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The City's Dark Jewel
Li's smile held the flame of a secret before he turned back to her, that light engulfed by a brighter one. She laughed at the joke, though there was something dark in it too. She didn't pretend to be something she wasn't. An unusual childhood warped Nhysa from what most might consider normality, and though sometimes she was aware of that strangeness in her perceptions she was not apologetic of it either. She was what the Custody had made her.

She watched the small gathering a while longer. She didn't much like the look of the scarred man, or the glint in his eye that suggested a demon shared the home of his skin. It stirred something vaguely protective in her gut, though it was not a sentiment she was likely to act on. As the two men passed, one with the golden eyes Li marked as wolfkin, she could feel the dark tugging on the shadows at her feet. 

She stood, patting the flat of her stomach, expecting more blood to stain her hand. But either the bandage contained it or the pain was deeper. There were no red etchings on her palm. After a moment she offered it to Li. "Care for a better view?"
His companion stood and she patted where the blood had sprouted from earlier. Li wondered if she needed more attention than she'd have thought, but he said nothing. A woman as hard as nails was not one you contradicted specially if one wanted to keep their balls from harm. Or intact.

A better view sounded good. Nhysa's offered hand was taken as Li stood. He wasn't sure the ramifications of it in a place like this particular since she lead them the way she'd original come from - the pits. There were viewing ports where the handlers watched and where the works stood in order to carry off those who couldn't walk anymore. Li had put a few men into those particular situations.

"I do hope the wolf's opponent is capable. Otherwise this fight will be over quickly." It would be such a sorry fight to lose over and he doubted that the wagers overheard had would give them anything less.

The man watching the door looked at the pair but said nothing. Nhysa just left and Li was no stranger to the back stage. Though it had been a while. He nodded at him in acknowledgement of their entrance as she lead the way to the staging area and the barred grills that served as view ports. These were far better viewing. And much more likely to wear the blood of your enemies but Li didn't say that out loud. And if the wolfman went rogue, it was the perfect place to put him down.
“What you must do," said Monkey, "is lure the monster from its hiding place, but be certain it is a fight you can survive.” 
― Wu Cheng'en, Monkey: The Journey to the West


The curl of her hand was blatantly possessive. Nhysa tugged him away from the crowded seats with a sly grin. The patrons lounged like kings, a purposeful pander to their precious little egos. But it wasn't the best place to watch the violence below.

She led him down. No one stopped them, both their faces familiar enough to buy them unhindered passage. The darkness brushed up against her soul like an easy breath, more companionable than the crowds above. Almaz carved deep into the underground, but its pretence ceased the lower one travelled. The walls were still rough. Pipes uncovered. Blood never scrubbed off down here.

"They're that dangerous?" She sounded idly curious as she pressed her fingers to the grill, balanced her chin atop her hands. Her eyes flared as they adjusted to the bodies within. Shadows pulled close; it was unlikely they would be seen.
Li nodded his head as he watched her get comfortable. He settled in next to her. The shadows hid them here. But he was still sure that the wolf man would see them. They had good eyesight.

The fight would start soon both men were posturing and stretching and showing off their goods. It would start and they'd see the best of the fight from here instead of on high.

"If he's feral, ever seen a man gnawing at a throat?" He asked. it was a rhetorical question. He had seen it but even if she was of the violence sorta type that was not a sight you'd ever forget. "They say they have good eye sight and hearing, and can smell fear."
“What you must do," said Monkey, "is lure the monster from its hiding place, but be certain it is a fight you can survive.” 
― Wu Cheng'en, Monkey: The Journey to the West


[Image: images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRge443l-1ygwC67bsLzLI...DIooG0WQmb]

So apparantly, his lunge was all that was needed. Like a gun was shot he exploded into action, running to meet Ivan.

Fuck that! Like he'd be right there. He faked left and juked right  arms flashing out. Body to body. On the ground. Evened out a lot of things.

Guy was quick, reflexes like lightening. Ivan's 210 hit a wall, arms hugged around him. That didn't worry him. No sirree.

Dude was a freak. What the fuck? Biting? Slashing? Yeah, legal he guessed. This was Almaz. But pussy move, yeah?

He rolled, keeping from being brought to the ground, punching the guy in the back of his head...and coming away with a bunch of gashes along his side.

The crowd roared and he only had a moment before the guy was at him again. and alla that. Cept for the slashes. Ivan clocked him hard. Like really hard. Bro seriously had to take a moment.

But he was fast...God damn! Another buncha slashes. Ivan was hurtin...

But...he was gettin angry..
He could sit where he liked, if he lowered himself to freeing his own seat. It was not like he had to follow her about like a little lamb, cute as it was. Denigration of her methods was met with indifference. Had she been seeking to impress the complaint might have tugged annoyance to her lips, but Ryker's opinion was inconsequential. Not that she didn't file the scowl away, and the snapped orders. A tumultuous gaze watched silent as servers hastened to his call. Amusement faint.

She laughed at the subtext of his repartee. Did he imagine she would blush? Ori would wind such a pretty little ribbon around her finger until it snapped. If she didn't grow bored before then, and she usually did. "Truthfully I'm not sure I have much use for a dirty cop right now. Pretty as he is." Those sorts of political manoeuvrings never much interested her; not power for power's sake. Not that she refrained from interfering when it suited her, either, but life's recent little twist tugged her attention elsewhere. Such fickle allegiances meant little in comparison, or would do.

