Connecting to the north side of shattered Higashi Ayase Street using a ramshackle collection of boards, pipes, and ropes, there's absolutely nothing seedy about this district. Homes have been built here nonetheless, from seeping shanties to 'affordable' apartments in the skeletons of old brownstones.
Many of Twisted's darker denizens dwell here, lurking in the empty warehouses and docks that hang from the fringes of the island, sides tumbling off into the very-suitable blackness. If you feel at home, you probably are.
It's a quiet evening on Twisted, apparently. The streets of the Red Light district aren't exactly bustling with activity but there's enough people randomly coming and going to warrant the man in the suit standing in front of Happy's Seven Treasures passing fliers to people as they go past.
"Beautiful women! See 'em all hot and bothered just inside the door! No cover charge after 10pm!" He lets out a long, exaggerated sigh as he looks down at the papers in his hands. "This wasn't what I had in mind when I suggested handing out fliers." Still, he's not one to be deterred. "I'll buy you a free drink if you bloody well follow me inside instead of standing out here like common gutter trash! C'mon! Any takers?"
No matter how much Rystan likes to tell himself that he tries to keep out of trouble, on some deep, base level, he knows better. This is probably why, when that line is blurred by the promise of free booze, the aforementioned thief just kind of quietly turns back around like he hadn't already walked by once.
It's not that attractive women aren't his style. Nor is it that he's broke, although he has been falling a bit behind in his thieving ways lately. No, it's mostly that if they're offering peeks, it's not as fun as if you steal them. That klepto life.
"Somebody say free drinks?" Rystan sort of *slides* up to the man in the suit, his movements fluid and almost too graceful. There'a calculated level of sleeze to the move, just enough in it for most to be dismissive of him, but not enough to cause them to throw him out on his ear outright.
He fits right in.
Lucifer throws up his hands, and in the process tosses the fliers into the air with them. "Right! Finally! Let's get right down to it! Not a moment to spare!" With an equal amount of fluidity of his own, the man in the suit turns, placing a hand on Rystan's shoulders, before guiding him smoothly through the double doors of the club. He extends his free hand back into the air and snaps. "A round of drinks for this fine, upstanding gentleman!" His voice lowers only slightly, "The good stuff on the top shelf, not the toxic pool water we keep on the bottom shelf..." A well placed gesture which could easily be mistaken as a peace sign signifies he wants two of whatever before he continues to guide the new patron directly to the bar.
"Welcome, welcome! Another new face for the Seven Treasures and not a moment to spare." He gives a warm wink to the current dancer on the stage before backstepping onto the barstool beside where he guided Rystan just as two drinks are placed before them. "Yes, well! Don't doddle! Drink up! Enjoy the warm atmosphere!" There's a look to him like he's expecting something but the look is gone as the shot glass is brought to his lips....
Something about Rystan's danger sense tingles at the well-dressed man's sense of urgency, but free drinks and pretty women don't exactly make a losing combo when it comes to overriding his good sense. What little of it there is.
"Sorry, you sell toxic pool water? Well hell, I've been looking for someone to resell mine for ages." He grins in an expression that might be considered disarming, or might be considered the last desperate attempt of a man who has never successfully wooed a woman with anything approaching charisma, eagerly hoping he can at least convince someone that he's a worthy patron and not the pilfering, conniving jackass that he is.
It could go either way, is the point.
With that awkward attempt at conversation out of the way, Rystan tosses the proferred drink back without hesitation. Is it poison? Is it secretly acid?! Is it whiskey? Whatever the consequences, there's only one way to live! Roll the dice, never look back and never think twice!
For Rystan's sake it's whatever the most expensive drink on the menu is, but as it's the Red Light district there's no telling what that might be. It almost looks... green. The man shakes his head dismissively at the pool water suggestion, "No, no. Obviously we wouldn't sell pool water to the swine that walk in off the street." Wait, is he calling Rystan swine? "I simply mean it's below someone of...." He pauses to really take Rystan in a moment and seems hesitant to say the next words to pass his lips, "...our stature." He waves the bartender over, taking the bottle from him as he attempts to refill his glass. "But enough about me!" What was about him? "Look at those beautiful women!" He gestures towards the stage at the back of the room. "God's most precious gift to man, you know." He scowls upwards a moment before his smile returns, "And I should know!" Another drink is downed. Wait, when did he pour it?
