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 Will You Accept the Charges? [SL](Touko)[Night]

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PostSubject: Will You Accept the Charges? [SL](Touko)[Night]   Sat Mar 11, 2017 3:42 am


The evening had been a long one, filled to overflowing with hassle, torment, action, and pain. There was even a little hope sprinkled in, albeit just a little. But to her own optimism-starved position Ritsuko found it enough to charge her forward. She had been attacked, multiple times at that, and such things didn't normally warrant celebration but this was different. It was a lead. A glimmer of light no matter how slim at the end of the abyss. Something to strive for, a reason to continue her hopeless march to the the end. It's why she found herself awake before seven in the damn morning. The troubled alcoholic stirred in her spacious bedspread, lolling her head as she sat upwards. Her typically messy hair was tangled as always as she rubbed her bleary eyes. It was a numb feeling. With how much she drank the other night Ritz didn't doubt she was still coming down from it. At least she was somewhat conscious enough to get dressed for bed this time instead of passing out in her gear. It wouldn't be the first time, certainly not the last either. The clock read 6:07, a good 20 minutes at least before her alarm. Not that she slept at all anyway, more like lay awake in hazy thoughts. Her body needed rest and her weary mind needed it just as badly, but the anticipation burned within her. She knew if she went to sleep she wouldn't be up right now, she promised herself she would. There were things to do. After all that happened last evening, even early this morning, she couldn't allow herself to fade back into her miserable existence losing sight of what she'd come here for. The researchers. She had seen many of them die but she wasn't omniscient. She had to know the truth, she wasn't optimistic to believe that everything would just work out in her favor. The Cadets were Devil Summoners no matter how they called it and those lent themselves to Arms Masters. She knew they were still out there. She could feel it. It weighed heavy on her like a stone in the pit of her stomach. And now she had a direction to go in.

It almost took those 20 extra minutes to summon the willpower to pull herself out of bed. Her eyes kept wanting to close, her head nodded limply with desire of sleep. The musician wasn't a morning person but she wasn't a quitter either and both her feet found carpet as she held her face in hands trying to wish the world away for a few more hours of rest. But the feeling passed like it always did, and she found her motivation to stand up and go about her day. Nicotine cravings were good for something. Ritsuko was nearly too lazy throw somethingon to go smoke off her balcony but she had no idea who was up this early and who would care. She rolled her neck back and forth to work out the kinks while digging the crap out of her pockets from the other day searching for her cigarettes when she happened upon something out of place. Some kinda contact card, prolly from one of the bars she visited. Rit had no idea why she collected those, it wasn't as if she ever got any use out of-

REFLECTIVE GROTTO

"Primed and ready to serve your copier and supernatural needs!"

It all came flooding back to her in a wave. The predatory woman from the other night. It came back to her in bits and pieces through the haze but certain things stood out clear as day. The feeling of being sized up. When she threw up over the concrete. Distrust. There was something off about her for certain. She certainly took an interest in her and not in the good way. Ritsuko got the impression that she was dangerous. She asked questions. Nobody asked questions, everyone was duller than a well-loved butter knife in this god-forsaken city. She knew things. It was another piece to the puzzle, maybe, but it was another lead. Something maybe worth her time and effort. The troubled woman wouldn't even dream of getting her hopes up but a start was a start. Rubbing a tired hand across her ragged face, Ritsuko slid open the glass door to the blinding morning light. Stupid fucking sun. In any case she had bigger fish to fry. That'd be something for later.

------------------------------------------------------


It was a morning she wanted to forget already. And an afternoon. And most of the rest of the day, really. Today was no better than the others, but today was different. There was something moving her forward today. Even if it was a pain in the ass it was somewhat satisfying to make some headway while working toward a goal. No pain no gain or some stupid shit, there was a little truth in that dumb phrase. Sometimes it felt relieving to be drained and spent working closer to what you found important. Sometimes. Other times she wanted to grab the nearest bystander and show them what a "curb stomp" was. Lord new that's how things were going recently. It was the street gossip that had jogged her memory about the card, not her goals leading up to the quiet afternoon. Most importantly about Dragon's Maw. She'd no idea it was closed down, Ritz typically didn't give a shit about that. That was about to change for damn sure. It hadn't graced her until she took some thought about it but that area was closed off before... Ritsuko took that path home. She was attacked later that night. Someone closed it earlier on in the day before the Demon attack, not after. It got her thinking that this was known and covered up or maybe it was possibly staged or planned. The street sheep didn't have a fucking clue why it was shut down, so probably cover-up. The Queen is protecting us her pale skinny ass! It was as if missing person reports up and van-
...something to think about later, nothing to worry about now.

