It was nothing more than a facade. These stone walls, a hollow shell. she had sucked the soul out of this place when she killed the proprietors -- an elderly man and his wife. Looking at them one would have thought they were very much in love, but in those last moments she saw the truth. They both wanted only to survive, even if it was at the expense of their life-long partner. They both died so it would never matter. Killing was easy, living was what was truly hard. What replaced them and all of the service staff was a hunk of wood painstakingly carved until it resembled a face
, the detail was extraordinary but she could take no credit for the effort. She paid well for these faces and these clothes, goods were almost as easy to buy as people.
The mannequins were a part of the masquerade, this setting nothing more than a rat trap. Hissori was not the first that she had taken here and it was likely that he would not be the last either. It was a reliable way to get a meal, her hunger insatiable. Restaurants were a curious thing, a place where humans gathered often in pairs or small groups to mindlessly consume whatever was placed in front of them. Trusting
that nothing they were given was tainted. Trusting
that the doors would not lock behind them once they entered the main space. Humans were such trusting
“Well… If we are drinking, do you think their Mojitos are of good quality here. Its been a while since I have been to the islands, and had a real good one.”
"What is a moh-he-toe?"
The words clumsily came out of her mouth in a jumbled garbled mess. She had no idea if a 'Mojito' was even on the menu, the menu was not something she made. It predated her holding of this café. Was this some sort of cheesy island-themed chain restaurant? She had no damn clue. Suna might have been many things, but well-read was not among them. Reading was for those whose lives were so short that they had to transcribe their learning to paper to disseminate what they knew to future generations. She was well-versed in Runic Terran, in fact better than most current scholars but Runic was a language spoken more than written. In a time of men it is no wonder that the language had all but died out in this modern age. Ancients had little need to write, although Satoru was the enduring exception. "Likely terrible she admitted,"
this time it was no lie. If a mojito was on the menu, whatever terrible concoction that was mixed in the backroom would be stomach churning.
There was an awkward pause between them. Her eyes scanned him, there was a compulsion to strike him down where he sat. She could almost smell the oil burning as the gears in his head turned. He was going to make a fuss.
“They’re almost lifelike you know.”
Her hand clenched and the marionettes fell. All of them did. "They were expensive,"
she exhaled. Her weight shifted to her right side, he did not need both legs. In fact he did not need either leg.
“Truth be told, I’ve always been a bit fansicated by human puppets, it seems like such a dark art, but in reality who would want to live forever?”
But she did not rip into him like an unchained wild animal. Her eyes widened and her jaw slackened. That was what he took away from this?
It made her job easier but made her a bit uneasy. Why was he not uneasy? This would have been a good moment for a theological debate but soup was more important.
“Is that soup any good?”
“I’d assume that they at least have real food here yeah? Or really, you have gone and set this all up for me it seems, so why don’t you pick what I eat.”
her voice trailed off, for a moment she was at a loss for words. "You have a knack for defusing the drama of a kidnapping,"
she sighed. "But if you are not going to make this difficult for me, then sure."
She shook her head, a tone of confusion and annoyance as her fingers moved. If food was going to keep him happy, it would be easier and less messy than a dismemberment. In the end she was rather pragmatic. If there was an easier way to meet her objective, she was not going to make things harder for herself than she needed to. "I only need you for your body,"
she admitted. "So food and alcohol,"
she clarified as her fingers danced and one of the marionettes would pull itself from the floor and saunter away as if nothing happened.
In the Next Room:
The space was not particularly large, too much upkeep and it was covered in a thick blanket of dust. Nobody actually eats here, they just die here. She never touched the alcohol or the food for that matter, but oddly enough the refrigerator was filled with fresh meat. She had no use for either the alcohol or meat or whatever those decayed remnants of vegetables were packed tightly in the back of the ice box. Alcohol simply smelled terrible and tasted worse. Food gave no sustenance and the effort involved in making anything remotely pleasurable was simply not worthwhile to Ancient.
In the back room there would be bottles lined up in a neat row - some filled with amber fluid. Some clear. Many had large brassy or black colored labels with large words in cursive script written across the face. She could not read it even if it was her eyes rather than her sonar that had granted her vision. The cork would be released from a single random bottle with a loud *pop* and in a large mixing bowl half the bottle's contents would be poured. Tequila ten ounces. Then another bottle, this one was already half empty so the remains would be poured into the bowl. Not that she knew it but it was brandy. The bowl would then be lifted by the mannequin's hands and moved side to side and the contents would slosh about. With the upward twitch of a finger she would gauge the weight of the fluid in the bowl. It was about 14 ounces. She was not certain that would be enough. A third bottle, smaller than the others but full. It had a screw top that she would twist off and then pour the contents into the bowl. It was only 6 ounces but it seemed sufficient. A bowl of liver-toxic fluid, something humans recreationally consumed for whatever reason. It needed color. Fruit perhaps? juice, a bottle of cranberry juice that was long ago forgotten and now fermented making it wine. Close enough.
As for the foot
food, the puppet sawed off a limb. At least these remains finally had some sort of use. Then a vat of oil brought to a boil. The oil would bubble violently as the heat was applied and the meat was relinquished. Then greens, the potted daisy plant was good enough. a knife from the index finger cut through the stalks of the underfed plants and they would fall into the wooden hand of the puppet. A meal, kinda. Meat. Green. A mixed drink of indeterminate name.
Presentation was the final consideration. The salad bowl of booze poured into a fancy-looking glass. The small ones would not hold the contents. Well, there was one that would, it was larger than the rest
and it even looked fancy. From the heated oil would come some charred meat. A pile of green sticks. A large vase
glass of alcohol. Good enough she hypothesized.
Back with Hissori:
Shiori's fingers would dance about, controlling the absentee puppet. "There is meat from the last few,"
she reasoned "and they never live long enough to have a drink."
If only she sold this meat
she might be able to make a 'honest' living. Yes, she was feeding him human flesh, daisy stalks and pretty much whatever alcohol she could find mixed together. If it was not for the fact that Hissori was an alcoholic, the contents of the vase he would be soon served would likely put him into liver failure.
“You seem to know a lot about me. Enough to come track me down and bring me here. So why don’t you just tell me what you know, and I’ll fill you in on what you missed Miss?”
"I have wanted you for a long time,"
she admitted. "Being demon-bait is worthwhile,"
she was of course referring to Akkuma. Their relationship was undefined, but she saw a rise within the demon when Hissori was mentioned. "I thought Akkuma was trying to kill you back in Soons Haven, however... he seems to have an affection for you."
He was angry when she brought him up. Demons don't care for anything besides themselves, they were simply incapable. They had the depth of a mud puddle. "I simply need you for your body, well... you voice might be enough,"
she concluded as she pulled an earbud from her cleavage and she would compress the power button. It was already set to Akkuma's assumed frequency. With a lazy underhanded motion tossed it in front of Hissori. "Call Akkuma, ask him to come. Tell him everything if you want, that it is a trap. That I might hurt you. That I am looking for him."
It did not matter how much or how little he shared, she just wanted Akkuma to know that Hissori was with her. That should be enough. The demon thought with his dick, she did not want to even think about their relationship. Gross -- demon sex. "You can call me Suna... Shiori, my name will be grossly irrelevant to you if you survive."
The puppet would meander from the backroom soon thereafter. In one hand a plate of blackened meat and green stalks. In the other hand a vase of pink fluid sloshing over the rim.
TLDR: Headset on, she is trying to call Akkuma.