14. A Bouquet of Flowers for Mireille

It’s a pleasant surprise for Mireille when she bumps into her uncle Claude in town. It’s been ten years since they left Corsica together, and nearly five since they last saw each other. But now that Claude has moved back to Paris, there should be plenty of opportunities for catching up- starting with tea at a nearby café.

Back home, Mireille tells Kirika about the good news, and explains a little more about her uncle. After her parents and brother were killed, Mireille and her maternal uncle, Claude Feyder, left Corsica and came to Paris. It was Claude who looked after her from then on, and it was Claude who trained her as an assassin. Kirika is happy for Mireille, but can’t help wondering if Claude might know something about the Soldats. Mireille quickly denies this- if he did know anything, then he would have told her already, wouldn’t he?

Happy to spend more time with Claude, Mireille meets him again down by the river. As before, talk turns to the past, and memories of a lake that Claude took Mireille to visit when they first came to Paris. But just as Mireille is agreeing that it would be nice to return there, Claude asks a completely different question out of the blue- he wants to know if Mireille has any information on Noir. Of course, Mireille denies this, but she can’t help wondering just why Claude wants to know. And when Claude is not forthcoming with his reasons, Mireille begins to feel uneasy…

Meanwhile, Claude himself has his own business to attend to- a meeting with an old friend, Dupois. Dupois has a job for Claude- several of the high profile men that he has dealings with have recently been murdered, and Dupois would like Claude to look into it. Claude tells him there is no need for an investigation- he was the one who carried out the murders, and Dupois just happens to be the next name on the list. Naturally, Dupois takes this as a joke- right up until the moment when Claude shoots him.

At home with Kirika, Mireille is surprised to receive another call from her uncle- he wants to take her to see his mansion that afternoon. Mireille agrees, and Claude comes into town to pick her up.

Arriving at his mansion, Claude takes Mireille straight to the greenhouse, although she can’t help noticing the guards sitting in another room. At the greenhouse, Claude proudly shows off his home-grown flowers, but Mireille is not willing to listen. She knows that Claude had another reason for bringing her here, and she wants a straight answer.

By way of reply, Claude explains that he is currently working on a big job. Mireille initially assumes that he wants her help, but Claude soon corrects her. What he wants is for her not to interfere- because his next target is none other than Kirika.

For Mireille, everything suddenly falls into place. Her chance reunion with Claude was no accident- it was part of his plan to get to Kirika. Not only that, but he already knew about Noir, and he knew that Mireille lied to him when she said she didn’t know anything. There is only one explanation- Claude is working for the Soldats.

All these years, Claude has kept many secrets from Mireille, but in the light of her knowledge about the Soldats, he has no choice but to admit at least a part of the truth. He works for the Soldats because there is no other choice- to disobey them is to die. Mireille’s family was killed because her father dared to defy the Soldats- and the only reason that Mireille and Claude got out alive was because Claude swore an oath to obey them without question.

Claiming to understand, Mireille agrees to go along with Claude’s mission; she will return that night and bring Kirika with her. Relieved that Mireille has seen sense, Claude hugs her, and promises her that after this, they will return to the lake that they visited long ago.

After an intense and tearful target practice, Mireille prepares for the evening’s work. Claiming that she has an errand to run, she leaves the apartment, telling Kirika to stay at home. Naturally, Kirika refuses to be left behind, and soon catches up with Mireille. After a failed attempt to convince her to go back, Mireille accepts Kirika’s company, and the two women continue on their way.

Arriving at Claude’s mansion, Mireille and Kirika are greeted by the guards. Whilst Mireille goes through to the greenhouse to see Claude, Kirika waits outside in the hall with the guards. It looks like Mireille has delivered Kirika as promised…

…Or maybe not. As one of the guards tries to distract Kirika by throwing a coin, the other raises his gun. A shot is fired, but it isn’t Kirika who falls. She was the one who fired at him- her gun was concealed in the pocket of her cardigan. Cursing, the other guard goes to respond, only to be taken down by a second shot from Kirika.

In the greenhouse, Mireille and Claude come face to face for the last time. Her father’s daughter, Mireille had no intention of going along with Claude’s plan. The lake, and the past, is just a memory- and now the future must be decided…

In one rapid movement, Claude and Mireille, uncle and niece, master and student, draw their guns, and fire at each other. For a second, no one moves- and then Claude collapses to the ground.

Whilst Kirika waits outside the greenhouse, Mireille spends one last moment with her uncle before joining her. Noir has managed to hold their own against the Soldats once again, but this time the price has been higher than ever before. And it’s for certain that there will be worse trials to come…

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