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Samiyah Zayn
Adventurer
Adventurer


Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Posts: 29

Location: The dorms of the Ravenwyck Estate outside of Clovely, RhyDin
2,895 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:22 am    Post subject: Puzzle Piece Reply with quote

Green Garden Shopping Complex, Stars End
November 23, 2012



It was a plane.

That was the entire reason that Samiyah had come to the Green Garden Shopping Complex in Stars End. But the toy wrapped up in a bag in her hand wasn't just any plane. This one had a wingspan of 38 inches, could stay in the air for an hour, and reach speeds of eighty miles an hour. It was all controlled by a remote with four channels of control and when one a particular button was pushed it could drop "bombs" (small and, from what it claimed, harmless firecrackers) out of a back compartment.

The toy didn't sound the least bit safe but it was what Harris and Stick's son, Stefan, had requested for Christmas and being the older psuedo-sibling, Sami didn't have to worry about things such as safety or damage to property.

The crowds were thickly pressed together with holiday shoppers but Sami found herself in no particular hurry. There was far too much to see. She slowed before a trio of hologram bears. Singing hologram bears wearing knit hats and scarves. It certainly wasn’t a sight one would see in Old Temple or WestEnd.

It was snowing. As the sullen clouds faded against a darkening sky, each flake was caught as it spiraled down, illumined by the magic of neon and holo-projectors: pink and green, blue and incandescent white. The near-constant drone of suborbital ships ascending and descending played the background theme of the spaceport, softened by the tinkle of music from the mall's loudspeakers.

A plane was the reason Sergei was at the Green Garden Shopping Complex too, but unlike Samiyah he was trying to leave as quickly as possible. He hadn't come here to buy presents or spread "Christmas cheer." Instead he was using this as a shortcut to get back to his hangar and continue work on his final project for the Stars End Aerospace Institute. He'd expected to make his way from end to end with next to no foot traffic in his way at this hour, but he'd been mobbed by shoppers excited about how dark this Friday was (had it been overcast earlier?) and hurrying from shop to shop.

He tightened his thick wool scarf around his neck and hurried as soon as he broke free from the throng, slowing from the sudden jog in the middle of a gleaming white bridge over a crystalline water feature, an ice palace of some kind. He stopped to have a look around the mall, out over the crowd and the colored snowflakes drifting down onto their heads. "Christmas, huh," he murmured, blinking.

It was a magical paradise that left Sami swimming in a grin. She took a step back away from the bears finally and blinked multi-colored snow off her eyelashes as she twisted her way towards the bridge. Long jagged icicles hung from the water feature, reflecting the soft lights twinkling over the feature.

The shadows were variegated shades of blue, grey and black, stretching from lampposts and the edges of shop facades, statues and the few shoppers who continued to brave the cold and the descending dark rather than go home to a warm room and supper. Blue and grey and black, other Shadows moved along the street.

Did Colt celebrate Christmas? Did Jet? Sergei's ears gave an involuntary twitch, rattling his earrings as he worried over this and whether, after this dark Friday, all Christmas gifts were gone until the following year. Was that how it worked? He squinted at a 50% OFF banner beside a scented candle store for something to confirm or refute his concerns.

The ink of her tattoo twisted and writhed but Sami ignored it. Too often it was the Boy Who Cried Wolf, stretching and pulling at the skin of her back without any real idea of danger. It was RhyDin, after all. Half the people in the crowd were probably criminals or running from something or someone. It didn't mean that any of them were particularly dangerous to her.

Sami came to a sudden stop in her stroll towards the gentle gurgling of the fountain by a screaming toddler who nearly ran over her toe and the child's harried mother who did indeed run over her toe.

"Eesh!" Sergei flattened himself backward against the railing to put himself out of the racing mother and child's path. He turned his head to Sami as he passed her: "You okay?"

Sergei's cry caused a bright peel of laughter from Sami as a hand reached out to steady herself using the railing. "I'm okay, I'm okay. It's a dangerous day."

"I gathered!" he managed through an embarrassed laugh, rubbing the back of his head out of habit. "Take care." He turned away, jogging down to the other end of the bridge over the ice palace while Sami turned to head for the opposite end.

