Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Homecoming

She drew more than a few looks as she walked along the narrow street in the old part of Kyoto, the

birthplace of Geisha and still its home.  Strangers were usually seen here, but in larger tourist groups

always taking pictures and making far too much noise.  She was by herself, quiet, respectful and above

all polite.  She stopped and bowed to the few Geisha she passed, before continuing along the narrow

street.  A sharp turn into a narrow alley, only wide enough for one person would have been missed and

indeed was by almost everyone but not her.  She stopped at a door and gently knocked.  She heard no

steps on the other side in the stillness of the alley, but the door opened a few seconds later and she

bowed again matching that of the other person who stepped fluidly to one side and motioned her in.

She removed her shoes and stepped inside, they door was closed with the same fluid motion and she

was escorted along a hallway, with various rooms with sliding rice paper doors on either to the end of

the hallway where the Geisha, a young girl, just beginning her training knelt, opened the door and bowed,

then gave a look for the other to enter.


The woman slipped just as gracefully inside, bowed and held the bow for several seconds before rising,

walking over silently and confidently.  She folded herself into a sitting position that matched the three

women across from her bowing again and this time staying there.  


'You are an honoured guest in my Teahouse Miss Baxter.  One I never would or could have expected.  I am Hamako as you know, this is Ichriyu and this is Kimiyakko,’ she said motioning left to right.  The order of introduction indicated their status as compared to her.

Claire knew there were more Poison Geisha Teahouses, Aki had a complete list of locations and names, but three had been the number the Poison Geisha had agreed to.  Far from being insulted Claire was honoured as she knew these were the three highest ranking Poison Geisha's, all others answered to them. Claire bowed to the other two.  

‘I am honoured that you accepted my invitation,’ she answered and from somewhere on her person produced three small wooden boxes and placed them in front of each of the ladies.  ‘Tsumaranai mono desu ga’



Each picked up their box and opened it, looking at its contents longer than was normally polite.  

‘Three of my agents found these in the possession of someone other than the rightful owner.  I regret I could not return them to those women as we cannot locate them.’

Hamako put down her box and to control herself started to pour tea.  Claire waited until they all took a drink before she did, not out of fear of poison but respect, the Poison Geisha would never want to kill her that way, it would not be honourable in their mind she knew as she placed her cup down.

‘Thank you for returning these Miss Baxter, even amongst enemies you have a reputation for honour that I can see is well earned, but even with that I don’t think that is the only reason you asked to see us, is it? Hamako questioned.

‘No senpai sama.  Those are important, one must remember students, especially those that were special to them, as those three were to each of you.  I returned them out of respect for both you as teachers and for your ancient traditions, but also to warn you about what is to come and beg you to take action to prevent it,’ Claire said.  

‘One does not bring war to another's house when they are still in it Miss Baxter,’ Ichriyu said, then took a sip of her tea.

‘That is not my wish or intent senpai sama.  The war will come from inside your own house forcing me to act against it.  A situation I wish to avoid but should that prove impossible I will act swiftly and decisively.  My wish is to prevent such an occurrence, to preserve what we have and what cannot be replaced, centuries of culture and tradition,’ Claire explained.

‘I’m afraid you speak in riddles even we cannot understand Miss Baxter.  Since you requested this meeting perhaps you should fully explain,’ Kimiyakko advised.

‘What happened to the Silkworms will happen again, this time to you.  One head of the serpent means to swallow the other,’ Claire said and let it sink in while it was her turn for tea.  

‘The Silkworms were a useful tool, but they never fully embraced TRIDENT.  But, times and tools change, what is new one day is obsolete the next,’ Kimiyakko explained.

‘Much like a Geisha is a relic of feudal Japan.  A specialised tool for a world that no longer needs it or can think of a use for it.  Think of it this way.  Strip Clubs are on the decline, all over the world. They're anachronistic, out of time with a modern world.  One could say the same for Geisha.  One day, society doesn’t see a need for them and they’re gone.  Sure it doesn’t happen overnight, maybe it takes years or decades, but in the end, time aside, they cease to exist.  Now I don’t know if that’s you right now, but I can tell you, it is for the Strippers Guild.  I’m sure you’ve heard of their recent losses.  Seems if you tug hard enough on the chain, the weakest link breaks.  Funny thing is that chains usually have more than one weak link,’ Claire summarised.  

‘That explanation sounds more threatening than helpful Miss Baxter.  You do not have an innocent past with the Poison Geisha as I’m sure you know,’ Hamako stated.

‘We’ve crossed swords several times, yes.  Some of the most exciting missions of my career in all aspects, but I think you’re referring to Aki Eto.  That whole evolution was entirely of your doing and I will point out that Miss Eto and her Silk Geisha's have never had an encounter with any of your Teahouses.  We have an affiliation, but she operates independently, our objectives just happen to coincide and we agree on that point.  FORCE has had nothing to do with you either, because I can assure you the fight would not be even as my fight with The Strippers Guild isn’t and I’m just getting started with them,’ Claire explained in a cool calm voice, but with her point more than made.

The Poison Geisha knew what she said was true, she may have been the enemy, but Miss Baxter had always been honourable in her encounters and she had gained respect for that and for her skills.  

Ichriyu spoke. ‘I assume you have the same alliance with the remaining Silkworms then?’

Claire knew the Poison Geisha had not been involved in that adventure, but she wanted to make certain they understood her position no matter the outcome of this meeting,

‘FORCE saved those ladies, out of my respect for them, their history, skills and the loss of any of those would have been an insult.  They were targeted for being much too trusting, telling and showing records they never should have and once certain shadowy parts of TRIDENT saw the wealth and knowledge this tiny band of ladies had and how easily they could take it away, they struck and nearly succeeded.  Yes, they got the money and other assets, but I got the ladies, the best of them, the much more valuable asset.  Your overlords plan failed in spectacular fashion, The Silkworms are gone, the Strippers Guild will be ruthlessly eliminated and they didn’t get what they really wanted, FORCE got it.  All they got was money and all they’re left with is their regular agents and you, who do you think is next on the chopping block.  How much are all your assets worth ladies?  That’s why I’m here!’

‘To save us or would it be more accurate to say enslave us MIss Baxter,’ Hamako asked.

‘To beg you to be careful!  Don’t let them take all this away, please.  Survive, continue to be my enemy, but don’t allow them to destroy 300 years of history,’ Claire said with a bow, her forehead touching the floor where it stayed.  

The three Geisha’s looked at each other, then back at the still bowed Claire.  Hamako, perhaps, knew her best.  Some of her former pupils had faced Miss Baxter on missions.  All reported things that Hamako saw now in person.  A lady with honour, beautiful, strong, one even that she was an incredible lover.  

‘I think we need to walk in the garden,’ she said after a moment.

A bell was rung, a maiko appeared, slippers were brought for Claire, a door opened and the quartet stepped outside into the tranquil peace and calm of the garden.  

‘If what you say is true, we are hardly in a position to refuse.  If we do, they will either suspect something or merely accelerate their plan.  Joining your organisation is out of the question, leaving TRIDENT would be equally impossible,’ Ichiryu explained.  

‘How much of your finances do they know? Claire asked.

‘Everything,’ Kimiyakko explained, that is my department.

‘They have to have people on the inside.  The same thing as happened with the Silkworms, its how it was so masterfully planned and executed, well almost.  You need to look for that and the boring part of espionage, the paper trail, money in this case, emails, contacts, movements, assignments, everything and you have to keep it quiet and confined to a small group, of you know this why am I saying any of this,’ Claire said as they came back inside.  The maiko closed the door and left them.

‘You talk as if this is a closed matter Miss Baxter, like we believe and trust everything you've told us.  How do we know this isn’t an elaborate trap of yours, to eliminate, as you say, the next weak link, in this case us.  I respect you as an enemy, but I do not trust you, that is another matter,’ Hamako explained, her voice cold with rationale.  

‘I see,’ Claire said,  ‘How well do you know me, my career, I mean, any of my missions?’

‘Nothing outside of encounters with The Poison Geisha.  All the D.O.O.M. files are either gone or severely restricted,’ Ichiryu answered and the others concurred.

