded his hand and sat back in his chair, trying to gauge the reactions of the two most serious players and their connection with the dealer, who stood in the middle of the circular table. There was a slight, but nearly imperceptible nod from the man on the left and the highest bet was placed. The woman in floral slammed her deck on the table with surprising force for a woman who seemed like she belonged in retirement and forfeited the hand. The winner collected and Liam stood up, trying to seem inconspicuous while he spotted each bouncer around the room. Although he wouldn't drink it, he reached for a glass of champagne. The best con only ran well when the conman blended into the scene.

The room was bleary with smoke. Many of the patrons had pulled out cigars that he was sure had more value than his clothing. It was difficult not to have a visceral reaction. Smoke was one of the only smells that reminded him of worse days. Liam slipped onto the back patio, which was private enough, despite the large french doors that led to it. Outside, the moon was shining and full. The air was fresh and roses grew in giant pots. Roses as red as the dress on the only girl taking up more of a space in his mind than his job. Who was she and why did she have to be so damn distracting?

After any con is finished it’s most likely that they're planning their next one. It’s the way how things worked, with how they're too deep into the game to stop. That it’s like a constant game too many of them. All addicted not wanting to get out any time soon. Both her and Alexa were basically born and raised into the world of conning. How they knew how to steal and pickpocket before they walked. Learning all the different ways, all being illegal. All of it came naturally to them, how they just fell into it. It was their calling in a way, for them both not wanting to get out of it any time soon. Yet it all came with the risks. Kaelyn knew she had to be more careful to cover her tracks now but it didn’t mean she was out of the game completely. She just had to change the way she does things. That's how she’s found herself getting involved in underground dealings when it came to gambelling or illegal selling of valuable artefacts or stolen jewelry. Rather than the trade of illegal substances how that wasn’t for people like them having their eyes on a different prize. It was easy for her to get on in with the secret illegal underground poker and gambelling there was going on. How it just depends on who you know, having many connections all over. All came useful, especially for things like these. 

The Redhead wasn’t the best poker player yet she wasn’t the worst. It wasn’t her calling but she knew all she needed to know how to con and trick people. What she found always helped her the most was to watch people’s body language and facial expressions. How those two things always helped her to see when another is winning or losing. That many poker players were not so clever to cover their own nervousness. Or sometimes when she was desperate enough to win she would use some of her Diviner powers to see what the other cards were. Yet that was always a last resort as it could easily go wrong and ruin her cover. It most worked to her advantage using those simple tricks, only a few times has it let her down when some people she was playing were more twisted than her. Years back she had sat in and watched a poker match between some members of a mafia, that was an entertaining night to say the least. To see how the best of the best go against each other. When a lot of money is won or lost. How she learnt not to throw money all in one move. 

Kaelyn had noticed when someone took a seat beside her, able to sense that it was their first time here. She was good at reading people almost the best. Able to pick up on things that the human eye wouldn’t notice. Just things she’s learnt all the years, that's why she was good at what she does.  There were two other people at the table with them, she knew she was up against at least one good player. The other two players were the blonde male beside her rather than a woman who looked like she should be near to going to a retirement home but loved to gamble. The Redhead picked up her stack of cards holding them to her, seeing which ones she had in her hand. Out of the corner of her eye she could see how the blonde beside her was holding the cards in a different way that she’d seen before. That they were almost glued to his face as he was holding them so close. A small smirk escaped her lips amused by it, how she knew he still knew poker. Or to serious poker as they would call it here. The stack of cards she had in her hands were good but they weren’t the best. How at times like these it was the luck of the draw. 

Now was the time to carefully make her move to see what cards she had that she was able to make something out of. How she knew she wasn’t out completely unlike the two others. Seeing how the old lady on the table reacted badly to having a bad hand whilst the mysterious blonde male beside her chose to easily call it quits. Leaving it to just her hand the other poker player in. “Two pairs” The Redhead showed her pairs, having 2 Queens and 2 7’s. Luckily for her the other player only had one pair making her the winner. Finding different coloured chips being pushed her way. Kaelyn was grinning, almost excited at her win even if it wasn’t as big as she wanted. Yet she knew the night was only started. Looking up she watched as the player who she lost started to curse under his breath having lost money as he put it all in one go. As she counted up her poker chips putting them into her purse to use later, she looked beside her seeing that the man was gone. Almost frowning to herself not knowing why she still thought he would have stayed. 

Kaelyn looked around the room for him but could only see people all in expensive suits were all gathered around. She didn’t know why she was looking out for him that he wasn’t usually her type. How she was always more drawn to the people who she could con out of a lot of money. Stepping from the poker table choosing to call it quits from this game how she could see the other player was a sore loser.  Kaelyn started to make her way through the crowd, helping herself to another glass of free champagne, whilst she looked around to see if she could spot him. Soon she saw something that caught her eye, a back patio thinking that's somewhere someone would go if they realized they were out of their league with all the poker games happening. Pushing open the french doors she looked to see the mysterious blonde standing there. “You didn’t miss much, the other person called in quits moments later when he realized he lost” She revealed coming out of the shadows, taking him by surprise how she knew that he wouldn’t have expected her to follow him. “That was just an easy hand, there’s people in there putting a lot of money on the table. Just make sure you don’t go up against one of them, if not you can kiss all your money goodbye” Kaelyn pointed out trying to help him out, not almost for him to see he was in over his head if he went up against one of the best poker players who were here tonight. 

Liam liked to take a breath of fresh air whenever he could. Being outside always calmed him down. One of the best parts of being a guard was how much time that he got to spend in the great outdoors, surrounded by the birds, the breezes, and absolutely no people. Liam could charm people, for sure, but when it came to actually enjoying the company of others it was rare that he found people to truly connect with or converse. Most people tended to care about petty things like their latte orders more than what really mattered. He hadn't had the time to care about simple luxuries for a very long time. The guard was well aware that nearly everyone else in the building was either rich or crooked. The allure of the money was tempting. He liked nice things and he knew that there were so many more ways that he could help his family if he had more resources, but it didn't seem right to either bet on chance. He was too good at math to truly enjoy the odds of winning at a casino.

No, he was here to work. It still made him more than a little bitter to see the rich tossing away their money to a group that he knew was running a scam off their backs. He'd not grown up disadvantaged, by any means; his parents had been together until he was eleven and after that his father had still paid half the bills. The only thing that made things different was that unless Liam brought them to the post office, the lights would go off and the water would get cold. If he didn't bring groceries home after school, Beth would end up without anything to eat.  

The young man stared into the night, surprised by how many stars that he could see when they traveled this far away from the city center. It was a nice villa, covered in vines and old roses. For some, this was how they lived everyday. It was a strange sensation to feel both jealous and resentful at the same time. He liked things to be fair and to work for what he got, but it certainly did seem that some people started the race a mile ahead of others. 

As he waited for the action to really started, the slender redhead who'd been sitting next to him slipped out the door. Liam pursed his lips, listening, but not engaging.  "You're rushing to assumptions." He smirked. "Assuming both that I have money and I am here to claim some monetary prize. For some people, the game is a lot more interesting when you remove the stakes."

He had stakes. Stakes in his investigation, but that was nothing he could say out loud.

"Some people," He nodded, shoving his hands in his pockets as he returned through the French doors. "are observers." 

However, as the next round began, Liam found his sense of observation skewed by the mysterious young woman, who now sat across from him at the table. She smelled like spring time and as much as he'd never say anything, he had a weakness for gingers. The cards resumed and Liam kept his eye on the dealer, watching as he subtly played the cards to his advantage.

No wonder the players were getting angry. The game master was cheating. 

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