Sifting through the gossip was easy as Ritsuko floated through the crowd like a specter. When she wasn't throwing a tantrum or acting in a sour mood most people didn't even give her the time of day. She was a short punky-lookin' piece of work, no one to pay any mind to, and she was quiet and stayed out of the way. Worked out for her just fine in the long run, people were just a damn liability. She found herself glancing up toward the tall buildings as she meandered aimlessly across the sidewalk of Vista Square. Ritz was already familiar enough with the area, but she was looking for something. Another hotel. Not a new place to live, at least not for one more week, but some place with a phone. If she was going to get some answers it wasn't going to be in a means that traced back to her. Let it be someone else's problem. She didn't need to wander far from home but Ritsuko did anyway if nothing but to kill time. At least a 45-minute jaunt and straight toward the Backlight, walk route, no trains. It'd give her some time to think and prepare. Eventually she found what she was looking for in some joint called Best Resting, a semi-classy kind of upper-tier motel. At least one with more than two stars. She was dressed a little low for their sort of clientele but that was okay. Ritz was crafty.

Walking around unsure, chewing on her tongue anxiously, the desperate guitarist approached the front desk. She stood there sheepishly as the well-dressed man behind it talked on the phone for a minute or two obviously trying to sort something out before he noticed the short young lady nibbling at her lip and  shifting her weight behind the other side of the counter.
"...yes sir, looking forward to having you book with us again. Have a nice day. *click!* How may I help you today, miss?"
"Yeah, hi? Umm... I was wondering if I could use your business center to borrow your phone? My car kinda broke down a few blocks away and my phone's dead sooo..." The pathological liar rubbed the back of her head nervously as she spoke, hoping she looked pathetic enough to buy her story hook, line, and sinker.
"Oh, no problem! Here, you can borrow this one from the front desk."
"O-oh! Thanks... are you sure, though? I, umm, don't really wanna get in your way or get you in trouble or anything..."
"No trouble at all. Would you like me to call for you instead?"
"No, that's okay. I've got insurance, I'll probably need to give them my information."

As the helpful attendant spun his phone around to give her better access Ritsuko's mind began to spin into motion. This wasn't going to work. She was hoping for a more private conversation than this one, hence the business center. Looking through her guitar case to find Touko's card and act like it was the one she wanted bought her more time to think of something and think she did. And so the fibbing guitarist had a pretend conversation with a random number that squelched dialtone before she finished dialing. Not that the attendant could hear it, but that was the plan.
"Hey, thanks a ton! I'm gonna go wait by my car now, have a nice day!" the guitarist waved timidly as she went to slink away from the desk. She placed an unlit cigarette in her mouth as she exited the building. It'd kill time. This approach would take patience.

------------------------------------------------

Over the course of 2 hours of lies she finally gained access to the business center. Through complicating things, becoming a nuisance, and playing the pity card Ritsuko was able to convince the trustworthy desk jockey that her tow was delayed, there was a problem with her insurance clearing, and that she would need to contact family to come pick her up between stepping out to wait for half-hour increments and dialing in from her cell phone to give him bogus status updates and requests for "Tiffany Cartwright". But she was there and that's all that mattered. Ritz used the operator to place a collect call to The Reflective Grotto, the more confusing steps in this whole damn process the longer it'd take to untangle her web of lies and she'd have more time down the road to move if shit was ever tracked back to her. A little overly cautious but she'd already come this far. Might as well not half-ass it.

*Ring Ring*

"Hello, you are receiving a collect call from: *krrrrrrzzzzrrrrzzzzzztzzzttttzzzzzt*. Would you like to accept the charges?"

"......yeah, is this Aono Touko? I need to talk to you."
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Will You Accept the Charges? [SL](Touko)[Night]
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