NP Holding Cells with Disappearance and HoundMan

"Roger roger, ma'am," HoundMan saluted once more, leaving on his standard gear and allowing Pirouette to touch it up. Ordinarily, that sort of attention might have set him alert and excited, but the bar for that kind of reaction had gotten pretty high, at least until today's event finished.

Once she went in and got started, HoundMan's rapt attention became an issue; she found her leash tugging on her neck as HoundMan failed to advance along with her, instead standing by the doorway. Once he saw her straining, he quickly bounded forward to follow her, with all due speed but not exactly the grace that Pirouette was putting into her dog performance. They both appeared to be playing the part of the over-eager dog instead of the master.

AppraisalMan watched quietly; his lips were curled into a smile, as always, though his gem-like teeth were hidden; he hadn't broken a grin. He remained totally quiet throughout the performance; it was easy imagine that habit of his led the other officers to desperately beg him for an appraisal at some point so they could break off acting and may have been punished in their appraisals for doing so, if there was any rhyme or reason to his system. His smug expression still seemed eager for something... it was hard to tell if that smile was asking for a pause in the action to offer his wisdom, or perhaps threatening that if the show stopped, the critique would begin.

For his part, HoundMan was having a hard time doing any acting at all; he was standing ram-rod straight with the leash in range, his lip pulled up tight and his ears twitching sharply at various parts of the performance. Pirouette had been worried she was going to need to reign in AppraisalMan if he got handsy, but remembering her earlier training with HoundMan, it seemed it was taking every bit of his discipline not to go wild, with her butt almost fully exposed and often shaking playfully in his direction. A small whimper had built inside his throat, making his issue painfully clear.

As she'd worried, he was in no frame of mind to request an appraisal. AppraisalMan, for his part, seemed to be in no hurry to give one. Something about this situation seemed to amuse him the more it went on; a grin began to break through, showing his shiny crystalline teeth.

Pirouette would perhaps begin to fear the worst (best?) as she felt HoundMan approach her from behind, leaning his head over her shoulder. As it turned out, he was just trying to whisper to her, intentionally or unintentionally forgetting that private messaging would be the best way to go about doing so. "Sometimes he takes a long time to give an appraisal," he warned her, his voice already ragged with exertion. Pirouette could feel something very unprofessional brushing against one side of her thigh from time to time, in this position. "Keep tapping the glass if you want me to lower it for you."

It was a dangerous proposition, but he clearly sensed that Pirouette wouldn't have mentioned the glass if she didn't want him to lower it at some point. Whatever the case, AppraisalMan was keeping his name-sake from them in a surprisingly stingy manner.

Pirouette probably wouldn't care about it much now, given her own trials, but she received a message from Disappearance as well, outlining how the other interrogation was going.

Quote (Disappearance)

"NightMan has apparently been working as Lady-of-the-Night, an adult actress. He's asked me not to spread that around. He also says that AppraisalMan has nothing to do with it other than using it to blackmail him. I asked him why and he said it's just a hobby. I take that to mean it's something he does for his own enjoyment. Doesn't sound like AppraisalMan is making him do it, but that could be a lie. My understanding is that AppraisalMan found out about it and used it to blackmail him... but honestly, that doesn't seem sufficient to explain the hold AppraisalMan has over NightMan, does it? If it was just that he knew about the acting, NightMan could have called it a fabrication or denied the allegations. Either he has some more concrete evidence, or else, NightMan has committed some other crime AppraisalMan is holding over him.

... Or then again, maybe NightMan is just really embarrassed about it and doesn't want it getting out, even as a rumor... I'll keep digging.
As she 'pawed' at the glass like an over-eager pup, Pirouette quickly scanned the message that Disappearance had sent her and responded silently.

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“This is good. Given what we have learned, I would not be surprised if it was as simple as NightMan trying to bring him in, and AppraisalMan turning it around on him. Perhaps NightMan has been obliged to be his personal assistant until he can earn a sufficiently high appraisal for doing so, in order to be let off the hook, as it were? It would match what we have learned of AppraisalMan, no? Good work so far... I think it may seem like a thin reason for all of this, but rumour is a dangerous thing. NightMan could deny the story if it got out, but, there are many who are like us and can see these connections. The rumour itself would not die. Still... If there is more to it, it is our duty to find it. If you think AppraisalMan might have something more over him, perhaps you could appeal to NightMan's pragmatism, yes? If he will share what is held, then that is a tool that we have taken away from AppraisalMan himself. It may be enough to convince him to confide more fully in you.”


As she messaged, Pirouette let her 'fore-paws' continue to slide on the glass a little and let herself pant with just slightly, breathy parting of her lips, while her new tail whipped back and forth with feigned eagerness. The awareness of HoundMan behind her, and thinking about the show she was also incidentally giving him might have made the tail wags less feigned than she was telling herself, but she set the thought aside.

Just as she was pondering how to bring HoundMan closer without making it obvious, the poor, taunted officer approached behind her. The immediate sensation, in the situation they were in, sent an embarrassing spike of heat and tension through her and Pirouette could feel her cheeks heating even as she worked to keep her persona in place. This was so terribly inappropriate, but she couldn't really deny that she was finding it more exciting that she ought to. He leaned in to whisper his message, and Pirouette turned her head, ears perked high as she looked up at him with large, curious eyes and a breathless flush on her cheeks. One 'paw' slipped off the glass screen as she partially turned, and Pirouette tried her best to mimic what she knew of canine body language, letting the rest of her weight drop down after it, sinking back to all fours on the ground. The process pushed her hind quarters temporarily back against the suspicious protrusion behind her, just for a moment as she shifted, but it was enough to make her eyes widen and a small gasp escape her lips, her wings arching high and stiff for a shocked instant. She quickly turned it into a more deliberate surprised yip and swayed her body as she padded around in a small circle to examine whatever it was that had surprised her, though her cheeks had flared to a more obvious pink heat despite her best efforts to keep it under control.

Despite how it might initially look, Pirouette kept professional, as near as she could. Her new position, facing HoundMan more than their house guest, was now presenting her behind more clearly to AppraisalMan, while she feigned a form of curious dog ignorance to what she was showing off. The tail swished back and forth, slightly tugging her hips with each left and right movement. Pirouette bounced up off her front 'paws' again, this time to put them lightly on HoundMan's leg while she moved her head to nuzzle at one of his hands, pushing her head against him as though seeking pats.

For now she didn't directly put any focus towards the anatomical issue that had brushed her unexpectedly before; judging from his tension, she wasn't sure HoundMan would be able to hold up tot hat, and, she reminded herself firmly, she had not asked permission to direct any such attentions towards him, no matter how much his behaviour seemed to indicate his interest. She was feeling more hot and bothered than she'd intended to as well, but that wasn't an invitation, after all. It was worrisome how tempting the idea was though. Just a small nuzzle to tease him... but it would be wrong to, unless he gave her a clearer permit for it. Instead, she sent him a direct message, n an effort to keep her performance intact.

