On the couch of the basement, Minoko was placed. She might feel a bit of soreness in her neck, where he had injected the specially designed serum to strip her of those bothersome powers, but other than that, she'd feel no injuries or pain. He'd been as careful as ever with her, and had even picked up shrimp tacos for when she woke. The windows were too small for any adult to leave, and the door was bolted from the other side, needing a key. The basement in question was furnished, painted, and not a stereotypical basement. It even had a bar, though glasses and bottles were locked carefully away.
There was no soreness. There might have been if Minoko's remaining superpower, the one borrowed from her husband, hadn't lingered in her blood. It was immediately when the woman woke that she knew something wasn't right. That something wasn't her location, though. She sat up on the couch, opened her eyes and examined her surroundings. Her gaze lingered on the doorway. There had to be a metal lock. She concentrated on the door's inner workings, but there was no pink glow leaking from the keyhole. It had to just not be metal. Minoko had no idea how many metal-like substances existed in the universes linked to Rhy'Din. She looked down to her ring finger, the sure thing. Both her wedding ring and engagement ring were pulled off and tossed into the air. They fell sadly to the floor a moment later, uncaught. So it had finally happened. Minoko stared wildly down at the discarded jewelry. This was what Mayu had threatened so long ago. It had finally happened. She stood, retrieved her rings and headed for the door. The bond was still there. It pulsed through her, unlike her elemental abilities. What was that bastard's name? She couldn't remember it again. But it would come to her. It would come when she saw his ****ing face. With a balled up right fist, Minoko swung hard at the door. A soft whimper came from the woman in response to the pain that was quick to leave her. Then another punch came. This would continue either until she got some sort of response from Emlen or until her kidnapper revealed himself.
Aloysius had been behind the bar, laying there with his back against the wall, quiet as a church mouse. "Nobody's going to answer that door," he finally called out, and pushed himself into a standing position as he leaned against the bartop and drummed his fingers on it. "So why don't we have a chat? Sit down, have a taco. Can I get you a drink? I know you like them..." There was a terrible grin on his face as he watched and waited for her response.
Minoko visibly trembled when Aloysius decided to speak up. She hated him even more for frightening her like that. "...You knocked me out and stripped me of my powers just so we could talk?" Her dark eyes wandered his way for just a second. She saw that terrible smile and then looked to the floor with clenched fists. "We were talking before."
"Yeah, we were." Aloysius nodded and then chuckled as he shook his head in the other direction. "It's so much more fun this way, though... Don't you think? Sorry about the powers. I promise, though... It's only temporary. Couldn't have you chaining me up, you know?"
"Fun for you, maybe..." Relief coursed through her when Aloysius claimed that the state of her powers was only temporary. Who knew if he was being honest, though? She told herself that she was silly, that there was no point in believing anything he said, and reclaimed her spot on the couch. Fingernails were stuck digging into her palms. She hadn't given up on her attempt to alert Emlen just yet. "I am good at chaining people up." There was none of the flirtatious humor that would have normally been attached to that sentence. It was said in a dead, matter-of-fact way.
There was some rustling, clanking and such behind the bar, before he popped his head up to look at her, and then he smiled. "I'm sure you were, but I made sure not to leave any chains lying around, and I made sure that your little...gift was out of the picture," the boy said as he moved to sit next to her. A plastic cup of whiskey was handed over, and then he jingled the bag of tacos. "Shrimp tacos, I know you're hungry... I also know you're hurting yourself to bring your boy-toy here to rescue you. You should know that I was counting on it, I want him here. I'm going to cut off his head until it stops growing back. So we may as well eat."
Minoko eyed the cup of whiskey for a few moments before deciding to take it from the Samalian. What would slapping it out of his hand do, other than waste what she assumed was good alcohol? Lips parted as she thought to make a comment about the tacos. Then Aloysius revealed his plans concerning Minoko's 'boy-toy', and she froze. The crescent moons dug into her left palm gained some relief when her fingers seemed to automatically give up on their task. "He's my husband... A little more than a boy-toy. And want do you want him dead for? Was he not a good enough mentor to you?" She grimaced and tossed the cup back. The whiskey was rolled around in her mouth to determine that it tasted average enough before she dared to swallow it down.