Yes, men of *their* stature are in short supply around here. Why, the pair are practically twins, with Rystan's brown hair, brown eyes, and ceramic-pauldroned al bhed flight suit all lining up perfectly with the other man's... ... nothing. The only similarity the two men seem to have is their gender and their taste for black clothes and fine women. But hey, looks can be deceiving. Rystan obviously likes drink, as well. Maybe they can bond over vices!
"Yeah. We're above such petty beverages." He got into that we very quickly, didn't he? He glances out at the women dancing, and makes the kind of face that one makes when he's not *unimpressed*, but also not blown away. "They're beautiful alright, though they're all a bit too 'over there' for my tastes." He gestures in the direction of the stage with a bit of a smirk and... wait. There's another drink? Seems Rystan isn't the only one here with fast hands.
"I prefer my vices up close and personal." He shrugs, and tosses the next round back. It tastes like anise. Weird.
My but isn't he dismissive. "Yes, well. You're the one who's supposed to be patronizing this establishment." He pours another one for himself and on an afterthought a second for Rystan. His eyes seem to sparkle as an idea crosses his brain suddenly, "But you have me curious, what sort of vices are you looking for? What could we do to better accommodate you, the average citizen of the city of Mabase?"
Something about the way he shifts focus seems to spread across the room, or maybe it's just the drink, but it's like the sound has abruptly turned down. People aren't shouting as loudly. The music isn't as pulsating. Even the sound of glasses clinking away behind the bar seems to dull. "Do go on! We could use some proper feedback!" His smile seems to widen suddenly as he jumps to the chase, leaning in closely and flashing his eyes just too wide. "What is it you desire...?"
"You literally pulled me in off the street." Rystan counters helpfully, but doesn't seem particularly accusatory there. He does seem to hesitate a bit when described as the 'average citizen of Mabase'. Oh, if this unnamed-but-obviously-rich gentleman had any clue. Though, Rystan supposes he might be one of the older citizens, if that counts for any-- Oh, the proprietor-apparent is speaking again.
"Hmm?" Rystan notes the room seeming to just sort of *dampen*, wondering if this is anything like that weird animatronic bear he pissed off the other day. Then Lucifer's question lands, and he expects to brush it off with something absurd, like a wacky, waving, inflatable flailing-arm tubeman outside.
But the question doesn't just land, it has *impact*. It crunches through Rystan's sleezy patron demeanor, hits his solar plexus, and lands right in what passes for a soul. He actually blinks, and hesitates.
*Aster, are you alright?* (No, I'm... I can't...)Oo. Rystan's mouth feels like it's filled with sludge around his words, not saying what he wants, but also saying *exactly* what he wants. "I want..."
The thief leans in, and looks his mysterious host directly in the eyes. Rystan's brown eyes smolder, with the kind of heat the human race collectively burns with. His want is strong. Not one of those pansy wishy-washy desires of the common man. No, it's big, and it's heavy.
"I want it *ALL*. This world, and everything in it. The worlds through the portals. Everything in them." His voice gets lower, and the room does *actually* get just a bit darker. Not a trick of focus, but the lights truly dim. "Your life. Every life." His voice actually vibrates, just a bit, like he's echoing and harmonizing with two more of himself somehow. There is an actual fire visible in the dark spaces of his eyes now. Mabase actually shudders, the whole city, just the tiniest bit. "I want nothing to be beyond my grasp, and I want for noone to escape my reach."
Rystan blinks after a moment, and finds his mouth to be his own once more. He swallows and puts a hand to his throat, as if trying to determine what could have caused it to betray him so. "Yes, well... I meant that metaphorically." He did not.
The sound gradually returns to normal volume as the man leans back, genuinely impressed. "...wow. Do you know how long it's been since I've met someone who could say that with a straight face?" He pours him another shot. "Yes, well. Nothing in this establishment is going to help you with THAT, but I do have to wonder what's stopping you?" He looks Rystan up and down again with a more sympathetic eye. "Surely you've found yourself around the town enough if you know about portals and other worlds. Why not TAKE that power for yourself?"
