Joshua's Work

(13:43:36) Minaplo: ["Sir, I really must make sure you've thought this all through." Said the shop clerk, wringing his hands. "I mean, black velvet at this kind of year is so expensive, and so much of it…"]
(13:46:12) @Joshua: "I'm afraid I have to insist. I won't settle for any cheap alternatives, either."
(13:46:58) Minaplo: ["Alright, sir," Said the Clerk, looking dubious. "But are you sure? One peacock feather in the cap is usually considered old-fashioned, but two is just outlandish…"]
(13:49:05) @Joshua: "I already conceded on the ivory. The feathers are non-negotiable."-
(13:51:01) @Joshua: ["They're not, please listen to him and -negotiate-," Sera pleaded.]
(13:53:41) Minaplo: ["V… Very well, sir. But you are aware of course that the wide brim can cause some problems."]
(13:58:54) @Joshua: "Life is full of problems. For this beauty, I'll gladly take on one more. And a place that can't fit me and my hat, well, that's no place for me at all, is it?"-
(13:59:09) @Joshua: ["Our -apartment- can't fit that hat…"]
(14:00:02) Minaplo: ["In that case, sir," The clerk's eyes flicked up towards the ermine-clad crown of the hat. "Congratulations on your new headwear. That will be four hundred sixty francs."]
(14:12:02) @Joshua: "Pleasure doing business with you." Joshua dug out a silver credit card from a coat pocket. "No need to pack it, I'll wear it out. It's a bit chilly today."
(14:12:48) Minaplo: ["… Of course sir. Would you like for me to refer you to certain places where one might procure, say, a cane?"]
(14:16:01) @Joshua: "No, that'll be alright. Adventure is the spice of life." Joshua picked up the hat with both hands, examined it one more time, and set it down upon his head. There was a full-body mirror by the counter.-
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(14:24:15) @Joshua: ["No nonono just walk out I DON'T WANT TO SEE IT!" The clerk disregarded Sera's yelling as if he wasn't there at all. Sera's eyes were shut tight, but it didn't stop him from seeing.-]
(14:25:33) @Joshua: "Yeah. I'm gorgeous." The hat was about twice his width, decorated like a lavish bouquet, with materials from the animal, plant and mineral kingdoms.
(14:27:17) Minaplo: ["Y… Yes, sir." Said the clerk. "I'm sure you'll attract many eyes."]
(14:37:08) @Joshua: "Certainly. Now, if you'll excuse me," Joshua accepted his card back. "I have to be somewhere." He tilted his head slightly to make it through the doorway, and breathed in the fresh Paris afternoon air, pulling his fur-trimmed coat around him tighter. "This is the start of a beautiful day. It's not healthy to be ashamed of yourself, you know. Good afternoon," he nodded without skipping a beat to a passer-by, a young woman, and continued his monologue. "All evidence points to me being a construct of your mind, not Mary's. What was that sermon you gave to Surov and his friend, again?"-
(14:37:35) * @Joshua took a few more steps, then paused to look around. "Sera?"-
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(14:37:48) @Joshua: "Hmph. Escapism will only get you so far."
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(14:49:03) Minaplo: [People were actively gawking at him in the street. Others looked and then averted their eyes quickly.-
(14:49:11) Minaplo: [A pair of police officers eyed him suspiciously.]
(15:03:59) @Joshua: Probably even moreso when he headed for a particular back alley housing, among others, a barely-legal mob hangout, recently upgraded into a casino.
(15:06:19) Minaplo: [He drew a lot of eyes the moment he walked through the proverbial wall covering. The air was very heavy and smelled of tobacco and other things. It was dimly lit, with a lamp over each table. Slow jazz was playing in the background. Goons sat around tables, joking and drinking- or had been until he came in.]
(15:21:44) @Joshua: "Ah. This brings me back." He raised his voice. "Who can I talk to about a loan? I'll need someone to accept the privilege of bankrolling me for the day."
(15:22:06) Minaplo: [There were many dubious looks exchanged between goons.-
(15:26:21) Minaplo: ["Yeah, ok." Said one by the door, slouching in a chair. He had a ratty face.]
(15:34:49) @Joshua: "You?" Joshua laughed, clapping his hands together. "Alright, I like this. What's your cut?"
(15:38:00) Minaplo: ["Ten and five on your winnings. Losses for -you- can be… Paid back with ten percent interest?"]
(15:45:25) @Joshua: "Ten on the winnings. If I win, this place will be getting a lot more business soon."
(15:46:11) Minaplo: [Glances.-
(15:46:25) Minaplo: ["Eleven. Lots of business has its risks too."]
(15:54:04) @Joshua: "You're on. Now, then." He turned around toward the rest of the hall, took off his extravagant hat and waved it in the air, revealing his freshly-dyed blonde hair. "Let's get this show on the road! Sera de Pteres is buying all of you a round!"
