On the Town in Satin and Lace. Part the First.
The next day I stepped out into the streets while the damnable sun was still in the sky. Fortunately the omnipresent soot in the air blocked most of its painful rays, and by flitting fom shadowed point to shadowed point, with the aid of my parasol, I was able reach an entrance to the Depths mainly unscathed.
Once below and out of reach of the solar hell, I proceeded forth on my expedition; first to purchase new dresses for myself and my Slayer for the night's meeting. I exited the Depths via a cleverly concealed exit in the basement of one of Gotham's oldest and most distinguished custom dressmaker's. This establishment had been serving my kind, along with humanity, for at least a century. So they had, over the years, established certain methods that allowed safety for their staff and their customers.
I stepped over to the heavily barred window and pressed the bell push. After a few moments a man and a woman stepped into view. The man carried a crossbow and several obvious knives. He was obviously not human, as his skin seemed mismatched to my vision.
"Ah, Miss Drusilla! So pleasant to see you again, " the young blond maid had attended to me before, "Did the dress for your friend prove acceptable?"
"THank you, yes it did. She absolutely adored it. In fact are the other outfits I ordered completed? We are going out on the town tonight, and must look our best."
"Let me call upstairs and check, " she turned to the phone beside her and began chatting with someone named Doris. After a moment she replaced the handset and turned back to me, "They are, would you like to take them with you, or would you like them delivered?"
"I'll take the blue cocktail and the green gown along with the appropriate shoes and undergarments, the rest of the items need to go to this address, " I slipped a pasteboard through the bars along with remainder of the agreed upon fee.
"Certainly Ma'am. Is there anything else?"
"Nothing from me thank you, however, the stars say that you should remain close to home tonight."
"The stars Ma'am?" she sounded worried.
"Oh yes, they can never keep their babble to themselves. But don't worry, if you stay home all will be well."
"Uh yes Ma'am. Thank you Ma'am. I-I-I'll get right on your order, " she scurried off up the stairs into the main part of the store. After a short wait, she returned bearing two garment bags and a large parcel.
"Here you are Miss Drusilla, " she placed my purchases in the cupboard on her side and after she secured the door, I was able to open my side to remove them.
"Thank you again my dear! And have a pleasant evening, " I left the same way I had arrived and scurried to my next stop.
The great advantage of possessing the Wolf, Ram, and Hart as one's solicitors of record, is that they understand and can work with the most extraordinary requests and situations without blinking or even flinching in disgust. This also means that they generally provide access to their clients that are daylight challenged. I made use of this entrance and proceeded to the client concierge services.
"My name is Drusilla, " even though he had remarkable self-control I could see him stiffen in recognition.
"Oh, yes Ma'am, how may I assist you?"
"I would like to speak to a residential property specialist."
"Certainly Ma'am, if you would come this way, " he led me to a comfortable office, "Mr. Hainz will be with you shortly. Would you like some refreshments? O+, AB-, B-?"
"A small cup of otter please, warmed."
I sat myself down in a decadently soft armchair and waited. Within a few moments a Brachen demon came in bearing a deliciously steaming cup. Placing the cup on the table in front of me, he executed a perfect Prussian bow complete with heel clicking.
"I am Herr Kaspar Hainz, and I have the honor of addressing Fraulein Drusilla of the great Scourge?"
"You do sir, however the honor is all mine, Herr Hainz, " I proffered my hand and he kissed it formally, then moved behind his desk and sat. While he moved over I picked up the cup and tasted the blood. It was even good vintage Sea, rather than the rather generic River one normally can find. As I said, my solicitors understand their clients totally.
"So Fraulein, how may I help you?"
"Well I had moved here some months ago and have decided to stay for a longer term than I had originally planned for, " he nodded in acknowledgement.
"So your current residence is not suitable?"
"Exactly! You are very keen sir, can you aid me?"
He puffed up slightly, causing his spines to tremble, at the praise, "Of course Fraulein! Here our clients always come first."
I clapped my hands slightly, "Oh that is so wonderful!"
"What kind of accommodation are you searching for; An apartment, a house, an estate perhaps?"
"Well Herr Hainz, I would like privacy for when I entertain my guests of course, " I admit I fluttered my eyelashes at him on this statement, "Access to the Depths so I may come and go with no risk of exposure. A large basement for...storage, and of course a clear view of the night sky goes without saying."
As I had been speaking Herr Hainz had been pulling various folders and books from behind his desk and was making notes on a pad with a beautiful silver fountain pen. After a several moments and a pair of phone calls, turned back to me and smiled.
"Well Fraulein, It appears that you are in luck. There is an estate on the north side of the city that matches in all particulars and has recently come upon the market. It is in the process of renovation at the moment, but that can be easily expedited and any particular modifications to the floor plan can be added without much fuss or notice, " he rose and handed me a set of plans of a lovely mansion.
"Perhaps splitting the basement here, " I gestured, "And making this side with access to the depths more private? Placing very inconspicuous stairwells from the master bedchamber and this neighboring guest suite down to that private storage? Oh and replacing all the window panes and skylights with something more accommodating to my complexion?"
"Of course, all easily done. Will you be needing furnishings?"
"Please, 19th century of course, but with all the most modern conveniences."
"Will you need servants?"
"Oh no, I already have planned for that. But I will need a properly fitted out motorcar."
"That will not be a problem, do you care about the price at all?"
"I can afford it can't I?"
"Judging by your accounts here, quite easily Fraulein."
"All I will need is a signature then in two days time. The estate will be ready for residence in about a month. You can take possession of the automobile in three days."
"Excellent Herr Hainz! You positively must add an extra commission to the contract for yourself."
"Why thank you, but I assure you it's not necessary."
"Oh, but I insist, " I stood, "It was a true honor to have you assist me."
"The honor was all mine Fraulein Drusilla."
Herr Hainz walked me to the exit and bid me farewell.
I thought for a moment, and headed directly to where I believed the faceless one and my Slayer were practicing.