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Hard Lessons, Ch2-Pt3

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“That's a very elaborate claim, one I wouldn't make either.” returned Adrian dismissively.

“Nor would someone claim to be a Were and be affected by magic in that form.” countered Kria.

Adrian rose an eyebrow at the rather accurate detail. SAIA not withstanding, only Alexsi, Biggs and Destaina were aware of this information. Given this was outside of that circle of friends, it made him wonder which of them revealed it.

Kria leant both arms onto the couch side and tilted her head a little, “By the way, you have very pretty green eyes, has anyone ever told you that?” she remarked, they were the first striking thing she noticed. Funny, the mare swore she had seen them before.

Adrian simply stared in return, “A few...” he replied but he wasn't in the mood for compliments given how much of an advantage in information she had over him. The emphasis on his eye colour was enough to determine that a description was passed out too. One name kept ringing in his ear.

“Brelioro was known to be incredibly powerful, no one really knew why. Many who crossed him never lived to tell the tale.” said Kria elaborating on some of the tales that had circulated during her time. She waved out a hand to one side a few times acting dismissive, “While some thought he died since the Cubi-Dragon war, others believed he simply went missing. Heh, to think he was the Red Baron all this time.” Then she shot a direct stare to Adrian again with a smirk, “And then a 'Were', suddenly offs the guy just like that out of the blue? I hardly think so.”

“You know Biggs, don't you.” suspected Adrian.

The sudden grin that was presented from the Mare only confirmed his guess.

“Mm, intelligent too, I like that,” cooed Kria rubbing the sides of a hand along her chin. “So how did you do it, hm? A powerful spell, a lost artifact?” she inquired flicking one of her fingers apprehensively. Her eyes trailed all up and down his form, taking note of the strange glowing object that sat at his hip. There were no weapons visible, but that didn't mean he wasn't armed and dangerous. But then the answer was even more surprising than she expected to hear.”

“I stabbed my sword through his eye.” grunted the agitated Adrian. It was not a memory he was too fond of bringing it up again. It still bit at the back of his mind at what was truly lost with the death of his father.

Kria blinked, “That's it? Nothing spectacular? No hidden power or realization of self abilities?”

“I'm a soldier, I don't spin tales Kria.”

“Shame I was expecting something so much more, impressive,” she replied but smiled broadly, “Well by the sounds of it you just get straight to the point, right?”

Adrian shuffled in his seat doing his best to ignore the pun. There was no sense in beating around the bush anymore he thought, “I'm a Creator.” He stated. “Does that mean anything to you?” Kria's eyes did light up a bit better however but he could tell the term still puzzled her enough to appear strange. She tilted her head a little, the ears asking a subtle but obvious question. “No we don't Create things.”

Kria's smile returned quickly, “Mm, can't say I've heard of Creators. But are they all as good looking as you are?” she chuckled licking at the underside of her upper lip. “I hope so, even without fur... Hmm, I wonder if that as well...”

Adrian felt a chill run along his back. And watched the mare seemingly go off into her own world. Now he was starting to understand just what Dan meant about bringing 'protective gear'. Now it wasn't the first time Adrian dealt with an overly appreciative female, sober or otherwise. But this was going to take a lot of effort to keep Kria on track. Nearly every sentence she made kept trailing off onto his 'looks' or as he would see her eyes travel to areas lower than required.

What could he do to bring her back into a more serious level of conversation?

'Sometimes, do the unexpected.' rang in his ears as a reminder.

“Would you like me to lift my pant leg up for a better view?” asked Adrian tugging on the clothing, pulling it up a few inches so his leg was exposed. Hopefully playing her game might sate her flirtatious advances a little.
“I'd prefer if you lose the pants entirely but it's up to you.” Kria chirped with a bright smile.

Or it could backfire entirely and just encourage her. “You have got to be the most shameless creature I've met so far... no wait, second most.” he said, surprised as how casual the suggestion was. Not that he was about to comply with her request however, not even for information.