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(15:59:00) Minaplo: [Astonished looks all around. Some kid…? Or maybe not.-
(15:59:08) Minaplo: [Either way, much booze was ordered. At Sera's expense.]
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(16:29:11) @Joshua: Time passed, and Sera refused to show up. To Joshua's disappointment, this wasn't making it easy enough for him to observe how non-threatening crowds really were. The game, at least, went as well as one might've hoped. There were ups and downs that greatly pleased Joshua, though the downs were becoming strangely frequent. It wasn't anything entirely impossible, so he didn't voice his concerns. A gentleman didn't throw accusations around without evidence, and this was strictly a PR trip. For now. With maybe a hint of leisure mixed in.
(16:36:38) Minaplo: [The first wins of Joshua had been most impressive, and immediately the Mob had stopped treating him as a sucker and more of a worthy opponent. Or more.-
(16:37:39) Minaplo: [As Joshua had noted- not anything he could prove, but nevertheless by the end of the evening the Mob were -very- friendly with him, although it was a nasty sort of friendliness that gleamed most brightly from his ratty shark's eyes. "A grand ten and fifty from the little lordship." He said, gloating like an overfat toad.]
(16:44:09) @Joshua: "Ten-fifty? Ha! What do the people think?" he yelled over his shoulder. "Do you think being the underdog will stop Sera de Pteres from clawing his way back on top?"
(16:50:35) Minaplo: ["Never!" Shouts a bystander.-
(16:50:48) Minaplo: ["Sera's best when he's underdog!"-
(16:50:54) Minaplo: ["Never underestimate the rabid dog in the corner, baby!"-
(16:51:13) Minaplo: [The mobsters snort or else roll their eyes, but they appreciate the custom at least.]
(16:54:45) @Joshua: ["…they're just saying that because you're buying them drinks."]
(16:55:08) * @Joshua grinned. "Are you just saying that because I'm buying you drinks?!"
(16:55:20) Minaplo: ["Buy me a drink and find out!"-
(16:55:25) Minaplo: [A chorus of raucous laughter.]
(17:00:27) @Joshua: [Sera cheered up just a bit from the gesture. "You're still down over a thousand of my francs."-]
(17:00:48) @Joshua: "There's always a way out. We just have to find it."
(17:01:18) Minaplo: ["That's the spirit." Said one mobster, pushing a lesser goon out of the way and plonking himself down. "Gotta deal for ya."]
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(17:04:19) @Joshua: ["…I see. You're saying I might avoid spending months paying this off if I help turn the tables. You already know the trick they're using, though. Can't you just do the same?"-]
(17:04:34) @Joshua: "Not like you can. What is it, man?"
(17:18:48) Minaplo: ["One more game. With you, and with the other four capos here. You win, we cancel your debt… And pay you -double-."-
(17:18:59) Minaplo: ["One of us win, you owe that guy a favour."]
(17:22:41) @Joshua: ["This is very dangerous, Joshua, it'd be better to just-"-]
(17:23:01) @Joshua: "You're on. I was waiting for this."
(17:33:42) Minaplo: ["Alright."-
(17:34:19) Minaplo: [About three fellows- one tall and pale, another short and rather fat, the third bearing a solid square jaw and a sharp eye- sit down.]
(17:43:15) @Joshua: "Let's start, then, gentlemen. May your luck so far keep up."
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(18:21:15) Minaplo: [The first round was unexpectedly tense for Joshua, as he was dealt a hand that was so terrible, it was almost amazing in its terribleness.-
(18:21:28) Minaplo: [But… He rallied, and before long it was the tall, pale one sent slinking into the shadows.]
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(18:37:47) @Joshua: "The game's only beginning. Anything could still happen. Well, except you winning, of course." Joshua had been keeping up the same demeanor he'd entered the place with so far, but there was more smugness in there, now.
(18:45:59) Minaplo: ["I was just about to say." Said the Boss, smirking.-
(18:46:41) Minaplo: [Another hand, this one much closer and tenser. Everyone suddenly seemed dangerously competent, and it was only the sharp-eyed man's blunder that saw Joshua avert disaster.]
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(18:57:15) @Joshua: A few more uneventful hands, chips changing owners, slowly flowing out of Joshua's stack. Then, on his deal, he caught a lucky break, and so his stack was back in line with the others'. And there was one less player at the table. "Underdog, right?" he laughed. "You probably would've deserved that hand under normal conditions."
(18:58:53) Minaplo: ["Yeah. Bastard," Said the heavyset man, but there was, oddly, no anger or hate in his eyes. He chuckled and left.-
(18:58:57) Minaplo: [Leaving only two players…]


(11:56:20) Joshua: ["They wouldn't just leave. He's going to try something. There's no way they'd let you just walk away."-]
(11:56:30) Joshua: "He is, and they will."-
(11:59:25) Joshua: And sure enough, it was simple for Joshua to spot Boss' attempt at manipulating the deck when he was expecting it. "So that's the game we're playing? If today's mob can't even cheat well, where, really, is their future? All in."