A sudden gust of breeze skirled the snow and set lanterns dotting the mall swinging and creaking on the wires suspending them from eaves. Behind Sami, the holographic bears promised to be home for Christmas and three of the shadows detached themselves from the narrow space between the candle shop and a purveyor of leather goods. As they advanced on their target, another four approached the footbridge from the opposite end.

This time the ink in her back would not be ignored. It wrapped itself painfully around her spine, yanking and tugging at nerve ends until she could go no further. A large green scaled man-lizard behind her huffed at the sudden stop in some foreign tongue as he rounded her to continue for the end of the bridge. Sergei, though, stopped in his tracks as the shadows approached. He took an uncertain step back and looked over his shoulder where four more figures closed in.

The trio fanned out, two moving to flank Sami. Steel slid from oiled leather, the tang and sound unmistakable. Someone screamed a few shops down. The impatient scaled lizard man quickly backed up but it was too late. He and Sergei were trapped. Innocent bystanders who stood between the Shadows and their target.

Sami could feel the twist and pull telling her there were more behind. Her heart plummeted deep and a cool, clammy feeling took over her fingers as they released the handle of the bag, allowing it to plop onto the center of the bridge. A deep breath was drawn in and released with a steadying calm as Sami backed towards the center of the bridge, palms facing out. She wouldn't drop the harmless act. Not until the bitter end.

Sergei backed up to the middle of the bridge as the figures approached, spreading his arms to try and herd the lizard-man behind him. "Who are you? What the hell do you want?"

The span was only wide enough for four or five to stand abreast. It forced them to stagger their advance. Masked and cloaked, each attacker was an inky backdrop to the fall of snow that left the bridge's treads treacherously slick. None of them spoke. Air sliced audibly as the assassin in the lead of the trio twirled the weapon - a show to intimidate as much as to position the pommel for the first move of the coming attack.

Shoppers were running now, away from the mall's courtyard and the moving picture scene unfolding on the bridge. The echoes of their footfalls rebounded strangely between the buildings.

Despite the icicles that clung to the undersides of the bridge, there wasn't even the slightest hint of a dangerous patch on the walkway. That was far too much of a liability for the shopping complex. Stars End technology allowed the icicles to hang as long perfect daggers of ice while the footbridge remained perfectly clear. Was the good footing an advantage or a disadvantage? Sami decided to see it as an advantage since there weren't any other advantages immediately coming to mind. She felt the incline of the bridge in her calves as they reached the center. Her, lizard-man, and the teenager. They were trapped at the arch.

"Stay behind me," Sergei told Sami and the lizard-man, though with the figures coming from both sides that would be quite a task. His hands clenched into fists at his sides, knuckles popping. He was nowhere near his planes or his gear and completely unarmed and surrounded - at the moment, his odds couldn't have looked worse.

"Bun' tyen-shung duh ee-dway'-ro'!" The Reptiloid spat out the curse in Pan-Galactic Common and used his tail for leverage as he flung himself over the railing and into the frigid water. It was a dicey move given his circulatory limitations. The splash when he hit was more panicked than agitated. None of the menacing figures went after him.

The attack came with the splash.


((With thanks to the player behind Sergei and the player behind the ninja attack!))
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Samiyah Zayn
Adventurer
Adventurer


Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Posts: 29

Location: The dorms of the Ravenwyck Estate outside of Clovely, RhyDin
2,895 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Green Garden Shopping Complex, Stars End
November 23, 2012

Were she not on the business end of a sword, Sami may have laughed at the lizard's swan dive. But none of the attackers followed the scaled man into the water. That meant that there was a fifty percent chance that they were after her and a fifty percent chance that they were after Sergei. By the shinobi-like look of the shadows the fifty percent chance that she was clinging to that teenage boy was the target of this attack was looking dreadfully less likely.

The sword sliced through air and Sami immediately dropped, launching a foot out towards the ankle of her attacker to try to disrupt his balance. Her dive meant the horizontal slash of the blade missed the mark and it whistled ominously close to the crown of her head. He brought the blade around and the pommel up for a downward arc before his footing was compromised. He took a dancing step back and the other two jostled forward.