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“You are doing well, HoundMan. I know it is hard, and I am so flattered that you find it so, truly. Stay strong for me, yes? Do not worry; I will not touch you in any intimate way or place, unless you give me permission to. When I lie mostly on my back (my wings, you know... I do not do back-lying well...), ask AppraisalMan... aie... ask him how he would appraise 'your bitch' (that is, you would say “my bitch”, you understand, yes? You must continue to act as though you own me.) He may not give an appraisal at all. Do not worry if he does not... we will find out how firm he is being about his rules. If he will not give it to you, then I must ask myself, and I will deal with that. If I tap you a few times, on the foot, or the shin, that will be when I need you to remove the partition.”


After another few moments nuzzling at his hand for pats and scratches, and nosing a little bit closer to his waist line than was maybe strictly necessary, Pirouette dropped down to her hand again, and made another light-stepping trot back along the length of the glass, tail wagging high, along with her wings and ears up and alert. She nosed at the glass delicately, turning the action more into a delicate, suggestive brush of her cheek against the surface, than actual nosing, but when she failed to find a way around the obstruction, she paused, lowering her hind quarters to sit and look at the man on the other side with wise eyes, then gracefully rubbed herself against the glass in an extended wriggling motion that saw her stretch out and roll over part way onto her back, 'paws' curled up at her chest, though she kept her knees together for the act, for now. One of her wings made a dragging sound, faintly, as it moved against the floor of the chamber, and the sound of her tail swishing back and forth on the ground joined it while she looked at AppraisalMan, her face upside down now.
Police work and animal behavior continued in parallel as Pirouette shot another message to Disappearance, all the while pawing at the screen separating herself and AppraisalMan. No response came right away from the other girl... doubtless she was refocusing her efforts and would send a message once she'd learned something new.

Whatever HoundMan needed to calm himself, it wasn't having his inappropriately returned by the push of Pirouette's rear end against his own groin, nor the puppy-dog eyes she was giving him, whether they were acting or genuine. The sudden, adorable head-patting and nuzzling routine seemed in contradiction with the very, very obvious boner he was sporting. He tried to keep himself contented with gently scratching at her hair; the answer via direct message took a bit for him to compose.

Quote (HoundMan)

I'll follow your lead, ma'am. Do whatever you think you need to!


For how long he'd paused, it wasn't much of a message. Doubtless, he'd mentally typed and retyped the message a few times before transmitting.

AppraisalMan's smile remained amused... whereas HoundMan looked flustered, uncomfortable, and painfully aroused, he looked calm, comfortable, and annoyingly either very well in control of his libido or completely lacking in that department. His angular chin rested upon the back of his knuckles, both so sharp they would have cut the other, if not for both being made of the same jagged crystals.

Seeing the sign, HoundMan ran forward, then coughed into one fist. His voice came out in a kind of a growl a few times, before he finally managed to make the words come out right. "Well, AppraisalMan? How would you appraise my.... bitch?" The disrespectful word sounded so foreign coming out of his mouth that even he seemed confused once he said it.

AppraisalMan may not have looked like he was sporting much of an erection beneath that robe of his, but he did seem delighted by the recent developments, evidenced by the crescent shape of his smiling eyes and the gemstones flashing inside his mouth, shaped like a human's teeth. "Appraisal, hm? The numerical system... it's fallen a little out of fashion by now. Do you really still want it, HoundMan?" He seemed determined to drag the conversation out longer than Pirouette's somewhat straight-shooting partner probably wanted.

The dog-like man growled for a moment, then coughed the growl to a stop again. "Yes, please."

"As a cute doggie? I'd give her a 50/100. She's very cute. That's not what you asked though, is it? As a bitch? Hmmmmm..." The man stroked his chin lightly with two slender fingers, then shrugged with an annoyingly uncaring smile. "Does she meet that description? Perhaps it's time you made her your bitch, officer. It looks to me like she's the one leading you around... As a bitch, she's more like a 2/100. I can hardly call such a talented, attention-commanding actress a bitch, can I? Now, as her bitch, I'd say you're a solid 30/100!"

HoundMan didn't know how to respond to that one; the other guy was obviously moving the goal-posts in order to get under Houndman's (and possibly Pirouette's) skin, seeing he was the weak link in the team.

Distracting Pirouette from her current situation, another message came through.

Quote (Disappearance)

He told me something weird. He told me that his predicament isn't about him... It was like something out of the movies. He got real quiet and said a lot of people were relying on this info not getting out, not just him. He started mumbling and said something about money... I asked if he was saying that he used his Lady-of-the-Night stint to bring in money and he kind of laughed and said, "sort of." I really don't know what to make of it. He told me "it looks like I'm set up to take the fall, so just let me take it already." He seems like he's run out of hope that he can escape the situation in any kind of favorable situation. I have to assume that whatever arrangement he had with AppraisalMan, he thinks it's all over now... 'All over' in a bad way, I mean.

I'm trying to calm him down about the adult actress thing. It's not like it's a punishable offense. It's okay to have hobbies and all that. But he just keeps making this sigh like I'm missing the point.

Is it possible AppraisalMan is paying him to be Lady-of-the-Night? That doesn't seem quite right either, does it?

Is it instead possible that NightMan has finances tied up in AppraisalMan's businesses that he's using to fund something? I can't imagine what, though...

Any way you could get some more information from AppraisalMan in there? How's it going?
While she wriggled and wagged her tail on the floor, presenting her belly for any enterprising leash-holders to rub, Pirouette took a moment to respond quickly to Disappearance's message. She felt fairly positive abut the outcomes so far; AppraisalMan was being difficult, but just this side of the line of still co-operating like he'd agreed, which, in truth, was about what she had expected. the appraisal itself had been delivered, more or less, and she was actually mostly relieved that he hadn't opted to give HoundMan the complete silent treatment. All in all, it was going well. If only she could keep a handle on the dangerous warmth within her and the distracting thoughts and notions this kind of playing around was suggesting into her mind.

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“Thank you for this, Disappearance; what you tell me lets me direct my own questions more effectively. I think I will be able to get something valuable from him in just a few moments. I will send you what I learn as soon as I do. I feel that we can uncover the signs of something far more interesting and important here, than simply a civilian's money-shifting. If NightMan is worried about taking a fall for someone else, or several others, it may be worth trying to learn why he still feels it is worth taking this fall for them... My fear is that it may not be outside of the Net Police. I will message you again soon, when I have more.”


Whether HoundMan had given in to her body language inviting tummy-pets or not, Pirouette curled her back slightly and rolled back to her knees, her behind swaying back and forth eagerly with the wagging of her tail. Her heart still raced at the feeling of behaving like this, in this kind of situation; it was hard to maintain the mindset that she was merely acting a part in a script for performance, when there was no script at all. Still, she could be a little more daring. She circled around to the opposite end of the glass, crossing in front of HoundMan again as she did, with a light, playful spring in her fingertips as the padded around. It was easy enough to let the native enthusiasm of the tail piece take hold and to push it a little further; her bright eyed, lip-parted breathing was accompanied by the tail's behaviour keeping it high and raised as it wagged, practically tugging her hind quarters higher and at a more presenting angle. She let he back foot tap HoundMan's ankle a few times as she passed, then nosed at the glass again, patting at it with her fore-paws.