‘All my agents have access to all mission files,’ Claire said..  ‘That would set off alarm bells for me, but then again, that’s just me.  Here is my card.  You can call that number anytime and get me should you wish to.’  Claire had three cards and passed them out one by one with two hands and a bow, then a final bow then she was gone.  

^^^

‘How did you get on?’ Tara asked.

‘Just as we expected, they admitted nothing, but they did not ask any questions about the boxes.  They knew already that the girls were dead, what they didn’t know was who did it.  If they suspected us or The Silk Geisha’s, well they now have cause to rethink that,’ Claire said into her phone as she walked along.

‘Or they think we did it and somehow this is an elaborate game we’re constructing to finish them as well,’ Tara countered.

‘There is that, but they know me, mostly by reputation, but that means a lot in their culture.’

‘The honest spy,’ Tara mocked.  ‘You should put that on your business card.’

‘Maybe the next batch.  I’ll be back late Friday if I don’t hear from them.’

^^^

Claire had arranged for Aki Eto to visit her, partly to discuss business, though mostly to just talk.  Aki had expanded the Silk Geisha’s to three tea houses and soon a fourth was in the offing.  Claire was really keen to hear what one of most trusted friends thought on the matter of the Poison Geisha, Aki having been one.  

The traffic was bad and Claire found Aki waiting for her in the garden, silently observing the Zen



garden and the Buddhist Sand Rake Claire had created that morning.  Claire came silently up behind her, standing in the doorway.

‘Interesting drawing Baxter-san.  There is the wish for serenity, but the creator does not quite believe it.  It neither calms nor alarms, it just is, more Taoist than Buddhist I think,’ Aki said as she got up and bowed, Claire returned the greeting then the two embraced and kissed each other's cheeks.

‘You can’t save a person who does not reach for your help,’ Aki added.

‘Today was just to let them know we’re here so they can reach,’ Claire answered.

‘You want to save people.  It is at one and the same time your biggest grace and fault.  But in that you have balance.  You must always be sure never to lose that balance, but know that I am always there to help, should you need.’

Claire had no answer for that, who would.  Instead, she embraced Aki again.  

‘Well, I could use some help with dinner.  How’s that for a start?’

‘You honour me by letting me into your space.  That of course is a lie.  You stink at cooking Japanese food and I’m hungry,’ Aki laughed.

‘Alex has had a bad influence on you,’ Claire laughed back.  

They were enjoying a nice meal with some Sake when their respective phones buzzed.  

‘Suspected gas leak in Shijo Avenue,’ Claire said in a worried voice looking at Aki who was already on her feet.   

‘We must go. One of my friends, a regular Geisha, was beaten for information on locations of other teahouses by someone posing as a client.  

Claire sprang to her feet, Aki was right behind her as they went to the bedroom,  Changed they made their way to the far side of the room where Claire pushed on a wooden wall panel.  An audible click and the panel about 4x8 feet slide back revealing an arsenal of weapons.  



Claire took the Mac 10 and Aki the 11, both with suppressors.  She tossed a P320 and extra clip to Aki while she took a P365 and clip.  Each picked an assortment of other things for themselves and headed for the door to the alley way and Aki’s car.




‘We news to get there as quickly as possible,’ Claire as the duo came round the corner.

“I don’t think that will be an issue Baxter-san, get in and hang on.

Aki cranked over the Subaru and shifted roaring the car to life.  They came out of the alley doing 70mph and never looked back, Aki working the gears up and down as they dodged and weaved about the car gripping the road.


‘Had a few modifications made, voided the warranty, but it was worth it.  Better brakes, struts, shocks

and of course exhaust, goes 0 to 60 in 4.3 seconds.  Paddle shifters make it quicker and smoother to

drive, gaining 35 horses.  Oh, put in a better stereo, try it if you want, something up tempo,’ Aki smiled

as she burned through the traffic.  ‘Hang on!’ she said, hitting the brakes, turning the wheel, the sound

of tires screeching on the pavement and the revving of the engine overtaking everything as Aki executed

a 90 degree turn.

‘Hard to believe, three years ago you didn’t even drive.

‘I know, it seems crazy I missed all that fun,’ Aki smiled as they made another hard corner and she paddled through the gears, speeding the car back up.  

‘We can’t go down the street all the way, it's too narrow at points.  I’ll tell you when to stop, but be ready for anything,’ Claire and Aki acknowledged.

A few more turns and twists and they were on Shijo Avenue travelling at an insane rate of speed, Aki weaving the car around traffic furniture until they came to a sudden stop.  

‘That is not a Osaka Gas Company truck,’ Aki said, putting her hand on Claire’s leg.  ‘It's a good fake, but the logo is wrong, it’s only joined on one side, not both.  Follow my lead.


The two exited the vehicle and approached the two men in uniform loitering by the truck that blocked the

road.  Aki made a polite greeting and a bow then as far as Claire could make out was asking if they could

go through as they were expected at a birthday party several streets up, she even provided an address

and a made up name.  It was apparent to Claire that Aki was not making any headway until she saw a

playful smile form on her face and her hand reach out and take one of the workers.  She walked him

over to the car, Claire slipped beside the other man who was too busy wishing he was in his coworkers

place, one hand slipping behind her.

‘Well if we can’t go and you can’t say when the street will be back open can you do me a great favour and deliver my present to her when the danger has passed,’ Aki said and sealed the deal with her name and phone number so that he could call her and say he’d done it.  She popped the trunk latch and raised it up as he bent down to get the box.  Aki stepped closer to distract him before her hands gripped the spoiler and slammed it down across his neck, the snapping of bone the last thing his partner heard as Claire slashed her knife across his throat.


‘Interesting,’ Aki said as they dumped the bodies in the trunk.  

Each woman disappeared into the shadows on either side of the street, but not before a high piercing sound took a chunk out of a wooden column Aki had just passed.  From across the street came the sound of something cutting the air, then a thud coming from in front of Aki who made her way forward and pulled the throwing star from the side of the head of the fallen man.  

They moved up the street quickly but cautiously, still about 100 metres from the Poison Geisha alley, a noise, not a pleasant noise growing from Claire’s side of the street.  Aki had the same unpleasant cacophony on her side, both recognizing it as distress.  They looked at each other, made a gesture in pale light and turned to go into their respective places.  

Aki peered round the corner, saw his back.  She slipped her gun into her waistband and stepped silently toward him, his shadow projecting on the rice paper walls giving her cover behind him so he wasn’t aware.  The noises, rough and unpleasant, the sounds of fists and open hands hitting flesh getting louder with each step as where the cries.  Aki pushed down the anger and revolution at it as she reached into her hair and pulled out one of her floral kanzashi.


She took a final step, clamped one hand over his mouth while the other jammed the kanzashi into his ear,

the flat of her hand driving the stem all the way up to the glass bulb.  It was silent, fast and unnoticed by

those inside.  Aki supported his weight as she knocked on the door.

‘What the fuck man!  We told you, you get the next place!’ an angry voice said, then the paper door flew open.

The Silk Geisha pushed the dead weight forward, the momentum and the surprise catching the voice unprepared as it fell on him taking both of them to the floor.  Aki took a quick step in, her body already in The Weaver Stance, her sharp eyes flashing as she identified her targets and sorted the shooting sequence, all faster than a computer could have done.  Four quick pops, four pings of spent casing on the wood floor and four dead bodies, it was over before it began, then she heard the footsteps in the hall rushing toward her.  Her eyes flashed to a geisha who held up three fingers.  Aki judged the distance, stepped out into the hallway moving with speed toward them.  Crowded together they were easy targets, all headshots as before except the for final one, the trailer, he tripped over his fallen comrades, stumbled then fell as Aki blew his left knee apart.  Blood, bits of brain and bone covered the walls and ceiling as she stepped forward, the last of them searching the pile of bodies for a weapon before impassionately Aki blew off his other knee.  He screamed in pain rolled over onto his back amongst the pile, looked up just in time to see the point of her second kanzashi embed in his eye, then flat of her hand pushing it flush with his eye socket.  His legs spasmed for a few seconds then when still, she pulled it out and back into her hair.  Aki returned to the other room, three women were dead, five injured, the remaining two had already begun to treat them.  

Aki knew certain geisha knew about the existence of The Poison Geisha. She explained herself quickly, asking what they had wanted and what they had been told.  What she got was not good news.  She asked them not to call the police for another hour and they agreed.  She bowed and left, removing her other kanzashi from his ear on the way.  