“Only second?” laughed Kria straightening out her hair to the side and finally pulling it out from under the towel it had been wrapped in letting the long length fall down her shoulders. “What can I say. I like to play a little, I am only four-hundred and eighteen,” she beamed.

“Four-hundred and eighteen, going on nineteen.” Adrian smirked at the clearly proud demoness. “And still quite the looker too.” He admitted looking up and down her own form for a brief second before shaking his head passing off the alluring distraction.

Kria batted her eye lashes at him catching the watchful eyes returning the appreciative gesture. At least he wasn't being entirely stuck up. “That’s very nice of you. And You don't appear very old if I may say,” She complimented. “Late twenties? Dare I say early thirties?”

“Two hundred thousand and twenty-six.” Adrian said. Although, that wasn't entirely accurate depending on what you factored in as relevant to his ageing since the freeze.

Kria's expression turned to shock at the very large number. “...You're serious?” She gawked seeing the serious stare he kept showing he meant it as the truth. Few outside the Dragons and the Fae could even live that long. “When Biggs said you were... old. He didn't... wow, what's your secret?” she quickly asked with a vested smile.

“Lots of Ice. Freezing. Cold. Ice,” replied Adrian calmly.


----


Dan rummaged rapidly around the refrigerator, examining the contents for anything he fancied, feeling more comfortable to be away from whatever shenanigans that could be happening in the next room. Although he felt a little guilty abandoning Adrian to Kria, he just kept telling himself the guy could handle it.

What was he in the mood for, sausage, beef, a sandwich.

Alcohol... a strong drink sounded good right now.

Grabbing a small bottle from the fridge door he slammed it shut. Suddenly another bottle was presented to him, more finely decorated complete with a bow and a tag. Delicate and intricate writing adorned the label and he recognised it from one that Mab had in the past.

“Try this if you're intent on raiding the fridge for alcohol,” suggested Devin jiggling the bottle before the Cubi. “Nothing burns mental images away better than what the Fae can make.”

Lorenda snapped up the bottle before Dan could take it. “Devin! He can't drink this.” She scolded with an angry glare at the undead Being, “He's not a fae nor is he dead yet,” Lorenda placed the bottle back into a nearby rack safely; if anyone else other than the aforementioned races consumed this it would likely hospitalize them, or worse. There were just something not meant for regular consumption.

“Its the strongest stuff we have I figured he needed it,” shrugged Devin before wandering off again.
Lorenda tapped the bottle cap a few times let out a huff.

“Your mother's never going to change...” commented Dan acquiring some fruit as an alternative.

“Of course not, she wouldn't be my mother otherwise,” Lorenda reluctantly agreed throwing her hands into the air momentarily, this was an all too familiar occurrence. At every angle, at every turn somehow her mother would embarrass her. And this hadn't even been the worst done in the past. Glancing back to the lounge she asked Dan, “Are you sure leaving your friend with my mother alone was a good idea?”

“He'll be fine,” Dan assured her. “I think... I haven't seen much that puts Adrian off so far.” Not even Wildy or Pip did much to dissuade the guy, although Alexsi did give him a scare that one time. Guess it highly depended on whom it was or what it was.

Lorenda rested against the kitchen counter, “So what's his story? He doesn't act like any Were I've seen.” she pointed out.

Dan hesitated to answer, Lorenda was a trustworthy friend but he wasn't sure if it was a good idea to reveal the truth about his Creator friend just yet. That and it would take a lot of explaining when he started using words like Human and Creator.
“His story...” started Dan and then hesitated for an explanation. “You know, I don't really know too well. He said he's from a time long forgotten.” she gave a perplexed expression and Dan just shrugged. “Adrian's helped out around the Inn a few times, so I guess I'm just returning the favours.”

“By bringing him to my mom?” Lorenda smirked at the irony, help was such a double edged knife when it came to her mother. “Remember she was willing to trade you your pants for her dress one time?”

Dan scratched the back of his head uneasily. “Yeahhh, I remember I lost a good shirt too,” He said.