Sergei's head whipped back to his shoulder when Sami launched into action. There was nothing for it but to follow - he launched himself at the nearest attacker on the opposite side, aiming to draw him into a direct attack. A pair in blue-black tunics alternated were caught up with Sergei, blocking the advance of their partners.

Packed in tight in front of him, it was a perfect opportunity to bowl them over -- he grabbed the arm of the ninja striking out at him, punching him in the face and releasing his hold in the same instant. Unfortunately he exposed himself to the ninja flanking him. He staggered back from a sharp kick to his chest until his back hit the railing. With a snarl he launched himself forward again -- so long as no one pulls a katana on me, I should do fine...!

The icicles still held her attention. While the Shadows attempted to regain their balance and move forward for their next strike, Sami remained low, smashing a side kick into one of the larger, solid icicles. It was dislodged from the railing and she grabbed it in a gloved palm. Sami's choice of weapons earned a bark of a laugh from one of the trio facing her. He broke formation, surging ahead and drawing a wicked-looking shuriken as he came.

Sami rose up to a loose crouch at the bark, her fingers wrapping more firmly around the weapon. Brown eyes followed the blades of the weapon he'd chosen as she stilled herself, preparing for movement at the first attack.

She didn't have to wait long. He lunged for her bringing the short blade at her with punching force for her midsection.

The spin had been timed a second too late. The razor sharp blade ripped through the front of her shirt -- one that she had 'borrowed' from Koy -- and left a bright angry cut that quickly filled with blood. The pain didn't sneak through her adrenaline cover, though. She completed the spin, driving her elbow towards the gut of the attacker.

It knocked the air out of him and set him up on his toes for a second, doubling over reactively and leaving an opening. Her foot was brought straight up to gain momentum and then it fell down, the back of her heel driving into the back of the man's skull as he doubled over. As soon as the foot landed against the footbridge, she pushed forward into the group of attackers with a vicious swipe of the jagged icicle.

Behind her, shurikens appeared in the hands of the pair closest to Sergei.

Great. The pair advanced and Sergei backed up but there wasn't far to go. He looked down to adjust his jacket, which was an opportunity for attack that couldn't be ignored - one of the ninja lunged forward and Sergei scurried aside, wrapping his loosened scarf around the man's sword arm. He drove his elbow back into his face, then threw his full weight back to knock him over the railing.

SPLASH! One was in, and the water was icy; a fact that the Reptilian casualty learned the hard way

Blood spurted from a broken nose. Another attacker jostled in past him with the opening Sergei made over the rail. Bone crunched between the treated wood and metal of the bridge and Sami's heel. Three down. A fourth was caught by the edge of the icicle, sporting a seeping red gash where the glistening point slipped in beneath the hem of his tunic.

The icicle was brought around and plunged deeper into his gut while her opposite hand reached out to pick his shuriken out. He folded around the ice, down and then sideways, writhing and impeding the path of the last of the trio on her side. Two more left on Sergei's.

Samiyah was the target - Sergei had his doubts up to the point one of the ninja scurried right past him on his way to her. Sergei swung his foot around to trip him up, sending him barreling into his surviving comrades on Sami's end of the bridge. That cleared the way at least for a few moments.

Sergei wasn't waiting. They'd been lucky so far, he figured, and that wouldn't last much longer. His hand shot out for Sami's just freed from the icicle. "Run!" was all the warning he gave her before he took off for an Employees Only sign between two shops.

She felt the exit. Her brown eyes swung towards Sergei and the opening he created. Her eyes locked on him for the span of a breath before the salvation was accepted. Her abdomen ached with the cut but she ran. Sneakers struck the footbridge in rapid fired as she reached Sergei, grabbing his hand with her free one as they fled.

((With thanks to the player behind Sergei and the player behind the ninja attack!))
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Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

January 15, 2013

The Crawl Space was an apt name for the second floor record shop in one of the less well-to-do Marketplace neighborhoods. A good distance away from the main plaza and the main roads that cut through the district, it resided above a sandwich shop whose cracked windows clearly indicated it had seen better days. Though they were on different floors of the same building, the entrance to the record store was right next door to the restaurant's, although a good distance further from the street. Once inside, customers had to climb a narrow and tall set of concrete steps, until they spotted the open door on the second floor. Plastered all over that door, and on the walls beside it, were posters and flyers for shows, past, present, and future, in a riot of neon colors.

