"OOHHHOHOHOHOHOHOH-!" the high pitched laugh rang throughout the small room,
bouncing off walls and bouncing back and forth, combining and enhancing itself. Anybody who
had never experienced the sound before would have been huddled in corner trying hold the
sound out of their ears.
"Dear sister," Kuno, still bandaged head to toe, began from behind the slowly cracking bullet-
proof glass. "This is not a laughing matter."
"I'm sorry, brother-dear," the black-haired girl responded, trying to get control of herself.
"Actually...no I am not. OOHHHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHO!"
"Kodachi, you have to get me out of here." The would-be samurai was demanding this of her
now. "I must find the real Ukyou to prove that the creature a defeated is merely an inhuman
imposter in the service of the foul Hibiki and his master Saotome."
"Brother-dear," Kodachi answered, seriously. "You have stretched even my limits. You'll have to
use your own resources, oh that's right, you have no resources. OOOOHOHOHOHOHOHO!"
"You mean to say that you don't believe me?" Kuno said in disbelief.
"Of course not," Kodachi stood up and turned around. "Good-bye brother-dear."
"Don't think that I'll forget this dear sister," he limped his way back to his cell under escort. "It
matters not, my faithful Sasuke will come for me."
"Where do you think you're going?" Sasuke jumped at the sound of the voice, muffled enough to
be totally unidentifiable. He turned around slowly and saw a black garbed figure sitting on the
light pole above him.
"To free master Kuno from the jail, of course," Sasuke answered. The black garbed figure
dropped to the ground with a grace born of years of ninja training. "Aren't I supposed to serve
thee Kuno family?"
"The Kuno family," the figure agreed, he couldn't even tell what gender the other ninja was. "Not
"The clan has revoked its support?"
"We don't need to be connected to him any longer. Perhaps you shall keep a closer eye on his
sister and father?"
"What do you mean?" Sasuke gulped.
"You indicated that his...less healthy aspects...were contained and limited to a target that could
easily handle himself. The Jonin never did approve of the man, though your reports were
convincing enough to sustain our support."
"I couldn't have predicted the Kuonji incident." The figure ignored him.
"Your mission is revised, from the Jonin's mouth. Tatewaki is branded a traitor to the Kuno clan,
is that understood?"
"H-h-hai," Sasuke kowtowed and slinked back to the Kuno mansion under cover of night.
"Isn't Ukyou out of Dr. Tofu's yet?" Ranma asked. Akane growled.
"Why are you worried about her?" Akane asked irritably.
"Not like that! Not like that!" Ranma declared, waving his hands desperately. "It's just that no
one's in at Ucchan's yet." He squinted an eye open to see whether he had to dodge a mallet or
"What?" Akane was surprised at that as well. "Ryouga picked her up days ago."
"Ryouga picked her up?"
"Yes, what does that..." Akane paused. "Oh. Uh oh."
"Baka! Go the other way!" Ukyou shouted.
"Oh, sorry," Ryouga turned the wheelchair around.
"THE OTHER OTHER WAY!" Ryouga stopped.
"Which way?" Ryouga asked. Ukyou pointed irritably.
"It's a thirty minute walk between Ucchans and Dr. Tofu's!" Ukyou yelled. "And we've been
walking for at least a day!"
"Actually, it has been almost three days," Ryouga admitted grudgingly. "You were asleep for
"EERRGGHH! I don't know where we are," Ukyou said despondently. "I can't see over all these
gaijin, are we in the business district or something? You didn't keep going after I fell asleep, did
"Okay, I just need to find something I...rec..og..nize?" Ukyou blinked as the crowd cleared for a
moment. She turned to the dazed Ryouga, "RYOUGA NO BAKA!"
"What did I do?" Ryouga pleaded. "And where'd you get another spatula."
"Kasumi brought it over," she explained calmly, then started yelling again. "This isn't Nerima!"
Ukyou shouted. "This isn't even Japan!" She pointed to an old building surrounded by a variety
of shops and other businesses.
"Hey, I think I've seen this in a movie somewhere," Ryouga said.
"IT'S THE ALAMO!" Ukyou shouted. "Haven't you ever seen a John Wayne movie?
AARRGGHHH! How did we get here?"
"The last place I stopped was that lounge," Ryouga said, thinking back.
"Lounge? What lounge?" Ukyou asked.
