I am not very good with names. English names especially. There is no poetry or meaning to them. John, Frank, Bob. They roll off the tongue like water and dribble to the ground. Japanese names have strength, conviction, the presence of mountains.
Plus, if the boss needs me to visit someone, there will not be anymore social calls.
So, when I say we went to “some guys” house, it means I could care less what his name was. I wanted to know who had the audacity to use my boss’ social event for their gain.
We arrived at the tech guru’s mansion late. An ambulance was out front along with a police cruiser. The half fey, Anita, did the right thing and kept on driving. As we passed, I saw figures skirting the darkness of the side yard, headed ot the back.
We circled the block and as the car rolled to a stop I was out the door, bounding over the back neighbor’s privacy fence and on through into the target’s yard. I spotted a lookout, rather he spotted me. No matter.
Before he could cry out, the Fang of Kuzryu was in my hand, the pommel crushing his windpipe. Unable to call out, he tried to draw his own sword. I obliged and as he swung, I placed him on the earth face first. The Fang prepared to sever his brain stem, I was beaten to the punch.
The darkness swirled and the one named Mustang stepped out, sapping the swordsman over the head. Dishonorable tactics, however the lookout could prove useful before he died. I sprinted for the backdoor of the mansion which was wide open.
Mustang searched the lower floor while I maintained watch on the stairs. In the entry were the bodies of two police officers, throats slit. The rest of the downstairs appeared secure and we raced up the stairs.
A strangled cry gave away the position of our target. I burst into the room past two sentries set to guard the door, flying forward like the breath of Kuzryu himself, and immediately engaged the swordsman behind them. He stood in a walk-in closet just inches from our target.
The battle was fierce. Darkness that was the shadow warrior Mustang and slicing wind of my blade enveloped the three swordsman. They all wore the outfit of the dishonorable ninja, and were offered no quarter. They were however able to succeed in their mission and struck a near fatal blow on the target before trying to escape out the window.
They were not fast enough.
We fled the scene, loading our injured target into the ambulance out front (moving the bodies of the EMTs to the back – they too were killed) and we put the surviving “ninja” in the trunk of Anita’s car.
Mustang insisted we drop off the target and EMTs at the nearest hospital. A waste of valuable time. The target had told us all we needed to know – that the ninjas were after a statue at the Crow Museum downtown. We needed to get there, fast.
At the museum Anita talked her way in, grabbed the keys and was able to let us in the back door. Here, more ninjas which I identified as a chinese crime syndicate. Chinese dogs pretending to be shadow warriors. It would have been humorous had I not been looking out for my employer’s interests.
The swordsmen at the museum were only marginally better trained. They died all the same and once they found the statue, the statues guardians dispatched the remaining ones. With a prayer to my ancestors and the great Dragon Kuzryu, I approached and pulled the bodies away from the powerful artifact.
I immediately called my employer – he would have an interest in this statue and would be impatitently waiting reports on my progress. I was still wary of these strangers and needed to keep a close eye on them. Anita, I knew a little about. I doubted her involvement. She was too cautious to piss off a Yakuza boss – unless she was offered the right price. That price, if it were extended was probably a big enough sum that my contacts here in American would have felt the impact. She was less my concern.
Mustang however was new to me. A soldier, American soldiers were easy to spot. This one had all the same hang ups – felt he was saving the world or saving something. His sense of obligation extended even to the dishonoarble. Sparing their lives out of some misguided sense of charity. He might openly oppose the Yakuza in a that western “I am on the moral high ground” sense. Sort of like vaporizing a few cities to prove a point.
The boss mentioned the scene would be secured and we decided to visit the last party guest on the list. He was an actual Wizard and potentially the most dangerous.
He professed innocence, but his maid raised suspicion with Anita. I couldn’t detect the lie, but Anita, a master of misdirection knew something was wrong. The maid had been enthralled and something was indeed missing from the Wizard’s residence.
Things weren’t adding up. We interrogated the captured ninja. His chinese crime syndicate operated in cells, giving their services to the highest bidder. He gave little to no information aside from the his undercover facility, a lead which also proved to be a dead end.
I was prepared to dispatch the fool and save his honor, but Mustang intervened. He felt it best if we let the swordsman go. Foolish. A loose end, I despise loose ends. Further, the man’s life was forfeit without his honor. I offered him the choice of death or life with an empty soul. He chose the latter, the chinese dog.
We then returned to the Chinese ambassador’s suite at the Anatole. Too many signs pointed back to him and even my boss suggested we speak with him.
His guards met us in the hallway. Six, all armed. Anita tried a diplomatic approach. Mustang an approach based on annoyance. I took matters into my own hands and decided to use the door to the suite. The guard attempted to intervene, his mistake. In the commotion, Anita slipped forward and grabbed the keycard, bolting into the suite.
I half turned, the Fang inching out of the scabbard as the remaining guards drew their weapons. Behind them, Mustang raised his arms and a shockwave of arcane force rolled down the hallway. For an instant, the hallway was returned to the stone age – lights flickering, guns misfiring. Before they knew what happened, we were inside the suite.
The lone guard in the room drew his weapon, but not before I was on him. I grasped the gun and my hand slipped; the slide was not held tight enough. He squeezed off a round winging my shoulder with hot lead as I pushed the gun aside. Anita step forward tazing the guard into a slobbering mess.
I was instantly in the bedroom, the ambassador and his entertainment for the evening struggling to cover up. Sword at his throat, he was ready to talk.
However, we had made a miscalculation. The man was a pawn, a fool. He had recently replaced his guard captain and the entire security detail. Brought them all from China when he left for this trip. The Chinese crime syndicate had then attached themselves to him and used him to gain entrance to the party.
We checked the guard in the room for tattoos linking them to the ninjas. There were none. However the ambassador’s own admission led us to believe it was the guard captain and perhaps some of his associates in the hallway.
Ideas floated around behind me – daring escapes through the window from 10 stories up; escape through the floor; other nonsense. These Americans will never understand honor – that is no surprise.
As the guards outside hammered at the door, trying to get in, I said a prayer to the ancestors and raised the Fang high, ready to end the first one through the door. The great spirit of Kuzryu willing, I would end the lives of these thieves and assasins on the tooth of a dragon.