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There wasn't a lot of things that would make Leona d'Fierro uncomfortable, and a brothel wasn't one of them. Still, she hesitated as she stood in front of the Poison Pleasure House, thumbs hooked in the belt loops of her high-waisted black denims, thick red lips pressed into a thin line. The Venetian woman knew she was in the right place: the brothel before her was rather infamous in Evermore City---she'd heard of it not long after her icy return. No, the reason for her hesitation was her getting herself ready. One of her investigators reported that not one of her killers, but someone with answers about Leon's death could be found in here. "He's a regular," the PI had told her. That man wasn't going to be leaving the brothel that night, but he would answer her questions first. Her double scythes were sheathed on her back, the hilts grazing her hip bones, and two karambits were holstered by her sides, hidden by the black leather jacket she wore over a loose-fitted white t-shirt, tucked into her jeans. And just for extra measure, a dagger was secured in the inside of her boot---she was more than ready to take on whatever would great her inside.
Olive green optics cold and expressionless, the Niveis walked into the establishment, relaxing her expression as she slinked along the walls. The sound of her platform Chelsea boots couldn't be heard over the music and sounds of people talking, and so she used that to her advantage by keeping her head slightly lowered, but observing her surroundings intently. Her hands moved to slip into the side pockets of her jacket, and her lips pressed into a thin line once more. The man from the photograph was nowhere to be seen in the hall---he had to be in one of the rooms. Her informant had never been wrong before, and Leona truly doubted he was no. Exhaling deeply, the Venetian creature made her way towards the direction of the room. She had to pass the receptionist's table to do so, and her initial plan was to move without being seen. At least it was, until she noticed who exactly was behind the task.
He noticed her---he had to have noticed her. Her new face was good disguise here: she'd heard that the man she now locked eyes with was Malva's personal guard, and since Malva knew her face, it was very likely that the man recognised her. Letting a smirk toy upon her lips, her wide hues flickered towards where the private rooms where, hesitating for a moment. There was no chance the man she was looking for could leave without her notice, and so she turned back to look at the valkyr, still smirking as she sauntered towards. "Well well," Leona purred once she reached him, leaning forwards as she rested her palms on the desk, "Protector Verlac---this was the last place I expected to see you." There was a sly glint in her eye as she held Damien's familiar gaze, the man who had been sent so many times to fetch her back in the day when the Ailwards summoned her. Their relationship wasn't foul, however they weren't the best of friends either. But for a Guard to be here, in a brothel, definitely piqued at Leona's curiousity. "Why aren't you trailing after your precious dragon friends, hmm?"
He wasn’t like any of the other ambassadors; he was different. Choosing not to change who he was just because he was given a promotion. He didn’t want to change himself to become someone who he was not. Now he just had a different title and more responsibilities that came with it. Damien knew that there were many more other long serving and experienced guards. All those who deserved the position more than him. Yet here he was, the Ailward Guard Commander. The one who was now in charge of many more people other than himself. In the last few years with all the new responsibility he had become more serious. There were some times he was still reckless. Being someone to act before thinking through a plan. It mostly played to his advantage but sometimes it didn't. There was one thing he knew when he first became commander was that he wasn’t going to be one who spent their whole time stuck in an office. That wasn’t who he was. Being a hands on type of person. Wanting to stand alongside his fellow guards. He still had some missions in him. Managing to help to take down a cult who was after Miles. Protecting the manor for an attack at the same time by taking their enemies far away so they could eliminate the threats.
Or the time when he hunted down a group of rogue Therian’s who kidnapped Nadiya. Finding her and uncovering a secret underground prison where supernaturals and others had been all chained up. Taking down all the rogue Therian’s who were in his way, then rescuing Nadiya and all the others. Yet he was a bit reckless that night too. Letting a Valkyr who had an alter ego take his blood rather than to risk her losing control with human blood. Risking his life to save hers. That was there his reckless behaviour and impulses got the better of him than thinking and doing what a normal leader does. Today he stepped away from the manor to help out Nadiya who was away on a work trip. Finding himself working behind the desk at Poison Pleasure House, it was the brothel that Nadiya who was his sire and a mother to him works at. Sometimes he would help out to man the desk. Like times like now. He kept it a secret from the other guards finding it was a bit weird for them to know, and not wanting to know all he does out of work.
