The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice Part XXII – The Logic of Lions

玉山 / Yushan - 回程沿路風景

Yes, they ARE watching.

After dropping off Catherine and Ms Tengu, Charles headed over to the restaurant where Gustav would be waiting.

Lets see…. that would be the fivefold harmonic adapter, one of his new armor-sash designs, that Adamant Reaper Daiklave Raugdring (“Demon-Crusher” in Tolkien’s “Elvish”), a selection of wrapping papers, and some bows and invisible tape and such.

The restaurant was quite nice for where it was – and was certainly quite secure. He could feel a ward going up in one of the upstairs private rooms right now…

When he asked for Mr Gustav the restauranteur shook his head and pointed upstairs – so Charles wandered on up.

There were certainly a lot of wards in that room… Against intrusion from all five senses, against Essence-based detection, against… well, it would be easier to determine what was NOT being warded against.

Hm. It looked like Gustav had just warded against Lunar Exalts and was starting in putting up a ward against Solar Exalts.

(Charles, interrupting) “Uhm… Lots of wards… Do you people really spy on each other THAT much?”

(Gustav) “Certain… circumstances.. . warrant this for now. Were you followed?”

(Charles) “I don’t think so. Why? You didn’t order anything all that much.”

(Gustav, giving him a pained look.) “It’s not about the order, young man. It’s other matters. But I sense you were not, in fact, followed. Please, come in.”

Charles did… There was already a platter and a selection of drinks here. None of it was ambrosial- and Gustav did not have a single ambrosial item on him, or – for that matter – any artifacts!

Well, Charles didn’t use much ambrosia on food and such either – but no artifacts?!? The man was virtually NAKED!

Gustav offered Charles a seat and took a drink of his celestial coffee. He looked like he lived off the stuff.

(Charles) “Anyway, I found the stuff you needed, although I had to substitute on the armor a bit… What I got is better than the specs on the old “discreet essence armor” though!”

(Gustav) “How? Please, show me the items. Did you remember the wrapping paper?”

(Charles) “I’ve got a couple of different styles of wrapping paper!”

He got out the items.

Gustav started scanning them – but with thaumaturgy, carefully avoiding touching the items and the use of charms.

The Sash took some time… Those WERE pretty complicated gadgets.

Gustav remained impassive until he was done scanning though.

(Gustav) “I must confess, I was going to ask for commando armor at first. But I thought it would attract too much attention.”

(Charles) “Oh! Well, this model is fairly discreet!”

(Gustav, shaking his head.) “This is not for me. This is an anniversary present. I wasn’t going to tell you until I saw the items.”

(Charles) “I think I’ve got some good wrapping paper for that!”

(Gustav’s facial expression did not change, although he leaned forward.) “Please, show me.”

Charles did – roses and other flowers (among various other patterns as needed).

Gustav run detections on that too – but it really was just ordinary wrapping supplies.

(Gustav) “I apologize, but I have to be cautious right now. Especially where my wife is concerned.”

Charles made another intuitive jump – although the Canal HAD been close to Gustav’s territory.

(Charles) “Oh! Would that be Astrid by any chance? We met a while back… It would be a very large coincidence, but life in Yu-Shan seems to be full of them these days.”

(Gustav) “So that WAS you… first Arnmalassaris, and now this. Jupiter works in mysterious ways. Yes, Astrid Jorgensen is my wife.”

Ah! So Astrid was the daughter of Kristoff Jorgensen, the head of the Bronze Faction! That might get some more orders!

(Charles) “Well, she was a nice lady! I hope she likes your presents!

(Gustav) “She needs them more than ever before. And I might as well mention it while you are here. Have you seen this Solar Exalted?”

Hm… Gustav was projecting an image of… Rachel Cartier, Mitchell’s sister. Had they left Yu-Shan again or something? Maybe back to visit their father if things had cooled off on Earth? There had been that ninja school to go to…

Well, as a Sidereal, he would probably have gotten the info on a sidereal exaltation being subverted by the Cauldron – so he’d be aware that Charles was acquainted with her. He might be testing!

