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August 12
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When the D virus infected ~lizardman22's gallery, one character in particular was on to it almost from the beginning.

Hisspan Down was the perfect counter-agent against Discord, the corporeal avatar the virus had sent into her world.  Besides being the wife of the virus's target, she was friends with pretty much everyone in her setting, so she always had someone to go to when she needed a particular service.  On top of that, her ability to detect blood pressure fluctuations and see in infra-red made spying all the easier.

As Discord stayed in the Valley of Venom, awaiting his chance to strike, Hisspan was setting things in motion herself, things that would eventually lead to the virus's defeat.

----

"Come in!"

It was the day of Discord's arrival, shortly after he'd been shown around town.  Hisspan opened the door to the house of Oceania "Teardrop" Otter without hesitation, glancing over her shoulder as she did.  She closed the door as soon as she entered.

"Oceania... we need to talk.  Remember Discord?  I came here about half an hour ago and introduced you to him?"

The otter nodded.

"I need to know as much about him as you can dig up.  I... I think he's up to something.  I felt a spike in his blood pressure when I introduced him to Wolfen, but barely anything with anyone else."

Oceania sighed.  "I don't know what to tell you, Hissy.  I checked my sources as soon as you two left, and he's a complete ghost.  There's no information on him anywhere.  It's like he didn't exist at all before he came here."

Hisspan rubbed her chin.  "Well... how about this?  He told me about one place he'd been to.  That might work as a lead."

The cobra recounted the tale Discord had told her, the tale that, unaware to them both, had come from elsewhere on DeviantART.  Oceania looked up the details online, and the results left both of them befuddled.

"...That's strange.  I'm not getting any matches.  It's like the place he was describing doesn't exist."

"Well, he certainly was good at lying about it.  It was so coherent and well strung together, I can't imagine it being false."

"Well, I'll keep looking, just in case.  I wonder what that Discord fellow's true story is?"

"I wonder, too.  Keep investigating, and don't tell anyone else about this."

----

As Tashako Ana's recital finally came to a close, the audience began to disperse.  Hisspan told Wolfen to go on home with the kids while she herself had a chat with someone.  Switching her vision to infra-red for a brief second, she noticed Discord following the wolf.

The audience finally gone, Hisspan flagged down a coral snake in uniform.  Although she had patrolled the crowd under the guise of providing event security, the cobra had asked her in advance to perform the rounds for a different purpose.

"Callie?"

"Mrs. Down-- I mean Hisspan.  I wish I could've listened to the story, but I suppose my duty is more important."

Callie hadn't actually appeared in ~lizardman22's gallery prior to the D virus's arrival.  The only reason she existed now was to fill an implicit role in the setting.  However, her exposure to the virus would later cause her to "float to the surface" and become an explicit character in the gallery, a rare yet plausible happenstance.

"I'll fill you in later.  What were the results from the patrol?"

The coral snake took a breath.  "Everyone's blood pressure rose and fell in unison, like Tashako was conducting an orchestra.  But your 'friend' was the exception; his blood pressure wasn't in sync with the others at all.  Obviously, he wasn't paying attention to the story."

Hisspan nodded.  "That's what I thought."

"I don't get it.  Who goes to a recital by themselves and doesn't even listen?"

"Someone with their own private agenda.  Keep this a secret, okay?  He doesn't know anyone suspects a thing, and I'd prefer to keep it that way."

----

A small crowd had collected at the Down residence.  Discord had just been caught in the act, and the jig was up.  As Marie treated Wolfen's wounded body and Constantinople took care of Discord's unconscious body, Istanbul and Hisspan met up just outside.

"I can hardly believe it myslf, Hissy.  The green mantis was an assassin the whole time, and thanks to you we've got all the evidence we need to convict him straight away.  I expect he'll be executed in the center of town tomorrow morning."

Hisspan beamed.  All her efforts had paid off.  She'd saved her husband (and by extension ~lizardman22's gallery), and Discord would get the punishment he deserved.  Which reminded her...

"Tanner?"

Istanbul was just turning to leave, but stopped.  "Yeah, Hissy?"

"Might I make one request?  When Discord is put to death... I'd like to have a word with him first, to rub it in his face.  And then I'd like to do the honors.  It's just that this all feels very personal to me; my husband was the one he was after, after all."

"I don't see your vicious side very often, Hissy... but okay, that sounds reasonable."
A companion piece to Discord the Assassin, and a birthday gift for lizardman22.

In my headcanon, Hisspan is something of a chessmaster, exploiting her Valley-wide friendships to arrange circumstances that would otherwise be incredibly unlikely.  Among other places, this is evident in the story segment for Tales of Romance, a previous collab of ours.

The D virus, Discord, and Tashako are © me
All other characters and concepts are © :iconlizardman22:
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:iconlizardman22:
lizardman22 Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you so very much, Mate. It's beautiful.
Yeah, Hisspan can be a 'chessmaster' at times. You got it right. She's normally kind and friendly, but try to harm her family and friends, and she can become a dangerous opponent in order to protect them.
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:iconsonicinterface:
sonicinterface Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2014
I don't know how I keep hitting the nail on the head even when I think I'm aiming to the side to hit a fly that's landed on the wood.

...That metaphor got out of hand.
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:iconlizardman22:
lizardman22 Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I think, we've worked together enough times, that we have started to understand each other's character better than we think we do.
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:iconsonicinterface:
sonicinterface Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2014
I have no idea if that's true or not.
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:iconlizardman22:
lizardman22 Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I believe it is, mate :)
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:iconsonicinterface:
sonicinterface Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2014
I figured it was more a case of me being lucky and/or you being agreeable.
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:iconlizardman22:
lizardman22 Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
well, i guess there's always an element of luck involved too
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:iconsonicinterface:
sonicinterface Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2014
I'm half tempted to write a story that plays your characters as out-of-character as I can manage and see how you react.
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(1 Reply)
:iconragtagwarrior:
ragtagwarrior Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2014
Is it Lizardman's birthday today?
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:iconlizardman22:
lizardman22 Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
august 13, which for me is today (it's 3:45pm as I write this)
For most of my American (And some European friends) it's still August 12th (probably getting late at night)
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