Message In A Bullet


cardinal_icon.gif liu_icon.gif xiulan_icon.gif

Scene Title Message With a Bullet
Synopsis Richard Cardinal pays a visit to Liu Ye at Xiulan Song's request, and the criminal and the crime lord discover they have many things in common.
Date July 31, 2009

Golden Luck Dragon Restaurant

The clink of glasses and the soft sound of wood flute music gives the warm atmosphere of the Golden Luck Dragon a welcoming atmosphere, as well as a begrudgingly authentic one. Waitresses in cheongsam patrol the floor in graceful style, the food is not American in style but more traditional Chinese affair, often an aquired taste.

Behind the pretenses of a legitimate business, however, it is no secret that the Flying Dragons have operated out of this restaurant since before Chang Ye's time. It is here, on the second floor balcony at a private booth reserved for his family, Liu Ye — head of the New York Triad — sits in wait for the evening's guests.

Through the slatted, wooden blinds the golden glow of sunset burns thorugh the windows, casting long shadows across Liu's face. With both arms raised across the back of the curving bench seat at his table, bare fingers rub against supple red leather. One arrangement for another, mutual favors, it is what Chinatown is born of and made from, and tonight one fiery favor in the name of Xiulan Song is being repaid by a singular visit.

Of one Richard Cardinal.

Unsurprisingly, Xiulan has dressed up for the meeting. Dressed up, in this instance, coming in the form of a floor length black cheongsam, heels and her hair neatly would into an ornate bun at the back of her head. To her credit, she has maintained a fair measure of composuer on the way to Golden Luck Dragon. A fact that is remarkable if only when one considers the fact that she would much rather /never/ have to see Song Ye again.

Of course, Song isn't present and, for the time being, the only two people who know about her… encounter… with the female Ye sibling, are Xiulan and the aforementioned psychopath's brother. Needless to say, Xiulan isn't inclined to discuss the matter. She does, however, exhibit a fair measure of nerves as she enters the restaurant with Richard, no small part of that being do to the fact that Cardinal hasn't really opted to dress to nines. "You really should have worn a suit," Xiulan murmurs as they step inside.

The extent of 'dressed up' that Richard Cardinal's managed this evening consists of a a nice grey shirt, black pleated slacks, and a faux-leather flight jacket in a deep brow colour draped over his upper body and worn open. Of course there's a gun holstered under it, because to walk into a place like this unarmed would be insulting. Maybe that's just him, though.

"I'd stand out like a sore thumb," observes the ex-convict in somewhat wry tones to Xiulan as he steps along within, inclining his head to whoever greets them near to the door, "Richard Cardinal and Xiulan Song. I believe we're expected?"

The broad-shouldered but ultimately short man at the door nods his head, "Follow me." He turns sharply on one heel, and from the ground floor they can see Liu waiting up at his booth on the balcony. Guided up the stairs, this doorman walks past tables of eager diners and classily dressed wait staff, leading Cardinal and Xiulan up and past a velvet rope towards Liu's booth. A bottle of plum wine rests on the table, one glass already poured and half empty, two more glasses waiting on the opposite side of the table where chairs have been arranged for his guests.

"Richard Cardinal and Xiulan Song," the doorman says with a nod of his head to Liu. The younger man smiles, waving a dismissive hand, to which the doorman bows his head and takes three steps back before turning around and leaving the three alone. Liu's dark eyes lift up to Xiulan, a fond and familiar smile creeping up on his lips before he sets focus on Cardinal.

"I've been waiting for this meeting a long time, Mister Cardinal." A hand is waved towards the chairs, "Please, take a seat." In the motion of his hand, there is a gurgling from the wine bottle as a serpentine coil of plum wine begins twisting and snaking its way across the table, filling one glass, then another neatly, not a drop soiling the table. Reclining back in his seat, Liu raises one dark brow. "I have heard so very much about you."

Song Ye's absence stirs a flicker of relief to fluttering in the pit of Xiulan's stomach. Despite that, she is still careful to afford a polite bow upon their approach to the booth. Liu's smile, as familiar as it is, stirs a mild shiver to tracing the length of Xiulan's spine, her own, offered in return, far more tenuous in nature. It is in response to the invitation to sit that she slips into the booth neatly folding her hands in her lap.