"It was really expensive to get into," Ryouga said. "Long with really tightly packed rows of
seats. And I think it was on stilts or something because felt really bumpy. I think you slept the
"Expensive? Long rows? Bumpy?" Ukyou blinked several times. "THAT WAS AN AIRPLANE
"Oh, that would explain why all those TVs were on the weather channel."
"You sure this cover Shampoo debt?" Shampoo asked, nervously.
"Shh!" Nabiki insisted. The middle Tendo's eyes were locked onto the screen where Leonardo
DiCaprio and Kate Winslet were talking about the way the world worked in badly dubbed
"This very boring movie," Shampoo whispered irritably. The rest of the movie went something
"It's *sniff* so *sniff* beautiful..."
"It big ice cube."
"I know...but its a *sniff* profitable ice cube."
"Oh Shampoo...it's so *sniff* sad..."
"Girly-boy freezing, boo-hoo."
"No...I *sniff* I should have pushed for a bigger share, WAAAAAA!"
"Hey! Quiet back there!" Somebody shouted, they turned to see a glowing, very cross looking,
Shampoo staring at them. This caused them to decide to keep to themselves and watch the rest of
"Honorable grandmother," Mousse began. "Where is Shampoo? I have not seen her all day."
Cologne growled, and then thought about. Shampoo was out with that Tendo girl, the money
grubbing sneak. This was something that Cologne was concerned about, and not only because
she suspected that Nabiki was behind foiling some of her more subtle plans. The plans that never
managed to reach daylight, unlike the accidental and improvised plots that she did manage to
bring out to fruition.
"She is out with that Tendo girl," she told the blind young boy.
"What is Shampoo doing with Akane?"
"Fool," Cologne spat. "She is with Nabiki."
"Is this a problem?"
"Oh, just check the diner," Cologne growled. "They'll show up there eventually."
The disaster-romance flick ended shortly before Shampoo's already questionable mind could fry
from the inaction. Nabiki came out brushing tears away from her face, which held its usual smug
expression. Shampoo virtually dragged herself out, fighting yawn and bone-gnawing boredom.
"So Shampoo," Nabiki started as they came into the light. "Why did you want to come along?
You could have just bought the ticket for me."
"Three hour," Shampoo mumbled. "Ship sink three hour."
"I know that Shampoo," Nabiki said irritably. "What did you want to ask me?"
"Have another favor to ask," Shampoo said groggily.
"Oh, well," Nabiki said cheerfully. "To the office then." She turned in the direction of her
"Talking you very expensive," Shampoo complained as she dragged along behind.
"But I get the job done," Nabiki noted.
By the time they reached the diner most of the numbing effect that the movie had on Shampoo
had worn off.
"Just to warn you," Nabiki said as she sat down. "I'll listen to your request, but I think I'm
through with doing people favors."
"Why you say that?" Shampoo asked, dismayed. "You still think about spatula-girl?"
"She could have been killed," Nabiki shivered. "Or worse. I...underestimated Kuno. I don't want
to take that risk again."
"Shampoo want you get rid of Kuno," the amazon said then. Nabiki turned to her intrigued.
"Huh?" then she realized. "Ah, you're thinking that now that Ukyou is out of the way that it's
time to go for Kodachi."
"I tell grandma you very smart," Shampoo said proudly. "Crazy-girl very annoying."
"That she is," Nabiki agreed. "I don't think she's much in the way of competition, however. On
the other hand, she is rich, beautiful, and if you survive the drugs she can cook pretty good,
"What you mean?" Shampoo asked darkly.
"Relax, Kitty," Nabiki said calmly. "I'm simply being objective here. She has nothing on you
"Aiya!" Shampoo agreed readily, virtually preening.
"Well getting rid of Kodachi will be a tough one," Nabiki said. "She's as persistent as Tatewaki
at times. At least she can admit defeat, though, hmm. Thirty thousand yen should cover it."
"Aiya," Shampoo repeated, in somewhat depressed voice.
"Hey, we're talking about someone that owns a pet alligator here."
"nnnhhh..." Shampoo concentrated hard and then nodded resignedly. "Okay."
"Shampoo!" somebody shouted from the entrance of the diner.
"Errgg! Is stupid Mousse," Shampoo growled. Then suddenly something cold and wet splashed
her and Shampoo-Neko was sitting in Shampoo's spot on the bench.
"Here, Kitty," Nabiki called. Understanding her plan, the Jusenkyo cursed Amazon bounded
under the table and up into Nabiki's lap.