Lorenda huffed putting her hands on her hips. “Ugh, I wouldn't be surprised if mom's negotiating for his clothing right now.” She spat irritably at the thought.
[center]----[/center]
“So then...!” exclaimed Adrian tapping away quickly at one of his hand held computers. Compiling a note of this exchange, “To re-evaluate the current trade. You want my shirt in exchange for the information. But as I don’t know the extent or useful of that information, I may need to give you more or get something back in compensation. As we appear to be paying by the clothing I would have to offer my pants but that’s a large step up if you ask me. The only thing you have to offer in compensation would be your towel, but that’s pretty valuable given you have nothing else on. The only other way to come to terms would be to settle on something of monetary value or other external means.”

Kria lent on the arm of the sofa she sat on with a placid expression. Her hair became frizzy from the idle drying she had been performing with the smaller towel. This had turned out very different from what she hoped, asking for his shirt in trade for information was meant more as a test of reaction. Yet her suggestion was turned on its head and even extended upon. Although, amidst all the rambling and long wordplay being used against her, Kria heard a few words she liked the sound of and formed a devilish smile along her lips.

“So are you offering a date then?” she queried.

“Wait- what?” Adrian stuttered to a halt, he didn't recall anything about a date until he realized he said 'external means'. Seems Kria took that as anything outside the box. “A date, I ah, no not really- I mean that doesn't seem hardly of any value.” he tried to explain.

But the correction of this words did little to make her think otherwise.

“You did say an external means of trade, that would imply a date,” cackled Kria. “AND, I think it's a very valuable trade.”
The sudden realization he just fell into a self made trap dawned on Adrian. Was she really expecting to go on a date as payment? They'd only just met and he couldn't tell in her eyes if she was joking or not. The instinct in his gut however, told him Kria was being very serious.

On one side it didn't sound like much, yet on the other it felt like a very big deal as he questioned the notion of going onto the relationship market already. With barely any knowledge of Furrae, it didn't seem like a good idea and no doubt Fa'Lina would tell him the same thing.

Though, when he studied the situation Kria's body language and tone of voice when the suggestion was made didn't sound like any desire for a long term connection. She gave off more of a party girl attitude, live life to the fullest kind of thing. Some people wanted that, some times it was all they wanted.

“Really, I mean it, you sound like a lot of fun Adrian,” Kria insisted, “Tell you what, if it's a date you're offering I'll tell you anything you need right now.”

“Anything...?,” he pondered as Adrian suddenly found himself looking over Kria once more, head to toe, ears to tail. There was no denying, Kria was attractive and fiery if rather... open. And the presence of only a towel did little to hide much of her form since it only stretched just above her chest and down to her thighs.

Hie keen eye caught a glimpse of something unexpected and a smirk quickly spread across his lips followed by a short chuckle while Adrian looked away.

Kria rose an eyebrow, curious about the quiet chuckled, “Why are you smirking?” she asked almost finding the laughter contagious leaning to one side trying to regain eye contact.

“Because of how you're sitting,” Adrian replied leaving his head back and looking to the ceiling to hide the light red he felt forming in his cheeks. It hadn't been intentional, but it seemed the mare had become distracted in the course of their conversation.

Kria didn't understand until she briefly looking down to her legs and then suddenly snapping her knees together sharply causing them to knock. Her cheeks flared a very light red in the realizing she had shown off a lot more than intended. And it made her feel embarrassed for the first time in a long time. “You son-of-a...”

Hearing the knock of her knees made him grin but kept his eyes to the ceiling. “So the flirtatious demon-mare does have some standards,” chuckled Adrian thinking maybe he was finally getting the upper hand in this exchange.

Kria quickly brought her legs up onto the couch so she was straddling along the seats with her body. “...I can't believe you. You sneaky... Were, thing- you.” he laughed gentle at her playful attempt to cuss him out, covering her muzzle with a hand in a half attempted effort to hide her blush feeling the slight warmth they generated. “It has been a long time since someone has made me blush.”