Claire was less subtle than her partner.  She knew where the next Teahouse was.  Pressed up against one of the doors, she listened to several voices all at once.  Claire clicked off the safety, pulled the door open just enough then delicately pushed the suppressor on the Mac 10 into the opening, she heard four distinct voices.  Claire swung the door open with her foot and walked in, marching toward them, the Mac 10 let out a series of quick multi shot cracks, the sound like that of a carnival spinning wheel at full tilt.  Small sprays of blood exited the holes she’d shot into their bodies before they crashed backward through the paper walls.  She was on top of them before they settled, the selector switch already changed to semi as she put one shot into each of their heads.  The space used for multiple guests, who were there, all dead, Claire counted six women, but seven male guests, that meant one geisha was missing.  The scene made her sick, the metal smell of blood filling her lungs.  Claire swung the Mac 10 over back, pulled the P365 and headed down the hallway looking and hoping to find the seventh geisha.  The spy switched off the lights in the hallway, darkness didn’t show her presence against the rice paper walls.  She moved ahead measuring her steps to the ninety degree angle change, beyond that she was blind, but she could hear a sense she counted on.  Claire holstered her weapons in the small of her back, lowered herself to the floor and silently pulled herself along like a snake, her body always returned to a coiled position for a quick strike.  

She stretched again, this time one of her long legs caught the door behind her and pulled it open.  It exposed the hiding place as a series of high pitched whistling projectiles flew over her.  The muffled sound of a woman pinpointed the location for but she remained still, the next move was his, the stillness too tempting for him to resist.

A door smoothly slid open, Claire rolled onto her slide creating a space, knife freed and ready.  Light careful footfalls followed, she waited with practised patience, so close she felt the soft breeze his motion created on her cheek.  The keen blade flashed, he screamed, fell forward on his knees, his ankle tendons cut as Claire uncoiled behind him, seized the top of his head, jerked it back, giving her free hand a sharp chop to his Adam’s Apple.  His hands clutched his throat as he gurgled, Claire loosened the knife once rammed it into his forehead then with body arms slammed his head into the floor, the knife disappearing up to the hilt, the sound of his cracking split skull reverberating as a pool of red ink spilled out around his head.  

‘Oka-san?’ Claire said, a small faint voice answered her.  Claire scrambled back, turned on the lights, returned, offered respect, then embraced the woman.

The spy did as Aki had done, she knew the woman was traumatised, but she had to go, the Teahouse did know The Poison Geisha.  Claire kicked over the dead man, secured her hand around the handle, pulling and twisting to free the blade from his skull.  It finally came free after several feet along the floor.  

Aki dashed across the street when she saw Claire emerging from the Teahouse.

‘They know the location!’ Claire said, her voice urgent but calm.  ‘You go down the next alley, turn and move along until you see the lanterns. The over and in.  I’ll go the front way.  Watches set for two minutes, then we go in together.  Kill silently until then, all bets off after that,’ Claire said.  ‘On my mark…now!’

Aki was in position quickly, she encountered no one.  Claire had one at the door.  She pulled a star, manoeuvred against the wall, checked her watch, stepped out and sank it into his neck, blades slicing deep into each side, the force pinning him to the door! 


She was up the path, bullets from the Mac 10 smashing off the door latch as she went.  From the back

she heard Aki’s Mac 11, the sound a little higher than her 10 because of the rate of fire.  Claire stepped

into the chaos and cacophony of noise, bodies and bits of bodies everywhere. Men ran in her direction,

others tried to scramble behind cover, others made for the hallway.  Whatever Aki didn’t eliminate, she

did, first those trying to escape toward her and the front door, the spray splattered their blood

everywhere, even on her.  Claire pivoted and cut down the rest as they went for the hallway.  

Aki entered at the end of the building via a garden sliding door, she caught the one’s Claire missed except for one who was too close to her. He swung and missed then looked about desperately for a gun.  

‘Just a little geisha, you don’t need a gun to take care of me,’ Aki smiled.

‘Hi-ga! Aki said in her breathy voice as a kick caught him square in the side of his face.  He spun round, the Silk Geisha waiting and prepared as she caught his left arm, twisted it over at the wrist, then broke it at the elbow, using her other arm as the fulcrum.  He screamed in pain  the useless appendage flapping like a broken branch in the wind.  The other arm got the same treatment.  A series of sharp kidney punches felled him.  Aki drove a leg downward and broke his ankle.  Satisfied, she grabbed him by the collar and dragged him to the main room where she saw Claire hunched over Hamako, all her weight on a horrendous wound which still oozed deep crimson despite the efforts.  

‘Hang on Hamako.  Look at me.  It’s fine!. she said, trying to sound calm.

‘How are Ichriyu and Kimiyakko,  my geisha’s, maiko,’ she said, blood in the corner of her mouth.

‘Fine, let’s just concentrate on you,’ Claire answered.

‘How did you ever get to be such an excellent spy, because you are a terrible liar.’ she answered, coughing up blood, some getting on Claire.  

‘Claire, go see to Ichriyu and Kimiyakko, this is not your place,’ Aki said, putting a hand on her shoulder.

‘So this is what it comes to, a mocking end.  I guess I should have expected this,’ Hamako struggled.

‘As we believe, not the end, merely another step.  You live on in us, me also.  Part of me will always be Poison Geisha.  It is my honour to be here with you, to share in your next step,’ Aki comforted.

Hamako reached for and took Aki’s hand, her face twisted in pain as she did.  ‘I had planned to call Baxter-san, but this is better.  You, Ichriyu and Kimiyakko must carry on, not my path, your own, whatever that is, good or bad,’ she winced in pain, her eyes tight, teeth clenched, her fingers white as she squeezed Aki’s hand, the Silk Geisha praying for her torment to end.  ‘One more thing I need the other two to join us before I go.

Ichriyu and Kimiyakko, hurt and still bleeding a little, got to her side with Claire’s help, the Head of FORCE disappearing into the background.  

‘Free my hair, there is one for each of you.  I never realised till right now this was my, our destiny,’ she coughed, more blood gushing from her mouth.  Ichiryu wiped it away with the edge of her kimono.  ‘Go on, they are yours now, none is more important than the other.’

Each took turns, slipping them into their respective hair, to show her, she smiled.  They followed with a kiss each to her cheek.

‘I die knowing I live on, what happiness I have discovered,’ Hamako said, her voice peaceful as her eyes starred up the light now gone from them.  

Aki released her hand, the three bowed to Hamako and rose.  Tears will be for later and in private.  Aki spoke very rapidly and softly to the two others, Claire was not included in the conversation and did not want to be, she occupied herself with controlling her tears waiting for Aki to join her.  

‘Help is on the way, Kimiyakko has a burner phone, so no trace.  We need to come up with a story to explain all this,’ Aki told her.

‘Already have it in the works,’ Claire said, showing Aki her wrist phone.  All the living will be taken to a ship by the docks, that’s the sirens you hear now, medical treatment will be there for them.  It will also provide us cover for escape.  Even I don’t have enough pull to explain or get us out of this should we be caught.’

‘Excellent, then we have someone we need to see,’ Aki said.  The Silk Geisha explained to the others the plan then they left.

Aki zoomed through the streets seemingly faster than she had earlier, only breaking the silence to explain that Kimiyakko would try to see if other Teahouses had been attacked in other parts of the country.  The Silk Geisha turned into a long street covered in garish neon signs of every colour, slowing down as she looked.  Claire began to put some of the pieces together.  

‘Have my back here,’ Aki said as she got out and Claire followed, closing her door and leaning against it as Aki came round and made for the entrance of what looked to be a seedy streetfront bar. Only to be blocked by a large man who stepped in her way.  Aki stopped, smiled, her wonderful innocent smile, then kicked him hard in the balls!  He bent over in front of her where her knee connected with his jaw, the ferocity of the blow knocking him back over himself in a 360 and still to the pavement.  

Oyabun, get the fuck out here right now,’ Aki yelled.  

Claire put her hand behind her back, resting on her gun.  Her earlier suspicions confirmed.

‘Kedo Kai, get your ass out in the street or are you afraid of a woman, because you should be!’ Aki yelled as a crowd started to form.

