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Prayers and Talismans (Reply)
Prayers and Talismans
2014-09-07 03:18 pm (UTC)
[FOR THE REQUEST CONCERNING ALICE AND SHOPPING. Last one for awhile. Wanna encourage others to post some responses too!]
[~Prayers and Talismans~]
Sunlight glittered over the sea and bathed the village of Dalian in summer warmth. The humidity was terrible that afternoon but a soft breeze eased the long work day for the fishermen as they cast their nets out over and over again.
Touring China, although unexpected and certainly stressful, had become decidedly fun, thought Alice Elliot between bites of raw urchin. The lavish dinner set before her and her two traveling companions, Yuri Hyuga and Margarate Zelle, was composed of dishes she had not only never tried before but had not even ever heard of. The unruly demon-man sitting to her right was stuffing his face with grilled slab of snake, a meat that Alice would not have assumed to be edible had she not actually witnessed someone eating it.
Margarate didn’t seem as enthusiastic about the local cuisine for she was nervously poking at some sea cucumber with a pair of chopsticks that Yuri had flatly stated she wasn’t holding properly. Secretly glancing down at Yuri’s hand, Alice checked her own positioning of her fingers over the two utensils wobbling between them. ‘Still appears to be right…I guess? He hasn’t corrected me so it mustn’t be necessarily wrong..?’ Her hand twitched and one of the chopsticks fell from her grip and onto the table. She rushed to pick it up, praying that no one had noticed the blunder.
“I’ve had plenty of facials to know that this is no cucumber,’ muttered the American spy, jabbing it in the side, half-expecting the monstrosity to worm off the plate at any moment. Her eyes were wide with very small pupils and her glossy lips were pursed in such a way that suggested that it was not within her power to muster such far reaching courage to taste this…this thing that had been presented to her.
Yuri rolled his eyes, not even slightly tempted to reply to such a typical tourist comment.
“Oh, look at this cute block puzzle, Yuri!” chirped Alice, pointing at a wooden pyramid with an eye scribbled in black India ink at its center. She lightly tugged at Yuri’s coat, as she had done for the hundredth time as the pair strode down the beach. Dozens of merchants, some residents and others clearly traveling through, peddled fantastic handmade goods, almost all of which had practically charmed the young priestess half to death.
“Kinda scary if you ask me,” the Harmonixer gave a bored shrugged. Having been forced to globe trot most of his life thanks to a dreadful voice still haunting him, he’d grown somewhat jaded. “So, when’s the ghost supposed to show up? What was her name again?” Yuri wasn’t fond of spirits and was desperate to finish the exorcism or whatever Alice had planned for tonight.
“Li Li, I believe is what Sea Mother called her,” Alice waved a goodbye to the hunched over woman behind the toy stall. She didn’t notice that Yuri was purposely walking faster to try and subconsciously influence her to hurry up. Instead of heeding his silent plea, she cheerfully walked up to the next vendor.
Perhaps one would assume that Alice wasn’t at all nervous about the so-called curse that the evil specter had been casting upon Dalian’s citizen each night since that fateful storm blew across the ocean. Surely this woman donning blue and white was a powerful nun with the power to summon God himself should she will it. On the contrary, the dainty girl who carried her own curse, one called the ‘Demon Eyes’ by some, was painfully aware of what tonight may entail in terms of potential horror. However, after the emotional abuse that the past few months had wreaked on Alice’s mind, she figured she owed herself a few hours of not having to dread any and all shadows that touched her own.
A middle-aged man dressed in orange robes greeted her in broken English, to which Alice bowed and smiled in reply. A Buddhist monk, mused Alice with excitement. Perhaps he too is here to lend aid to Dalian. The monk’s purchasable items included crystal prayer beads, bare wooden plaques to inscribe custom blessings upon, and devil-warding talismans. A small clockwork cat, dressed in a similar manner to the monk, sat at the corner of the crate that the items were laid out on, beckoning customers to purchase the goodies.
“For temple!,” explained the monk making a wide gesture with both arms, “Need new, ah, face?” He thought for a bit then shook his head, “Wall! New wall! It broken by bad dog. Demon dog! Dog stand upside down on human hand! It call itself, ah, um, ‘Mailman’! Not Chinese demon. Fell out of strange black hole! It gone now because of Tao. Temple safe! Help temple and wall? Yes?”
“Tao?” sighed Yuri, who had reluctantly returned back to his stationed position behind the girl who was really starting to try his patience. “That’s Zhuzhen’s shtick, right?”
Alice nodded but wasn’t paying much attention to either man. Her heart was fluttering for one of the elaborately painted talismans. It had a dragon lovingly drawn in blue ink boxed in with a brilliant gold border. The monk, also a seasoned salesman, instantly noticed her brightening eyes, and clapped enthusiastically. “Good choice! Blue Dragon very lucky in Dalian!” He gave her a quote for the piece of paper and Alice looked up at Yuri with hopeful expectation. Yuri let out another sigh, something he’d been doing quite a bit of lately, and fumbled around his coat pocket before pulling out a couple of bronze coins. “Many thanks! Blessings from temple! Good is repaid to good in three!”
The monk bowed and pointed at the long strand of purple beads wrapped around his one hand. He began counting each bead in his native tongue, reciting a prayer requesting surrounding friendly spirits to protect his dear customer during these strange times.
That night after Li Li struck Alice Elliot down with her dark wrath, a talisman tucked away in Alice’s blouse burst into azure flames, protecting her from an instant death. Although she remained ill throughout much of the night, the spirit of the weakened Blue Dragon would continue to try and protect her, eventually alongside the other three saint beasts awed by her resolve.
[~With love from VileOfTanMoths]
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