“I'll consider that an achievement.” he smiled bringing his gaze back down. The air was a little awkward but not enough to make it suffocating. Kria still smiled, and he kept his own to show he meant no harm. Accidents happen after all.

Kria's mischievous grin quickly returned, “I think you just got a better end of the deal.”

“Does this mean I just blew my information bargain?”

“...Heh, maybe, unless you want to consider a fair return trade?”

Adrian fidgeted in his chair clearing his throat, “Um...”

“Tell you what Adrian,” hummed Kria letting her mind run wild. “You did do the Soulstealers a service knocking off Brelioro. So consider it a freebie.” She told him sprawling across the chair now, the sultry look in her face returned as her embarrassment quickly subsided. “IF however the date offer is still on the table... what is it you need?” she asked shifting the conversation and hoping to get something back in return at least. He was cute enough to let his little transgression slide, a forgetful slip of her own mind but the redness in his cheeks at least demonstrated he wasn't a prude or drowning any kind of stuck up sentiments.

Kria caught his nervous fidget and refrained from letting out a devious chuckle, he was actually considering it. Whatever he needed, must've been very important. She watched him trail off to one side showing a little irritation.

Adrian mumbled to himself, “Wasn't like I was trying to look or anything...” he grumbled quietly.

Kria chuckled, “Mhm, what was that hun?” she asked unable to hear him.

“I need to know about a city called Zinvth.” he quickly said returning eye contact.

“Oh? Is that all?” beamed Kria with a wiggle of her ears.

“A place called Denerova has a missing person problem, potential slavers, and the rumour is they may be operating out of Zinvth. Someone very close to me could be part of the missing people, and I am to find them.”

Kria's ears flicked a few times, her beaming smile remained for a second. Before it dropped into one of severe agitation as she shot Adrian a glare. “...Where, did you hear THIS?” she snapped in question, although her tone raised, her guest remained unfazed. All thought of his 'achievements' had quickly gone out of the window in the face of this insinuation. She was given the quick run down of his findings at the Inn, but the mare scoffed when the adventurers were mentioned. And hadn't expected any less. “What a delightful rumour that is circulating, those guilds need a better day job.”

“It's a very loud rumour Kria-”

“It's an obnoxious one started by Guilds who think they know better.”

“So, what about the missing people from Denarova, is that just hearsay?”

The tips of Kria's fingers struck against the arm of her chair hard a number of times as she sat in a contemplative stare. She had to wonder if Adrian was making a subtle connection, it was true that Denarova reported a lot of it's residents were missing from an outlying village. And the fact they had seemingly disappeared overnight? Even for a powerful creature not counting the Fae that would be difficult to remain unnoticed.

Some of her irritation mellowed out, “Zinvth actually has good relations with Denarova, Queen Cherish is a very charismatic and reasonable Being. We are aware of her plight, but she has not asked for assistance.” said Kria running her knuckled along the underside of her muzzle.

“Maybe she's heard about the same rumours, given your reaction to my 'insinuation' as you called it, she's probably worried to ask.” said Adrian lifting himself from the sofa he crafted a small sphere of light and directed at his Warp-Aci whom bounded after it playfully. Sitting around started to get a little dull for his tasted. He heard a dismissive grunt from his host and he sighed in the back of his head, “Kria, I understand Zinvth has some very high standards and slavery is a very sensitive thing. Thing is, if a lot of these are pointing to there, is it at all possible there could be a slave trade ring they're not aware of?”

“If there is, then I need to do some serious rework of my divisions standards.” said Kria.

“Excuse me?”

“I'm guessing Dan didn't inform you, I am also the head of security for Zinvth.”

“That explains a lot actually.” sighed Adrian shrugging his shoulders in a wave. “I guess this the part you tell me you're certain there is no illegal trade going on with Denarova's missing people.” He expected a quick answer but instead the demoness just stared at him with a quiet judgement.

Kria snorted briefly, “Frankly, the fact you heard this from Adventurers gives me even less reason to believe the validity of such an accusation-”

“Accusation?” Adrian snapped and cocked an eyebrow. “I was doing no such thing.' he defended.