Aloysius chuckled softly and set the bag next to her. "I guess you can know, not sure what difference it'll make at this point." A taco was fished from the bag, unwrapped, and bitten into. "I wasn't bulls***ting you, Minoko... My weapon died, and everybody, everybody thought that I did it. All of my so-called friends whispered, even my fianc?. I really did love her, you know... Wasn't my choice to be engaged to her, but I would have been happy. Emlen, he was the only one, I think, that believed me. The only one I had. Then his handler died, and everyone turned on him, too. So he ran, from everyone... He left me there to deal with everything. Maybe it's petty... But it's going to feel so good to kill him."
The kidnapee chuckled as well, though it was a harsh noise clearly devoid of humor. "Maybe it's petty? You're going to repeatedly try to kill my husband, an immortal, because he left the village and didn't take you with him?" There was a pause as Minoko examined the boy's face. Then came a question that sounded almost like an accusation. "How old are you, anyway?"
"I'm going to kill him because he ran like a coward. I stuck around, through the accusations, through the pain, and the first thing he did was run." Aloysius began laughing lightly, "He didn't even think that I was going through the same thing he was. At least he was a failure in their eyes, I was a ****ing murderer in their eyes. Now? Now I'm going to be one for real. Sama is going to burn, not by my hand, but it's going to be satisfying all the same... And I'm nineteen years old." A late response was thrown out after his long rant.
It wasn't an easy thing to hear someone say all sorts of terrible things about her husband. Minoko's eyes wandered to a window as her mind wandered to the Emlen she had met over a year ago. "He probably didn't take you with because you were a child of what...? Sixteen, seventeen? I'm sure it wasn't personal."
Aloysius slammed his hand down on the coffee table, and glared in her direction, raising his voice for the first time in a while. "It was personal to me!" Then he stood, and turned his back to her. "It doesn't matter... He'll come for you, and when he does..." Shadows that were once tattoos slithered down his arm and focused on his closed fist. "He'll die."
The delicate thing, who tried so hard to be stone-faced and strong, flinched when Aloysius's hand met the coffee table. Was he going to hit her now? Really hit her? A fear pulsed through her, not of the damage that her blood blessed body would take, but of Emlen coming to her rescue. That slither of shadows was all it took for Minoko to get a real grasp on the situation. "No... No, that's... You're the...?" Her head cocked slightly to the side, disbelieving. She didn't want to string those two words together. Shadow was always going to be a name to her. It wasn't right.
"As if that thing could pull all of this off. No, I'm not him. I made a deal with him, so I have a portion of his powers, his abilities...." With a little wiggle of fingertips, he allowed the tattoos to retake their place. "My goal is to kill Emlen, pick off Sama after Solaris' attack and let the whole place burn... Also, make everyone Emlen loves suffer. I already started with that sister of his." There was that smirk again, as he plopped down on the couch. That ***.
"You made a deal with that...?" Why the hell did she sound so shocked? She didn't even know this boy. "He's the person that killed Em's handler. You know that, right? He's the reason why everything's...?" Minoko made a frenzied gesture, then huffed and crossed her arms. She would hate a world where the man of shadows didn't exist, because in that world Emlen would surely be happily married to Novia. Still, it was wrong. All wrong. A question lingered on her lips, but the mention of a sister made her forget any idea of her own suffering. "What did you do to Phoenix?" It could have been Martyr, sure. Phoenix seemed like the obvious answer to an attack, though.
"Phoenix? No... The shy one? The vulnerable one..." Aloysius opened his mouth to yell about what he did to her, but it didn't really seem that upsetting. Either way, he chuckled. "You know, I didn't really do anything bad. I just... Brought out that really dirty side of her. You know, as shy as she plays, as virtuous as she seems. That girl begs for it..." There was a soft smile as he looked down at his tattooed hand.
"You ****ed Martyr?" For the time being Minoko was going to choose to not believe the boy. Seeing Aloysius and Martyr tangled together in a bedroom just seemed like too much of an impossibility. She scoffed and downed the remainder of her whiskey. "Yeah, and I ****ed Solaris. Prove it."
Aloysius rolled his eyes. He fished out his phone and began to go through the gallery of photos. His thumb swiped across his collection of photos, most downloaded, some taken for leverage. Then he pulled up a picture of Martyr, lying in the bed. She was sleeping, with the blankets covering her important bits--but it was clear that she was in her underwear. It was clear that he was welcome in her bedroom. "Proof enough?"