He downs another shot himself, "Obviously you can't take -my- power, but what about everything else? This world is so grueling boring. Are you scared of the silly police force putting you in a little concrete cell? Are you scared of the so-called heroes who would do nothing to help the people who REALLY need saving?" He could probably keep listing off other ways of asking the same question but he's pouring yet another drink for himself and eyeing the bottle trying to judge how fast it's going. Is it normal to drink alcohol like it's literally water and show no ill effects? Probably. They don't have the good stuff on Twisted after all.
"I'm not..." Rystan attempts to find a way to deflect around what he just said, but he went and laid that out pretty thoroughly. He furrows his brows a bit, and looks at the drink, wondering if it could have been that, but dismissing it quickly. No way in hell. "...What did you say your name was again?" He looks distinctly uncomfortable, now.
*Aster, what was that?* (I don't know, and I'm going to need you to get all the way off my back about it.)Oo. Rystan just stares at the man in the suit for a moment, and when he asks his next question, he hesitates to answer, waiting to make sure his face won't release all of his darkest secrets. It seems to be fine, so he shrugs a bit. His brown eyes flash red for just a moment, three black commas briefly appearing in the irises before fading as the red fades back to brown.
"But who says I'm not workin on it? Hypothetically?" There's a flash of a memory. White hair, and a sword. A shudder. This time, just Rystan, though.
The man openly smiles as he's asked about his name choosing not to say a word until it's followed up with a different statement. "Well, clearly you aren't working on it, you're sitting here across from me looking like a common urchin when you should be the king of the world!" He straightens up and that wide grin gets a little wider, "Let me please introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste..." He pauses hoping for the obvious musical reference to be caught but maybe he's being too subtle? "As heads is tails just call me Lucifer. Lucifer Morningstar." He gives a conspiratorial wink. "I'm the Devil, you see." He pauses and sighs, "Not a fan of the Rolling Stones, are you? Well, that's the last time I use that as a calling card."
"Common urchin?" Rystan sounds like he's not sure if he should be offended that his sleeze-projection is working so well, or pleased that the man is cheering him on. He shrugs it off after a moment.
"...Lucifer Morningstar?" Rystan pauses, furrowing his brow again. "The devil?" Yes, that's right, this is where they don't believe, or they do and cross themselves, or all manner of silly human reactions. Go on, Rystan. Which camp are you in?
"Never heard of you." ...You've got to be joking. "There's only the one, then?" Oh, for Dad's sake.
Lucifer Morningstar's face seems to deflate based on the reaction, "You've bloody well never heard of the DEVIL?! The King of Hell? Rules for all eternity!? The Prince of Lies? You-wait, wait. That's fine. That's fine. Sure. Yes. None of that's true anyways, after all why would such a person be here and not ruling? It's certainly not because I went on vacation and then got interrupted by all this multiple worlds nonsense and then got robbed by that accursed clown in the dominatrix skin suit. I certainly didn't follow her here and spend TWO YEARS running this crummy little bar because that dastardly little troll tricked me into taking it over from him so he could steal unmentionables. Noooo."
...and then he just downs the remainder of the bottle in one go. "I certainly didn't end up getting laughed at by the demons in this world's Hell when I introduced myself and tried to get help getting back my property and getting home. No, NO. NOT THIS DEVIL."
This is where someone would normally come to their senses and apologize for going on a tirade.
...any minute now...
The tirade goes on for a while, and Rystan doesn't interrupt. He just wonders quietly if perhaps the devil protests too much. After a minute, he picks up as the conversation totally didn't just go far, far south. "*Oh*, the King of Hell. I know him. Diablo something or other, right?" Rystan manages to at least come back from that total failure, that's something. "...Funny, you don't look like him. One of his minions tossed me out when I died." Rytan takes that drink and downs it, now.
"Said I brought down the decorum. Can you believe that? Of Hell? I should be offended, but honestly it felt kind of like a compliment." It wasn't.
The man cricks his neck, and then leans over in an attempt to put an arm around Lucifer's shoulders. Camraderie! They're buddies now, right? "Don't feel bad, chum. We can't all be famous." BEST buds.
This devil scowls as if the mere name of this world's devil puts a bad taste in his mouth. "The great horned bastard who stole my identity? Yes. Well. Some of us care about personal hygiene and good grooming standards." The rest just gets a scoff, "I led a war in Heaven, but look where it gets me." Wait, what is Rystan doing with that arm?