There he was sitting at the front desk of the brothel house his feet were propped up on the desk. He was twiddling a pocket knife in his hands to pass the time rather than reading a book or to be on his phone like any other person. A couple hours had passed since he had arrived there had been a few walks in then some bookings the usual. Till he heard the door opening and someone walking in. His supernatural hearing was able to pick it up even with all the music being played. He noticed as she walked past thinking she could slip past him. It was too bad for her with how he was able to see who it was. The face he couldn’t recognize so to speak but the descriptions matched. It wasn’t too long ago since Malva had come to him, pre-warning some people from their past had come back. It used to be his job to keep watch of the phoenix’s in the past when they lived here.
A smirk appeared on his lips as she stopped and walked over to the desk knowing he’d spotted her. The familiarity was coming back to him. Right then his suspicions were right, it was her. “It’s actually commander now” He valkyr remarked correcting her with a smirk till on her face. Waiting to see how surprised she would be. This was one of the last places they would expect to meet at. “I’m not bound to the manor 24/7, I’ll have you know” He started to say pointing out something that others forget. “I’m helping out a friend, she’s out of town. She needed someone to help run the place, making sure it didn't burn down and all” Finding that he had to explain himself to why he was here but he would ask the same thing to her. “Malva told me that you were back” Yet he knew that she’d already expected it since he was able to know it was her. The Valkyr soon cleared his throat as he put his feet off the desk trying to be more professional. “So what shall it be. Is it business or pleasure for why are we here?” He marvelled teasing her and empathising the word pleasure with how it was in the name of the place. He was familiar with what she was like knowing how she liked to play games.
A look of feigned-shock washed over the Venetian's features as the valkyr announced his promotion. "Is that so?" she gasped sarcastically. "I suppose being a boot licker after a number of year does reap its benefits." A smirk then tugged upon his lips, matching the male's expression---Damien had known Leona long enough to know that it wouldn't be a proper greeting from the former-Phoenix without a bit of teasing banter. "Are you not?" she queered to him not being bound to the manor, an eyebrow raising lazily. "That's definitely news to me--it'd seem that your lives revolve the eight."
The woman then let her hip rest against the tabletop, hands still propping her up as she looked at the male in amusement as he spoke. "Lucky for you then, that my name's no longer synonymous with burning, isn't it?" she drawled, rolling her olive green hues. "Did she now?" Leo slurred words hinted with the undertones of her Venetian upbringing when he brought up his charge had informed him of her return. "That's no surprise---I knew once I'd revealed myself to her, the news would travel like wildfire." A low chuckle sounded from her, Leona tossing her head so her thick, dark waves would move away from her face and fall over her toned shoulders.
She watched as the man kicked his legs off the counter, sitting upright in his seat in what she assumed to be an attempt of looking somewhat more professional. This brought a flash of amusement to her expressive hues, and at his words, she couldn't help but let out yet another musical chuckle, especially at how he chose to emphasise a certain word. "Hmmm," she sounded, her gaze sultry as it slowly swept up and down his angular features, her tone playful. "A bit of both, I'd have to say if I'm being honest," Leona confessed a moment later, a smirk still upon her blood-red lips. "Makes the best sort of adventures, no?"
The Venetian creature raised an eyebrow before she spoke again. "I need to find a man who, well, let's just say wronged my family in the worst possible way." She paused, tilting her head to a side. "He's a dark-haired bloke, hazel eyes, rather tall---goes by the name 'Henry Lark.'" Leaning forward, she kept her gaze on the Valkyr guard. "I promise, if you tell me where I can find him here---and I know he's here---I'll play everything by the rules. No killing or unnecessary maiming." Her fingers then moved to draw an 'X' across her heart before rising by her head. "Scout's honour," she purred, looking at the man smugly.