Inside, it looked almost exactly like an attic. The roof was low, with unfinished wooden beams overhead and exposed brick on the walls. Boxes and stacks of unsorted vinyl sat everywhere, alongside racks stuffed to the gills with CDs, cassettes, eight-tracks, and records. Posters from popular RhyDin bands and cult movies hung wherever there was space. Only the addition of fluorescent lighting overhead, and a checkerboard linoleum floor underfoot, gave the impression that this was more than just some crackpot's way of storing a massive record collection.

Jay was over in the "Punk" section, neatly indicated by an hand-drawn sign stuck in the front of one of the racks, flipping through several CDs. "I keep trying to get the first 'Ksh-Camea CD, but I can never find it anywhere..." As usual, he was wearing that old green military jacket, but outside of the duels, he had swapped shorts for jeans and scuffed two-tone skate shoes in red and black for his usual Crew-colored kicks.

Sami was, unsurprisingly, not in the "Punk" section but on the other side of the rack. A record was lifted and held up to him. "Who is Blondie and why is she licking this record?"

"They were, like, an 80s bands where I'm from. Let me see if I can remember any songs they did...it's kind of hard, since they're not really punk." A hint of teasing edged into Jay's voice, as he stopped scanning for music. He paused for a moment, then began to sing in a falsetto he couldn't quite fully stay in. "Something something something, it's a gas. Summer time comes, got a heart of glass." There was another pause, as he cleared his throat. "I may not have gotten that right," he deadpanned.

Her laugh was bright and full of life as she slid the album back into place. Not wanting him to see just how funny she found his teasing, she dipped her eyes but it did little to erase her expression. "I love your 80s bands. The music videos are the best."

"I really should be more offended. Most punk bands hated those bands that got on MTV in the 80s." Jay, however, just laughed and smiled after saying that. "I mean, there were punk bands in the 80s, but most people sort of just go from the bands that started in the beginning, the 70s, and jump right up to the 90s."

The short history lesson certainly wasn't retained but her eyes had lifted back to him through it with a distant smile at his passion for the subject.

Unfortunately, Jay had not found the CD he was looking for, nor did anything else there stand out to him. "Did you find anything you want?"

She tipped her to the side towards the exit. "Nope. And I could really use some coffee. Something flavored with whipped cream."

"That does sound good." Jay nodded to the owner, a balding man leaning across the counter with his arms folded, wearing both a tie-dyed bandana around his head and a shirt in the same bright pattern. "See you later, Barleycorn." Barleycorn waved to the pair of them as they stepped outside of the store and headed down the narrow stairs once again.

Sami held the door until Jay's hand hit it and she stepped out, breathing in the energy that pulsed through the Market district. The streets were narrow, the businesses packed in tight, each one vying for attention with bright window displays or signs advertising deeply discounted prices. Her fingers wiggled in a silent request for his hand. "There's Radical Ray's Coffee on our way back to Kesey."

"Is that the place where all the street kids hang?" The look on his face indicated curiosity on Jay's part, not judgment. Spotting the movement of her fingers, Jay took the offered hand with a smile. A day off, a trip to one of his favorite record stores, and walking around in one of the sketchier parts of town? All of that, and with Sami around? Well, days didn't get much better than that.

"It's a mix." Her outside shoulder lifted in a shrug. All the places she tended to frequent were a mix. She felt most at home when surrounded by as many species in different shapes, sizes, and colors as could possibly be fit into a confined space. The ink on her back swirled suddenly but she didn't bother to let her eyes skirt the crowd. It was a false alarm and she was determined to ignore it.

Where she had the tattoo, he had his nose. In a neighborhood as densely packed with restaurants and people as the Marketplace, though, he had to temper it. He had memories of a night where an overwhelming crowd of people at the Arena had nearly driven him mad. He wasn't about to court that disaster again.

"The street kids and the cool kids. Cool."

