Cardinal Desires


liu_icon.gif song_icon.gif xiulan_icon.gif

Scene Title Cardinal Desires
Synopsis In the search for revenge against John Logan, Xiulan meets with the new leadership of the Flying Dragons, and discovers that all things come with a price. Some more disturbing than others.
Date June 13, 2009

Golden Luck Dragon Restaurant

On the surface, there is little about the Golden Luck Dragon Restaurant that seems unusual. The two-floor and upscale restaurant is one of the finest eateries in Chinatown, serving traditional Chinese cuisine alongside the more Americanized "Chinese Food". The restaurant's ground floor is an open-concept structure, with the majority of the tables and booths visible from the entrance. Much of the decour is themed with rich browns of stained wood framework around the large doorways, deep crimson carpets, and gold trimmed curtains that give the restaurant a dimly lit and intimate quality even during the day.

The restaurant's second floor is a balcony that overlooks the ground floor dining spaces, usually reserved for large parties and functions, it is often closed off by a velvet rope.

Neon lights clash against the textured sounds of traditional Chinese music.

It is the setting of a meeting far and beyond the norms that Xiulan Song has become accustomed to. The grimy, rough and blustery atmosphere of Staten Island has little place behind the cultured vaneer that the Chinese Mafia have tried to instill into their holdings in Chinatown. Here, at their most central of front operations, the Golden Luck Dragon, it could not be any further away from Staten Island.

Thin, non resonant voices sing in chanting quality over a concealed audio system designed to unobtrusively filter background music into the restaurant. It provides a certain authenticity to foreign cuisine served up in the bowrey of New York City. When her name is spoken at the front desk, reservations by the Ye family garner Xiulan Song a gracious welcome and personal escort through the dining floor and to the roped-off stairs that lead to the second floor balcony.

The escort leads her past the velvet rope and to a private booth, where awaiting her are two of the most dangerous individuals in this corner of New York. One dresses inappropriately for the restaurant; a shiny black vinyl dress and knee-high boots hardly formalwear, but the way Song Ye has chosen to wear her hair up and bound behind her head seems somewhat more befitting. At her side rests her brother Liu, inherited head of the Flying Dragons, a young man who has taken charge of this gang by force and charisma, a bloodthirsty killer by most standards.

On Xiulan's approach, Liu rises up from the booth and straightens the front of his midnight blue suit. Song merely tilts her head up, dark eyes languidly following Xiulan in the way a lazy cat might a mouse. "«It is a pleasure to finally meet you face to face, Song Xiulan.»" All his time in America has done nothing to stifle Liu's command of his native tongue, "«Come, sit — drink,»" he motions towards a bottle of wine chilling in a bucket at the center of the table, "«business is always more pleasurable with a drink in hand.»"

This meeting is of the sort that Xiulan had spent most of her life hoping to avoid. That it has become necessary? A fact she is willing to swallow in order to obtain her desired goal. Still, years of training and living in and about the triad has taught her many things. One of those things is always to show respect, even in manner of dress. So it is that when she appears, she is dressed suitably. A floor length black silk cheogsam encasing her petite frame and dark hair wound up into a neat bun high atop her head. Of course, being greeted in Mandarin goes a long way toward easing ruffled nerves, an actual breath taken as she affords a low, polite bow before slipping into the offered seat.

"« I appreciate you both making time to meet with me," she murmurs as she glances between the siblings. And while she would normally fold her hands in her lap, an 'offer' of a drink has been made and she obediently pours herself a glass. It is at that point that her hands find their way to her lap, fingers interlacing as she inwardly reminds herself to continue to breath.

Something about the way Song Ye watches Xiulan seems predatory, half-lidded eyes tracking her movements as she leans forward to rest her chin in her palm, wordless during the meeting, though Xiulan notices faint wisps of cold mist slithering out of the young woman's nostrils every so often, like tiny white vipers. "«It would have come eventually, Doctor Cong informed me that you are…»" Liu moves in to take a seat in the booth, "«special, like my sister and I. It's fortuitous to find people like ourselves. Outside of your particular business, there are other opportunities I would like to discuss with you.»"

Liu reaches out for the wine glass he had earlier, but instead of taking it urge it towards Song. His sister's eyes drift to view it with an askance quality, only then allowing her head to turn and lips to part, blowing an arctic breath over the top of the glass, frosting it and chilling the wind. Liu inclines his head and turns to look back to Xiulan, lifting the wine glass in one hand. "«So, to that matter, I heard you have some greivances with John Logan?»"

For the space of a heartbeat or two, Xiulan finds herself unable to catch a breath, her gaze following each wispy tendril of mist as it coils a serpentine path from Song's nostrils. Perhaps it is her artistic nature that lends her toward visions of a poisonous serpent biding her time before striking. Perhaps. It is Liu's speaking that brings her gaze flickering back to his face, the tip of her tongue moistening her lips before she manages to dip her chin in a single nod of accord.