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“Do not let him fluster you, HoundMan. You are doing well! Perhaps ask him if he would like a closer inspection, before you open the screen? I will need you to give me enough leash to approach him directly, once it is open. I will speak for myself again soon, but just a little more act first. Stay firm, HoundMan; I tease, I know, but I am sure you can keep it up for me”


Pirouette sent the message back to her colleague as she pawed at the glass, letting her hands slide against it in uncoordinated pawings until HoundMan moved forward with the plan; she was ready for it, but feigned a small gasp and puppy-like squeak of surprise as she fell forward into the newly opened space. Suddenly eager, she recovered herself, ears perked up high as she bounded a couple of small steps to reach AppraisalMan's side, where she made a show of nosing at him; in reality the action was much more asking to a delicate, graceful motions that drew her nose and cheek across one leg and thigh, where he was seated, without physically touching him yet. It did help cool her mind a little though; closeness to the diamond-haired house-guest brought it all the clearer to her senses that the source of the heat Pirouette was feeling, was the scandalised, naughty urge to be doing this for someone else.

After a moment she looked up at AppraisalMan, eyes wide with a show of interest, eagerness and curiosity, then sat back on her haunches again, knees out to either side of where she planted her hands in front of her; as one specifically trained in the arts of showing off the graceful elements of the body, the pose felt like a particularly crude one to her, as it pressed her thighs apart without any real decorum or art, and the placement of her forepaws on framed the groin of her bikini bottoms, rather than hiding it. she panted a few more times, letting her chest rise and expand as much as the motion could with her slight endowment, then turned her eyes back towards HoundMan, as though waiting for a master's instructions.

If her companion kept it together enough to talk about a closer inspection, Pirouette would tilt her head towards him, listening, then back to AppraisalMan, before let her breath give a small, gentle whine and curling her body into a languid transition back to a lying down pose beside AppraisalMan. This time, as she rolled part way over onto her back and her wings arched upright to give her as much room to do so, she kept her arms bend to her chest and her 'paws' curled over, while she bent her legs; the one on her high side was lifted up to make the angle, again parting her thighs wide and showing off no only her belly, but very obviously drawing attention to her groin as well – somewhere in Pirouette's mind, she knew it to be a behaviour that female dogs would make when inviting others to take note of their scent, but it remained a crude-feeling gesture, no matter how demure and graceful she made it. The ballerina looked to AppraisalMan and tilted her head at him.

As she did her best to keep up the puppy-dog act, Pirouette let a part of her mind try to take a back seat; she wasn't exactly thrilled about the prospect of the creep going over her more closely, but she'd already set her boundaries here, she'd said he could at least touch her, if he chose to, as long as he didn't get HoundMan to remove her top or bottoms. If he did go so far as to put his hands on any of the parts of her that were covered by thin fabric, there would be little hiding the actual body heat that certain parts of her were generating, though Pirouette tried not to think about that; that heat wasn't for him, after all.

By the time ApraisalMan seemed to have taken whatever interest he was going to in the display, Pirouette moved again before it could become stale or boring. She shifted back to a more neutral sitting position on her knees, then looked up at him with a small smile.

“AppraisalMan...” Her voice was a low, sultry sound, warm in her throat. “You asked me to be a dog for you, and you appraised me as one... And so, from your appraisal, I have two questions for you...” Pirouette picked her words cautiously, catching herself each time her normal inflections threatened to slip in. It was far too easy to turn this language into questions, when speaking in it, instead of her own Sharoan tongue, but she could avoid it if she concentrated. “I am looking forward to playing more, once you have answered them... We can do more of this game, or you could ask for something new...” She leaned in, slowly sliding her fingertips over his knee and resting her head down to look up at him from the subservient-looking position.

“The first...” She continued to speak in a soft whisper, the curls of her accent adding a certain come-hither element to the words despite their matter of fact nature. “NightMan, he fears that the game is over, now that things have come this far... He fears he must now take a bad fall as a result... But I would know... Who are the people that are depending so much on his moonlighting identity as Lady-of-the-Night remaining a secret and not becoming known?” She shifted her body a little more, wings rising and falling behind her as she moved around in front of him, to place a hand on each of his knees and then extend and curled her fingertips up towards his thighs slowly and gently.

“Maybe it will inspire you to answer in full and without evading if I tell you that my second question is...” Pirouette looked at him and let her tongue play over one of her canine teeth, and slip up to touch her lips briefly. “What can I do for you that will bring an appraisal of...” She bit her lip, and let a look of debate drift across her features, before settling on a bargain point “... seventy?” It was a risky game, bargaining over just how far she was willing to go for definite answers, but it would depend on AppraisalMan's answers; he would have to know that if he pushed her too far, she'd just stop, so... they were both gambling here.
In at least one sense, Piroutte found that HoundMan was quite capable of keeping it up for her. He'd been sporting the same uncomfortably apparent, throbbing affliction since the moment the two had entered together and started their master and pet routine. At any rate, he received the message and tried very, very hard not to return the sort of sharp salute that came naturally to him as a form of affirmation.

Luckily, as aggravated as he was, positive reinforcement turned out to be a pretty good motivator for him too. Following the instructions, he asked: "Would you like to appraise my bitch a little more closely? Aroo?"

For once, AppraisalMan chose not to hinder progress. Smiling, but not so much as shifting in the seat otherwise, the man grinned wider and nodded. "Oh, by all means. Please do."

The dog-armored officer approached the side of the screen and released it, allowing Pirouette to fall forward, then quickly running back to allow her the slack in the leash she needed. This maneuver could have ended pretty painfully if Pirouette hadn't had the foresight to significantly lengthen the rope. Once she'd fallen through to the other side, AppraisalMan lowered his workman's glass to inspect her with the naked eye instead, wearing a pleased expression that seemed right at home on a wealthy man, but still a might strange for one detained by the NetPolice.

Even then, with her womanhood presented so thoroughly to AppraisalMan, it was hard to break the sense that HoundMan was being affected by it far more greatly than the intended recipient (unless, despite Pirouette's determination to stay focused, the movements really were for her fellow officer's benefit).

His interest did seem to perk up once she began asking questions. "The dog can talk!" he joked, then clapped both hands lightly with a jeweled, jingling noise. "She talks and more! Hm hm. Please, continue." The first question caused his eyes to shimmer with a sadistic light and his grin widened all the further, now nearly bisecting the angular, narrow flat of his face. "Oh? You want to know? There's no going back once you know, you know?" Without giving her time to reconsider- as unlike as it was that she would have- he continued. "Ah, well, this is one of these situations where you've phrased the question in a way that keeps me from giving you the good stuff. The truth? No one is relying on that particular secret not becoming known, except for NightMan. He's the only one that stands to lose from it getting out. Well, I suppose I also lose that one little blackmail card I've had hovering over him, but we're both just waiting for that shoe to drop, in all honesty. He knows I'm sadistic enough that eventually, my lips are going to get loose. Please, do tell anyone you'd like! I'll find that endlessly amusing. Maybe his coworkers will start showing up to her performances!"

