The Wrong Naiad

July 06, 2017:

After *another* week of hunting across the north-east, Jhiao again finds her elusive fishwife but doesn't get the greeting she expected.



NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

A dreary, cooling rain falls heavily from clouds that darken Gotham's night skies. It's a wet, blowing drizzle that seeps its way through cracked brickwork and slicks the cracked pavement of the roads. The kind of weather that makes it thankless to be out on patrol, which only makes it all the more tiring when the second alarm of the night goes off - this time at a corner store jeweler.

Slipping out a side door and around the corner of a back alley, a black silhouette slinks stealthily out into the night.


Tracking down a friend without a fixed address is hard enough. When said friend doesn't even stay in the city where she was last encountered? It's nigh unto impossible without certain advantages. Incredible speed, agility, and a keen sense of scent are Cloud's only assets in this effort, and even so it has taken days - and nights - to finally find a recent enough hint of Nerina's scent. What the homeless girl is doing climbing up to a rooftop in a high-rent district she has no idea. But the clouded leopard will follow the trail. Her arboreal nature makes this feel quite natural, except for the damned concrete her claws can barely get any purchase on.


Resting atop the roof in the shadow of an air handler, a black silhouette pulls back the front of her jacket and furtively gazes at her recent take tucked inside while straining her ears to listen for the rising or falling sounds of police sirens. She pats the glistening quarry flush against her chest and draws back her sleeve just enough to expose a Casio watch the rain. The watch's face illuminates her slitted eyes with a pale blue light as it dutifully counts upwards before it too disappears back out of sight. For now the ninja has only to wait, nestled in her shadow.

She peeks up at the overcast sky and shoots the clouds a mild glare. Yesterday's forecast had called for rain.


Irked and tired, the clouded leopard leaps from rooftop to rooftop, alights in the shadows, and starts wuffling her muzzle around the rooftop, tracking the scent of … yes. Over that way is a more recent trace of Nerina. And she comes loping quietly along, around the air handler - ugh, noisy machines! - and then she stops, warm amber eyes lifted high, watching the black-clad figure hiding up there. Tail-flick.


The ninja gasps and orange cat eyes look back with a start as the large cat comes into view. For a moment there's a staring contest between two felines; one with four legs and the other with two. Beneath her facemask and hood, the young woman's expression is inscrutable and the long legs dangling in the air make her look noticeably taller than the familiar flautist from a hundred miles away - but the faint scent drifting off her skin doesn't lie.

Passing the moment with guarded caution, the ninja kicks her feet slightly and watches the leopard, crouching just slightly forward to brace in case she needs to move.


The leopard's head tilts to the side, muzzle crinkled as she scents again, confirming, and round little ears swivel to narrow their focus down to the feline-eyed woman in black. That's not Nerina's body shape. Not her eyes. But it is her scent. And that's … weird. Cloud pads closer, and closer, and then lifts up to brace her paws on either side of the other, laying her chin on the woman's knees. Or at least that's what she tries to do.


She doesn't quite get the opportunity as the ninja rolls backwards over the top of the air handler when the leopard begins to approach and lands softly on her sandals with the large machine between her and the cat. Then an alarm begins to ring out from two blocks down the street and her head whips sideways towards it. A moment later, the night black jacket flutters in the air and the black silhouette of a woman darts for the opposite edge of the roof.


The leopard stops, staring across the machine towards the woman … who then runs away. Cloud lowers her chin, amber eyes half-lidded in disappointment. Her friend just ran away. All this hard work, days and days of hunting, and when she finds her … Cloud wuffles in annoyance, and turns around, padding back the way she came. Stupid noisy cities. Stupid machines.

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