From inside came murmurs that grew louder, the crowd at the entrance parted and a man, not tall, but slim and well dressed, in his mid fifties emerged, moving at his own pace, a smirk pasted across his smooth face.  He wiped his hands with a cloth napkin, then held it out for some flunky to take, which he did with a bow,  

‘Young lady, there are easier ways to get my attention and less dangerous, although your beauty lessens the dangerous part.  Are we finished creating a scene?’

‘Depends on what happens next.  I have something to show you and you better have an explanation,’ Aki said, her voice cool as she turned her back and walked to the trunk.

Kedo noticed Claire for the first time.  ‘Do you two come as a mismatched set?’

‘Don’t go biting off more than you can chew!’ she answered and motioned with her eyes to follow Aki,

He took his time sauntering over.  Aki hit the trunk release.  He did not flinch, to his credit, Kedo had seen lots of bodies in his years in the Yakuza, some of his own making.

‘Your responsible for Shijo Avenue and area, the protection of the Geisha.  How do you explain this?  Aki said, rolling up the sleeve of one of the dead men.  

‘Junjo!’ he yelled.  A man ran forward and was at his side in seconds.

Again the conversation went so fast, Claire’s very mediocre Japanese was useless.  She did  note that Kedo was red faced as he barked orders, Claire only catching the numbers of each demand, then he stopped and his whole expression changed.

Aikichi is hurt, she is safe and being treated.  She told me to find you and tell you.  It was she who confirmed my suspicion of the tatoo.  Now you tell me why your man was involved in this nightmare?’ Aki stated.  

‘You think I would do this to my sister?  I know nothing of this at the moment, but I will find out who did it.  You don’t do this to my family,’ Kedo boiled.

‘Nor to mine,’ Aki added.  


Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Grand Opening - Thailand - Chapter 12

‘I suppose if you are on a possibly life or death mission there are worse places to be,’ Ivory said as she

dug her toes into the warm sand.

Phuket is fantastic, I never get tired of it, but this weather has been incredible, better than I 

remember, even the water seems bluer than normal,’  Natty remarked as the duo sunbathed.  ‘You sure

she’s going to show?’



‘The man at the surf shack says she comes here every few days, yesterday was a no show, so today is her day.  If not, again there are worse ways to spend time,’ Ivory added, her now freed from the sand toes touching against the same of Natty’s.  ‘And as I speak, three o’clock on the path and she has company.’

‘Wow!  If she didn’t have company that would have been a shock.  Look at that body!  Thought you said that guy told you she came with her brother.  My brother doesn’t touch my ass like that! If his hand goes any deeper into her bikini bottom they’ll need a rescue party to find it,’ Natty smiled and Ivory laughed a little.  ‘How do you want to play this?  You’re more used to these women than I am.’



‘That one is a rare pearl and not for the obvious reasons.  She for sure knows by now what has happened, either through TRIDENT’s intel network or through a leak from ours, my end of course,’ Ivory stated.  ‘Let’s see what kind of a mood she’s in, selling or acquiring, that will give us a road map on how to play this,’ Ivory explained.

‘Ok, but I can tell from her already, she’s more a taker than a giver, either way is fine with me,’ Natty answered and Ivory heeded it, Natty’s intuition on people was always spot on.  

The duo got up and walked up the beach and into a small but exclusive beach bar.  Ivory passed the security with a smile as the two had already established a rapport and two beautiful women were perfect for attracting men who liked to spend money in the hopes of a return.  They got a drink and the bar and walked around the pool, the idea of which amused them both since the ocean was far more inviting, but some people like to be seen more than be in the sand or surf.  They also both knew a body displayed better on a lounger than a towel or bare sand and her body was no exception as the two came over and sat side by side on the lounger next to hers, the supposed brothers on the other side.

‘This is really not that good a location.  I mean, yes it's great for sunning and swimming, but it's far too open on all sides.  The elevation all around and the foliage would provide excellent cover for a sniper.  One minute you're sipping a Mai Tai, speaking of which, hw is she and the next your six feet under or whatever the do to X DOOM agents,’ Ivory said to Natty then looked at the woman who she now had the full attention of before speaking again.  ‘You must have some very important secrets locked away for TRIDENT not to have killed you by now MIss Tanaka.’

‘Riyo Tanaka raised her glasses, tilted her head to look at them, a slow small sly smile forming as she did.  Her partner was a little more unsettled at the talk and adjusted himself in his lounger before the faint open hand returned him to his place.  

‘Or maybe they just gave up trying after I dispatched the assassins they sent after me,’ she answered.

‘Sure, that’s why you’re sitting here in a fish bowl right now, because you’re so good you can stop a bullet.  None of us are that good no matter what we tell ourselves,’ Natty said.

‘Oh, you Thai girls are so sexy.  You can come and swim in my tank anytime you want and bring your friend along, a PLUS is always welcome,’ Riyo honeyed.

‘We may take you up on that later, but it's the old axiom, business before pleasure,’ Ivory smiled.

‘Why are all you FORCE girls the same, business first, it's such a mood killer,’ Riyp said looking a little annoyed which just made her desirable.  

‘Well, let's conclude business then,’ Natty offered and opened her hand.  

‘It's not for sale,’ Riyo said this time in a level voice.

‘You should reconsider that statement,’ Ivory said in the same flat tone.

‘Threats don’t work on me Miss Stevens, yes I know you and your reputation, even something of your little friend here,’ Riyo looked at Natty.

Ivory knew the game being played, she was angered by the snide remark about Natty but she let it go as she had another card to play.

‘In this case you should consider us more as independent operators and not competition or if you prefer, enemies.  We simply want to complete a transaction, either way, for your benefit or for ours, we’re open to offers both to buy or sell,’ Ivory explained.

‘That goes against all your history, tradition and fealty,’ Riyo questioned Natty looking at her to gauge her answer.

‘Being poor and chasing your tail does not appeal to me the same way a nice more than comfortable retirement does.  Besides, the history of women in my profession does not bode well for a long life,’ she answered.

‘What about you Miss Stevens, I know you’re paid very well and that you’ve helped yourself to a few, let's call them bonuses along the way.  You’ve been an agent for a while, highly successful, unfortunately for some, yet you want to betray your comrades, everything you FORCE girls stand for loyalty, do the right thing, duty etcetera.’

‘You know a Plus only has a certain shelf life before we are either dead, used up or not desirable enough to be a field agent anymore, with a very few minor exceptions.  I’m not near being undesirable, but I’m close to being used up and I’m the only one who seems to care, so I’m invoking the time honoured tradition of looking out for number one.’

‘A FORCE agent talking about money over loyalty, what is the world coming to,’ Riyo smiled sweetly.  ‘Or have things changed so much since my departure?’

‘Things haven’t changed, perspectives have,’ Natty said looking at Ivory.

‘Ah, love over loyalty.  Never could relate to that, for me it was always about the money, still is.  So what are you offering?’

‘One hundred and fifty thousand, US any place you want it deposited.  The stone is only worth 15 grand max, tidy profit.  Think about it, we’re staying at The Rosewood, give us a call,’ Natty smiled and the two got up and left.  

‘They make sense, you know that, not that logic has ever gotten in your way,’ her companion, a man named Jang, said as Riyo watched the two walk away.

‘Some things are more important than money, yes I know you’d never thought you’d hear me say that, but in this case it is true.  Those two are clearly in love, a foolish weakness and one we can exploit.  I see no reason we can’t get the stones and the girls and with such perhaps we can work our way into TRIDENT.  I hear they are in need of some help, experienced help, Miss Baxter is proving to be a rather deadly and determined adversary, but if they’d only asked me I could have told them that, but no matter with all the stones, the books and two dead agents, I see no reason we shouldn’t be welcomed back,’ Riyo explained, ideas already forming about the path forward.

‘You should get your mind off of her, leave her to me,’ Jang said.  ‘You can have the smaller one.’

‘Thank you for that generous offer, but I must decline.  I mean I’m sure she has some incredible skills and would be an interesting time waster, but no, this time I prefer to shop in the full figured department, more bang for your buck or so I’ve been told.’