Annoyingly, it sounded like he had sort of evaded the question, but there might still be something useful to take from that answer. The next question caused him to smile more sympathetically. "Oh, my dear... What a question. I'll answer as truthfully as I've answered everything else. Nothing you can do will make me raise my appraisal to that level now that you've said you want it. My greatest delight is guiding others to improve. If you reach a level we're both so satisfied with, you'll have nowhere left to go, will you? You can reach... 69. 69.999999, even! But I will not allow you to reach 70. Or will I?"

HoundMan looked like he was dying to step inside the room himself and hear what was being said, but instead, he allowed her to continue whispering without listening in... Unless his canine hearing was advanced enough to let him hear anyways, that is. His blank frown and unblinking eyes betrayed very little of his emotions right now, although other parts of his anatomy left at least one emotion pretty evident.

"These questions are very entertaining, Pirouette! Please, feel free to ask more. Oh, and if you'd like that appraisal at 70, I did think of something I'd enjoy. If you were to sexually relieve that fine gentleman behind you- however you see fit- while narrating the contents of one of the messages you've been sending outside the room as you perform this interrogation, I think I'd enjoy that experience quite thoroughly. No, not just narrate it! I want to hear you speaking on an open channel with whoever you're talking to. You can leave their voice private, if you like. I'd also like to watch. If you do that... easily, 70! I'd be happy to give you 70." The man's shoulders shook with the giggle building from his chest into his throat, as he grinned almost literally from ear to ear. "You don't have any reason to object, do you?"

While Pirouette would be forced to struggle with her greatest internal debate in a more direct sense than ever, Disappearance's message came through from the other room.

Quote (Disappearance)

"He's clammed up, Pirouette. I'll need another technique or another lead if I'm going to get anything else out of him. He just keeps telling me to stop poking at it. How's it going with AppraisalMan? Is HoundMan doing okay?"
She kept her eyes on AppraisalMan, looking up towards him as he answered, but as he went on Pirouette held back the urge to sigh. More evasion. By the time he arrived at his own explanation and request, he had gone from disappointed to disgruntled, to a sudden jolt of embarrassed alarm, each of which she had to fight from appearing on her otherwise open and eager expression.

She gently ran her fingertips back and forth on the tops of his thighs, then pulled back and patted his knees a couple of times, before standing and stepping away. The ballerina took a longer breath, letting it out slowly while her wings lifted and fell again, and turned her back on the creep as she strode back to the partition, shaking her head.

“You will have to do better than that, I am afraid, AppraisalMan. I had truly thought you better at reading people, but perhaps I was mistaken...” she bit back the normal mental translation tail that occurred when she spoke netopian rather than her own tongue. She had to be careful of that here, or he would take one of her inflections as a question. She guarded her tongue. “It is a pity that you have mis-stepped so.” With one small gesture of her hand, Pirouette called up the whirling circle of feathers that descended over her form and returned her to her neat and proper police uniform; it came with the cap again, tucked under one arm, and she set it down on the interview table, before pushing back to sit on the edge of the table herself, one leg crossed over the other.

“You wish me to provide officer HoundMan with some relief from his sexual tension, y— you say... And you wish me to do so on an open channel, as well... Very well.” She stood again, and gestured to her colleague, beckoning him across to the partition to stand in front of her, once more with her back mostly to AppraisalMan. Once he stepped across to her, she offered the poor man a gentle smile and took his hands in hers for a moment.

“You have done well, officer HoundMan. I am sorry to have put you through this. Look into my eyes, yes? Focus. It is well. Be calm with me, yes?” It was hard to deny that she was still, somewhat, fighting the heat within her own body, and the thought of how easy it would be to put a hand on his cheek, or maybe even lean across to kiss him... she cleared her thoughts and sought poise again, then, still focusing her attention on HoundMan's eyes, she opened up the channel to talk more directly to Disappearance.

“HoundMan was struggling a little, officer Disappearance, but we are well now. He has been a model officer in these past few minutes, and I am grateful for it. For the rest...” Briefly, she turned her eyes back towards AppraisalMan, to ensure that he was, in fact, listening to her words.

“For the rest, we may be at an impasse, unless the situation develops unexpectedly, I am afraid. AppraisalMan has given me information that contradicts your own, you see, and further than that, he has now also lied to me quite directly, so, I fear that without a great deal of more satisfying effort from our house guest, his own poor judgement of his situation have made progressing very difficult.” She returned her focus to HoundMan, meeting his eyes again and talking in a way that was calming and business-like, letting her proper delivery gradually leech any and all sexual inclinations out of the atmosphere.

“AppraisalMan says that no-one is actually depending on NightMan's secret remaining so, other than NightMan himself. Not truly. It was indeed an element of blackmail, but, you know, one that it seems they were both aware was going to be called out sooner or later anyway. If we do not share this information with others, AppraisalMan was very much going to see that it happened regardless.” She frowned and shrugged.

“Truthfully, I am more concerned with NightMan's poor conduct and decisions in trying desperately to keep this secret, when there is nothing wrong or shameful about it in the first place. We are all entitled to out hobbies, yes? Better conduct from him would have been, you know, to call his threat without shame. Ah well.” She continued to hold HoundMan's attention while her voice continued in a soothing, calm tone; the sharoan lilt to her accent might be alluring to some, she knew, but even that wouldn't really be a turn on when it was discussing police business.

“All we can really do for NightMan right now, I fear, is appeal to his sense of responsibility, no? He is a member of the net police; has he no sense of duty... aie... of doing the right thing, yes? He is upset that we know some of his delicate secrets now, perhaps, but, you know... if all is lost, then he has a choice of helping us, or not... and if he truly is an officer who is proud to be net police, and who believes in what we stand for, you know, then he must surely see that helping us... sharing with us all the information he has on this debacle, yes? To give us the truth, the whole truth, and only the truth... it is the right thing to do.” She paused and rolled her shoulders, fluttering her wings and taking a breath as she did. She took a moment to brush at HoundMan's shoulders and the edges of his uniform, straightening his appearance.

“Fortunately, in terms of the actual point of this interview, AppraisalMan has agreed to furnish the net police with the details of his financing, his official statement regarding these things, and to generally be co-operative to further questioning as soon as his communications and access to his business are restored. Beyond this, I expect to be concluding with him soon, unless something unexpectedly interesting comes up. If it does not, we can soon wrap up here and process him accordingly. If he returns to his uncooperative ways after this, and after giving such assurances, that will be suspicion enough for a proper arrest warrant, you know.” As she closed the line, Pirouette tilted her had, looking at HoundMan again, with another small smile.

