13. Season of Hell

Down by the river, a painter puts the finishing brush strokes to his latest work, temporarily unaware that he has an admirer. From over his shoulder, Kirika is watching, fascinated not only by the picture, but by the man who is painting it.

Back in town, Kirika is once again bored by Mireille’s fascination with shopping. Whilst Mireille pores over a jewellery stand, Kirika wanders off to stare into the art shop. Her encounter with the painter has sparked her interest, and now she wants a sketchbook of her own. Agreeing that it would be good for Kirika to have a hobby, Mireille buys her one.

Armed with sketchbook and paints, Kirika heads down to the river, where she soon encounters the man again. Although she is initially uncomfortable at invading his solitude, Kirika is soon put at ease by the man, and the two begin their painting. It soon becomes clear that Kirika knows very little about painting- she starts off with a brush straight away before doing a rough sketch- but her new companion tries his best to advise her without hurting her feelings. In the end, he tells her that it is best for her to just draw the way she feels most comfortable with.

Whilst Kirika works on her painting, Mireille is off having a haircut- or so it seems. Paulette, the proprietor of the salon, isn’t just a hairdresser- she also deals in information, and the latest gossip should be of interest to Mireille. A man named Morgan was killed a while back, and even though she doesn’t confirm or deny it, word on the street is that Mireille made the hit. Now Christian Galle, Morgan’s former right-hand man, is out of prison and back in Paris. He has been gathering men, and it is only a matter of time before he comes after Mireille.

Having spent the whole day painting together, Kirika and her new friend walk home together. Upon reaching town, the man points out his favourite art store and a tile painting in the window. Painted by the proprietor, these are very popular- he only makes a few at a time, and the latest batch is already sold out.

The next day, Kirika eagerly goes down to the river again to continue painting. Watching as she passes by on her scooter, Mireille is surprised to see her partner joined by a man. Although she continues on without saying anything, at dinner Mireille asks Kirika about the man, and tells her that it would be best to stop seeing him.

But as a new day dawns, Kirika finds herself unable to listen to Mireille’s advice. Heading back down to the river, she finds her friend dozing under a tree; moving his jacket out of the way, she is surprised to see a medal drop out. Not really asleep, the man turns to her and explains that the medal was awarded by the foreign legion. Finally ready for a proper introduction, he tells Kirika that his name is Milosh Havel, originally from Czechoslovakia (as it was known when he was living there). In return, he asks for Kirika’s name, but she says nothing; after all, she doesn’t remember her true name, and somehow it would be wrong to tell Milosh about the lie that is Kirika Yumura.

But Milosh doesn’t mind if Kirika doesn’t want to talk; instead, he talks about himself some more. Life in the Foreign Legion is tough, but he can’t helping wondering if he should join up again.

Kirika’s continuing friendship with Milosh has not gone unnoticed by Mireille. As they eat dinner at a café, Mireille reminds Kirika of her advice not to see him anymore. Kirika wants to know why, but any explanations are delayed by more pressing matters. The two women have just realised that they are being watched- it is time to leave.

Still being followed, Mireille and Kirika make their way through a park. It is Galle- and he has ordered his men to cover all the exits- and kill Mireille when she tries to leave.

Galle’s men are no match for Noir, however. Whilst Mireille dispatches the two men hidden in the woods, Kirika heads down to the terraced waterfall and effortlessly takes out both the guards there. Now only Galle is left.

Seeing his men dead, Galle takes out his own gun and starts looking for an escape route- only to find himself cornered by Mireille and Kirika. It looks like the game is up- until Galle’s main henchman arrives in his car. Forced to jump out of the way of the speeding vehicle, Mireille and Kirika can only watch as Galle jumps in the car and speeds away. And now it isn’t just Mireille he is after- Kirika has just made her way onto his hit list as well.

A new day sees Kirika down at the river with Milosh once more, although this might just be their last day together. Milosh has decided to re-enlist in the Foreign Legion- he may be sick of the killing, but there just doesn’t seem to be anything else that he is good at. It is a feeling that Kirika knows all too well.

Walking home for the last time, Milosh bids Kirika goodbye, with a reminder that she should keep painting- even if her first work was a little clumsy, it turned out well on the whole. As he walks away, Kirika turns back- only to notice that the painted tiles are back in stock at the art shop.

Entering the shop, Kirika quickly buys one of the tiles and runs after Milosh. Catching up to him, she prepares to give him the parting gift, unaware that a car has been following her…

Suddenly sensing the danger, Kirika turns and spots the car. Winding down the window, Galle leans out and fires a machine gun at Kirika. Reacting quickly, she manages to avoid being hit, but the unsuspecting Milosh is not so lucky. As Galle drives away, Kirika spots him, lying in the street, and runs over.

The dying Milosh sees the gun in Kirika’s hand, but true to form, even with his last words he does not judge or criticise, only saying that it doesn’t matter. Helplessly, Kirika can only watch as Milosh breathes his last- she may be an expert at taking lives, but saving the mortally wounded is another matter.

Watching as Kirika drops both the painted tile and her sketchbook into the water, Mireille offers closure to this chapter in the only way she can- by taking revenge on Galle. Through Paulette she has found out the location of Galle’s mansion, and now it is time for Noir to finish this matter.

Enjoying a round of drinks and a card game, Galle’s guards are in no position to take on Noir, and a few shots from Mireille and Kirika quickly take them out and head upstairs.

Indulging in a few drinks himself, Galle doesn’t even realise that anything is wrong until Mireille shoots into the room, disabling his chief henchman. Returning fire, Galle forces Mireille to temporarily fall back whilst he makes his trademark exit out of another door. Entering the room, Mireille finishes off the henchman, but Galle is already gone- fleeing down the stairs.

But this time there can be no escape- Kirika is waiting for him on the stairs, her gun aimed right at him. When she doesn’t move straightaway, the panicked Galle relaxes a little and prepares to take her out.  Even as he raises his gun, however, Kirika fires a single shot, killing the man who murdered her friend.

Galle is gone, but nothing can bring back Milosh, and Kirika knows it. As she stares morosely out of the window, Mireille has only one thing to say- “this is why I told you.” Perhaps enlightened by experiences in her own past, Mireille already knows what Kirika is coming to realise- for an assassin, a close relationship can only lead to tragedy…