No conversation that ever began with that sentence has ever, in the history of mankind, ended well. It's the sort of phrase that makes a man want to glance behind him and check his drink for cyanide, while knowing that doing so would reveal weakness. So Cardinal doesn't do either, merely smiling a casual smile and sliding himself into the seat offered, hands folding neatly on the table's edge.

"And I you," he replies without missing a beat, gaze dropping to the wine as it slithers through the air with a brow's lift, adding with a quiet chuckle, "At least some of it accurate, apparently."

Reaching for his glass of wine, Liu brings it to his lips in a quiet sip, regarding Cardinal carefully over the top of the glass. "Armed robbery, burglary, grand theft auto, larceny, federal fugitive…" Liu's lips creep up into a smile, "Violation of the Linderman Act," and that raises both of Liu's brows as he recited Cardinal's rap sheet from memory. "You have a very decorated past, mister Cardinal. When your very devoted friend," he motions with his glass to Xiulan, "requested we do a favor in your name, I was surprised to find out that you are such a colorful individual."

The glass comes to settle down on the table, and Liu sits forward, folding his hands in front of his mouth, fongers laced together. "I will be blunt and to the point, Richard." Liu's brows lower, "You and I are both men of business and men of action, we both possess unique and unusual gifts that separate us from the mundane people of this world. We are meant for better things." There's an air of elitism in Liu's voice that doesn't set well with Richard.

"I have been quietly gathering people like you to my employ. While you possess certain loyalty issues that prohibit me from offering you prolonged business opportunities, I none the less have an offer for you that I would like to put out on the table." His hands motion to the empty table in obvious theatrics.

"If you had to describe him in one word, how would you speak of John Logan?" Now there is a topic that Cardinal has plenty of single words for; most of them four-letter.

Cue a subtle wince from Xiulan. She had, after all, neglected to mention that she had sought vengeance on Logan to Richard. Mind you, he may very well know, but she certainly hasn't mentioned it. It is the mention of Logan that brings Xiulan's gaze snapping up to Liu's face, dark eyes narrowing faintly before she gets a hold of herself. Marginally, at least, there is still a fair measure of anger burning in her gaze. After all, Logan is supposed to be a dead man. She'd paid a fairly unpleasant price for that particular bargain.

A hand reaches out to collect the glass before Cardinal as the leader of the Flying Dragons speaks, fingers curling about it loosely and bringing it up to his lips. A taste of plum wine is savoured, showing trust that he doesn't assume it poisoned, and then he sets it down again to rest for the moment upon the table's surface. To his credit, while he can't help but look over to Xiulan at the mention of this favor that was mentioned, he doesn't do so too obviously.

It's the question last spoken that finally brings a reaction, his lips curling up a bit at one corner in an involuntary sneer to the man's name. "How would I describe him in one word? Disgusting," is the term offered in description, body leaning back further in the booth seat as he gestures vaguely with a hand, fingers brushing through the air, "The man's the lowest I've ever seen, and I did a stint in Riker's, so that's saying a lot."

"I would have also accepted dead as a description for him." Liu brings up that glass again, draining a longer sip before setting it down, his fingers playing with beads of condensation on the glass, causing them to move and twist in unnatural ways, tracing out serpentine patterns between his fingers. "But perhaps that is jumping the proverbial gun?"

Pushing the glass aside with the back of his hand, Liu folds his hands on the tabletop, looking at Cardinal intently. "Several months ago, Daniel Linderman was able to arrange for the head of the Civella crime family to be placed under arrest, effectively crushing the second to last hereditary criminal organization in the city. The world is changing, Mister Cardinal, and people like Daniel Linderman are making it difficult for people like myself and my father to remain in business." Somehow, this all doesn't seem like it's Cardinal's problem.

"I am of no allusion that I am to be exempt from Daniel Linderman's warpath. Too long have the Triads defied him and his monopolizing of the streets. If we fall, it places Daniel Linderman in a position of absolute authority over the criminal syndicates of New York. This puts people like you, Mister Cardinal, in a very precarious position."