“You are calm, yes? No distractions now, just police work. It is well.” She gave him a last nod, then turned back to face AppraisalMan properly, and took a seat on the edge of the table again.

“So here we are, AppraisalMan. I have done exactly as you asked. HoundMan has been relieved, and it has been done in open dialogue to my other associate. To the letter, AppraisalMan. So. It would do you well not to mistake the acting for some misunderstanding of where the power balance lies in this room, you know.” She folded her arms, her wings lifting up tall and then folding back again as she breathed slowly.

“If you want me to actually count you as honest... and, you know, I must count you as honest, if I am to continue playing our little game... then you will have to speak more to the first question. NightMan, he is quite convinced you know, that many people depend upon his secret moonlighting identity remaining secret. You say this is not true. You much explain further and clarify this confusion. It must be a good explanation, because, you know, you did just lie to me.” she shrugged and looked away from him, feigning unconcern.

“I do not know exactly which was the lie and which was true, but I also do not truly care, in this particular case. We are making exchanges for information, and I am... willing... to continue making them. I am offering you some entertainment that, you know, you will not receive at all from others you have already agreed to work co-operatively with.” She leaned in a little closer, resting her elbows on the tabletop and framing her face with a small smile. “It is in your best interest to be forthcoming and helpful with me, you know.” with another little shrug, Pirouette pushed herself up and took a few moments to walk the room again, before stopping at the divide. She paused to fiddle with HoundMan's uniform again, neatening it where it didn't need any further neatening, then rocked her shoulders, shaking her wings and glancing back half way – She was still sort of talking to AppraisalMan, but clearly in a way that was also talking for HoundMan to listen to and take in by proxy.

“There is no need to push your fortunes with me. If you are forthcoming, and helpful, you will get from me everything that I am prepared to give. There is, you know, nothing that you can say or do, AppraisalMan, that will bring me to give away more than this. There are... things, which I have not ever done... and I will not be doing them here, like this, in this setting. Reaching for this, this will only get you nothing. I was intending to perhaps tease you with some of these details about myself, but... it will only matter if the game is to continue, you know.” She turned back again and ran her fingertips along the edge of the table top as she returned to AppraisalMan.

“So... before we continue, I did as you asked, to the letter. It is my turn. You have said you know much about the secrets of several of my superior officers, here in the net police. You have said you can evidence what you know. I would know what you know, and I would see your evidence.” She shrugged, leaving her statement hanging for a few moments, then let a relaxed grace carry her back to the divide where she perched on the table again.

“After you share this, perhaps you could make a more reasonable request of me, and perhaps I might perform further for you. There is much you have not seen, you know, and much I am still prepared to share, and do, as part of this.” She eyed him, then uncrossed her legs and used the table's height to skip down and back to the side of the divide that HoundMan had, presumably, remained on while she waited and listened.

In Pirouette's mind, she was weighing new odds; she'd told AppraisalMan that she had some hard limits, without actually defining what they were yet, in the hope that his own over-eagerness would entice the creep into continuing with the hopes of pushing her past them. the main worry was how smarmy and vindictive he seemed to be, mainly just using the appraisal game to be a terrible person; it was risk of how far she could play an still be safe from that kind of vindictive, sadistic attitude. She could only image that the man probably eagerly wanted to see her either hurt or upset, by now, and offering to put herself in potentially vulnerable states was feeling more like a risk than ever, but she still had her own game to play, alongside his, and her own tricks on the board.
"Oh darling, please. If I want to read you, I'll read you. I'm the kind of person who gets his kicks from swapping my own cover onto a book, not reading it," the blue diamond navi responded, keeping his wry smile and narrowing his eyes. "But I'm not angry about your refusal. After all, I already made very clear the intentions of my appraisal and the difficulty of raising it. I can hardly blame you for not rising to a challenge that you've already been told is futile."

After that quip, however, AppraisalMan really did get a surprise; for once, the crystalline mask of his face faltered a bit and his his hairless brow raised. Contrary to how he'd read into Pirouette's statement, it seemed his bluff was being called after all. If AppraisalMan was confused, HoundMan was even more so, staying as quiet as a mouse. The depth of his silence and the stillness of his face showed that he was probably expecting that kiss, all told.

Pirouette lay out the contradiction as she understood it; AppraisalMan gave that giddy smile, as though he was fighting his urge to jump in and give more hints, confirming details or shooting them down. He actually clasped both hands over his mouth to stop himself from interjecting.

"You have a point, Pirouette," Disappearance spoke over the other line. She sounded, perhaps, relieved that nothing too crazy had happened in the interviewing room. "It's strange that as AppraisalMan is feeling more loose-lipped, Lady is tightening up. Maybe it's just my interrogation technique."

As for HoundMan, he nodded along with her question, although she could easily wonder what she might see if he stood back up. AppraisalMan's grin showed that he was wondering as well and perhaps trying to ask him to stand up and present to the class, if he was really feeling sexually relieved. Instead, he stayed quiet and let Pirouette continue. Once she did, he just seemed to grow more excited. "Oh, please! Please keep Lady of the Night on the phone as we continue. I think she'll get a real kick out of this game of twenty questions we have going," the man giggled, rubbing his hands together with a scratch of stone upon stone.

"Very well! More hints. I would hate for you to think of me as a liar, of all things." He clapped his palms together with a clang, then grinned shamelessly. "You asked me who has such a stake in his keeping his moonlighting secret, correct? I answered you honestly: that's only him. Ha ha... You talk about bargaining power, but you've given me the ultimate win-win! You see, if you're a woman of your word, you'll owe me something very saucy after this juicy piece of information I'm about to give you. I, on the other hand, will derive terrible pleasure from giving you this same information, dooming our mutual friend in a way far larger than having his blossoming camgirl career exposed!"

"The son of a bitch has gone mad! Don't trust a thing he says-!" a woman's voice came from over the line, but he simply raised his hands and continued talking.

AppraisalMan's eyes were two tightly clenched crescents of sadistic pleasure as he showed all of his diamond teeth in a big grin. "You think I'm NightMan's blackmailer, right? That I somehow found out about his new hobby and then held it over him? False! A certain group of people gave me your superior as collateral, to do with as I pleased, and he willingly submitted to it! I chose a fun new career path for him and in return, they got oodles and oodles of money. Now you know my secret relationship with the lovely Lady of the Night. I think she'd finally gotten to the point she was enjoying herself too... Before you in the Police started really digging your heels in and investigating his disappearance along with my finances, that is."

His gems seemed to flash with light as his breathing quickened; suddenly, he was panting, now seeming sexually excited for the first time. "You said you'll treat me as an honest person, if just for this exercise, right? Then believe me a bit further: one of NightMan's own allies is the one who granted me the use of NightMan! And why did he submit to that order? Because he's a loyal officer! He's not so different from Disappearance, you see? Both such good officers, following orders unquestioningly for so long!" He dug the sharpened points of his teeth into his lip with a quiet moan. "Mmm! Someone tried to tell you to let NightMan take the fall for this, didn't they? That person tried to cut off your means of investigation, didn't they? Remember? Didn't all of that happen?"