Minoko swallowed and placed her empty cup to the side before taking the phone. This sure felt familiar... She half expected to see her own face staring back in the photo, eyes wide and a mouth, filled with Emlen's ancient excitement, wider. But that wasn't it. Though the picture wasn?t nearly as bad as she had imagined, it got the point across. A tight-lipped frown appeared as she handed the device back over to Aloysius. "Fine... I get it. But that still doesn't look like suffering to me."
"Nah, I kept her happy. It's when she wanted to cuddle, and do all the coupley **** that I walked out and put a sad look on her face. I'll do better next time, that one was more for me." Aloysius said as he leaned back and looked over at her with a chuckle. "Anyways, it doesn't matter... My main goal, well... We both know I'll achieve that."
"You won't achieve ****... You don't know how Emlen fights now. He's stronger than ever, and he knows how to deal with...shadows." Her dark eyes judgmentally ran over the boy's tattoos during the pause in her speech. "So how do I get to suffer? Are you going to **** me, or just make me watch as you try to kill my husband?"
"Aw, honey..." A hand, if allowed would run down her cheek. "We both know that me ****ing you wouldn't make you suffer." The boy said and chuckled softly. "I'm sure you'll be suffering plenty when I kill him. And I'm sorry for that. Really. You have no reason to listen to a word I say, but I really do like you. It sucks that you're getting dragged into this."
The hand was allowed, but only for a second. Minoko's wrist snapped up in an attempt to knock Aloysius's touch away. "****ing you would be torture. And why the hell do you like me anyway? Is it my deep love for my husband that won you over?" Onyx oculars rolled as she looked back to the window. Minoko was fighting an incoming blush, fighting and losing.
"Honey, reverse psychology doesn't work on me. I'm not going to **** you." There was a small smirk as he leaned back against the couch. "I like you... Hmm... Why do I like you? You're an alcoholic human with the power to control metal... The fact that it was so easy to strip tells me that you weren't born with it. So, you sit, and you drink, and you walk through a world full of dragons, monsters and fools... You should have died years ago." Aloysius wasn't sugar-coating ****. "It's a miracle that you're alive right now, maybe it's dumb luck, or maybe you're just one strong ****ing human... I think it's both. Luck can only take someone so far, one has to have will to survive, will to keep trying. You're like me, Minoko. You're a survivor, you're smart, despite the fact that you can't read. You're pretty, despite the fact that you won't let anyone tell you so. You're funny, despite the fact that you usually don't mean to be. Should I go on?"
Minoko might not have had the most extensive vocabulary in the world, but she knew what reverse psychology was. What part of newly married didn't this guy understand? Lips parted in a dumb gape that didn't have any words hidden behind it. That was when he started. She hadn't meant it in the same way she had when she asked it to Emlen's double. Why, why was she loved? Why was it that this man who was little more than a stranger seemed to have her all figured out? She listened carefully as he wove a tapestry of her life, of her entire state of being. It was all correct. She could deny certain parts, like being smart and pretty, but what good would that do her? He knew things about her that he shouldn't have. Minoko wondered if these were the same reasons that Emlen cared for her and ignored the heart that thudded away so recklessly in her chest. "...I'm very lucky. That's all." Yes, that was all she could think to say. The woman ignored the urge to move over to the bar and instead started to nervously crack her knuckles. Intrusive pops rang out in the basement room.
"Keep telling yourself that, killer." The boy said and grinned lightly. She might have ignored the urge, but he hadn't. He needed a drink as if it was nobody's business. "Want another?" The boy asked as he held his hand out to retrieve the cup.
Black eyes lingered on the empty cup for several seconds before Minoko gave in and reluctantly handed it over to the boy. "How do you know all those things about me? I feel like... I feel like I didn't tell you all of that. But I might be wrong, I guess." There were times where she was so drunk that everything didn't piece itself together properly in her memory. She had been drunk the first time she had met Aloysius, very much so. Had she held herself together, or had she spilled? All she could remember were the syllables of his name, the patterns of his tattoos and the way he had abruptly disappeared into the night. Don't tell Emlen... She should have ****ing told Emlen.