‘You’re letting your emotions, specifically, your lust, get the better of you.  I’m better equipped to handle the blonde.  I know you want to try a Plus, having never had the chance, but they are entirely different from standard female agents.’

‘Your equipment, impressive as it is, does not mean an automatic victory.  Just because she has a pussy doesn’t mean every solution involves a dick!  My agent training and training and learning I’ve done since has given me insight into how to finish these special creatures.  Besides, have I ever missed yet?’

Jang was about to say something but lost his thought as a hand slid under his trunks and around his stem.  I say we go for a swim, out there by those rocks and we can see if your equipment works under water,’  Riyo said as she darted into the water, a warm smile on her face as she looked back.

^^^



‘I give it two days before she calls you,’ Natty said as she stretched and twisted her spine.

‘You mean us.’ Ivory countered.

‘No, I mean you,’ came the reply.

‘Not following,’ came the answer as Ivory rolled over on her stomach, cupped her face and looked right at Natty.

‘If I didn't know better I’d say you’re being this obtuse because you need an ego boost.  Okay then, I’ll

play along.  She wants to test herself against you, to feel you struggle, see if she can best you. It's the

challenge and it’s one she cannot turn down.  Sure she played it cool when talking to us, but all that time

she was thinking about how to do it, what tactics to use, how to neutralise your power and endurance. 

You for her represent the ultim\te challenge and as a result the ultimate victory,’ Natty explained as she

continued her workout.

‘You got all that from her playing it cool?’ Ivory questioned.

‘Partly, but mostly I got it from my own experiences and desires,’ Natty smiled as she came up into a Lotus position.  

‘I see,’ Ivory mused then added.  ‘Does that go for me as well?’

‘Every lovely inch, curve, angle, muscle and sinew of your insane body.  I want to drive you insane with pleasure, make you feel me, my skill, my talent, my passion, my heat.  I want you to feel me losing control on you, sending you into incredible mind blowing orgasmic delight, unable to escape and as I pour my passion, my love, my commitment into every pore of your body feeling you fight to return those emotions to me,’ Natty answered.   ‘She wants the same only to dominate and kill you not to be with you forever as I do.’

‘Ivory had no answer for this.  She didn’t need one, words could never express what the two experienced together and really no one would want words, every time was different and magical.  Ivory held out her hand and Natty took it.  The room was silent for a while.  

^^^

‘See I was right,’ Natty said two days later.  ‘She wants to meet you, not us, you, to set up the sale.’

‘Relax, it's not going to happen, the sale I mean.  I’m that not stupid.  She wants a chance to steal it.’

‘Of course, but she also wants a tryst, a deadly one, most likely.’

‘Yeah, duh!  Of course, not my first rodeo here.  You think I’m going to let it get that far?’ Ivory shot back.

‘Honestly, I think you’re intrigued by the notion.  It goes with the territory, as I explained before.  You both are interested in the other, how it would play out.  Is it a battle of skill and tactics over power and endurance, a classic east vs west scenario, nothing new in this game. It's been playing out for centuries, why should you buck the trend?’ Natty explained.

‘Bucking the trend is what a Plus is all about,’ she smiled.

^^^

Ivory looked up at the street sign on the wall and continued.  Riyo had agreed to meet her at a Spa.  The FORCE agent continued along the street, the white washed walls reflecting the light from a clear sky above.  She moved along before spotting Riyo down a flight of stairs, posing for just a second, before moving gracefully down a few steps and around the corner.

‘As if I need that? Ivory said to herself and followed.




Ivory traversed the final few steps and turned the corner.  Ahead the narrow street terminated at an arched door covered by a steel gate that had been left open.  Along her right side columns, about one every four feet supported the roof of the building, which she supposed was the spa.  Between the columns was open and a sheer drop down to the sea.  No one looking up could see that made the area  a lovely private shaded spot to relax.  Two lovely Teak doors announced the entrance to the main part of the spa on the right, one of which opened and Riyo stepped out.

‘Welcome to my establishment Miss Stevens.  You being a VIP I have given my staff the day off, so that I can give you my personal attention,’ she explained.  

‘That’s an interesting take,’ Ivory smiled.  ‘What do you have in mind?’

‘I can imagine all kinds of things, but I think we should start with something to open you up.  How about a Herbal Wrap, scented heaven for your skin.  We can talk business while you relax.’  

‘Too inviting to turn down, the wrap I mean,’ Ivory smiled as she removed her white dress and dropped it as she walked toward the door and Riyo whose eyes filled wided at the sight of the enchanting beauty, her firm thighs snapping as she walked, the muscles appearing and disappearing with her sway of her step, her firm full breasts, erect and magnificent as they jiggled, her pink orbs stiff in the sun and breeze.  She walked past Riyo, the heat visibly increasing, the wind whipping up just enough that Ivory’s scented hair caught the shoulder of Riyo languidly caressing her skin as she slipped by.  

‘This way if you please Miss Stevens,’ Riyo smiled as she led Ivory down an impressive granite and marble hallway aligned with ornate wooden doors on either side.  They entered the last door on the right.

‘Very impressive. I imagine your establishment is extremely successful.  In this environment all kinds of

secrets and information could be overheard or told in confidence,’ Ivory smiled.

‘You disapprove, Miss Stevens?’

‘Not at all, in fact I applaud your methods and taste,’ she smiled. ‘How and where would you like me?’ the FORCE beauty added knowing the double entendre of the remark.

‘Riyo remained cool and calm, just.  ‘First,’ she said, walking over to the autoclave, donning mits, she took out a steaming pink towel.  ‘This will feel a little hot on initial contact, but the body quickly adjusts,’ she explained as she wrapped the towel around Ivory’s torso, from her breasts to her mid thighs.  ‘There, now lay face up on the table, excellent.’

Riyo went to the autoclave again, this time she covered up Ivory’s legs, tucking the towel tightly around her.  She followed with two more, each tightly cinched in place.

‘This helps open up the pores, soothe muscles and generally relax you,’ Riyo smiled.  ‘It's full of oils and lotions, my own special creation,’ Riro smiled as she adjusted the towels which Ivory suspected was just an excuse to get close.

The Plus heated up inside the wrap, it made her sweat and it did feel wonderful and it smelled even better.  ‘This smells heavenly, it will be a shame to wash it off.  You don’t have this in a body oil or shampoo by any chance.  Just the normal type I have no need of the paralysing or muscle relaxant varieties,’ she added with a smile.

‘I’m sure you don’t,’ Riyo quipped back. ‘Let me go have a look at the front I’m sure we have some.  In the meantime I’ll put on some music and turn the lights down.’

By Ivory’s calculation Riyo returned after half an hour.  ‘I’m sorry Miss Stevens we seem to be all out at the moment, in fact I used the last little bit on you and that was from my private supply,’ she said leaning over Ivory as she spoke.  

The FORCE Plus blinked and smiled then raised her head a little and gave Riyo a peck on the lips before continuing upward, pulling an arm free and unwrapping herself.

‘That was for trying and it certainly was a good effort, but I’m afraid it failed.  Well, it failed on your end, for me it was a success.  Your towels activated my body lotion, scentless, clear and impossible to detect, it’s activated into action by heat, changing to a breathable non porous membrane that also doubles as body armour.  My conditioner has the same properties, so whatever your towels missed, it got.  Just for fun, what was it you were using?’ Ivory inquired.

‘Muscle relaxant,’ Riyo offered.

‘Would have been my choice as well had I been you.  So back on equal footing, I leave the next move to you?’ Ivory smiled as her amber glistening body took a few steps away.

Riyo snapped a side kick that Ivory had anticipated and spun inside it, one arm scooping between Riyo’s legs.  She lifted and turned her arm over sending Riyo overtop of herself and to the floor.  

‘Rule One.  Never fight a naked woman in clothes.’  Ivory smiled.

Riyo picked herself up and elegantly removed her long covering and heels.  She was impressive, her toned form, clearly formidable and feminine as she advanced, her fluid long body moving as a slithering serpent and striking with the spend of a Praying Mantis.  

The fallacy about PLUS agents is that because they are bigger, they will have slower reaction times and be less flexible than their counterpart standard agents.  All of that is taken into account when recruiting them, that is why they are so rare and prized so highly.  Ivory flashed her arms and legs, blocking Riyo’s blows until she saw an opening and delivered a snap kick to Riyo’s inside thigh followed by a thunderous elbow to between the solar plexus.  Riyo smashed against the floor.  Ivory decided that was enough, she turned and walked away.

