Canton, SD, was a small town on the outskirts of Sioux Falls - an odd place for a Norse god to have stopped on his journey, but not a bad place to make contact, in Kristen's opinion. She'd scouted the few bars and places of entertainment, and decided on Noid's Gaming Parlor as a place that would entice a being who enjoyed chance and chaos. She charmed her way into ownership of one of the pool tables early in the evening, and there she stayed, taking on all comers. After all, what hunter doesn't know how to hustle pool?
There wasn't anything special about Canton, SD. It was just another small mid-western town without much to do on a Saturday night but hang out at the local watering hole, which in this case was Noid's. It was enough to bore even a demigod with its predictability, but this particular demigod wasn't there for the booze or the women or even the games of chance. He was there because he'd sensed someone was tracking him, and that someone was here. The big question was which illusion to wear tonight. He didn't want to draw too much unwanted attention, but he was too cocky to wear an illusion that would just blend in with the crowd. In the end, he chose one of his favorites - a tall blond man with ice blue eyes and a build that said "Don't mess with me." He looked like something of a cross between a biker, a bodybuilder, and a Viking, and though it wasn't his true form, he wore it with ease.
"Oh, come on!"
The complaint came from a young man by the pool table, throwing up his hands because his attractive opponent had just potted every ball on the table in front of him.
Kris straightened up, leaning on her cue, and grinned at him. "You're the one who said a woman couldn't do it," she pointed out. "Pay up."
She kissed his cheek as he grumbled, taking the little wad of notes from her now blushing vanquished opponent. Her eyes skimmed the bar, not even hesitating as they passed over the apparent Viking who was ever so slightly blurred around the edges, thanks to her pin. Loki.
The big blond man came to a halt at the bar, drawing a few admiring gazes from a few female patrons and envious ones from the males. He ordered himself a beer, and took a lean on the bar, as he quietly surveyed the small crowd, which looked fairly typical for a Saturday night. The woman at the pool table drew his attention. There was something different about her, but for now, he was content to simply observe.
"Yeah, I'll play you," a hoarse voice said, belonging to an older man with shoulders like a minotaur. "All or nothin'?"
Kris considered him for a moment, and nodded. Loki was a trickster, he liked games; she had to take a risk or two to keep his attention. "Sure, all or nothing," she agreed. "I'm so nice, I'll let you break, too."
The big man casually sipped his beer, while he watched the crowd, his gaze lingering on the woman at the pool table and her challenger. For a moment, he almost forgot himself and straightened his own broad shoulders, as if sizing himself up against the older man.
"Does anyone care to wager?" he inquired, just as casually, in a baritone voice with a slight indecipherable accent.
"Depends who you're bettin' on, sweetcheeks," a bawdy female voice declared from behind the bar. "She's been rolling all comers since six."
Over at the pool table, Kris watched as her opponent broke, studying his form. This one might be a challenge. Possibly.
The big man flashed the woman behind the bar a smile, his ice blue eyes sparkling in amusement. "My money's on the girl," he said, dropping a Ben Franklin on the counter, which might or might not be real.
"Well, you know, that's just a real pretty smile you got there," the woman responded cheerfully, opening the till to lay another Franklin on top of his. "I'll take that bet. George, you better win that damned game!"
George scowled at her, turning back to concentrate on his shot.
"How about we raise the stakes?" the blond man queried. "If she doesn't win, everyone in the room gets free drinks on me, and I play the winner," he challenged further, just for the hell of it.
"Oh, and if she does win, free round on the house and you play her, huh?" The woman behind the bar was grinning again; it didn't look like she was going to back off on that one. "You're on, honey. What's your name?"
"That sounds fair," he agreed, pausing a moment to come up with a name. People didn't always ask him that. "You can call me Erik," he said, which sounded convincingly common enough to him, while still having Viking origins. It wasn't his real name, nor was he claiming it as his own, but it was good enough for his purposes. He very pointedly didn't ask for hers.
"Well, Erik, my name's Martha, and you're still payin' for your drinks until that game's over." She chuckled warmly. "Strangest way to get a woman's attention I seen this week, but whatever floats your boat, darlin'."
"Oh, it's not your attention I'm looking for, sweetcheeks. It's hers," he clarified with a nod of his head toward Kristen. He said no more, waiting for the woman to offer any information she liked, while he set another bill on the counter - this time bearing the face of Alexander Hamilton. He tapped a finger against the bill, as if to make his point.
"Oh, really?" Martha looked positively delighted with this information, swiping the Hamilton out from under his hand to ring up his change. "Gotta work fast then, honey - she's just passin' through." From the pool table came the sound of George swearing, drawing the eye just in time to see Kris bend to take a shot.
"Really. What else do you know about her?" he asked, lifting a hand to refuse the change. "Keep the change." The blond man tilted his head just a little to admire the view the female pool player was giving him as she bent over to take her shot. It wasn't often he found himself attracted to a human female, but there was something about this one. It was too bad he was probably going to have to kill her.
"She's foreign, got some kind of accent goin' on there," Martha told him, dropping the change into her tip jar. She kept talking even as she served her regulars. "Good English, good manners. If she's cheatin', no one's called her on it."
"Just passing through, you say? Where's she going?" he asked, though the barmaid might not know that. He had a funny feeling the pool player just might be the one who'd been tracking him. Shame, but this might prove fun for a little while anyway.
"Oh, I don't ask that, honey," Martha told him with a shrug. "Anyone's welcome, so long as they don't cause trouble. She's kept my regulars entertained so far - seems like none of them ever expected to get out done by a woman."
"No, they wouldn't, would they?" he remarked, with just the hint of a smirk that somehow didn't look right on his chiseled, handsome face. "Refill, please. You can keep them coming," he told her, repeating what he'd heard said a hundred times before in a hundred different bars.