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PART 2

“Whose idea was it to send Luke over?”  Fungai asked as he, Gloriana, and Leila strolled down the hallway.  Dorian wouldn’t be long coming – he apparently thought it worth his time to talk to this thief himself, and they were lingering to ensure she didn’t go anywhere until he did.
Gloriana made a bit of motion as to shake her head, not impressed at how the events had played out.  “I was supposed to be there, not him. Then the south side had to pick trouble with us again.  I sent Siren.”
Fungai mused, “So Siren sent the chair.”  They were all thinking the same thing:  it was fortunate for Luke that she had. Considering she’d been alone, the thief had still done him some damage. Plus those failure thugs of Uriah’s had been kicked around well beforehand too.
Leila chipped in drily, “Of course Luke’s still butt-hurt about the whole theft thing.”
Fungai had digested what Glory had replied with, considering someone else who could have helped. Not that.. Luke would have wanted it. He hadn’t even wanted Siren there, that was for sure.  “Where’s Lawrence?  Luke wouldn’t have gotten his ass kicked so bad if he was there.”
Gloriana wasn’t about to deny that.  “He had to meet the necromancers, something having made a discovery, of sorts-“

--

As she came to, Lilac could feel the point where she’d been struck, that spot on the side of her head hurting awfully. That area would be bruised for a few days.

Reality sharpened quickly. The coarse material of rope around her wrists and ankles was new to her, but recognizable. Lilac didn’t open her eyes immediately, nor pull at the ropes, instead letting herself wake up further first. She was tied by her ankles to one side of a chair leg, her wrists together behind the back of the chair, and around the shoulders to the chair itself.
There wasn’t much movement, but there was some soft shuffle of fabric here and there and a whisper she couldn’t quite make out. If she were to guess, it was something like ‘coming around’ and ‘the tails’. Just by being awake, there were very soft movements in her tails unlike when she was unconscious, and somebody had thought to notice.

Lilac opened her eyes, quickly seeing she was somewhere other than Uriah’s base. Given her position right now, she was not as concerned with the whereabouts but more the people in the room with her.  
There was a violet-haired, well-dressed man seated on the other side of the table she was perched at. Another present was the blonde man from earlier, his arms folded and bitter-looking. Grumpily, Lilac noticed how the parting affection she’d just about left him with was gone, healed without a trace remaining.  Present as well was the young woman who’d surprised her with a chair to the head. Sure, her head hurt, and a bit of pride hurt too, but Lilac could at least mentally commend – if only to herself - the woman’s stealth.  A larger woman in a smart-looking vest and pinstriped shirt with black pants was among them as well, and something about her seemed authoritative.  There were a few simpler-looking men that she suspected were bodyguards, Lilac able to see the smallest hint of a holster visible under one’s coat.
Everyone’s eyes were on her once she’d moved, and Lilac didn’t even try to stop her ears from flattening.   Not good.  But.. why even tie her up if they were that pissed-off at having their merchandise stolen?
The ropes had to go. Lilac would have summoned Jem, but didn’t want this to turn into a fight unless she had the option of fleeing.  Because the room wasn’t as well-lit as it could be, she allowed the smallest sliver of her shadow-casting form an edge, and sawed at the ropes from behind her back where the chair, her arms, and the ropes would conceal it. Slowly would be the only way to keep it from being seen..

The violet-haired man was the one to break the silence.  “Ah, you’re awake. It’s Lilac, correct?”  If he was expecting an answer, he’d best hope that lack of a correction would be enough of an answer.  “You’re a member of the League, if what Uriah said is true. “ The mention of the traitor’s name had Lilac wanting to scowl, but she kept it to herself and kept a stony expression.  “My name is Dorian Gray. Some of my colleagues you’ve met already..”  A simple gesture indicated the others in the room with him.  Lilac didn’t really move her gaze from Dorian, feeling like she may have heard his name around somewhere before.. but not sure where or why. Not just that, she could feel that the bindings at her wrist and shoulders were almost cut-through. A quick yank would tear them, but she held still, only going to stop pretending when she was ready and sure she would run.  “I cannot say I’m thrilled about any of my wares being stolen.  But.. I am impressed that you could succeed the number of times you did.”
Lilac was listening, but not about to get comfortable with the fact that she was alive after the trouble caused. The situation wasn’t lost on her, she was badly outnumbered and could not expect forgiveness.
“I am aware Uriah hired you to thieve from me. But to make you pay for that idiot’s decision? It would be a terrible waste to do away with one such as yourself. ”


Even human ears could catch gunshots from some other room. Lilac had no need to guess at who the recipients were.  Still, she kept her eyes on Dorian. Rattling wouldn’t do any good at all, whether that was meant to be a scare tactic or not.
The last bindings, at her ankles, were mostly-sawed through now at the back.  
“I, however, hope that you will make better choices with regards to your future employers,” Dorian finished.  With a simple motion to the presumed-bodyguards, he said, “Release her. She may leave.”

Like hell was she going to wait to be unbound.  Lilac snorted and snapped the ropes apart at the points where she’d cut through them. In her peripheral she could see some movement caused by her early freedom, including a couple clicks coming from guns being aimed at her. Dorian gestured sharply at the same instant.  Though Lilac saw the last part of a ‘halt’ gesture, she played it safe and allowed Jem to materialize over her shoulder. As a warning.