She left a note at the front counter to call her when she really wanted to do business and walked through the front doors, helped along the way from a running jump kick of Riro’s foot into her back that send careening forward, her arms waving to keep her balance until she found it five steps in by executing a front walkover to steady herself.  Ivory had no time to congratulate herself on the manoeuvre as Riyo was right on her. 

'Zah!’ she yelled as a fist rammed into Ivory’s pussy.  The pain doubled her over and right into Riyo Tiger Clamp.  Both sets of nails pinched around each of Ivory’s breasts.  Riro smiled as she pulled her opponent up straight and drove her knee into the other's pussy again, then alternated knee blows to her sides and stomach.  Riyo doubled Ivory over and administered left and right Scorpion kicks to her, her insane body at full and alluring stretch as she did so.  She released on the final kick sending Ivory backward into a pillar hard.  Ivory slumped just a touch, her bent knee allowing the perfect stepping stone for Riyo’s foot to launch herself off of.

Ivory gave her knee a shot upward at the perfect time sending Riyo a little higher than she wanted, her legs splaying to slow her down, just as Ivory had expected.  The FORCE spy’s arms extended above her head catching her opponent about the thighs, just as a pairs figure shaking duo would have managed.  The Plus rotated about on her well turned heel and fell back over herself with speed and power, Riyo caught in the whirlwind and then caught.  The two landed, Riyo on her stomach, the soft pads of Ivory’s feet under her chin while her long wonderful legs were crossed at the ankles and behind the back of her foe’s neck.  Ivory leaned back hard bowing Riyo,

‘Here I thought this was just a spa and all the while it's a gym as well.  Very clever of you to keep the best for last,’ Ivory offered.  ‘My offer still stands, call me when you want to make some money, the stone is just a burden to you now and you certainly don’t need or want more of those,’ she added, then twisted and released Riyo sharply.  

She pulled on her white caftan, shoes and left.

^^^

‘I love it when a plan works out, in case you can’t tell from my face I’m not loving this,’ Natty stated.  ‘At least you didn’t kill her, I suppose that’s something.’

‘No, I did something better.  I made her want to kill me, the stone is now inconsequential to her, we will have it soon.  I’m the valuable prize and more importantly, her ticket back into the game,’ Ivory explained.

‘See, again, in case you’ve forgotten, I’m heavily invested here.  The stone I can live without, have so far, but you, that I can’t live without.’

‘With that level of confidence in my abilities, how can I fail,’ Ivory mocked.  ‘Lisiten, it's personal now with Riyo, she has to win, I know the type and she just got beaten and worse, mercied.  A thing like that only makes her want  revenge all the more and when you become blinded like that, you make even more mistakes.  We have the advantage and the best thing is we don’t have to press it, she will do it for us.’

^^^

‘Hope you don’t mind but when I got your invite I decided to spruce myself up a bit,’ Ivory explained as he opened the door to the bathroom of his suite. 

She got up and rinsed herself off, wrapped a towel about her torso then stepped out of the tub, her arms falling around him.



‘We’re both here for the same thing, no reason we can’t expand the operation,’ Ivory said as she felt him expand before passing him as she moved to the bedroom.  ‘Mmm, is that a gem in your pocket or are you just happy to see me,’ she added, not able to resist the cliche.  

‘I will confess I thought Miss Tanaka had you on a much shorter leash than this,’ Ivory smiled as she looked him over.  ‘I trust you have the stone, business first, makes things less awkward.’

‘You have the money?’ Jang asked.

Ivory picked up and waved her phone.  

Jang produced the gem from his pants pocket, Ivory noticing the bulge was still present.  He handed her the gem as she touched her phone against his.  Just then there was a knock on the door.  Ivory smiled, retreated and answered it then passed her clutch through the opening.

‘Business completed,’ she smiled. ‘Since I assume you’re not running back to Riyo anytime soon I wonder how we can pass the time or do you have another form of revenge in store for her?’

‘Revenge is one thing, money I’ve always felt, in the long run is the best revenge,’ Jang explained.  ‘But having said that my flight isn’t for several hours.’

‘I see we think alike in certain areas,’ Ivory said as she put down her phone and her towel.     

Ivory helped him out of his clothes, slowly, she liked the tease and he wasn’t trying to move things along any faster, his hands caressing her nude body, sliding into and out of her curves, feeling her hardened silken steel form as they embraced.  Ivory slid her hands down his chest, his stomach muscle bumping on the tips of her fingers, her lips hungry against his, her tongue dancing about his mouth while her hands formed a sheath around his semi rigid knob, she directing his tip around her paradise, a few slow circles gave him a sense of how excited she was.  He stiffened, Ivory ensured it by bending at the knees and after a few bee sting kisses, teasing licks with the tip of her tongue and tender insistent tugs of her fingers she took him inside her mouth.  Jang rocked back and forth as Ivory slid up and down his shaft, his root jerking and squirming about as she worked.  She effortlessly distended him, she could feel and taste he was very close when she was rolled forward and upended.  

HIs cock penetrated her ass and as he came his thrusts drove his ample manhood in fully!  Her legs passed on either side of his torso as he sat on the floor, his cupped hands reaching out and locking under her chin.  What penetration was left he achieved fully.  Ivory wiggled and pulled but she had no power to escape with her muscles and his long massive sten could not be escaped with her hips.  

‘Females are far too dangerous to try any other way than this.  And you Miss Stevens are the epitome of dangerous.  My Stinging Dragon was created for such deadly creatures as yourself. What Riyo couldn’t finish I will!’ he said his voice alive with triumphant glee.  

The Plus twisted and pulled her body with power, stealth and seduction, nothing got her loose, in fact it had the desired effect Jang wanted.  It came over her without warning, lost in pleasure she gasped and moaned, her body bucking in joy as she climaxed the motion igniting her more as the orgasm lasted longer than usual for her.  

‘The Dragon Stings deeply MIss Stevens, that pleasure is just the first of an endless series you will experience before your body and mind are shattered in pleasure and pain.  This position is inconsequential to the male, I feel no effect from your motion, but I can deliver my stinging pleasure to you with very little effort, shall we try again,” Jang menaced as he thrust and Ivory felt her pleasure growing.  Three thrusts later she was climaxed again, her body bobbing and turning as the joy coursed through her, she climaxed again and a third time, Sounds of joy escaping in breathy frustration as she realised how effective the knot was.

Jang could climax her with a few pushes or even by rocking her slightly from side to side as she orgasmed her own body motion creating a feedback loop that further stimulated her into another series of pleasurings.  

She barely had time to recover when Jang slammed his hips into her again! Ivory’s body slithered about a loud guttural moan filling the space, her body twisting and writhing on his spindle desperate to pry free.

‘You’re a fighter, that is wonderful.  I have never used this on a Plus before, but I know of your reputation for incredible sexual endurance, it just makes the pleasure of killing you all the more wonderful,’ Jang happily explained as he adjusted her sideways.

Ivory responded with a gasp and pleasure as she shook her ass and cascaded to torment, her screaming filling the room.  His cock was everywhere inside her, filling her with endless desire and draining her of strength.  

Jang rocked gently sending wave upon wave into her, the spy’s body spasming into a long series of mind numbing pleasurings.  The torment was starting to creep into the spy, the orgasms were long and intense, so intense she was losing her strength at a rapid rate and the pain was replacing pleasure as she struggled to climax.  She delicately tried to pull him out, but he was much too long, she could not get the leverage no matter how she moved.

‘There is no escape Miss Stevens, my tool is much too big, even for you, all you have is torment and death to look forward to and I think you have a long way to go till death!’ Jang hissed as he twisted her torso on his rod.

Ivory, in a lather, hot and glistening in perspiration filled the room with moans interspersed with scream to torment as he worked, he body gyrating for minutes at a time until she found escape her nearly spent form panting.  Ivory's body began to cramp, she’d been entangled for over three hours, her muscles corded and searing in pain.  

‘Uhhh, uhh, haaaaa, ooooooooooooooooooh,’ she voiced as another attack took her, this time her body was too weak to move.  

