1: A Favor

 

The man who always smiled, arrived late. Dressed sharply in all black, a black derby, sitting atop his slicked-back pink hair. He entered the club, passing by several patrons whose forms ranged from the typical humanoid, to the slightly more beastly, to those forms that were simply incomprehensible for the human eye and indescribable for human tongues. Made of impossible angles, and what would seemingly be evolutionary impractical shapes.

 

He wandered towards the back of the room, striding with purpose, though there was an easy confidence in all his movements. Midway through, the managers that were on the floor, saw him recognized him as a vip and sent one of the better waitresses to see to him.

 

As obvious as it might seem, the man who always smiled, was known as the man who always smiled, because he always seemed to be smiling. Never mind that it was actually more of a grimace than a smile, and he hardly knew when he was doing it. Some things were simply ingrained, and some habits were simply too hard to break. And after who knows how many thousands of years, the man was beyond caring enough to try to do otherwise.

 

Nevertheless, he was not known for that smile, it was his mark, things had even progressed that by this point in time when he wanted to let others know that he was serious he’d add a little smiley face to the corner of the message.

 

“Welcome to Silence is Golden, best club this side of the Aesirian Stretch, How may I help you, sir?” said the Waitress. Rattling off the speel that she’d memorized by heart as if she actually meant it.


He smiled now, and this time it was on purpose.

 

“Ah, yes…I’m er…Mister Redman. I was supposed to meet a friend of mine. Mister Gray. I don’t suppose you could take me to where  you seat him, could you?”


The waitress frowned looking drawn, on the one hand the man in front of her was a VIP on the other hand the Mister Gray he’d mentioned could be considered “V-VIP”. Person whose stature her masters and their little club could scarcely afford to offend.

 

Lost she looked to her managers, who pressed the headset at his ears, frowning a little before giving her a small imperceptible nod.


Just like that she immediately brightened falling back into her role.

 

“Right away, sir! Right this way.”

 

The Waitress lead the Man who always smiled, the illustrious Mister Redman, to the very back of club where the high spirited music was fainter and the ambrosial smokes that filled the air were thinner.

 

Seating in a booth at the back of the second floor of the club, his eyes glowing an eerie green, was a man, who sat, surrounded by guards. He dressed in plain gray. They dressed in pinstriped gray. And despite possessing an atmosphere that could make dragons and tigers step carefully, the small entourage all sat with a certain casualness that was almost disarming enough to make one forget the aura that they exuded.

 

“Here we are, sir.” said the cheery waitress.

 

“…Thanks.” said the Mister Redman.

 

“In this case, I believe this is the person you were waiting for, Mister Gray, sir.” said the girl turning to the man in the booth. Her smile growing a little wider, her eyes a little brighter filled with just a bit of hero worship.

 

“…..Right. Good job. Tip the girl, Nikki.” said Mister Gray.

 

The waitress tried to shake her head no, but by the time she’d opened her mouth to say anything. There was already, a large thick billfold of glittering divine currency, stuffed in her hands. Along with a single large crystal that radiated celestial energy.


“Please…” said the man.

 

“I…um….y-yes, sir.” said the girl. Taking the crystal and clutching it to her chest. Making her exit and likely leaving the club itself, off to do other things. Better things, with the chance that, that crystal of raw heavenly energy had just afforded her.

 

Redman sat down, but not before bowing once.


Gray stood up and bowed just a little shallower.

 

“So…..”

 

“So…..”

 

“I’ve got to say, you’ve kind of saved my ass here buddy.” said Redman.

 

“Don’t sweat it…what are friends for?” said Gray.

 

If Redman, was the man who always smiled then Gray would be the man who never smiled. Stoic faced, always looking plainly apathetic.

 

There was some gossip that said, despite having Six wives, the man couldn’t even crack a smile while on the verge of climax. There were actual pictures of him holding his squalling infant children in his hands wearing that same face.


Redman could believe the rumors, partly because he’d meanly started a few of them himself.

 

One man was a sly looking trickster.

 

The other man, was more or less “infant” faced and pretty like a girl, but older and more powerful than most of the heroes, gods and monsters that were in this club at least a few trillion years or so, it was almost unbelievable that the two men had become friends.

 

“So…”I’m” not dead yet, right? The Moderators decided that she cheated?” said Redman.

 

Gray nodded.

 

“It’d be one thing if she offed you with her own power, but completely sealing a section of the planet like that, and annihilating everything inside…With that kind of energy efficiency?….Pah…That kind of click and delete capability isn’t something a kid like her is capable of…My best guess is that she pulled out something her Godking granddad gave her in case something went wrong. Really…it looks like thickhead-ness runs in the family.” said Gray.

 

Redman chuckled.

 

“Hmph….look at you, talking like you’re not the least bit over protective about your own grandkids.”

 

“….Nh?….When did I say I was judging  the guy for trying to protect his grandkid. I’m judging him for doing it so shoddily. Asphodel tech would have done the cheaper, more successfully and without making such a mess. As it is the poor girls in a bind both in physically, socially, politically and legally, right now. The other members of the Council nearly went apeshit when they realized that some young pup nearly ruined everything we’ve spent billions of years putting into motion, in a single second.” said Gray. Taking a sip of the drink that sat in front of him. One of his entourage getting up to pour him another.


“Right, right…In any case that’s for saving “my” bacon.” said Redman. Sliding a box over the table to the man. Who snapped his fingers and made it disappear without bothering with being too polite.

 

Pulling the little oddity into his inventory to tinker with at a later time.

 

“Well, after you’d gone and gotten yourself cooked extra crispy like that, it would have been a waste to throw you away wouldn’t it.” said Gray.

 

Gray snapped his fingers and one of the gray suited men leaning on the wall, stood and handed an ominous looking envelope over to Redman.

 

Redman took it his eyes glittering with anticipation as he slipped the envelope inside his coat. A wide smile on his face.

 

“Seriously, man? You actually managed to get “that”?…On top of getting “me” back in the game?!…Oh, he’ll I could kiss you. I owe you one…shit I owe you like ten now.  


Stiff faced as always but with his tone of voice jovial and light, Gray responded with a,

 

“First, please don’t, my wives would kill us both…Second, Are you kidding me here? You me way more than ten.”

 

Redman, chuckled, as he turned to head out. Aware that there were things he needed to set in motion.

 

“Right, in that case, we can just add this to my bill.”

 

“Fuck you.” laughed Gray.

 

“Fuck you too, buddy.” said Redman. Waving as he left.

 

Gray watched the man go and then shook his head. He didn’t ask what his friend was scheming or what he was trying to do, by meddling in the past like this. After all Gray himself had done similar.

 

As far as he was concerned so long as their interests, didn’t go too far into conflict,…if they ended up conflicting at all, and none of Gray’s people got hurt, then the young faced, old emperor could care less what that Red Moon Devil was up to.

 

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