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(12:08:00) Minaplo: ["Cheat? Boy, the mob don't rely on cheating unless it's to help with a hand that's already gonna win." He called it, throwing a hand down onto the table. A winning hand, no doubt.]
(12:13:24) Joshua: "If you're going to do that, well…" Joshua grinned, leaning back, one hand playing with his hair. "What's the point if you don't go all the way?" Ever so slowly, he turned over his hand, revealing a royal flush.
(12:16:10) Minaplo: [There was a dead silence in the room.-
(12:16:21) Minaplo: [Boss stared at the hand, stared for a long hard time.-
(12:16:24) Minaplo: ["You cheated, boy."]
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(12:18:50) Joshua: "A 'boy' needs both luck and skill to survive this far. Besides, you have a house full of witnesses. Anyone see me cheat?"
(12:22:19) Minaplo: [There was silence from the crowd.-
(12:22:40) Minaplo: ["Yeah, I did." Said someone. Murderface.]
(12:36:10) Joshua: "Well, then. We seem to arrive at an impasse."
(12:37:03) Minaplo: ["Heh. Not quite. You see, boy, I don't care if you -cheat-. Cheat outside, cheat at the start of the game, cheat and lose. But if you cheat, and you win, against the mob? Well. That's a crime."-
(12:37:34) Minaplo: [There were nervous glances amidst the crowd, and some started to filter out, but others were rather murmuring angrily.]
(12:39:57) Joshua: "But I just came here for a friendly game, didn't I? You'd harm the very thing protecting you?"-
(12:40:40) Joshua: ["No, stop it! You can't do this! The mafia, the people… you'll be trapped, you have no way out!"]
(12:41:10) Minaplo: ["Is that a threat, boy?"]
(12:43:40) Joshua: "It's just the way of things. You're the parasite here. Maybe you've been unimportant enough so far, but Paris is more than ready to throw the lot of you out."-
(12:43:47) Joshua: ["THERE IS NO PARIS! IT'S JUST YOU!"]
(12:47:05) Minaplo: ["I think you overestimate the strength of your hand, boy." Said the Boss, getting out of his chair and pulling out a pistol. "Nothing can throw us out. We were here when this city was a buncha bricks and we'll be here when the ocean swallows it whole."]
(13:11:32) * Joshua stood up as well, slowly. "And I don't think you have the balls to kill a roomful of people and still show your face in this city - no, this country."
(13:16:00) Minaplo: ["That ain't how the mob works, boy. I'm not killing a room. I'm just killing you."-
(13:16:03) Minaplo: [He raised his pistol.]
(13:31:39) Joshua: At the same time, Joshua took a short step forward, putting all of his weight under and behind the table, teaching a lesson to casino owners everywhere to bolt their furniture to the floor to prevent them from flying across the room and wounding staff members.
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(13:38:08) Minaplo: [The table actually picked up some solid airtime, smacking the Boss square in the chest and sending him stumbling back several metres before he collapsed, pinned under the table.-
(13:38:13) Minaplo: [There was a dead silence.]
(13:41:35) Joshua: ["You're dead. We're dead."-]
(13:48:29) * Joshua looked at his work for a moment, and then turned his back on Boss. "Paris! We don't need to be afraid of these people! They can't run this city - it's ours! And we don't need to purge the city to reclaim it, either. Just send them a message! You heard him, there's nothing they can do against a group of people. Well, there's a hell of a lot more of us than there are of them! Let them know that wherever they would insult or hurt -us-, we'll stand up against them!"
(13:53:58) Minaplo: [The silence continued.-
(13:54:06) Minaplo: [Murderface smirked, and reached into his coat.-
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(13:55:10) Minaplo: [The action was greeted with cries of anger and threats as the group rallied to Joshua's cry. The sound of bottles being smashed could be heard, as could be the clicking of a few other firearms.-
(13:55:20) Minaplo: [The mobsters faltered, giving each other dubious looks.]
(13:59:20) Joshua: ["The crowd, they're… on your side."-]
(14:02:18) Joshua: "They're on Sera de Pteres' side," Joshua corrected. He raised his voice again. "You'd think word would've gotten around of the Parrino's pathetic attempts at our lives. Your time is over!" He started walking toward the crowd.
(14:05:06) Minaplo: [The crowd roared. They began smashing tables and chairs- not for weapons, but mainly because fuck tables, fuck chairs.-
(14:05:20) Minaplo: [It parted for Joshua, though. He was like a king, or a prophet.]
(14:11:16) Joshua: And so Sera de Pteres was seen crossing the sea of people - a miracle in its own right.

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