Jang smiled, they were coming to his favourite part, the end, his death sting and her final climax.  He gave her a few more thrusts to truly take all the fight out of her, Ivory tensing her body to resist him, especially her ass, she pinched and twisted but her fought threw and she screamed in desperation for release, she felt it but did not give in, she twisted her torso, snaking wildly with everything she had, she nearly had his tip free when she tipped over the edge in delight, her jerking form exploding as did her mind, her vision went white as she released, she could no longer feel her body.  

‘Well speaking for myself, that was exhausting to watch, but of course I designed it to be that way,’ Riyo Tanaka smiled as she walked over to a shattered Ivory lying on the floor.  ‘Just in case you have anything left in that deep well of yours,’ she added, kneeling down and pinching either side of the FORCE spy’s neck before taking a seat.

 

‘My congratulations Miss Stevens, you managed to escape what is considered impossible to escape from, Jang’s Stinging Dragon.  I’ve watched him kill countless female’s in that knot and for a while it appeared he’d be adding you to that list, but you managed to counter his trap and escape as I hoped you would.  Oh, don’t look so surprised Miss Stevens, my organisation wanted him dead a while ago, in fact I was dispatched to do the deed myself, but I convinced my superiors to let me do it in my own way and time.  Once we completed a few missions I had his trust not to mention other parts of him, completely. Then you and Miss Janparon dropped in our laps and well, my mind got to thinking.  Why expend energy and time on Jang and maybe not have success, after all he does know me rather well, why not get the opposition to do it for me or at the very least, weaken him so my success would be guaranteed.  I knew you wouldn’t succumb easily, you’d resist until the end and in that resistance you’d weaken Jang more than sufficiently for me to easily and quickly finish him and hope of hopes, if you did manage to eliminate him,  Instinct I assume and a well placed knife edge to his throat you’d be so drained you’re elimination would be simple and this is where we find ourselves.  The only question is how to eliminate you? What method would work the best?  As I pondered my options it came to me that who better than my opponent knows her weaknesses and from that I came to my answer and I have you to thank for it.  The solution was simple, one of your methods of killing.  It's truly amazing what you can learn about a person from their choice of fashion and you Miss Stevens have excellent taste right down to your hosiery,’ Riyo Tanaka smiled displaying what she meant.

‘I found these irresistible and thank goodness you had four of them otherwise I would have had to find another method.  Eastern agents don’t use these, the heat and all, but you western girls have a penchant for them and I’m told the ones used by Plus agents such as yourself are extremely effective.  Well enough talk, it’s time for me to go to work,’ she added.

Ivory could not move, Riyo Tanaka’s Pinching Scorpion neck touch had paralysed her from the neck down although it wasn’t needed, her body had been shattered escaping Jang and she had nothing left to offer, all she could do was watch her adversary work.  

‘There done.  I see your surprise, excellent, again as I hoped.  You thought I’d take the traditional approach and wrap them about you.  I confess that had been my first choice, but given your insanely muscled and flexible body I didn’t want to take the chance that you would somehow manage to escape, this way removes that possibility.  Now to compensate for the lack of body heat,’ Riyo mused as she turned off the A/C then lowered herself to the floor beside the stricken Ivory.

‘In lieu of constriction I think stretching you to death is more interesting and of course torturously slow.  As the room heats up your lethal constricting pantyhose will begin to contract pulling you with them slowly raising your inverted nude body off the floor eventually suspending you between the pillars of the bed, splaying your body until taut.  Then the fun begins as your lethal leg coverings pull you apart in a slow cinching dance, but of course that’s many, many hours from now.  Until then you get to lie here, your spent exhausted unresponsive body helpless to escape your own deadly trap while your mind comtemplates the fate that awaits you.  But I don't want you to worry about your partner, I haven’t left her out.  Within the hour Natsiree will be getting a delivery marked from you, a gift of a hanging lantern for her private garden.  She’ll naturally open the top releasing her doom.  Within seconds most of her will be coated in Fire Dragon Scales and the parts that aren’t will be as the scales melt and spread over time.  I’ve arranged for it to arrive just post her workout, which is about now, in your private gym. As someone recently reminded me, nude is best.’

You see Miss Stevens, I came to realise that while victory over you would be exhilarating it was still

missing something, your lover. What could be better than killing her as well, the only thing would be

telling you about it.  So as you are stretched and pulled apart that pain will be nothing in comparison to

the torment of knowing you caused your lovers death.  I want you to have that as a final gift from me,’

Riro smiled evilly. ‘Now if you’ll excuse me I have several jewels to retrieve from your partner, who if I’m

really lucky and traffic is not too bad, I will see in her last struggling moments.  Who knows, maybe

she’ll be just cognizant enough to realise her moment of failure as well.’

Riyo made a call and had Jang’s body removed, she gave Ivory a goodbye kiss with no response from the spy then she left.

The room was already hot and getting hotter, a golden naked woman feeling herself be slowly pulled toward the bed with nothing in her arsenal to stop it.  She feebly moved a little as her legs were pulled up the side of the bed but nothing close to fight came out of her just small moans of frustration.  She knew she had several hours before she was suspended, the wait only made her more despondent and helpless.  

The temperature continued to rise, the Plus’s body pin pricked in moisture still had no fight in it, her hose pulled her up more.  She was now dangling slightly, the strain on her body showing on her face while the dots of moisture gave into gravity and rolled up her body, off her face and in a steady drip to the floor, the interval off the drops sound acting as a countdown clock for her.  

The spy gathered what meagre strength she had left before she was fully suspended but not yet taut.  She slowly spun her body, even as she did she could feel the energy draining from it.  Ivory completed eight revolutions, but exhaustion overtook her, but it was enough to pull her fully erect between the top and bottom slats.  She hoped the twisting of the hose slowed her being stretched.

She sweltered in the room, her luscious body bronzed and running with rivulets of water, never part of ner nude form erect in the trap, her muscles desperately trying to deliver any fight.  He next hour had pulled her stiff, her body tensing and fighting until she was spun counterclockwise one full revolution, her determination not enough to withstand her deadly hose.

Ivory moaned slowly as the bind contracted, her legs and arms moving outward as another spin spread her further.  Her body waved like a fly caught in a web, but it was in vain.  She managed another 10 minutes before she was spun again.  She was pulled wider as she spun again until her work was undone after an hour.  The spy’s 5’11” frame was spread corner to corner top and bottom as her hose contracted her into a still position.  Searing pain racked her brain as her body was pulled in all directions.  Her moans filled the room as did the noise of her dripping body, she knew she had minutes left, she hoped Natty had better luck as she faded into a delirium.  

^^^

‘I think you need to come to the Huli jing Room, the Black Jack tables. There's somebody betting big who doesn’t have the Tael to back it up,’  Jimmy said in a calm but firm voice.

Claire knew when Jimmy called like this it was serious.  He knew gamblers inside and out, the posers from the real rollers.  The man had knowledge of every gambler in Macau, Singapore, Japan, Thailand and the mainland.  Those he didn’t know from other areas he found out through his extensive network.  It said a great deal about the man who had gone from running an underground establishment to the newest casino in Macau.  

‘Going from bad to worse,’ she said to Lady Tara Ashton-White as she pocketed her phone.  ‘Anyway, come with me, I can show you part of the place along the way, then deal with this issue and hopefully we can have a late dinner,’ Claire added with a smile as she led the way from her office.  

‘Prepare yourself for the noise, this isn’t Monte Carlo, it's more Las Vegas at volume ten,’ Claire smiled as the private elevator doors opened in a hallway.  Even through the door just next to the elevator she could hear the din of slots, video and human noise all coming together.  They took a few steps inside where Jimmy was waiting.

‘Tara this Jimmy Luk my right and left hand, he runs this entire operation.  Jimmy this is Tara, a friend and colleague,’  Claire said as they walked slowly away from the noise toward the table games.

Claire knew Tara would not mind the informality, her title was nice and it opened doors when needed, but it tended to put people on the back foot which was not good in the intelligence game.

‘Over there, at Meng’s table, guy in the expensive suit,’ Jimmy said without looking that way as the trio walked along just outside the table area then to a bar that hid them behind a wall.  

‘Is he covering?’ Claire asked.