It seemed like his laid back night of covering watching over the desk was no more now with the arrival of the ex-phoenix ambassador. Back when she left years back so did all of the other phoenix’s, all choosing to follow. All bar Sapphire who decided to stay beside and join the guard. Damien never did properly know why they all left then with the arrivals of Nieves. Truthfully it all confused him a little, these days he is barely able to keep up with all the happenings in and around the city. Damien was trying to boost a little of his promotion, looking smug. With how people least expected it to be given to him, surprising a lot of people. Yet he knew that Leona would come out with an insult in return, like always. “You never change don’t you. New face or not '' He teased softly smirking to his old friend-acquaintance. There was no denying it that it was her even if she’d had a re-birth. “We all have a life out of the manor if you should know” He commented little bit sarcastically to how she’d always teased the guards in the part of being so dedicated to their jobs whilst he took a more laid back approach.
“Instead you're an ice bird rather than a firebird?” He smirked at the brunette. Damien could see that she wasn’t surprised that Malva had told him about her arrival. “You always did like to make a dramatic entrance” Pointing out how Leona always likes to cause a little bit of drama. Back in the past everyone knew who she was and what she was capable of. Knowing not to mess with her. Even if she caused him more trouble. Damien knew that she was always up to something. “So you haven’t been getting any lately” He winked at her softly since they were in a brothel and all thinking he’d take his chance to tease her.
Just as he thought she was here to seek someone out. He listened closely as she told him some descriptions of the person, nodding his head a little. The name didn’t ring any bells to him, he didn’t think so. The Valkyr couldn’t help to roll his eyes at Leona as she promised that she would play nice and wouldn’t be killing the person she was after. “Hmmm how many times have I heard that” He uttered to her. “Leona d’Fierro doesn’t place nice” Not forgetting what she was like that a few years and rebirths wouldn’t change her. Putting all that aside he shook his head to her letting her know he didn’t know. “I don’t know anyone of that name. I only cover the desk when Nadiya is off or out of town. Maybe he’s used an alias. You can look at the books and records if you want” Letting her know he wouldn’t be that useful to helping her but at least he’d t
Leona clucked her tongue at the Guard's remark about her never changing, a smirk still toying at her lips as she looked down at him. "How else would I keep my reputation, Commander Verlac?" she slurred, a smooth, velvety chuckle rolling off her tongue. Her fingers stretched along the cool surface of the table, the woman cocking her head to a side as he spoke to her. She nodded in mock agreement at his statement of having a life outside the manor, a patronising glint in her narrowed eyes. "You tell yourself that, dearest," she mused, "and maybe one day it'll come true."
At his observation of her change in species, she rolled her eyes. She lifted her hand, willing some water in a pitcher not far from them to come towards her, hovering about her fingertips before moving in a circle. "Water, ice--it's the same element really, and definitely not as entertaining as fire." A sigh slipped past her lips, and with a flick of her fingers, she willed the water to float back into its previous container. She then arched an eyebrow at his remark about her tendency to make an entrance, a smug looking moulding upon the Venetian's face. "Go big or go home, as I love to say," she uttered with a shrug, a teasing lilt to her accented tone. At his next words, Leona couldn't help but let out a low chuckle. "Have you seen me in this body, Damien? What do you think?" she purred, her teeth tugging on her bottom lip as she toyed at the guard.
She was well aware that Damien probably suspected that she was here to seek someone out---the expression on her face told her that he definitely was not surprised. However, at her promise, he rolled his eyes, causing the Niveis to raise an eyebrow once more. "I'll remind you that I do keep my word and not kill the ones I promise to keep alive." She shrugged, pausing for a moment. "If they try to fight me, however, the maiming does become necessary." Of course, there was no denying that she wouldn't kill the man if he gave her the chance, but death wouldn't come easy to those who didn't just wrong her, but the people she loved. Her heart fell slightly when Damien informed her that the name wasn't one he was familiar with.
However, when he offered to let her look over the books, Leona couldn't hide the satisfied smirk that pulled at her lips. She leaned forward, her hand reaching forward to push one of Damien's curls out form his face. "There's a reason I like you more than the other, Verlac," she quipped endearingly. Straightening, she felt her brow crease just slightly. "Show me these books then, if you'd please."
