It was icy cold in the middle of a moonless night as black as pitch when the Druid Alexei found what he was looking for. Cresting a hill that was dusted with snow, the brooding man looked out into the darkness and could see the sky growing bright close to the horizon, but this was caused by the light pollution given off by the city of Osaka. Sniffing the frosty air like a hound tracking its target he couldn't help but spit in disgust.
"Even from here I can smell the putrid stink of lavish swine," Alexei said to the dark, his voice as cold and as bitter as the air around him. With a heavy gaze he looked down from his hilltop down into the dark valleys, scowling at the occasional man-made star that signified a home in the mountains. As much as he would enjoy snuffing out those lights, he could not fault the humans living within for wanting to become closer to the wilds, and further from the oozing sore that was the city in the distance.
"True, it is a repugnant smell that can travel on the winds for miles," responded the darkness. Out of the black sky swooped an unforgiving shadow as a large raven landed hard on Alexei's shoulder. Resting at the nape of Alexei's exposed neck, Hadyn leeched some of his master's warmth, for he had been flying for several hours in the winter night. His talons were razor sharp and as cold as death as they gripped the Druid's shoulder, but the man did not seem to take notice of either the talons of his raven or of the air around him; he had survived much worse, and such conditions were trivial.
"Find anything worthwhile for me?" asked Alexei, his words sounding disinterested as though he already knew what he would do and asking was just a formality.
"Yes, in fact I think I may have," Hadyn began, knowing full well that Alexei was already set in his mind. "Unless I am mistaken, which I assure you I am not, I have narrowed down the young Flynn's location within the city."
This interested Alexei more than Hadyn's typical reports if only for the fact that it meant he could spend less time wading through the filth of the city. With a thin, knowing smile the Druid set off down the hill towards Osaka.
Making little time getting into and through the city, Alexei moved as though he were one with the wind; passing unseen through the still lively night life of the sprawling city. Sure enough, his Guide's information was accurate, allowing the man to swiftly track his target to its source. Not to be bothered with sightseeing and indulging in baser urges, the Druid was once again at the edges of the city and far enoug from the noise of the rat nests to start to feel comfortable.
His query had brought him to an extravagent mansion, and this brought a bitter taste to Alexei's mouth. The thought of finding a Druid living so far removed from the wilds may as well be a sin to the wildman. Upon closer investigation however Alexei found himself somewhat mistaken. As he silently stalked the grounds, Alexei followed Ruarc's trail to the front of a reletively humble cottage. Not so far removed from society as to not recognize his counterpart's place, Alexei did give the young druid credit for working the Earth even with temptation so close at hand. In fact, the entire site seemed to resonate with a certain magical radiance. Though it still remained far to tidy for his liking. A mindset he kept as he crept along all four walls of the small home, making sure he had come to the end of the trail.
Placing a hand carefully on the old wood door of Ruarc's cottage, Alexei felt a sense of pleasure in the back of his mind; the same kind of pleasure a hunter feels when its prey is within striking distance. Silently, he pushed open the door without so much as a whisper, and the only indication being an eerie cold draft wafting in. Shutting the door in much the same manner, Alexei turned and scanned the sleeping cottage. He knew where Ruarc was within the home for he could feel the other's energy, but his purpose for coming here was to gain what extra information he could before he confronted Flynn in a test to see who was the strongest; so he would leave Ruarc, and his bedroom door, untouched. For now, he went about learning as much as he could about Ruarc; by inspecting the runes he had lying about, checking how far he had read within his Tomes, discerning his fighting style by the status of his cloak hanging by the door, and even looking over the foods that he ate. All of it was information that could potentially give him an edge if it came to it, it was how he approached all his challenges, and it was how he would handle this as well.
All that he found was within what he expected to find, although one thing did stand out to him. He could smell the presence of other magical beings besides Ruarc, but Ruarc was still the only druid. So there were other mages living in Osaka, a place of magic foreign to him, and considering the potency of the smells Ruarc was around them often. A genuine smile grew on Alexei's face as he discovered that, by following Ruarc, he could find a pack of mages rather than his initial goal of one.
"You may sleep a while longer, young Ruarc. Patience is a virtue I value, and you may lead to an even greater find if followed long enough," Alexei said in a hushed tone. Then, as silently as he arrived, he left without so much as a trace.
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