Nope, nope. Lucifer jumps to his feet, holding his arms to his sides tightly. "Speak for yourself! I -am- famous. These multiverse shenanigans have just gotten in the way of my goals is all. I'm going to find that little ICP reject and get back to my world and my vacation and that's all there is to it." Once he's convinced he's not going to be hugged he'll lean over the stool he was previously sitting in, "However, if wealth is something that would help you achieve your goals I could make you an offer you'd be a fool not to accept."
"Whoo, you led a war in heaven? That sounds like a fun time. My experience with the afterlife wasn't quite so peachy." Another memory flashes unbidden through Rystan's mind, and instead of pushing it away with a shudder, he decides to dwell on it for just a moment.
He's sitting in a room. Dusty, filled with cobwebs and obviously poorly maintained, it is at least a step up from the waiting room they kept him in for... was it actually an eternity? It sure felt like it, and others in the room had literally gotten cobwebs of their own from waiting; and yet in just the latest bout of Karmic Injustice, Rystan got to go ahead of them to this... new room filled with almost as many cobwebs as the last. And a table. And a chair that his hands are cuffed to. And his weapons were taken away. And he's been thirsty for five millennia. Dicks, all of these hellfolk. And along the wall... is that a one-way mirror? Is this an interrogation room? In Hell? For what possible purpose?
A door opens, and in glides a creature of the palest white skin, an open maw with multiple layers of teeth where its face should be. "Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhello." It rasps the H like someone is tearing cellophane, and Rystan winces a bit, but says nothing as it continues. "We'll be exxxxsssssssamining your hhhhhhhhhissssssssssstory of conduct today." It produces a stack of paper six feet tall and sets it on the table. "We'll begin with your childhhhhhhhhhhhood." Oh, great.
Years in the future, speaking with the one and only Lucifer Morningstar, Rystan can't help but wonder how many cenobytes were in this one's Hell. He shakes himself out of his reverie and looks thoughtful. "...What kinda wealth? I can steal money and bodies easy enough." And... bodies? Gross?
A door opens, not in the restaurant but in the narrative. "Yes, yes. It's me again! How dare you begin a scene without me, your favorite narrator? And for what, this CW reject who could barely squeeze himself into a cameo without disrupting his own timeline? What, no Detective this time, Luci?" Hands are clapped, "Oh, and what's this. Rystan's having dreams about darkened Cenobites in crowded rooms? Classic! Now, what can we do with this!?" The camera slow pans from the white via fade to an overhead view of the establishment. "Yes, yes. What's this? A leftover?" The camera zooms to a scratch in the center of the pole with fragments of cloth barely visible. "OF COURSE! A piece of Stocking's stockings when she justifiably murdered her dear angelic sister Panty! Wouldn't it be just terrible if that stripper where to have a cut on her hand and.... Ooooops. She's infected with demonic influence! Welp. My work here is done, folks! Enjoy the palest copy of Tom Ellis who ever graced a text scene!"
Lucifer's voice softens to a whisper, "Oh yes. It's quite simple. Find me that clown girl. Harley Quinn she calls herself. Apparently she's a psychiatrist who lost her mind." His voice resumes it's normal pitch as he straightens up once again, "Not that those so-called doctors are ever in their right mind to begin with, am I right?"
About that time the woman dancing manages to get a scratch on her palm but despite how small of a scratch it is she screams in pain causing the entire room to go silent, but not because of Lucifer's gaze this time. In the time it takes the two to look that way the woman's eyes have turned white and she's leaping into the audience screaming with a high pitched voice and clawing wildly at anyone and everyone she can reach!
"Find a clown doctor, get wealth. Vague, undefined wealth. Could be anything." Rystan opens his hands and spreads them out, as if to suggest the boundless possibilities of what he's being offered could be. "Sounds simple enough. Maybe even worth it. I can steal a clown - how hard can it be?" Well, last time she shot you with a mallet gun, sneakthief.
One of the dancers screams, and Rystan glances over in time to see her go white and leap into a frenzy. Oh, he's seen *that* before. "...Would you look at the time, I have to go... find a clown!" He rises to leave, not really having come into the place to look for any of that... self-aggrandizement. Or whatever it's called.
"Thanks for the drinks, Lucifer-Morningstar." With that, the thief tries to dip out. Our hero.
Rystan vanishes into... places. Shadows? Sure. We'll go with that.
To be continued...