15. The Cold-Blooded Killer Acte I

Accompanied by his bodyguards, Taiwanese Minister Song makes his way to his next meeting, but even as he heads down to his car, a black-haired woman bumps into him. As the two apologise, both bend down at the same to pick up the handkerchief the woman dropped, and the woman’s fingernails touch Song’s hand as she picks up the handkerchief and leaves. It’s just one of those trivial things that happen- or is it? For as Song straightens up, he notices that his hand is bleeding where the woman’s fingernail touched him, and only scant seconds later, his bodyguards look on in horror as he chokes to death.

Meanwhile, in Paris, Mireille and Kirika have a surprise waiting for them. Returning home from a shopping spree, the two women discover that someone has broken into their apartment. The intruder is long gone, but as Kirika discovers, they broke in to leave a note detailing a job in Taiwan. And the ones offering the job are none other than the Soldats.

After reviewing the details of the mission, Kirika and Mireille head for Taiwan. Their target is Wu Jihua, leader of a powerful underworld Triad called the Hong Yiban. Kirika fears that accepting the mission is a mistake- all they may be doing is walking right into a trap. Trap or not, Mireille wants to stay; as the Soldats get closer to them, so they get closer to the Soldats- and to the answers that they have been searching for from the beginning. Regardless of what Kirika wants, Mireille isn’t going anywhere until they get those answers.

Although Noir doesn’t know it, Altena was the one who sent them to Taiwan, a move that she now regrets. The murder of Minister Song represents a dangerous shift in the balance of this game, one that may prove fatal for Kirika and Mireille. Oddly enough, though, the one who is most worried is Chloe- so much so that she leaves the manner without permission, and heads to Taiwan to help.

At Hong Yiban headquarters, the Triad leaders discuss their options. It was they who sent Shaoli (the black-haired woman) to kill Minister Song. Song was a Soldats man, and by killing him they have broken the uneasy peace between the Triad and the Soldats. Their main advantage is that the fact that the Soldats have different factions rather than existing as a unified force.

With their inside information on the Soldats, the Hang Yiban plan their next move. They know the identity of a Soldats agent, and following him will almost certainly lead them to another adversary- Noir. And who better to finish off Noir than the formidable Shaoli?

Back at the hotel, Kirika and Mireille receive a message. An agent of the Soldats wants to meet them at a nearby temple. Eager for answers, the two women go to the appointed place; there, the agent explains that he has new information- Shaoli, the infamous and professional “Cold-Blooded Killer” has been sent after them. Although little does he realise that Shaoli and the Hong Yiban are already very close.

As the agent continues to explain about the information leak and the potential conflict with the Taiwanese Triads, Mireille’s patience begins to wear thin. Drawing her gun, she insists that the Soldats agent provides her with the answers she wants.

With Mireille and the agent caught in a stand-off, it is Kirika who first notices that something is amiss. Hearing footsteps, she draws her gun, and startles Mireille and the agent by turning around and shooting three Hang Yiban agents who were approaching from behind. But as the agents go down, they reveal an even more terrible adversary- Shaoli herself.

As more Hang Yiban men arrive and begin firing on them, Kirika, Mireille and the agent are forced to dive for cover. They start shooting back, until the Soldats agent suddenly makes a break for it. Seeing her potential source of information getting away, Mireille runs after him, instructing Kirika to cover her as she goes.

Whilst the Hang Yiban men seal off the temple grounds, Mireille continues her search for the Soldats man, but soon falls far behind. Resting up ahead, the Soldats agent comes face to face with another woman- Shaoli herself. As he tries to fire on her, she throws a stone, deflecting the aim of his weapon. And in the very moment that his shot goes wide, she sprints over to him and grabs his gun. Unable to fire properly, the agent can do nothing as she pokes his forehead with a fingernail, poisoning him just as she did Minister Song…

Searching the grounds, Mireille eventually finds the agent, but to her shock and dismay, he is already dead. Backing slowly along the path, she remains on the alert for attacks from both directions. Unfortunately for Mireille, the attack comes from the side. Bursting out from the temple wall, Shaoli reaches for Mireille with her fingernails, and in fending her off, Mireille overbalances and falls backwards into the trees below; she isn’t dead, but Shaoli is certain that she cannot get away.

Searching for Mireille, Kirika runs into the temple, and into problems of her own when someone tosses a grenade in after her. Kirika starts to run, but cannot avoid being caught and knocked over in the blast. And as she gets up, it becomes clear that matters have only gotten worse- for a man is standing over her, pointing a gun at her head.

It seems that the game is up for Kirika when the man begins to squeeze the trigger- until he suddenly goes down, a distinctive knife in his back. Chloe has arrived, just in time to help.

But with Kirika saved, Mireille is now the one in need of the most help. Having fallen onto the roof of a lower part of the temple, she struggles to get up and reach for her gun. But even as she grabs her weapon, a booted foot crunches down on her hand. Shaoli has arrived, and she has every intention of finishing the job she was asked to do…