"« I realize that Logan is one with whom you have deigned to do business,»" she admits quietly. "« And while under normal circumstances I would never dream of interfering with the business of the Flying Dragons, I find myself with a most unnatural thirst for his blood and screams.»" Pausing a beat, she nibbles at her lower lap as she readjusts her hands in her hands in her lap, a slow breath drawn in and held for a beat before she returns her gaze to Liu's face. "« While I am certain that he has proven profitable, I am equally certain that my abilities will provide greater revenue then one such as he might bring in.»"

"«John Logan…»" Liu glances over to Song, who casts an unbecoming scowl towards her brother at the name, "«I've grown to have a modicum of distaste for the man. The security at his building proved to be lacking the last time I visited, leaving a business partner and I to be accosted by someone. I was told we were safe there, and…»" Liu waves one hand slowly in the air, "«It's not enough to want to hang John out to dry by his testicles, but I'm less inclined to do favors for the man now. What I want to know, is who is this friend of yours, and what did he do to earn John's wrath?»"

Neither Liu nor Song seems remarkably interested in the angles of revenue, at least not yet, but given their rather public proclivities it seems uncertain that their business dealings with john Logan were pulling in money, rather tan wasting money on John's properties.

Dark lashes feather down against Xiulan's cheeks, the momentary darkness buying her a measure of peace free of the discomfort of having to have this conversation. Still, it is a conversation she must have, so she reopens her eyes, straightens her spine and answers in tones that pitched to deliberate politeness. "« His name is Richard Cardinal,»" she informs the siblings. "« We have been… friends for some time now. As for what he has done that has brought him into Logan's view? I cannot say for certain. I only know that in the not so distance past, Logan was holding another friend of ours captive for her abilities. I assume that Richard must have been scouting to ascertain that there were not others in harm's way.»" And regardless of how politely she might phrase it, it is clear in her eyes that she doesn't care what Cardinal might have done. The fact that Logan hurt him is more then enough to earn him Xiulan's undying wrath.

Narrowing his eyes at the story, Liu casts an uncertain look over to his sister, who's feline stare nearly matches his in concerned quality. "«An American?»" There's something accusatory in the way Liu states that, but his expression shows more disappointment than anything, as he takes a sip of his wine. "«To me, it sounds like Richard got what he deserved, putting his nose where it does not belong. If he is willing to do something like that to John Logan and James Muldoon in their own back yard,»" Liu's head tilts in Xiulan's direction, "«I fear that he would do the same in our own. Perhaps best if he learns his lesson?»"

Then, after a moment, Liu rolls his tongue over the inside of his cheek. "«So it will not be out of the kindness of our hearts that we do you any favor. Which means, there is going to need to be something owed for services rendered. This, of course, is where we entreat you to leave and take with you what you came here with. Failing that discrecion»", Liu's eyes drift over to his sister, then back to Xiulan, "«we can begin negotiations.»"

The response is not unexpected, although it is admittedly disappointing. Yes, Cardinal is am American. No, Xiulan should probably not be as close as she is. Particularly since, once upon a time, she was supposedly betrothed to some unknown associate of her father. Still, these are things she does not mention, and it is a decision she has already made. "« I realize that he is not one us, however, he has skills that could be of considerable use, should you, in your wisdom, choose to utilize them.»" And, should he still be alive, which is not looking so likely as time goes by. "« So, while I thank you for your generous offer… »" Maybe she should leave… Richard may already be dead. Failing that, he has not contacted her… Chewing her lip, Xiulan ponders her own actions, her fingers going white knuckled in her lap as she sweeps her gaze back up to the siblings. "«I would hear what you would have of me to have this done.»"

Liu's head tilts to the side, hands clasping together as he rests his elbows on the table top, letting his head come to settle on his folded hands while he regards Xiulan. "«We can discuss the usefulness of this bird later. Before I define your debt to us for services rendered, and I will not ask much of you — as you are family — what do you ask of us to do to John Logan?»" One of Liu's brows rise slowly as he looks Xiulan up and down.

Song seems to be waiting more in anticipation of the bargaining to come, showing little compassion or little interest in Xiulong's own personal issues, entertaining herself by tracing a finger on the tabletop, leaving an icy path in and out of a small puddle of water that has formed from condensation of her glass.

"« I want his head, »" Xiulan answers frankly. "« I want him to suffer as he has had so many others suffer in the past. »" It is only belatedly that she glances up Liu, dark eyes immediately drifting back down to an intent study of the untouched glass of wine in front of her. Vengeance is such a stupid thing, really. Unfortunately, even admitting that to herself changes nothing.

