Gee but it's great to be back home!

Kensington Quarter 
#1
Marybeth would have never believed she would start liking cities at 50. Prior to being magic and undead, they had absolutely terrified her and she could often hardly handle going into a large-ish town without succumbing to dread! But now, being able to turn invisible if she wanted? Being able to mind-control people sometimes? It was so ridiculous and novel and gave her just enough of an edge to keep coming back to it, Cordova. That big city in the middle of Mountainside that made her feel like Mary Tyler Moore kind of. Hat throw!

She had never visited Kensington Quarter and was doing so now, marveling at a geode in a window display that looked at least as magical as her own magic butt - definitely maybe a portal to another world. Wordlessly, she took out her phone to take a picture and send it to Cris.
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#2


There are monsters there, she'd been assured.

But Summer had been forced to come down here for a little work conference. Some shindig that ran into the night and they fed you food and pretended like that made up for the fact that they were keeping you out past dark and working. Really, it didn't. Especially since these events never had enough food for a were like herself to really feel like she'd gotten what she wanted out of it.

So she'd come out here after they'd been let out, to stretch her legs and get more food before she trekked home. She was munching down on a really unexpectedly interesting bowl of fried calamari and seasoned avocado over a bed of rice and sesame seeds, wandering around, looking at things... Wondering if the vampires that lived out here even cared if she was here or if there was just a boogeyman thing going on...

Feeling confident, as she ever did, she didn't even flinch when the stamp of death got strong all of a sudden. She sniffed and twisted her head around, her visage skeptical. But there, a harmless looking lady, taking a picture of a seriously fucking gorgeous geode. Like, if she had the sort of money to blow on shit like that, she would.

In spite of small misgivings, the situation wasn't in the least bit alarming, and she approached both for a closer look at the magic rock and shoved her fork into her mouth as she side-eyed the woman.

She'd talk as soon as she could, she'd really mistimed this bite. She was on auto-pilot sorry.
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#3
Marybeth's keen sense of smell picked up both fried food and stinky animal smell wafting up behind her, and she turned around carefully with her phone clutched between two hands. There was a tALL BEAUTIFUL lady coming to stand next to her and she did not know what to do about that! Maybe move aside a little! Maybe smile up at face! Marybeth had not chosen this interaction and so had to choose how to deal with it on impulse. "You're chewing, huh?"

She was so good at small talk.
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#4
The vampire noticed her pretty quick. Admittedly, Summer knew enough about their sort to know the 'hey, I smell ya,' went both ways, so it wasn't like a huge surprise. But you know what kinda was? The smile. It wasn't even a shit-eating smile or anything, it was like... downright chipper. Unless she was reading it wrong, which was... super possible. Who knew how vampire faces worked, really.

"Eyup," Summer said, slightly muffled because she was still eating, but... a second later she had swallow and returned the smile with a shrug. "Betchu don't do too much of that, yourself."

Wasn't accusatory, just observation, she swore. She had half a foot on this lady, but she wasn't looking to throw her weight around. After all, if Pete was to be believed--and why wouldn't she be?--this was nightwalker territory.
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#5
"Oh," she responded, blinking in surprise and scuffing one toe uncertainly on the sidewalk. Her hands folded up to her chest. "No, I can't really anymore without barfing."

This Were-person was not exactly threatening her, she didn't think, but the combination of Cordova and immediately bringing up her vampirehood and walking up to her in the first place...Marybeth was unsure and wanted to check whether she was in trouble. "This isn't your spot, is it? I can go if I'm not supposed to be here."
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#6
Oh geeze, that was... like actually a bummer. She hadn't ever thought about that--what happens if a vampire tries to eat? Bad times, apparently. Summer discreetly tucked her fork back into the container of food she was carting around, just in time to be a little more taken aback.

"Oh, mine? Oh, nah, actually I thought it was yours," she admitted, her mouth drawing into a thin line for a moment before she averted her eyes and saw her reflection in the storefront window they were standing in front of.

"I was just making a shit observation, sorry."
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#7
That was all she needed to feel better. She smiled again at Summer, thinking, what animal is this? She had met jaguar and bear. "No, the clutch that was here died last week. Their leader got her head ripped off." Her voice was hushed now, eyes a little bugged with fear and horror at this thing. "Now there's only the big one in Lavender Heights."
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#8
Clutch. Easy enough to assume that meant a group of fang-faces. Groups of weres got called all sorts of weird shit, so 'clutch' sounded just fine to her ears.

Not that that was the takeaway here. Some corpse lady had gotten her head ripped off, and while this should have been rather alarming to your average assistant bank manager, Summer was someone who regularly disemboweled large game with her own face, so it wasn't nearly as cringe as one might hope. Still, a brow raised over her dark eyes and she fixed the blonde vamp with a look of curiosity.