"Are you sure he's even yours to give away? I know someone else with a taste for his sort." The accusation was bald. She'd seen Ryker sitting cosy in Yun's pocket. But the sly smile was only a jab meant to irritate.

To the question she shrugged a bare shoulder. "This one, actually. I can't resist a set of puppy-dog eyes. Let's call it a weakness."
Thought simmered low. Instinct reared instead. A predator's gaze assessed the soft places. Throat. Eyes. Muscle caged the gut, too thick for dull paws to rip bloody entrails. Kas stalked. Smelled hesitation. Only slight, and not fear. He was quiet now, no growl low in his throat, only the intense eyes of the wolf.

When Angry Man flew forward, Kas slammed into it.

And the wolf took over.

His chest heaved hard. The blood tasted like fire. None of it his.

Dark eyes glanced sideways at the question. One she did not choose to answer, though the shadow of a grim smile plucked at the edges of Nhysa's lips, almost a grimace.

"So he probably knows we're here then." It did not seem to concern her. If the slam and slash of bodies within showed any sign of distraction, she did not see it. Brutality underscored the wolfkin's movements, spraying blood. Punches that might knock another man senseless did not seem to phase him, like instinct did something to his pain threshold. Oh, she knew what that felt like. Curiosity tilted her head.

"If he's feral, you said. So you do believe he can be rehabilitated?"
[Image: images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRge443l-1ygwC67bsLzLI...DIooG0WQmb]

The man tried to tear into him like a beast. He felt pain radiating from dozens of gashes. The roar of the crowd went in and out of hearing as Ivan hit him as hard as he could, time after time.

It was like the guy was rubber or something. Impotent. Weak. The words played like a mantra. Cutting him, bleeding him.

And Ivan got angrier and angrier. The lights overhead began to dim as the light of the power glowed around him. So easy. It would be so easy to take it, to destroy this man.

And weak. Pathetic. He felt his heart beat faster and faster, lungs taking in great droughts of air, as he moved and struck.

He was so tired of being powerless. He remember the tunnels with Nox, the power wrought fists he'd used to beat those creatures into the walls.

God but it was like he was alive, so alive and everything was now and every nerve of his was firing and he was everything there was. It was glorious.

And Ivan embraced the memory. He imagined arms of fire and stone. He channeled his anger and rage down his arms, down his legs and feet.

He ignore the power that called him pussy. He would do this. Without the power.

Ignited by fury he moved faster, finally catching the guy's neck with his arm, locking immediately into a headlock, dropping to the ground, feeling the man's gasp and lurch as he landed on top of him. No time to think, his other arm came around, iron vices, legs around the man on top of him, pinning his legs to him.

The man's shaggy hair was in his face as he struggled this way and that, claws gaping great rents in his arms.

Ivan laughed with joy. "Do it!!!! he yelled relishing the pain- the man's panic- the tear of the rough floor on his back, sandpaper to already fresh wounds.

The man arched his hips and slammed down, and despite everything, Ivan flinched. Yeah. You don't take a groin shot and act like it was nothing.

In that moment, he shook free and broke away even as Ivan surged up.

Ivan saw fear and a bit of warriness.

Yeah. About time bitch.
Li nodded at her assessment of his awareness. He could probably smell them and see them. But he was too busy with the man in the ring. Li was highly disappointed in the fight. The challenger was a bit too soft for this type of thing. He was angry, but he wasn't making a dent - only getting himself hurt. He didn't really know what he was up against.

Nhysa countered his prior statement with a question. If he was feral... Was the thing worthy of redemption. "I am re-evaluating my prior conviction." He smiled at Nhysa. It was the truth, but the wolf man was still more wolf than man. He fought like a wolf. With teeth and claws - not hands and feet. He was more wolf than man. And while under a leash he might beable to thrive, but was that really a life? Li didn't know.

The tides were turning. And there might be fear in the wolf's eyes now, but Li was losing interest.
“What you must do," said Monkey, "is lure the monster from its hiding place, but be certain it is a fight you can survive.” 
― Wu Cheng'en, Monkey: The Journey to the West


Ryker laughed. “Everyone has use for a dirty cop,” he replied, but the laughter was a hollow, sour noise. A machine that cranked mirth rather than gears. Whether Ryker had the capacity for genuine humor was unlikely to ever be discovered. Least of all by Oriena. “Though I’m not sure how dirty that one really is. You’ll have to taint him, sweet one.” His smile was siren shrill as ice clinking in his cup. His gaze was pulled low as the fight inspired. The two slabs of meat pounding on each other held little pleasure for Ryker other than analyzing piss-poor training. He could show Ivan a thing or two if the guy survived. Oriena wasn't kidding about her contender's ferocity. Unconventional, but effective.

Her insinuation made him want to roll his eyes. She was baiting, but Ryker was hardly a gullible catch. “I don’t claim to own anyone, girl. But tell you what, if you need assistance ridding yourself of the obligation to your pup, I’d be glad to rid you of the burden.” The grin perched on his lips was not adoption of mercy.

The opposite, actually.

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