“Oh, and another thing before you go.”  Lilac looked at Dorian while pulling the ropes from around herself, not about to openly glare but not trying to warm up her gaze either.  Dorian didn’t seem offended by her actions so far, which she supposed was a good thing. (Better would have been not being here.)  “It would be in your interest to keep silent about this conversation.  For one, it could link you to your involvement with Uriah.  There is the embarrassing aspect of your involvement with an idiot like him, but there‘s also the matter of the police force. They are all too eager to prove to the public their efficiency in pursuing justice, no matter the cost.”

“I’m no gossip,” Lilac chose to say simply as she left the pieces of rope on the chair while standing, feeling Jem switching its gaze between all the occupants in the room as if it was glaring in-place of Lilac.
Provided this wasn’t some well-concealed trick.. this was.. fortunate.  As she moved past Dorian and his colleagues, not seeing any sense in engaging them, she considered his wording. Her own had been honest – Lilac had no reason to say a word to anyone. It wasn’t as if she’d been doing anything legal anyway.
Footsteps drawing too close and the sixth sense of someone reaching at her had Lilac near-growling with ice in her tone,  “You touch me, I’m taking your fingers with me for the trouble.”

Luke was caught in her peripheral and did stop, hand extended in all likelihood to push her. When she saw the hand return to his side,  Lilac ignored the nasty look he sent in her direction and continued leaving. She’d find her own way out and count her tails for not being made into a scapegoat by Uriah (at least not believably).
While Dorian wouldn’t know now, he’d not been wrong to assume she would take future jobs. There was too much potential with her skill not to do it all over again. Lilac would simply not let this happen again.. lest the next time she not be able to walk away.

--

The Family present with Dorian had no comment to make as Lilac left. Luke had stalled a venomous response to the woman in-light of Dorian’s presence. While the men accompanying Dorian cleaned up the remains of the rope, to not leave it so evident what had conspired here, Gloriana turned to Dorian.  
“All that trouble.. just to tell her that and let her walk? Any of us could have done that for you.”

Dorian hadn’t even paused at Glory’s comment. There wasn’t a need to ask him again or wonder if he’d not heard her, as she spotted a hint of a smile on his face. It was fleeting, just visible before he walked out the door.
It was familiar to Gloriana, that expression. That was the phantom-smile Dorian bore when he had interest in recruiting someone.

They would be seeing Lilac again, for sure.



--
--
--


Epilogue

The bruise on her head was already gone, courtesy of the quick recovery of her species. Lilac had been fortunate to not see Kira much over the last few days, as her sister would have been curious about the injury’s origin. Better not to tell her, even if lying was an option.
Money wasn’t Lilac’s modus operandi, and it was more the lack of activity that had her musing darkly at the idea of attempting to seek out a new employer. Even if it meant going back into territory like that which Uriah’s gang had operated. Kira’s part-time job, for instance, didn’t suit her. Too many decent people were apprehensive about her skill.. but she had to use it. Shadow-casting abilities like hers couldn’t be left to grow dusty from disuse. And it was unfortunately just too good for sneaky, underhanded tasks like thieving.
Plus there was a bit of adventure to be had in the jobs. Lilac wouldn’t deny that the challenges had allure on their own.

For the present, she was staying at the Hideout. It made sense, being an easy place to catch up with Kira since neither of them presently owned phones.  A new dwelling would be a grand luxury, but then came the greater separation from her twin, plus making rent every month.  
Kira would be further away, but the constant commotion around Heroes’ Hideout, one way or another..  grating, at the best of times.

Lilac left her room, supposing she’d go out and find somewhere to grab lunch before attempting to find a better job prospect. ...Or at least something to do with herself.

Mostly, the waiters typically had their hands full with serving customers - and bouncing out the ones that were getting too unruly. And they appeared to have learnt she was not the talkative twin of the kitsunes here, so when one approached her, Lilac expected to have to direct him to find her sister.
“Say – there was a woman here looking for you earlier,” the waiter – a man of a lizard-like race that Lilac wasn’t positive she knew the name of  – told her.
“And it wasn’t for Kira?” she asked dryly, supposing she might as well pass on the message.

“No, she said your name, specifically. It is Lilac, right?”  Interesting..  Keeping the thought to herself, Lilac didn’t interrupt, the waiter adding what would surprise her,  “She was saying something about having work for you.”

--

The walk was long, but Lilac was somewhat glad for this since she could mull over possibilities en-route. The office that she’d been told to meet the woman, having left a name of ‘Gloriana’ with the waiters of the Hideout, was located within the business district. But it wasn’t that far from the shady district she’d been ghosting in and out of either..

From the lingering smells around, the office seemed like it wouldn’t be too raucous at the busiest times. Today the building was fairly empty.  Lilac drifted in curiously, inspecting the room before she stepped in further and wandered down the hallway.  
One of the scents was familiar.  It belonged to one of...   Dorian Gray’s colleagues..

After a quick knock, Lilac heard a ‘come in’ and turned the door handle.
The woman at the desk, the sharp-eyed and frizzy-haired Gloriana, looked up as she set her phone down, offering only the slightest hint of a business-like smile upon the kitsune’s entry.

“Hello Lilac.”
:iconea-lec:

Part 1: EA-LEC: 'Thief' 1

Now to let everyone wait and see if Lilac is really recruitable material or not. 8D  She's just GREAT with first impressions, amirite??
--
Dorian and his Family, plus most other characters -- :icondiana-hnd:
Lilac Ambrose (and reference to Kira) --  Absolute-Sero (myself)
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