Well, it was convenient, too. No wonder she hadn't been swooped upon for getting her hyena aura all over everything.

She dropped her voice a bit low. "Ya with the one in Lavender Heights, then?"

She had to assume that vampires were drawn to each other like weres were, right?
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#9
This was an odd interaction!

Marybeth smiled helplessly, her eyebrows peaking. "Yep! But I know some folks like you too, I'm fine with all sorts of folks!" She just could not shake the sense this animal/person wasn't safe to her.

Well, she could run pretty fast and scream pretty loud. She would have to tough it out for the time being. "What kind of animal do you have?"
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#10
She was fine with all sorts of folks... Well, lucky her, so was Summer. She'd cock-punch any dude who tried to give her a problem, but her default was a lot more amicable than that. Harmless little things like this vamp here... Well, Summer wasn't a fucking bully and she wasn't about to start being one.

Well, not that vampires were harmless. Not any more than an animal-shifting carnivore. But certain people gave off a vibe, supernatural or not, and something about gawking at a geode and then engaging in willing conversation with a potentially fatal enemy rubbed Summer right.

"Big ol' brown hyena. You ever see one'a those?"

Frankly, Summer hadn't. Not until she'd met one that had refused to listen to her and had nipped the ability to command animals straight out of her blood or wherever such strange powers were stored.

She leaned a little on the window with her shoulder, taking a more careful, smaller bite of her food again as she watched the older lady.
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#11
Marybeth had not, and shook her head. Brown hyena like the color, or was there a species of hyena called that? She really only knew the laughing kind. "How big is it?"
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#12
That was an interesting question. Summer took a moment to think about it, tried to imagine how the shop window would look if she was standing here on four paws instead of her two feet. She lifted her hand to somewhere above her hip. "Shoulder about here, probably. Four feet?" Maybe a little less than that. Wasn't like she had ever had an out-of-body experience while terrorizing wildlife. "Somewhere over a hundred pounds, I'd imagine. I dunno, man, I've never stepped on a scale like that."

A laugh at the absurdity of it.
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#13
Marybeth followed along, visualizing intently. As Summer laughed she did too, a birdlike "ha, ha" that was her imperfect signature when trying to fit in. Still, hyena woman was friendly, and the conversation was warming into an area that she enjoyed. "Where are brown hyenas from?"
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#14
Animals had always been Summer's thing. Well, especially after the whole 'animal control' had surfaced. But that hadn't gone away just cause she's gotten chomped by one. Naturally she knew too much about a creature she considered very much a part of herself, even if they didn't always jive. "South Africa kinda stuff. The area, not the country." But also the country. "Never been, myself. I met one trollin' around Washington State of all places."

And before they could make this all about her, the curious hyena asked, "You like... super old? Not sayin' you look it, but I hear ya guys are like... not all that into dying of natural causes."
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#15
Her eyes widened. She used to pick apples in Washington! "Yeah, it's like the vampire movies that way. We stick at one age." She smiled and tugged at a downy bit of hair in front of her ear. "I'm not an old one, though, I've only been turned a couple of years."

Oh!

Remembering her manners, a finger twitched up to point at her own sternum. "I'm Marybeth by the way."
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#16
Just a few years, huh? So there went the chance to ask this lady what the 19th century was like or something. But man, weird to think, if she played her cards right Marybeth would live to see a future century that Summer herself wasn't exactly counting on saying hello to. Weres were neat, and she much preferred this way of life to the idea of the undead, but she acknowledged that animal folks still died the way normal old people did.

Summer raised her free hand in a little in a wave of hello. "An' I'm Summer. Sorry if I interrupted your stone gazing. This things pretty impressive so it caught my eye and then you caught my nose." Not the best smell, granted, but she imagined it could be worse. Did vamps get smellier the longer they were dead?
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#17
Marybeth smiled at the name, nodding seriously. "Yeah, we smell bad to each other. I met a lady who I thought lived with a lot of cats, but it turned out she just was one."

She thought...they might be done? Marybeth could never tell. She looked at Summer's rice bowl as if it might step in and help.
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#18
Something about that commentary made Summer laugh. A light but genuine laugh and she shook her head. "Wild fucking world, eh, Marybeth?" She raised the bowl of food at the woman by a fraction, as if that meant something.

"I'll get outta your hair, but it was actually damn nice to meet ya, so maybe see you around."

In Summer's life, folks tended to come and go. See someone once, then never again. But the good ones... she didn't mind throwing in a little 'I won't run if we pass in the street in the future.'
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#19
Marybeth put on another enthusiastic smile in response, privately thinking that was so many swears! She made a happy, awkward little wave that didn't go up past her elbow. "Yeah, goodbye!"

Summer the brown hyena. An animal roughly the size of a mastiff, from South Africa. A little hard to understand, but friendly, and so Marybeth was glad to have filed her into her mental rolodex.
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