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Sep 22, 2021 5:07 PM
satine discovers an artifact
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"...okay. Well, I suppose that brings me to the other thing, then."

Breath. "He pulled Lucas-- my housemate-- aside during the party, and Lucas has been acting odd since. Apparently Mr. Parker promised him something, something that could help Ana-- our other housemate, she's very shy-- with her career. Lucas has been very evasive about what exactly this thing is. And-- it's worrying me."

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"It should. Mr. Parker is an aficionado of certain... unusual drugs and other items. He can handle them, perhaps. Those around him cannot."

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She bites her lip for a moment, two, and then lets go. "...And Lucas got a package this morning. From Mr. Parker. It's about the right size to be a mask."

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A beat.

"...I have been... commissioned to obtain a certain mask for a private client. A Noh mask, one of the masterpieces of Japanese theater. It is extraordinarily valuable, mostly because of the legends around it. They say the one who wears it may be able to perform like the gods themselves. Of course these are all-- simply legends. But Mr. Parker believes in the occult. And a mask may... trap the fumes of certain drugs close to the face, if one knows how to dose them, giving you a much higher amount of them than you otherwise would and for a longer time. I fear something dreadful may happen to your friend."

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It's such a beautiful line of bullshit that for a second she almost believes it.

"...can you be more specific about what you think might happen, please?"

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"Too much ingestion of Mr. Parker's drugs can lead to behavior like that of the woman last night-- voices, threatening people with knives."

(This is true, or true-ish.)

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"Mr. Sano," she says, and lets herself sound shaky and scared and small, "he lives in my house. For you this may be a matter of professional reputation, but for me it's a matter of my safety. Please tell me the truth."

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"... you really do remind me of him," he says, mostly to himself.

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 "Come to my office. This is not a conversation we should have over the phone."

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"...okay. I can be there in twenty minutes."

And she is.

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Mr. Sano bows and makes pleasant small talk and gives her a cup of tea.

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She bows back and takes the tea and engages in the pleasant small talk mostly on autopilot.

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Then he takes up a knife and slices open his hand.

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Before her eyes, Mr. Sano's hand heals. The cut disappears and his hand is as unblemished as if he had not cut it at all.

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Whatthefuckwhatthefuckwhatthefuck

"I--"

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"Magic is real. Magic is very, very, very dangerous. Certain people, such as me, specialize in... finding and disposing of magical artifacts before they can cause harm. Certain people, such as Mr. Parker, choose to instead try to... use it. And they cause great harm to themselves and others."

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This has implications. This has a lot of implications. Simone is not thinking of most of them, because she's busy staring at Mr. Sano's perfectly, pristinely bloodless hand, which not thirty seconds ago he stabbed.

"Oh."

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"I believe Mr. Parker has given your friend a mask which grants the wearer their heart's desire. I knew about the woman because I was tracking her. She was the last wearer."

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"Oh," she says again. "Do-- you know what happened to her? After?"

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"I hired a street kid to watch Mr. Parker's apartment but as of his last report he hasn't seen the woman leave."

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She suppresses the urge to swear.

"So-- you say their heart's desire, do you know how that works, does it just-- know--"

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"The texts are cryptic. It... doesn't trick you that way. It gives you the thing you want most. The cost is everything else."

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Nodnod.

"That. Makes sense. It's just-- I know what they'd wish for, I don't know if it's really what they want most-- Ana would wish to not be so shy, Lucas would wish for her to love him, or to become someone she'd love, he's-- a romantic, he thinks it's the most important thing in the world-- I'm not--"

(what is she doing, when did she let herself get like this-- get back in control, simone, this isn't helpful--)

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Mr. Sano pours her another cup of tea. "I don't know what they'll end up getting and I very much hope we don't find out."

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