HoundMan stared in confusion, while slowly rising to his feet, holding one hand against his wrist as though he was prepared to activate a sword at any moment. The reason was evident: AppraisalMan was quickly becoming a completely different person, no longer a stone-faced sadist, but instead, a quivering wreck of ecstasy. The fact that his body was flashing like a broken LED screen was proof of that.

"Allow me one more puzzle, Pirouette! A hint to a question you haven't even asked me yet! I can't hold it in any longer!" he quivered, his face flushing darker blue as sparkles gleamed off of his body. "Maybe this will be the final piece that lets you put it all together! You were asking me about the wrong secret. The fact that NightMan is posing as a prostitute is hardly critical. It's the kind of hobby someone can enjoy, even. Harmless, victimless. There is a much larger secret, one that affects so many other people! Keep digging at it please! I can't wait to see the landslide-- the avalanche! Carelessly brushing over all the dominoes to clean the floor has the same end result as if you'd flicked over the starting tile! Ask me what the collaborator did with that loan I gave them. Pleeease?" Now it was his turn to beg, as he tossed and turned in his seat like an over-anxious child.

Lady of the Night spoke over Disappearance in the other room. "Officer Pirouette, every moment you spend talking to this lunatic is not just wasted, but dangerous! Look what he did to me! AppraisalMan is a slow, corrupting poison; you don't want any part of this trap he's setting!" It sounded like she was freaking out about as hard as AppraisalMan was. "He's dragging you, Disappearance, and HoundMan into something you won't be able to climb back out of! Believe me as your senior officer, if just on this last point, then lock me up or whatever you have to do. You have to drop it!" Disappearance could probably cut the line or force NightMan to stay quiet, but she evidently thought there might be some value in listening to him.

"Poison?! Is that any way to talk about your master?" the gem-like maniac cackled. "Hey, ask me Pirouette. Ask me ask me ask me. Ask me what they did with my loan, then ask me as many more questions about it as you feel like. You can leave your clothes on if you want. This is the stuff I really enjoy~"
A smile curled at one corner of Pirouette's lips as she listened to the increasing fallout of her open line conversation with patience and poise; she was happy to make NightMan a little uncomfortable and to allow AppriasalMan his little vindictive win, as long as he continued to give her actionable information. She cut her eyes briefly to HoundMan, giving him a collected expression that she hoped would reassure the other officer to keep his peace for now.

In a way, it worked in her favour that AppraisalMan took more from her accusation of lying than was really there; it served the same end, ultimately, as he seemed increasingly eager to give more information; as long as it was causing other people discomfort, embarrassment, or... a thought occurred to the ballerina and she tucked it away... exposing their flaws... those were the reactions that he really seemed interested in. Perhaps the sexual debasement that Disappearance had ended up leaning into was just a means to that particular end – the more uncomfortable, ashamed, or departed from what she would normally be okay with doing, the better, and that was where the appraisals had led her behaviour.

The more dirt he spilled, and the more agitated it sounded like NightMan was getting, as Lady of the night or otherwise, the more excited her house guest seemed to get, and Pirouette was content to let it continue, holding the line open the extra time that it took them to share their exchange. After a while, however, the teasing hints and AppraisalMan's obvious excitement in laying out the trail became a conflicting argument between himself and NightMan, and Pirouette turned to face AppraisalMan with a grin and a raised hand, lifting one finger to her lips as she did. Things were about to get... interesting.

“NightMan.... Aie, it is difficult... You damn yourself with your own words, you know? It is unbecoming of any net police officer to veil threats as warnings... but know this, and understand it, yes? You should not tell an officer from Internal Affairs that they are getting into something they will not get out of. I am interested in the truth, yes? In the facts; in duty and in justice. Right now, you are in a precarious position from all sides, so it sounds, you know. Those around you can be of help, or hindrance, but you may rest assured that they will be fairer than these... trials you have faced already, yes?” Even though there was no video line, Pirouette shrugged her shoulders in a softer motion, turning partially away from the blank direction she'd been speaking towards while addressing him.

“Perhaps much of this was not your fault, but some decisions were. We are, none of us, without flaw... what matters is how we respond in this pressure, when our flaws are exposed and pressed upon. Decide now, who you are, yes?” Her wings ruffled as she delivered her response in as commanding a tone as she could muster. NightMan might well be a victim in this mess, but hesitancy to be forthcoming would not help his case. She continued with a more earnest tone, though it still came out hard.

“If you have even a shred of loyalty to the ideals for which the net police are supposed to stand; if you have any dedication to the duty we are meant to hold to those who cannot protect themselves... then you will sit down, right now, with officer Disappearance, and you will tell her everything you know of this incident. You will leave no detail out, no matter how personally shameful or upsetting, no matter how grievous or damning. I am ordering this of you, now, you know, under my mandate as Internal Affairs, NightMan. You will comply, without complaint, without restraint, and without obstruction or obfuscation, yes? You will name names; you will provide whatever logs of evidence you are capable of providing. Anything less will be considered to be collusion. You understand this, yes? If matters of honour and duty are alien to you in this, NightMan, then I assure you, justice will proceed as it must. If, as perhaps some of us here suspect, your only crime in this is indeed one of following orders and feeling unable to act beyond them when necessary, then, you know, your crimes are not so severe... but you must co-operate now.” With a snap of her fingers that resounded around the small interview room, Pirouette cut the line and turned a steely blue gaze back to AppraisalMan, set in an expression that might have been called dangerous by less charitable individuals; a grim smile was on her lips as she faced him.

“Now... We are not alike, AppraisalMan... I draw no pleasure from NightMan's squirming and suffering, or from the personal devastation he may undergo as a result of all that has happened here... But I think, you know, we might still be able to be friends after all. I will return in just one moment, yes? And then, I will tell you something that I think you may enjoy hearing very much...”

As she stood back and turned from him, Pirouette looked towards HoundMan instead, softening her expression, and reaching out to take his hand in one of hers for the moment. She gave the out-of-his-depth officer a more reassuring smile.

“Come, I must share a word with you...” She quickly led HoundMan back out of the interview room, closing the door behind them, and checking the common room to be sure no-one else was about.

“HoundMan, I have to ask you to remain out here. I will be safe, I promise. I will not be long. I feel this next negotiation... it will work better if I am alone, you know? Please wait... I will be quick.” She paused, wings slowly rising and falling as the nervous warmth she was feeling drew attention to the empty room around her. The ballerina hesitated for a moment, unsure of herself. A moment of unconscious fidgeting saw her holding both his hands in hers as she took a longer breath; her cheeks pinked slightly as she looked for what to say.

