16. The Cold-Blooded Killer Acte II

The “Cold-Blooded Killer” Shaoli has captured Mireille, but despite the wishes of Chu (one of the Hong Yiban leaders), she has no intention of killing her just yet. After amusing herself by stroking her deadly fingernails around Mireille’s face, she announces a plan that will net the Hang Yiban two for one. As long as they have Mireille, it is only a matter of time before Kirika comes to them.

Having just been saved by Chloe, Kirika wants some answers- just why is their adversary now helping them? But as Chloe remarks, this is hardly the time for chat, and hearing this, Kirika realises that she is right. Mireille is still in danger.

Some twenty or so Hong Yiban men are brought in to escort Mireille out of the temple grounds. As the entourage walk down the stone steps to the exit, however, they find that someone has killed the two guards at the gate. The killer is, of course, none other than Kirika- and rather than being upset about the dead guards, Hong Yiban leaders Chu and Yan are pleased. Their bait has worked far more quickly than predicted.

Seemingly resigned to Noir’s defeat, Kirika slowly ascends the stairs, walking towards Mireille and the Hong Yiban men with her eyes barely open. As she approaches, the men all raise their guns, and a horrified Mireille cries out, wishing that her partner had just gotten away while she could.

Finally coming to a stop, Kirika looks up and opens her eyes. As she makes eye contact with Mireille, a flash of understanding passes between them. Kirika is not here to surrender, but to fight.

Suddenly, Chloe flashes past in the bushes beside the steps, casting a knife that takes down the man next to Mireille. As the man goes down, Kirika draws two guns (having earlier lifted a pistol from one of the dead guards) and begins running up the stairs, all the while firing on the Hong Yiban men. Mireille can only watch in amazement as the men drop like flies. Could this crazy strategy actually work?

Unarmed, Mireille has no choice but to get out of the line of fire and dive into the bushes. Kirika continues firing on the men, whilst Chloe tosses another knife, before dodging several bullets and coming in for some close range kills. A surprised Chu realises that they have three adversaries- but wasn’t Noir only supposed to be two people?

Whilst Mireille continues to run from three of the men, Chloe is momentarily distracted as she sees Shaoli at the top of the steps, quietly slipping away. As the Cold Blooded Killer makes her exit, Mireille makes her way back into the fight, using a length of broken branch to club one of the men shooting at Kirika. But even as Mireille bends down to pick up the fallen man’s gun, she finds herself in trouble once again- Yan is holding a gun to her head.

Once again, it is Chloe to the rescue, as she takes out Yan with a well-thrown knife, before vanishing into the undergrowth. Fighting alone now, Kirika continues to shoot the Hong Yiban men. Realising that he cannot win, Chu makes a run for it, leaving the last of his men to fall to Kirika’s gun.

The battle over, Kirika meets up with Mireille, and is delighted to discover that her partner is safe. As the two try to puzzle out just why Chloe helped them, Yan’s cellphone rings. It is Chu- not realising that Yan is dead, he instructs the other man to fall back so that they can devise another strategy for dealing with Noir. Listening to the call, Mireille realises that they have no choice but to eliminate all their adversaries before that can happen.

Back at the Hong Yiban HQ, Ho and Elder Huo upbraid Chu for his failure to eliminate Noir. Determined to succeed where Chu failed, Ho decides to get the job done himself, and leaves to talk with his source within the Soldats. Before he can leave the grounds, however, he runs into Shaoli. Surprised to see her alive, he denigrates her, labelling her as a disgrace for her failure. Smiling, Shaoli steps closer, planning to reply in her usual fashion.

Having penetrated the Hong Yiban grounds, Mireille and Kirika take down the guards in the garden and security room. As Chu and the Elder continue to talk, Mireille enters the room, and shoots them both before they have to do more than cry out.

Alerted by a call from Kirika, Mireille moves outside to see what her partner has discovered. Kirika has discovered Ho’s body- and it is clear that he was killed by Shaoli’s poison. What they don’t know is just why she would turn against her employers.

Events have conspired such that Mireille and Kirika have ended up killing the Hong Yiban leadership just as the Soldats wanted, but they cannot leave Taiwan just yet. After all, as long as Shaoli remains alive, they are in danger. Their only option is to begin a search for information; a search that leads them to someone else- a man named Yun.

Not only is Yun the Hong Yiban’s agent in the Soldats, but he has been working with Shaoli all along. In fact, he is quite pleased that she killed Ho- Ho knew his double agent status, and could have potentially betrayed him. Shaoli is a very smart assassin- and just as that intellect has seemingly helped Yun, now it works against him. For as Yun turns to leave, he begins choking as if poisoned, even though Shaoli never came near enough to scratch him.

As Shaoli taunts the dying man, Yun realises just how he was poisoned- it was the incense that she was burning. Shaoli herself is immune to the poison’s effects, but others are not so lucky. While it was convenient to work for Yun before, now she has bigger plans. When she brings the head of this double agent to the Soldats, they are sure to reward her.

As Mireille and Kirika head for Yun’s residence, they encounter Chloe once more, standing as if waiting for them. Seeing them, Chloe turns and runs away, and naturally, Mireille and Kirika follow.

Chloe has been sent to meet with Shaoli in an abandoned building. Shaoli expects that the Soldats will be happy to reward her for killing Yun, but Chloe has a very different message to deliver- they have no need of Shaoli. Angered, Shaoli launches herself, fingernails outstretched, towards Chloe. Her usual lightning speed is not enough this time, however- Chloe easily dodges the attack, and grab’s Shaoli’s wrist. And as Shaoli readies her other hand for a second attack, Chloe draws her knife and slices Shaoli’s throat. The Cold Blooded Killer is no more.

Having tracked Chloe to the building, Mireille and Kirika confront her, guns raised. Mireille keeps her gun trained on Chloe as she demands answers, but in contrast, Kirika lowers her own weapon. Approaching Chloe, Kirika’s voice is quiet as she asks for an answer to the most important question- just who is she?

In response, Chloe utters a single phrase “The Grand Retour” (Great Return). Whatever this event may be, Chloe’s next words hint at something else- she and Kirika must both endure trials in preparation for it.

Her job complete, Chloe returns to the manor and Altena’s loving guardianship. But for Noir, things have never seemed further from complete; just what was Chloe talking about? What lies ahead for Kirika and Mireille?

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