‘Card is good for several million.  He’s down 75 grand at the moment,’ Jimmy explained.

‘Sounds like a win for you Claire?’ Tara smiled.

Claire knew Jimmy, he wouldn’t call unless something was up.  She looked at her manager.

‘Expensive suit, cheap knock off Rolex, poor haircut and he does not speak like a man who has that kind of credit.  The haircut and the watch are his but the suit and the money, they belong to someone else.  After I hung up I sent his picture to a few patrons in several governments who owe us.  One came back with this,’ Jimmy said, passing over a paper.

‘Tell Meng to let him win a little, keep the tables around the area clear,’ Claire said, putting down the paper and opening her phone.

Jimmy did as instructed then joined the ladies for a drink as they waited.  They talked for ten minutes or so, then Jimmy got a text and excused himself. 

‘No, I really think the lobster would be the better choice, the chef is incredible,’ Claire said as they discussed dinner options when the bartender appeared and asked if the Food Service Manager could have a word with her in the kitchen.  Claire disappeared behind a door, Tara sipped her Gin and Tonic

Claire came out the door past Tara and walked onto the floor stopping to talk to an employee carving an ice swan sculpture to the fascination of a small crowd.  She moved on and made her way over to the table Meng was dealing at, they changed places and Claire had changed her clothes into a uniform.  Tara took her drink and wandered over but not too close, she noticed a few others doing the same.  

‘Apologies, shift change,’ she explained to the man as she worked the cards and dealt.  

Jimmy had failed to add that the man was not that good looking and statistically money and looks did have a correlation.   Claire let him win more than was normal, but as he did of course the crowd came closer and he bet bigger.  He doubled down and won several times, she always making mention of it and flattering him with congratulations.  He lost a few so it looked natural to the onlookers.  Claire tried to engage him in small talk and he slowly responded.

‘You seem like a duck out of water here,’ he asked, not looking up as he split his two tens and placed 100k on each one.

‘Why do you say that?’ she asked knowing what was coming next.

‘Your white, failed showgirl maybe, why else would you be here unless it's something else connected to this place,’ he said the inference could be taken many ways but she knew which way it was meant.

‘I speak fluent Mandarin and Cantonese and five other languages and I’m not tall enough to be a showgirl.  The pay is good, the hours flexible and I enjoy my work.  I get to meet people from all over the world,’ she replied in her best hospitality voice.  ‘Sorry sir you lose,’ Claire added as he had hit twenty on both plays but the house hit twenty one on both of theirs Claire smiling as she scooped the chips into the hole and passed out new cards.  

‘Now you look like a businessman, frontman perhaps, here to facilitate or set up a meeting.  Macau is an excellent place for that, favourable tax structure, excellent port,road, rail and air network, but that’s for the people you work for, not you, that’s beyond your pay grade.  You, sir, would do well to remember that.  Sorry you lose again, perhaps the tide has turned and you should call it a night,’ Claire voice firm and flat as she looked him directly in the eye and took his measure.  

Jimmy edged in a little, one hand slipping inside his jacket.  

‘Tides can change.  There are still several face cards buried in the deck, you can’t get them all Miss Baxter,’ he said in an ice cool voice that said he knew something.  

‘Four queens, but who's counting cards,’ Claire smiled.  ‘Each one searching for a jewel, problem is, they don’t have them.  It seems that four knaves made off with them defying the King's orders.’

Four gems were lost

And what a cost

Four queens it seems

Had eyes to dream

Four knaves in play

Their dreams did slay

The Knaves it seems

Had other dreams

And sold the gems full score

All is lost and nothing more

Came cries of sorrow

Fear not for did the morrow

Bring light of great gleam

There is a fifth queen

‘Look I have two of those queens and if I split this well what do you think the chances of me getting the other two are?  Personally, I think they're excellent.’ Claire smiled.  ‘It appears I still have the tide in my favour,’ Claire added, she could clearly see she was getting under his skin.  ‘You’re down 900k, house calls its marker. I trust TRIDENT gave you an allowance for your troubles?’

‘The money is inconsequential to us, we settle our debts in other ways,’ he snidely said as he placed a Black Credit Card on the table.  

Claire nodded to an employee who took the card.  ‘When that card returns, you and it can go and don’t come back!’ Claire instructed and got up to leave.

‘Our business with you isn’t over yet!’ he said in an insulting tone.

Claire smiled, turned a little, adjusted herself in the chair.  Just then his card came back. ‘Please allow me,’ she smiled, reaching for the card on the tray then sliding it across the felt top table to him, his hand coming to meet hers.



There was a glint of light, a thud and a muffled scream that was more than covered by the din of the other patrons in the room and the crowd around the table.  When his senses came back to him, he had a silk scarf between his teeth cutting off his screams from the ice chisel embedded through his hand above his ring and middle fingers.  

‘Do you like movies,’ Claire said looking about.  ‘Me, I love movies, but with really great actors, one’s who can hold the screen.  Did you ever see Mississippi Burning, specifically the part where Gene Hackman straightens out some good ole boys about who he is versus the rest of his colleagues.’   Claire grabbed him by the hair and looked him eye to eye.  ‘Don't you go mistaking me for some whole other body.  Your brain's in your dick if you think we'll just fade away.  We're gonna be here till this thing's finished.  How about you?’   ‘This isn’t COIL, this is FORCE I thought you morons would have got that by now!  Just so we’re clear, no more good girl rules, fair play and all that.  We see you, we kill you.  You come here, to my home! Disrespect me, my family!  The only reason you're not dead right now is so that you crawl back under whatever rock you call home and report that to your masters,’ Claire explained in as cold a voice as anyone around the table had ever heard her use.  ‘Now it's time for you to leave and well one more movie quote, see if you can guess this one?’ she said getting up and looking at Jimmy.  ‘I want you to exit this guy off the premises and I want you to exit him off his feet and I want you to use his head to open the fucking door.’

‘Casino, how appropriate,’ he smiled motioning to security.  

‘You can have the scarf compliments of the house and one more thing to tell your masters.  There is no more Strippers Guild Club in Macau or at least there won’t be after tonight,’ Claire added as she walked around the table and kissed Graveena on the cheek for her quick work with the scarf.  ‘If you would all follow me, it's time to talk,’ Claire said as she looked at the Silkworms.

They went to the elevator, Tara and Jimmy included and in two trips made there way to Claire’s office, she instructed the last one in, Seetha to close the door.

‘Two items of business.  We have all the stones and I know,’ Claire said, picking out the ones who had manufactured the idea.  

‘I believe in loyalty above everything. It’s all or nothing with me.  Never disrespect the girl that made sure you were okay when nobody else did. I really don’t give a shit anymore, think what you think, believe what you want, but just remember I cared when no one else did.  I risked my girls to save your asses as this is how you act.  Me, fine, but to go against a Queen and a soon to be one, you can’t cling to tradition and heritage if you're willing to do that.  Speaking just for me, I should kill you four right now, if you were any of my ladies and you pulled this stunt, you’d be dead already.  But, you're not, your Silkworms and you answer to a Queen, a woman I respect and yes, love and she thinks you deserve a second chance, then so do I.  So it's up to you. It's ride or die time ladies!’

Seetha stepped forward, taking Esha by the hand as she did.  

‘Should you choose to stay, all will be as before, except you will answer to Esha, your new Queen.  If you want to go, go, but you take nothing but what you are wearing.  You will no longer be Silkworms and that will end the matter.  If you take that path and decide to work against us in the future you can be sure we will not be forgiving a second time.  

They each came forward and performed the Charan Sparsh to Esha, who in turn blessed them then she turned to Seetha, performed the ritual and received her blessing.

There was a loud explosion followed by a fireball that lit up the sky, Claire’s expansive glass window balcony providing the complete view.  Everyone rushed to the window, a fiery glow now replacing the fireball, the sounds of sirens just now becoming audible, only Claire and Jimmy hung back.

‘Two markers in one night Jimmy?’ Claire smiled as she slipped her arm around his shoulder.

‘An interesting fact about Mr. Hong that very few people know is that before he got into the fireworks business, he was a professional arsonist.  There’s irony for you.  I told him his secret was always safe with us and to prove it I cancelled his marker.  But not to worry, he’s a lousy gambler and next week is the start of The Lunar New Year.