After another moment of not finding the words, she neatened his uniform, brushing and straightening, then swiftly took hold of the fabric with both hands and pressed herself in closer to him. Her own eyes closed for the next few seconds as she tilted her head to one side and allowed her lips to press in against his, focusing, just for a lost few moments, on that sensation and nothing else. At the back of her awareness, she felt her wings arch and stiffen as her fingers curled and gripped tight in his uniform. The stolen moment broke eventually, and the ballerina pulled back again, releasing his uniform and beginning to brush and straighten it once more. Her heart raced, thundering madly in her chest and her cheeks felt hot while she tried to calm her suddenly rapid breathing.

“Aei... I... I just... I wanted you to have that, yes? Ah... When this is over, you know... I would like, very much, to get to know you better, HoundMan. I would like... you know... to see you, some time... when we are not on duty, yes?” Her blush was only growing more fierce, and Pirouette desperately sought poise. Her wings settled back to a more neutral position as she willed the blush from her cheeks and watched HoundMan's eyes for his reaction. She only waited a few moments however, before darting past him again, back into the interview room and shutting the door behind her once more.

The more determined Pirouette entered the room again, coming to lean on the desk between herself and AppraisalMan. Her heart was still racing, but she ignored it. Instead she fixed him with a lidded gaze and a small upward curl to her lip.

“We knew you had been paying large sums to someone, it is true. We did not know who to... but we saw that... recently, you know, the amounts, they have been getting smaller and smaller. You mentioned NightMan was growing more accustomed to his new career under your guidance. Growing more comfortable, perhaps? Less satisfying for you then, no? So perhaps you were not so inclined to pay as much as you were initially for his continued use, yes? It is just a small theory. A guess, aside from what matters to me... what matters to me, AppraisalMan... and I think you may enjoy thinking on this...” she leaned in closer, hands planted firmly on the table and her eyes hard.

“The net police is a laughing stock. The people, they have no faith in our effectiveness, or our capabilities. This is from many factors, but they come back to one thing, yes? There is corruption, in the net police, and it runs deep and high.” She paused, watching him, and as she continued her voice was low and serious.

“You know much, and I would do much to know it, if, and you understand this is necessary, if you have indeed got the evidence to back up what you say. There is corruption here, and I do not intend to stop digging until I have rooted it out entirely, AppraisalMan. I do not care who must be uprooted in this process; I do not care how senior or established their tenure. I do not care how respected or shining their image. I intend to rip this rot out of this organisation, and if it should leave a bloody mess behind it... such is often the way of excising a cancer, no? If you know where to look, you will even have a front row seat to watch it happen.” Despite herself, a note of primal savagery threaded its way into her voice as she explained her goal to her house guest; any who might normally mistake her for a delicate flower of a woman hadn't yet seen the iron poise and razor talons that her presence radiated now.

“I would know what you know, AppraisalMan. I would have your help in this matter. It is a cabal; this I know. More than one individual, and positioned well enough to make bringing justice to even their small fish difficult... they must all be found, exposed, and disciplined to correction, or else purged entirely. Eggs will be broken. Will you help me do this?” She drew back and stood upright again, folding her arms and considering the diamond-themed man.

“You would enjoy seeing one as myself, confident, poised, you know.... you would enjoy seeing me debased, broken down... compromised, no? Perhaps you wish to see my flaws lead to my downfall and ruination, yes? I will not be broken, I am sorry, but you are free to push and to try... But consider, AppraisalMan... Rather than just myself, you could be instrumental in much, much more, yes?” She tilted her head and smiled.

“And perhaps, while you help me in this, I can be your... aie... the phrase... vstavnoy nomer... your... little bet, on the side, yes? Over time, you might have many chances push me to places I thought never to fall to... to actions I never thought to take... or allow... no? It is a risk I am willing to take, if your evidence is solid, yes?” She raised one eyebrow then shifted her stance again. Now her body language relaxed, and became graceful flow again as she settled down and rested her elbows on the table, hands clasped to one side as she peeked at him around her forearms.

“Let us play a game, yes? I have told you, there are some hard limits to what I will do to satisfy you, and I have told you that nothing you can do will make me pass those... but I am a performer and an actress, you know... there is much that comes before those lines, which would make me deeply uncomfortable, or hesitant, yes? Things which I am not willing to do... but which I may still, if the reward is proper. I have not told you exactly what the hard lines are... and you know that if you cross them, you will get nothing from me... but I wonder how close to those lines can you press without pushing me too far... no?” She smiled for him and shrugged. “The game need not even remain confined to this question room, if you are mindful.” With a shake of her wings, her expression became serious again.

“I will start with the question you wanted me to ask, because you wanted it so truly, yes? Then we can reach further... who was paid and what did they do with the funds you gave them? I suspect you are implicating miss Bank, but maybe I am mistaken. Information. Evidence. Proof... and your request.”

She didn't have too long, Pirouette knew that. If she was lucky, and NightMan caved in, there might be some time that Disappearance was occupied getting his information, but it sounded like AppraisalMan had far more to offer her than anyone else had yet realised. Even if she couldn't get everything out of the creep right now, if she was fortunate, it might be enough to form the foundation of a new connection.
HoundMan did his best to stay in control at Pirouette's behest, but relying on him for anything more than poise right now would be a lost cause for her; deductive reasoning wasn't his strong point. He was still somewhere back near the start of the interrogation in terms of understanding the mystery.

As for the Lady, Pirouette's words had just the opposite effect upon her. "You're right, I'm already deep in the hole! If you keep going down this road, you're going to throw some innocent people in there with me!" the angry woman shouted, banging her fists on the table as though she was willing to try anything to get Pirouette's attention. Any words that seemed focused on her own redemption were discarded out of hand; she seemed solely focused on encouraging Pirouette to let her take the fall that she'd been set up to take. However, hearing her loyalty questioned caused her to release a scoffing, humorless laugh. "I sure hope nobody else's loyalty to law and order on the net is ever tested like this, that's for damn sure."

If Pirouette liked seeing the officer sweat, there was someone else who liked it even more. The sadistic man sitting across from her grinned wider still; the blocks of his teeth flashed along with the rest of his body as he shuddered with laughter. "I appreciate that dedication to the naked truth, Pirouette. You're a model officer, not like Lady of the Night over there! Let's hear what else you have to say," he goaded her on, while resting his chin on both of his pointy palms. When she asked to dismiss herself, he covered his mouth to stop his own smirk. "Leaving me hanging at this critical juncture? Perhaps we're not so different after all! You seem to enjoy dishing out a little bullying yourself." He squirmed in his seat as he waited to be called upon again.

HoundMan had no idea what to expect when he was led away, but once he heard that she wanted to continue the interrogation alone, it was clear he wanted to object. Even as he questioned that order, he was confused further, receiving a kiss on the lips that caused his tail-like armor extension to stand upright. He was, perhaps, not the ideal kisser; he began hesitantly, as though still waiting on an explicit order to proceed. His hands remained frozen at his side for a moment longer, before moving to grab hold of her shoulders so that he could lean further into the embrace and return the gesture fully. It seemed a bit that if he was let off his leash, the kiss would probably involve a lot of tongue, but for now, he still played the part of an officer.