Kria smirked, seeing Adrian get all worked up for a change was charming. “Accuse, insinuate, same meaning different words.” her smile faded into through as she peered off to the side. Letting out a sigh she said reluctantly, “IF... and this is a very big IF, this so called 'slave ring' has set up shop in my city. I doubt they will have a very big operation.”

“Regardless that is a potential lead for me to chase down, I want to help Kria.” said Adrian.

Of that Kria had no doubt, and to be fair she could use the help for the moment with now delicate the problem would be should it come to light in any respect. “Zinvth will look very bad if there was a slave trade operating out of our city, weather or not we would allow it, the reputation damage will be harmful.” she explained trying not to imagine the repercussions with the other nations if such news got out, she hated being distracted by all the little worries.

“It's no like I plan on going in there and causing a ruckus, I'm used to urban settings.” said Adrian trying to assure her he could be trusted.

“While I believe you, Adrian,” began Kria and lifted herself from the sofa and brushed her hair back with a flick a wrist. “I shall be accompanying you, it IS my city after all. And thus my responsibility to investigate these claims, before some nosey adventurer pokes too deeply.”

Not alone eh? Adrian thought. Somehow he had the feeling this Demon-mare was going to be his next travelling partner for a while. “Guess you want to keep an eye on me as well, just in case?” he asked suspiciously, not that he could complain I mean who else better than to investigate with than the head of security themselves.

Kria beamed out another broad grin, quickly showing a trademark of emotion to Adrian she held as fun. “I'm not passing up the opportunity to see what a 'Creator' can do.” Not to mention one she could flirt with as easily as this, besides... he owed her still. The mare winked at him before taking leave of the lounge and stopped by the kitchen doorway in passing, leaning against the frame. Lorenda and Dan were sharing some of the cakes just recently baked by her undead employee. She called out to her daughter, “Lorenda dear?”

Lorenda whirled around in reply, “Yeah mom- Ugh geez!” she blurted out covering her face. “Are you still not dressed!?” She snapped irritated her mother was a still a towels drop away from showing too much.

“I am going to get changed now.” replied Kria ignoring her daughters continuing embarrassment. “Once I am ready I will be departing for the city with Adrian.”

“You're BOTH going to Zinvth?” Dan sputtered with a mouthful of cake.

Kria nodded, “Aye Dan, your friend is interesting, and will need my help investigating his claim. I will likely be gone a few days Lorenda, so feel free to have the house to yourself.” she offered with a smile then disappeared from view heading back into the adjoining corridor.

Dan rose his eyebrows at Lorenda who just returned a neutral expression. Lorenda honestly felt this was odd, she hadn't really known her mother as the helpful type without requiring some sort of payment of first. Unless it was for family, or something that would actually warranted her attention would Kria go out of the way for others.

“I'd say your friend is very brave going to the city alone with my mother,” remarked Lorenda uneasily trying not to imagine any unsavoury outcomes.

“IIIIIII... was just thinking crazy,” added Dan placing down his plate.

“I heard that.” Adrian chuckled wandering into the kitchen with a sleeping Elly within his arms. “So your mom's a lil playful. Nothing I haven't dealt with before,” he smirked to Lorenda.

“Don't encourage her, you might regret it,” she shot back with a stare.

Adrian shrugged casually focusing his attention on Elly, petting the critter as it purred and cooed, rumbling against his arms. “Doubt I would even need to. And it would be the least of my regrets anyway,” he countered glancing up to the demon-cow. A less than approving expression presenting, but he had the feeling it was more for her mother than himself since he could sense Kria had returned already.

“Ohhhhhhh Adrian!” Kria called out from the doorway now dressed in a red tank top and black jeans. She made a beckoning motion with a finger. “Let's go, time's a wasting!”

Dan patted Adrian on the arm, “Good luck. I think you're going to need it.” he grinned in an attempt to stay positive but even Dan felt even his smile had a lack of enthusiasm.