(Charles) “Hm. I think so! Unless that’s somebody using her form, or she was using someone else’s, she was involved in all that mess with the dark temple… almost a year back now wasn’t it?”

(Gustav) “Ah, good, honest young man. She… attacked Astrid. (That was the first bit of emotion that Gustav had shown.) Fortunately, her sudden Exaltation frightened the Solar away. Unfortunately for us, we were outside the Manse when she did so, so you know how that goes. I suspect she was in the madness state that occasionally strikes Solars. She fought like a madwoman. All of our guards were nothing against her.”

Well, that hadn’t been very nice of Rachel – unless something was up of course.

(Gustav) “If you see her, I need to know. I don’t want to kill her, but my father-in-law is infuriated. He wants her… restrained.”

Well, that was understandable.

(Charles, still quite honestly) “I don’t think I’m likely to at the moment, but I’ll keep an eye out for her!”

(Gustav was wary, but he did seem to accept it.) “Thank you, and thank you for following through with these orders. If she comes back, she will be facing a much tougher opponent. I will try to repay you for upgrading the order.”

(Charles) “Oh not a worry! Things tend to vary according to what I can come up with!”

(Gustav) “Please, I insist. I don’t forget these things.”

(Charles) “Uhm… Well, OK. It’s really not a big deal though! Are there things that need fixing in your areas? I like to fix things!”

Gustav looked suspicious, but less so than when Charles had come in.

(Gustav) “I will let you know. There is always something.”

These Sidereals were definitely into Fate! The armor and blade were ordered BEFORE the primordial exaltations put in an appearance!

(Gustav poured himself another cup of Celestial coffee.) “Well, I suppose our business is done. I will be returning to my work. Is there anyone who needs to pick you up, young man?”

(Charles) “Oh I usually just take the canals!”

(Gustav) “Hmm. Well, if you think you are safe, I will leave you be. Please be careful out there.”

(Charles) “I will! And you have a safe trip too!”

The Bronze Faction really was down on it’s luck there! And Poor Mr Gustav was very unhappy! He really needed to do something to improve their territories! And build those stargates! And Manses!

There should be some time! It was unlikely that anyone had expected him to clear that much of the que within the next decade.

Meanwhile, a pair of Celestial Lions were considering things… The boy might be making noises about “finding” various items, but nobody “found” the right items to fill THAT many orders – especially if you counted the stuff he’d delivered by messenger – without the backing and resources of some really major power, direct access to the Wyld and the ability to pull things out of it, or the ability to craft items at incredible speed – and the boy HAD offered to supply armor for a pretty fair number of them.

“Finding” stuff in your pack where you’d put it wasn’t much of a feat, even if you COULD still truthfully claim that you’d “found it” on a technicality.

The backing might still be there – the kids current job told them that – but pulling stuff out of the Wyld rarely produced standardized designs. So the kid could make at least mid-range items at high speed – and could use the Factory-Cathedral to mass-produce them.

A pretty fair number of creatures had found ways to do that over the ages – but the number of them who might reasonably put in an appearance as an obliging child in Yu-Shan, and who were likely to have a friendly relationship with Lytek, was far more limited.

That pretty much left an Exalt of some type, a godblooded byblow of a truly major god, or a representative of a power that Lytek seriously respected or owed favors to.

Still, at least at the moment, the kid didn’t seem to represent a threat to Yu-Shan. If anything, he seemed to be out to help everyone equally, starting with the unemployed deities – arguably the most down-and-out group in Yu-Shan in many ways.

Besides, given that – as an underage citizen of Yu-Shan – they were pretty much obliged to protect the kid anyway, it was nice to have a worthwhile recipient of that protection for once!

4 Responses

  1. […] XXII – The Logic of Lions: Celestial Investigations and the Bronze. […]

  2. […] XXII – The Logic of Lions: Celestial Investigations and the Bronze. […]

  3. […] XXII – The Logic of Lions: Celestial Investigations and the Bronze. […]

  4. […] XXII – The Logic of Lions: Celestial Investigations and the Bronze. […]

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