"«Do you want us»" he motions back and forth between himself and his sister, almost jokingly, "«to be the ones to make him suffer, or was this more out of a request for permission to do so yourself? The answer will determine the cost.»" Ever the businessman, even if he's a terrible one, Liu shifts to sit straight, eyeing his empty wine glass with a whimsical look, before glancing to Song with a brow raised, as if asking her to fill him another drink. Her answer comes in a deceptive smile, a narrowing of her eyes, and a slow shake of her head in disapproval of her brother's laziness. Ultimately, Liu is forced to pour himself a glas, and he makes a sighing spectacle of it, as if it were a colossal effort.

"« I point out, most respectfully, that I am not a trained assassin,»" Xiulan observes. Falling silent a beat, she gives a faint shake of her head, dark eyes trailing over the room before returning to the siblings. "« I bow to those with far more skill then myself with regards to such matters and must beg to have this thing done for me.»" Glancing between the two as the wine glass is refilled, she lightly clears her throat and moistens her lips prefering to pretend not have noticed the exchange.

"«Entertain my sister for an evening, and we will call it even.»" Liu flippantly waves a hand in Song's direction, reclining back on the cushions of the booth's leather seats. "«That may be a herculean task, but do whatever it is she wishes for a night and you can consider your problem with John Logan to be over.»" It's almost too easy sounding, despite the foreboding nature of Liu's salacious request, it's as if he was intending on doing in the proprieter of the Happy Dagger all on his own, and entertained this meeting sheerly out of his own sick, personal amusement.

"«As I mentioned earlier, there are certain other talents you possess that I wished to discuss with you. Whatever talents my sister requires not withstanding.»" Liu's dark eyes divert to Xiulan, "«Doctor Cong informed me that you have the ability to manipulate printed text. Does this specifically remain in the realm of pre-printed text, or can you apply verbage to blank paper as well?»" Liu's brow rises, as if switching from the earlier topic to this one was a natural transition.

"« Oh, »" is Xiulan's response. Although that is not the sort of 'oh' that is an 'oh' of relief, but rather the sort of 'oh' that indicates every breath in one's body has suddenly gushed out and their heart is constricting hard enough that it just may burst out of one's chest. In the wake of that sound, the tattooist's eyes flicker to Song, her teeth nibbling at her lower lip as she tries to imagine what entertaining might be only to discover that she really, really is certain she doesn't want to know. Ever. "« I…»" Somehow, she's certain that Song isn't going to want to go see movie or play jacks. "« I…»" Paper? Text? Unable to formulate a response at this moment to the first, she clears her throat, sucks in a short breath and offers, "« I can recreate or alter any document you can show me,»" she admits.

"«Recreation, hmm, alright…»" Liu runs the fingers of one hand through his hair, occupying himself with a wordless sip of his wine before setting down the glass. "«If you are willing to work with your ability — »" he flippantly waves a hand inXiulan's direction, « — what do you call something like that anyway? — »" then returns to what he was originally saying, "«I may have some tasks for you to do in order for you to work off a portion of your debt. The laundrering trick you showed Doctor Cong? I'm not entirely certain how viable it is, only with the serial numbering of currency… but, that isn't my area of expertise.»"

A breath is taken, slow and thoughtful, "«Oh, and… your friend, Richard? When might I be able to meet with him? You said he had useful skills, and I have a particularly nagging problem that has been hanging over my head for a few months I might just be able to use him to handle.»"

Did she agree to entertain Song? Xiulan suddenly cannot remember. She does, however, flick a glance at the woman before promptly turning her gaze back to Liu. "« So long as the serial numbers are different, it shouldn't cause an eyebrow to be raised in response to the currency. in so far as counterfeiting goes, it is as perfect as it can possibly be.»" She has taken the time to research the matter as far as she able to. "« Chromokinesis, »" is offered belatedly. "« It is how have I been doing my tattoos for as long as I can recall. »" Moistening her lips, she unconciously reaches for her glass of wine, taking a swallow and setting the glass back down before noting. "« As soon as I hear from him, presuming he is still alive, I would be honored to arrange a meeting. »"

"«Good, good…»" Liu leans forward, restlessly, "«I think that about covers everything that needed to be covered. I will consult with father's former financial advisor,»" the sarcasm on that title is thick and heavy, "«then get back to you on that task. Now, provided you have no objections to honoring my sister's whims,»" a wave of Liu's hand motions to Song, who only cracks a thin and predatory smile as she finally stops tracing abstract patterns in frost on the table top, "«I will get right on figuring out a satisfactory way to make John Logan suffer, and record it for your posterity.»"

Liu wrinkles his nose, head tilting to one side, "«Unless you were going to disappoint my dear, dear sister.»" This is most certainly not the way their father did business, and he is likely rolling in hi sgrave.

This is not the way Xiulan is accustomed to things transpiring, either. So much so that for a moment, she can only glance mutely between the siblings whilst trying to forumlate a response. Oh, Song's predatory smile does very little in the way of making the matter any easier on her. The paling of her features is more then testimony enough of that. "« I…»" Really, really don't want to do that, goes unspoken. Instead, she glances fleetingly at Song and affords in breathy tones, "« Don't suppose you would care to see a movie?»"

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