In a direct rebellious response to the twisting of ink on her back, she tugged his hand suddenly, making a hard right into a narrow opening that she knew from experienced dead ended between a pair of buildings. Crates and pallets littered the landscape and were maneuvered around as she released his hand, backing up against a building to escape sight from the street with a fist full of his jacket. "And then we're going to do something completely nerdy -- like hang in a library -- because I'll have reached my hipster cool limit for the day," she teased in a low tone as she slowly inched up onto the balls of her feet.

Jay laughed as he was pulled into the alley, but he only had a moment to take in his surroundings before Sami was creeping up closer into his personal space, a hand clinging to his coat. "I didn't know-" He cut himself off, dipping down to plant a quick kiss. "-that that-" Another abrupt pause and kiss. "-was possible." The thought finished, his final kiss was slow and lingering.

The final kiss was broken far too soon with a gasp as the ink suddenly cinched tightly, radiating a burning pain across her back. Her fingers twisted in his jacket for support through the momentary sensation. Wedged between Jay and the brick building looming overhead, she was able to keep her balance.

The smell came a split second later. Goat milk soap, the remnants of a ketchup spill on his shirt from the hot dog he'd grabbed earlier in the day from the very same stand that Sami and Jay had visited, Minoe Sea Breeze laundry detergent. Those scents had followed them around all day. From one stop to the next and then they closed in on them.

If the scents hadn't hit his nostrils almost immediately after the kiss had been broken, he might have been more thrown off by the sudden break of the kiss. He had caught each of those smells earlier in the day, but the crush of people in the city and the neighborhoods they had visited had made it difficult to isolate them to the same source. Until now.

Jay took a deep breath and inhaled deeply through his nostrils. It was close and getting closer. He ducked his head to whisper in Sami's ear. The Wolf's agitation left him practically growling out the words. "Someone you know following us?"

"No," she whispered in return, releasing her grip on his jacket.

Their source turned the corner moments after them without realizing it was a dead end. The stranger was wearing jeans, a black down coat, and a stunned expression when he found just the pair of them in the alley. But he wasn't a complete stranger.
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Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The ink's ability to warn of danger and her own observation skills were all she had but rarely did either fail her. The ninjas had been masked but their eyes had been visible, including a particularly light blue set that had reminded her of Jay's at the time. Now the man standing frozen in place at the mouth of the alley was staring at her with the same pair of light blue eyes with just a hint of green that Jay lacked. Aqua. They were almost aqua. "He was there that day," the five words came out in a quiet rush to Jay.

The growl grew louder with that admission, a low roar that curled back his lip, even as he was trying to herd Sami to stand behind him. Given her earlier reaction, he was laying odds that this man hadn't been on Sami's side when things had gone to hell at the shopping complex in Stars End.

She was too distracted to fight the arm that held her back. Her brown eyes locked on the man's at the end of the alley. He took a step back and she took a step forward into Jay's arm. "Who do you work for? Who is after me this time?"

The man's answer was to back up a few steps, nearly trip over his shoes as he wheeled around on his feet, and start running. As soon as the man started backing off, Jay snarled, and when he turned around, the Wolf deafened Jay with his howl. GET HIM, He screamed in his head. Jay's muscles tensed and coiled, ready to spring into a sprint. There was no way this human was going to get away from him.

A hand reached out to clamp around Jay's wrist, fingers tightly winding around it. Time and proximity had taught her a lot about her once fake boyfriend and now real boyfriend. She knew when the switch was flipped and she knew she would have to be firm to get through to him. A note of steel wound its way into her tone. "No, Jay. Let him go."

"Why." It might have been as close to the Wolf as Sami had ever gotten to witness -- perhaps even more so than in the aftermath of some of his interactions with Candy. Jay’s voice was rough, deeper than usual, and his eyes were icy and pitiless. "Why are you letting him go? We can take him."

"If we run after him, he'll either go hide or you'll catch him and beat him to a bloody pulp. Neither of those options work for me." His wrist was released so that she could reach up for his chin to tug his gaze down to meet hers. Ice met warmth. "I know you sit and listen patiently about where I've been in a given day even though you know where I've been just by scent alone. You can follow him. He'll think he got away. Hopefully, he'll lead us right back to his employers."