Without admitting it maybe there was a small part of him that missed the old fire bird. Although saying that he hadn’t missed the headache that she’d given him. All of the running back and being the inbetween whenever she’d caused problems then the Ailwards would send him out. Maybe it's a bit of the familiarity that he missed with all the changes that happened in the last few years, back when everything was much simpler. Who knows. “A reputation that follows you wherever you go. To make sure everyone knows their place and who the one and only Leona d’Fierro is” He mused sarcastically remembering how she’d made sure people knew who they were talking to, even making people fear her. “I try not to spend the day behind a day all day. I hate all of the paperwork and work at that” Damien was eating his words a little with how he was now spending the day behind a desk but it was different. This wasn’t his day job just him helping out a friend.
Damien looked impressed as he watched the wielding water from one of the the pitchers nearby but still it wasn’t as good as before. “I still prefer fire no offence. Remember when you used to set fire to people. Now you can drown them to death?” The Valkyr smirked, teasing her, reminding her of what she used to get up to in the past. Back when she was more dangerous now he’s guessing she’s on good behaviour. Water and ice wasn’t as scary as fire. Damien looked over to Leona looking and taking in her new appearance more. Seeing the curves and features have changed, fuller. “Any face or body looks good on you” He shot a wink to her even if he knew that she was just toying with him.
He was just waiting for her to tell him who she was looking for. It was obvious that Leona was here to seek someone out with how she was trying to sneak and slip past him. If she was here more for pleasure it would be different. Plus he knew her and knew what she was like. That there’s no changing her. Damien wanted to remind her to play nice rather than causing chaos like before. “Just remember there’s no easy get out of jail card like before” He wasn’t trying to sound harsh it was just him trying to sound more of a leader. The Valkyr didn't want to see someone happen then Leona ended up in bad trouble, now she wasn’t an ambassador it wasn't easy like before to get away with things. Damien was sure that she knew that too.
Soon as he told her the name didn’t ring any bells he could see the disappointment on the brunuttes face with how she knew she was getting her hopes up. Then he managed to turn her frown upside down saying that he’d look harder for her. “You just know that I’ve always had a soft spot for you” He teased softly smirking over her with. Letting her get away with practically murder before. “So how much further are you looking?” Wondering how many books they needed to go through. Hoping that the person hadn’t used a fake name which was possible then they’d be wasting their time. It could be in any of the books or records.
"Damn straight," she slurred with a chuckle at his mention of how she had a habit of making sure people knew who she was. "Well, fear not, Commander," she continued, smirking at his remarks about how he got bored being behind a desk, "with me around, you can be sure Malva will have you tailing me making sure I haven't lost my mind again---also, the Niveis don't go insane, so do keep that in mind," she finished in reference to the curse of insanity that befell Phoenix leaders in the past.
She scoffed when he mentioned that she was less fearsome without her fire. "May I remind you, Verlac, that water is always around us," she mused as she willed water to condense into an orb from the air. "For most, it makes up around 60% of their bodies. But of course, for those like you, who I doubt have water in their brains..." she trailed off as she willed the orb to separate into spikes before freezing. Another chuckle sounded from her. "These are great for torturing. So don't doubt my abilities to make the most out of my situations, and trust that I'm just as deadly as before." With that, she let the icicle spikes fall to the ground and shatter.
She simply raised an eyebrow as she left his gaze skim up and down her hourglass frame, a bored expression upon her sharp features."Tell me something I don't know, Verlac," she purred, yet a smirk poked at the corners of her lips. At his warning words about her not being able to get away with things nowadays, Leona couldn't help but roll her eyes. "I'm surprised you think that's why the Aspects haven't thrown me in a pit yet, dear boy," she mused. "Did Malva never tell you of the deal I struck with her lot? To only kill those who've wronged my people and haven't seen justice by the hands of the Aspects?" She clucked her tongue and let out a heavy sigh. "Seems like them to leave that bit out." Shaking her head, she met his gaze once more, a smirk upon her lips as she ran her finger through her thick, mahogany locks. "Whatever the case, you have my word that I'll keep to that bargain---you'll not have to suffer with my absence for long," she teased.
She smiled when he said he had a soft spot for her---in truth, she did like him a little more than the Guards. He had less of a stick up his arse, as she would often tell her family and friends when it came her dealings with the Ailwards. "You're not so bad yourself, Damien," she responded. "I want to say three years ago, max. At least for now. I've seen his handwriting before, so I'd recognise it. Let's start from about a month back first---my sources say he's visited within the last few weeks."