Unfolding his hands, Liu makes a broad, sweeping gesture with them. "I am planning on making a bid to prevent this, to keep Daniel from overcoming the last bastion of sanctuary for people like you and I, from letting him overrun the city of New York. I would like to hire you, Mister Cardinal, on as a private contractor to aid in the insurance that Daniel Linderman does not, in fact, take over this city with a stranglehold."

His hands fold back together again, brows lower, and lips purse. One dark brow rises up slowly as he asks. "How does this sound, thus far?"

Dead? "I had not heard that Logan was dead," Xiulan murmurs in quietly reserved tones. "I was under the impression that he had survived the attack on Happy Dagger." A fact which stirs another flicker of irritation to sparking in Xiulan's eyes. So much so that she switches to Chinese as she notes, "«Forgive me for being presumptous but I thought we had already reached an agreement on the matter of Logan's death?»" Rather then run risk of pissing Liu off, Xiu slants a glance at Richard, offering him a faintly apologetic smile. "«I paid your price as you recall,»" she points out.

"Interesting. I…" Cardinal's words pause as there's the rattle of Chinese from beside him, and he gives his companion a questioning look before turning his attention to Liu Ye, giving the crimelord the time to answer whatever's just been asked before offering his own reply. In the meantime, he reaches back over to lift the glass of wine, taking a sip thereof and letting the taste linger on his tongue.

"«We did reach an agreeemnt.»" Liu notes with a crooked smile, "«I intend tonight to make certain it is fulfilled.»" Shifting his dark eyes back to Cardinal, there is nothing honest or genuine about Liu's smile, save for the underlying smirk that it is painted over. "Mister Cardinal, I would like to offer you the employment you so deserve, and something perhaps more tangible than mere monetary wealth."

Reaching into his jacket, Liu produces a folder that he throws down onto the table and lets slide across the Cardinal. "Following a falling out between Johnathan Logan and I, my informants have discovered that he has taken employment here on the mainland as an operative of Daniel Linderman." Fingers waggle in the direction of the folder. "I believe that you and I may have ultimately different motives, but neither of us benefit from a Linderman Monarchy, and neither of us benefit from the life of John Logan persisting any further. As a good-will offering, I give you my surveillance information on mister Logan." A smile creeps up on his face, this one more sinister than before. "If you happen to see him, perhaps you could deliver to him a message for me, with love, from the Flying Dragons?"

Reclining back in his seat, Liu folds his arms across his chest and looks to Xiulan with one brow quirked, as if to wordlessly say see?. When his focus turns back to Cardinal, the catch comes. "In return, I would like you to utilize your… what did they call it in the registry," the sinister smile grows, "shadow form?" One hand moves to gesture vaguely at the words coming out of his mouth. "Infiltrate the Linderman Building, and see if you can find paper records of NYPD officers on Linderman's bankroll. As simple as that."

Hrmph. Really, hiring Richard to avenge Richard is cheating and Xiulan -knows- that Liu is fully aware of that. Even so, she cannot help but admire the twist and that much shows in her eyes. "«Thank you,»" she murmurs in quietly respectful tones. "«I apologize for having questioned you.»" Reaching for her own glass, another glance is slanted at Richard, her head tilting faintly as she studies his expression and waits for his response.

So the feds finally figured out what it was he did. Damn, Cardinal grouses mentally, I really should punch Parkman in the face one of these days. Must've been him.

"I was given to understand that you and Linderman had some manner of deal, particularly regarding Staten Island…" The glass in Richard's hand is tilted slightly towards Liu Ye, a brow lifting as he adds wryly, "Guess that's been tossed out the window, though, eh?" He chuckles ever so faintly, taking another swallow of wine before setting the glass aside and leaning forward, arms folding to the table's edge.

"So… John's crawled further under Daniel's ass. I'd say I'm surprised, but I'm really not," he admits. John Logan does have a tendency to hide behind the biggest obstacle between him and death, after all. "As it so happens, I'm not entirely enthralled with the idea of Linderman taking over the city, on the grounds that he's kind of an asshole, and his employment of our dear friend John hasn't further endeared him to me. Of course, finding hardcopy records of that sort've information won't be easy, Mister Ye."