Jay blinked hard, as both he and the Wolf processed what Sami told them. He felt the hand let go of his wrist, and he barely had enough time to rub the spots where her fingers had dug into his skin before she had grabbed his chin and pulled his gaze away from the entrance to the alley and down towards her eyes. Again, his eyes blinked like leaded weights were attached to the lids, but when he spoke up to reply, the Wolf had receded to the background. "Okay. How much of a head start do we give him?"

Her lips settled into a private smile for him. “Just another minute.”

((Edited and adapted from play with Samiyah Zayn's player))
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The future lies on some horizon
So many times I had to say farewell
I know it turns out fine, following the exit sign
At least that's what I tell myself
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Spice
Junior Adventurer
Junior Adventurer


Joined: 13 May 2007
Posts: 1


175 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seaside District
June 29, 2013


The Interfaith Network of Greater RhyDin called a quaint brick building in New Haven home but their informal weekly gatherings of priests, priestesses, reverends, monks, nuns, rabbis, shamans, and holy men tended to be held in coffeehouses, diners, and cafes across the city. As they began to spill out of Radical Ray’s coffee house in Seaside, Serena Gardiner had little trouble finding her friend.

The Maraharan priestess stuck out among the chattering religious leaders. She was a young face within a sea of mostly older ones. While they were dressed mainly in robes designating their station, the brunette with her tawny skin tone as warm as honey wore gladiator sandals and a maxi dress of burnt oranges and reds.

Sami’s dark eyes caught on Serena and she jogged across the street after looking both ways. With a breezy laugh, Serena found herself swept up in a tight hug. “Serena!” she declared brightly.

“Hi! How’re you?” Serena slung an arm around Sami’s waist and the pair fell in an easy stroll down the block.

“Good,” Sami replied with a hesitation in her tone.

Serena’s walks always had a way of taking her towards the ocean. The afternoon was gorgeous and her feet were anxious for sand between her toes. “That doesn’t sound too reassuring.”

The arm slung around Serena’s waist squeezed a hair tighter. “I feel like the end is coming. My end. I feel like it’s time to start getting my affairs in order. Well, I mean, I feel like it would be time to get my affairs in order if I were to have affairs to get in order. But this is my destiny and in a way it is a relief. I’m ready to accept it.”

The conversation faltered after the declaration as each woman bore the weight of it. Serena’s lips tightened into a concerned frown. Their sandals slapped against hot pavement. A man smiled at the young women in passing but Serena couldn’t find it in herself to return the gesture, not with her friend speaking in such dark terms about her mortality.

“If you need to get away for a while Jolyon and I would be happy to have you,” Serena reassured gently.

The offer only got a squeeze in return. Serena knew it wouldn’t be taken as soon as she made it. She cleared her throat and went on. “Look, I know it took me a while but I got the information that you needed.”

Sami slowed to a stop at the news, lifting her eyes to Serena’s face. “Serena, you didn’t have to do that. I know that you promised Jolyon that you were done with the cons. I never expected you to--”

The line of thought was cut off with a sad flicker of a smile and a shake of Serena’s head, her soft curls gathered up in a ponytail bouncing with the movement. “Don’t worry about Jolyon. You and I have been friends since we were five. Of course I was going to help.”

“What did you find?”

Serena let one of the straps of her tote bag slide down her arm, pushing aside a beach towel to pull out a folder and hand it over. “I spoke with the landlord of the apartment you trailed that guy that was following you back to. Turns out he did lead you back to his own apartment. Such an amateur. Anyway, he works for Beasley, Dunwell, and Associates. It's a security firm."

Sami flipped open the folder to find a security badge on the top of the pile of paperwork detailing the findings. She lifted it up with a curious expression shot to Serena. "What's this?"

A bright smile flashed across Serena's face. "A Beasley, Dunwell, and Associates security badge I sort of found. I figured you might be able to gain access and get into their records to find out who hired them to get to you."

Laughter bubbled out of Sami as she snapped the folder shut to tuck it into her own bag. "Come on. You really have earned an afternoon at the beach."

Serena practically skipped a step ahead, grinning at Sami over her shoulder. "Last one there buys the first round of sodas!"
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