"There are some things that don't need to be told, Minoko. How about we just leave it at that?" Aloy said with a smile as he refilled her glass, nice and high and then made one up of his own. Her cup was passed back over to her the second he crossed the room, and then he sat down with a nod.
Minoko sipped at the whiskey after she had taken the cup carefully into both hands. She really didn't want to be drunk when Emlen showed up, but it felt like the whiskey was the only thing keeping her reasonable. "If you say so..." The woman examined her cup for a minute or two before glancing around the area. "Bathroom?"
Aloysius pointed toward a door that tucked away a laundry room, a toilet, and a sink. "Just through that door." As funny as it would be to watch her piss herself, he didn't feel like cleaning up that mess.
She hadn't quite fallen to Akane's level just yet. Minoko lifted herself off the couch and walked to the bathroom with her cup in hand. Though Aloysius had poured the drink originally, it still seemed unwise to leave it behind. She leaned back to shut the door behind her and examined the space. Of course there was no way to get out... Had she really expected there to be a big open window? No, of course not. But still... Emlen was really taking his time, wasn't he? She placed her cup on the sink and took a quick break to use the bathroom for what it was made for. The toilet was flushed, and in that moment she attempted to rattle the faucet using the metal controlling powers that she was supposed to have. No luck. Minoko then let out a low grumble, washed her hands, grabbed her cup and exited her only hope. She didn't want to sit back on that couch. Not knowing where else to be, the woman wandered over to the area behind the bar and stood there, just like it was any other day and any other bar.
Aloysius smiled softly and leaned back. "Sorry, about this. I really am. Maybe one day you'll forgive me." Maybe not. Minoko would be able to feel that Emlen was nearing. The blood bond was something else. She'd know he was coming, and he'd know that he was getting closer. Closer. Not yet there, but not long now.
"You know, I could forgive you right now if you would just let me leave." Minoko smiled sweetly and started to swirl the whiskey around in its cup. It appeared that the alcohol was starting to settle into her system or at least that she was trying a different approach with her kidnapper. A single hand fell under the bar as soon as she felt Emlen growing closer. In half a warning and half a hello, she slipped her hand inside her yukata and dragged her nails hard along her stomach.
Aloysius shook his head. "Sorry, beautiful. That one I can't do. As soon as Emlen gets here, you're free to go. Nice try, though."
They really needed to work on signals... All that Emlen got from that was to hurry his *** up. He was pulling into the driveway now. "This is crazy... I hope she's okay... What if I'm just barging into some random person's house?" Then he scoffed, continuing the conversation with himself. "Tch, wouldn't be the first time."
"Do I seem like the kind of person who would leave as soon as her husband arrived?" Fingernails that weren't lingering at her stomach tapped along the bartop. She stared intently at the boy. Though she refused to acknowledge his compliments, Aloysius might notice a smoldering resentment deep in her gaze. Em was so close, but the longer that Aloysius didn't know that the better.
Emlen stepped into the house, and Aloysius was immediately tipped off. The floorboards creaked lightly above them, and he gave a quick wink to Minoko. "I guess it's showtime," he said with a grin as he listened for the boy, exploring the house, to find the basement.
Showtime. Her heartbeat quickened once again. She sank a bit lower behind the bar and shifted her hand to the emptiness above her heart. "What are you going to do to him exactly?" Minoko wanted details, wanted the villain's explanation while the protagonist came to save her. If she could distract Aloysius in any little way without putting Emlen in an even worse position then she would do so.
Aloysius smiled softly, because he knew that explaining himself would be his downfall. "Again... Nice try, beautiful...but you'll see..." The basement door cracked open and he took a step back, opening his hand as his tattoos seemed to vibrate on his arm.
Wide eyes narrowed on Aloysius's tattoos, and Minoko would have grabbed for the nearest liquor bottle in response had the boy not thought far ahead. All the glass was locked away, and he had given her a goddamn plastic cup. There was no metal, no glass, nothing for her to work with in this stripped down version of a bar. All she had to try and aid Emlen in this fight was her body and her voice. "Em, it's Aloysius! He has shadows!" She had even managed to pronounce the boy's name properly in her hasty warning. He should be proud. Minoko backed against the wall and bit down hard on her bottom lip, hoping that the pain would keep her alert and give her back the bloodstained ability that she hadn't needed for a long time now.