"Nothing worth doing is ever easy Mister Cardinal." Liu's brows rise slowly as he lets out a slow sigh. "But between your young confidant next to you, and another very convincing man who spoke to me on your behalf, I have it on rather good terms that you are often a person who is capable of working miracles." A smile stays on Liu's face, dark eyes wandering the table before flitting back up to Richard.

"I can make you a very wealthy man, Richard. And if you work with me, I can ensure you that you and yours will not fall on the wrong side of the Flying Dragons. It is always a good thing to pick your sides carefully, and know which side of the fence you're standing on."

Rather then interrupt the males, Xiulan sips her drink. After all, things are going relatively smoothly and she'd rather not risk ruffling any feathers, or drawing unwanted attention. She is, however, listening intently and taking mental note of what is being said and how. Apparently, she has learned a lesson in the course of making her bargain with Liu.

A lot of people keep telling Richard Cardinal that thing about fences. What none of them seem to have considered is that he's already picked out a parcel of land, seeded down some grass, and has been starting to build his own fencing around it.

But he just smiles at that, allowing with a hint of good humor stirring in his voice, "Who might that be? It sounds as if I should hire whoever it is on to handle my public relations… point taken, however."

He leans back a bit, one hand raising to scratch under his chin before he admits, "I think I can see my way to agreement here. It seems as though everyone gets what they want out've this."

Smiling fondly, Liu nods his head in acceptance. "We'll call us even, for now, with what I have asked you to do about Mister Logan, and the files I have offered you to do it with." His eyes wander the table for a moment, "Should you be able to aquire some information about mister Linderman's law-enforcement connections, then we can consider further payment arrangements to your taste."

"As for your spokesperson, it was someone who came to me with some ideas about my business model," Liu notes with both brows rising, "he said he was an acquaintance of yours." The wine glass is considered, then palmed and raised up to the Triad boss' lips, a slow sip interrupting the final elaboration on Cardinal's mysterious benefactor. "He said his name was Edward."

"Ray?" Ooops. Yes, that just sorta slips out. Mind you it is promptly followed by Xiulan taking a long swallow of wine and pretending not to have said anything. She does, however, /kick/ Richard under the table. Dammit, Cardinal, why do you have to get into so much trouble? Seriously.

The glass was just picked up again as Liu Ye spoke, Cardinal's gaze lingering on the reflections of light upon plum wine as if considering the ripples that movement made within it. It was just to his lips then, tilted back to take a sip when the last sentence is spoken, and he very nearly spits the entire mouthful back into the vessel.

Managing to cover it up as swallowing wrong, he coughs a few times— and winces at the impact of foot to shin— lifting a cloth napkin to daub at stained lips as he clears his throat. "I should've known," he admits, wryly, once he's set down the napkin, "Edward always did have a high opinion of my talents."

Wryness is mirrored in Liu smile as he sets down his empty glass on the table. "I am glad we have been able to come to an agreement, mister Cardinal." Liu's dark eyes flick to Xiulan, knowing in their silence that has so painted his interactions with her. Carefully chosen words, never revealing too much or too little. His eyes come back to Cardinal, intent and interested.

"I think that concludes these matters," he notes with a dismissive wave of one hand. "It is good to know, though, that your reputation is an accurate one, Mister Cardinal."

To credit, Xiulan doesn't shudder although the urge to do so is definitely present. Instead, she sets down her glass and shifts in her seat in preparation to depart. "Thank you," she murmurs in tones pointedly pitched to be as respectful as possible. Mind you, she'll be on her feet the moment Cardinal is up and ready to leave. Heavens only know, after all, where Song might be lurking.

"I appreciate you taking the time to meet with me, Mister Ye," Richard replies, only now reaching out to take hold of the folder's edge and lift it off the table. It's tucked beneath an arm, and the thief rises up to his feet beside the chair, a roguish smile flashed to the crimelord, "I'm sure I'll speak with you again soon. Have a lovely evening."

An arm's offered to Xiulan, as he moves to step away from the table.

Xiulan offers a formally polite bow before taking Richard's arm with an almost audible sigh of relief. Course, she doesn't quiet turn her back on Liu Ye, half backing, half side stepping a few steps back before finally turning in time to descend the stairs. "Be," she murmurs quietly, and perhaps unnecessarily, to Richard. "Very, very careful." Please.

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