"Ma'am... Yes ma'am! When we're off duty, ma'am!" he returned, cracking another sharp salute as she regained her distance. That appendage behind him swung back and forth eagerly, as though he wanted to leave the room and get started right now...

... And why wouldn't he? There was nothing pleasant about the task left to Pirouette. She could hardly be blamed if she decided she wanted to run off with him now, but instead, she returned to her seat.

AppraisalMan immediately broke the silence with a quip: "You're looking about as aroused as I am now." When she continued on anyway, he shut his mouth, regaining some of his old, stoic demeanor as he watched her with half-lidded, bright blue eyes. "Ha ha ha!" he suddenly giggled, covering his mouth with one hand as his eyes bent back into crescents and he squirmed in his sight. "Pffft! One must suspect you're onto something with this corruption idea. If you managed to accomplish that much and drag them all out into the daylight, then I'd actually be some kind of hero for putting you on the trail, wouldn't I? Do you think I could get promoted within Internal Affairs?" he joked, while tapping his feet up and down like a child. "Of course I'll help you! I wouldn't have helped them build up their little sand castle if watching it fall into wet dirt wasn't going to be so wonderfully satisfying! On oh so many levels~"

Pirouette could probably trust that promise as far as she could throw it, but she continued on anyway. "Hehe! As you keep building yourself up as the savior, the one who's going to perform a corruption-ectemy on the NetPolice, I do have to admit, the possibility of seeing you crying into the backs of your hands and sobbing like a child grows more and more appealing. That's why this is such a win-win for me. There is no happy ending; one or the other proud individual will be left a quivering wreck by the end of it. Ah, no matter how it is, I just want to be involved~" he cooed, patting his hands up and down upon the table.

"Oh, dear, I would have told you for free at this point. But if you're giving favors, I'll certainly take one! How about... hmmmm... Why not call Disappearance back up and ask her about her time with HoundMan up to this point? For the past... how long was it? Many months, I think. Ask her what all she's been up to during that time," AppraisalMan clapped his hands together, then shifted in his seat and recrossed his legs. "Ah, or ignore it. We do have juicier topics to pursue."

Nodding eagerly with her inquiry, he folded his hands atop the table, trying to look more like a dignified businessman navi and less like a giddy child. "I have meticulous book-keeping showing funds paid throughout this department. There are some to NightMan, which, of course, trailed off sharply once he agreed to be my collateral. The nature of slave labor is you don't have to pay them. You will, of course, see Bank's name prominently featured there with a very large payout. The one who distributes the money must get the largest, yes? Oh, are you going to weight the sins and worthiness of punishment based on how well or poorly you suspect the recipients used the money?! I'd be very interested to see how that goes!"

He kicked his leg under the table gently, then raised one hand and began counting off his fingers just for show; there was no way a navi, especially not one like himself, needed to use his fingers to count. "Let's see... Beyond those... The other big ones are Aroma, FashionMan, and GolfMan. AlchemyMan used to be a big recipient, but he stopped receiving payments long ago. Have you not met them yet? My dear, if you've yet to meet those ones, then you've flipped ahead to the ending without reading all the chapters!" the glimmering man snickered. "Beyond that, the others are so small-time I can't remember their names, but I'm certain you'll see them all if you keep digging at this. When you do, I hope you remember not to let them put you in Virtucuffs, hm hm hm..."

"Once I'm allowed to access my files and resume work, I'll be happy to hand all of the evidence you want over to you. Though, the fact that I've been bold enough to name so many already must be encouraging, right?" he grinned widely. "Tell me, tell me! What are you going to do next? Should I expect to see them all in the interrogation room right behind me? What's your plan to bring the hammer down on these guys?" he questioned, tilting his head at an extreme angle once again. "If you want to see some really good evidence that I've let you on to something big, go tell Bank that you're on to her! That ought to be good for some laughs. I'd like to see her face when you tell her~"
Pirouette's own smile grew satisfied and ferocious as her eyes remained locked on the man across from her. The rest of her expression was equally focused to give little else away besides her pleased outlook on the information AppraisalMan had decided to give her. She stood back from the table again hummed to herself, letting her hands settle behind her back while her wings rose and fell. After a moment she glanced across to her house guest, still grinning.

“Some of those name... they are on my radar already, yes. Others are new to me. This is... most interesting, no? You did not exactly tell me what was done, or is perhaps, being done... with these funds you have supplied, but the names you have given, and the proof you say you have... this is good, AppraisalMan. Very good. They will stand in, you know... good faith, let us say, yes? I am trusting in this... that the documents you provide will be good records, yes? Legitimate. That they will show the truth of what you say here, and that they will contain with them some of the smaller details you have left out in you.... eagerness.” She turned back to him and leaned onto the table again, letting her body flow with a graceful sway as she did, eyes lidded as she looked him over.

“You made a request, no? So I shall give you this, for what you provide. Good faith, you know, that your evidence will in turn be good. I will speak with Disappearance. I will be sure to record our conversation, yes? I will ask what you have suggested I should, and then, you know... I shall see that a copy finds it way into your possession, so that you may review it at some later time, whenever you feel as though you need another little thrill... you must only trust that I will do this. Good faith, no?” She smiled again, and let one eye lazily wink at him, before standing and walking part way towards the door. The ballerina stopped after a step or two and stretched in a prolonged, luxuriant manner, arching her wings and flexing her arms wide as she lifted to her toe points briefly.

“Beyond this, AppraisalMan, it seems I have little reason to detain you for much longer, no? I see no reason that we cannot allow you to return to your very important business. I will be expecting you to deliver the evidence you have promised, at your earliest convenience, you know.” She paused, mid stretch, then glanced back over her shoulder, wings rising and falling with a flow fluttering.

“Oh... you could, return to your other associates, it is true. Sell back to them, the words I have told to you... I am aware you could do this, you know. Still, I do not think you will, no? What I offer you; the success of my endeavours, yes? This is a much grander prize for you than any result of undermining my efforts, you know. Perhaps we shall make further exchanges in the future, yes? Hmmm... there is... one thing more I would ask you, AppraisalMan... One last detail, before I go...” Here, she turned back to him fully once more, folding her arms beneath her bust and tilting her head to one side.

“Perhaps you can decide if it is worth making one last immediate request of me, for the telling, yes? Before, when you spoke... You suggested that someone had been waiting to pounce upon NightMan. That someone tried to shorten our efforts and simply throw him to the wolves instead. You spoke this, as though it were a truth you knew. You asked me to 'remember' the thing you said had happened but minutes ago... at a time when all assurance is that your ability to communicate beyond this room is locked down, no? I would have you explain this last little detail to me, AppraisalMan, and leave no part of it out... What price would you have right now for this? What discomfort balances that scale for you?” Pirouette watched him, watching to see what the diamond man would say, though she had a suspicion already. It was turning into another one of those days where everyone was guilty, and everyone was a victim as well, more or less. With a few dubious exceptions.