"Shampoo! I've come to ask if you would date with me!" Mousse yelled into Nabiki's face.
"Yo, blind-boy," Nabiki snapped. "Put your glasses back on!" Mousse did so and closely
examined the person he was talking to.
"You're not Shampoo," he said unnecessarily. "Hey, that rabbit looks familiar."
"Mousse, why are you here?" Nabiki asked, irritably.
"Cologne said that I might find Shampoo here in the presence of one Nabiki Tendo, but I don't
see either here. Have you seen them, Miss Shiratori?"
"I am certainly not Azusa," Nabiki said evenly.
"Really? Who are you then?"
"Why, I'm Nabiki, of course. Perhaps you should get some new glasses, Mousse."
"Nabiki? Then have you seen Shampoo?"
"I saw her earlier," Nabiki admitted. "She paid up some past debts."
"Shampoo owed money to you?" Mousse sounded surprised.
"Everybody owes me something," Nabiki whispered, conspiratorial. Then she stood up, cradling
Shampoo-Neko. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have other business to attend to." She started to
walk away. "Oh, by the way, that was an excellent game you played last week."
"Game? Wha-" Mousse blanched.
"The fight after they...'caught' you was even more impressive."
"You know about that?"
"Hmm, yes," Nabiki left him with that before leaving the diner. Mousse never noticed that she
had snatched Shampoo's clothes from the bench opposite her seat. Actually, he never even saw
the clothes, he saw a colorful smudge that might have been a purse.
Nabiki walked along with Shampoo-Neko unhappily in her arms, until she reached the Tendo
"Hey Nabiki," Akane waved as her older sister passed. Then she wrinkled her nose. "Why did
you bring her over here?" Shampoo-Neko hissed at Akane, who bihhed the cat in return.
"I haven't decided yet," Nabiki answered dryly. Of course she went straight to the bathroom. The
girl deposited the cat on the tile with her clothes and filled the bathtub with hot water. "Go ahead
and change, I'll wait."
"Why you not just pour hot water on head?" Shampoo asked as soon as she stepped out of the
bath. "You do that Airen all the time."
"His clothes stay on him when he changes," Nabiki pointed out.
"Oh," Shampoo paused and rolled her eyes to a corner of the ceiling. "Shampoo ask another
"Let me guess," Nabiki held up a hand to forestall the Amazon asking the question. "Get rid of
Mousse for you?"
"Aiya!" Shampoo nodded once vigorously.
"Fifty thousand yen." Shampoo visibly paled. "Ukyou was and Kodachi is going to be easy
compared to that."
"Aiya," Shampoo agreed despondently. Then she blinked. "Where is spatula-girl?"
"Ryouga picked her up from the clinic."
"As long as we're here," Ukyou sighed. "Perhaps we should enjoy it."
"It's harder than it looks," Ryouga told her.
"Hey, we're thousands of miles away from Ranma, Akane, and K- that whole mess," Ukyou
noted. "What's not to enjoy?" A car passed through a puddle by the sidewalk they were walking
along and splashed the pair.
"Damn insensitive drivers!" Ukyou shouted. "Ryouga, could you..." Ukyou looked back and
couldn't see the lost boy.
"Kamisama," Ukyou gasped. "He's lost!" Then she heard an angry bwee and after some difficult
neck craning and wheel-chair maneuvering she finally caught sight of a familiar form.
"P-Chan!" she shouted. "Ryouga, you're P-Chan!"
"Bwee!" The pig fainted.
"Is she gone?" Akane heard the voice emanate from around the corner. She didn't even bother to
turn around to face the sound.
"Ranma, you are aware that she isn't really a cat, aren't you?"
"Of course I know that," Ranma whined as he stepped out.
"Then why do you faint every time you see Shampoo-Neko?"
"B-b-but," Ranma stuttered. "She's bad enough just being Shampoo!"
"Quiet, Baka," Akane shushed him. "She could hear you."
"And what?" Ranma demanded. Then he continued quietly as Akane stood over his crouched
form with a raised mallet. "Hurt the psycho's feelings? Since I've met her, she's tried to kill, drug,
attack, and shame us and all our family and friends. She's never taken the least interest in our
"That's no excuse fo-" Akane was interrupted by two blurs, one black and one white.
"Son, did I just here you refer to you and Akane as 'us'?" Soun inquired.
"You know what this means boy," Genma hinted softly.
"Oh Akane, isn't it wonderful," Kasumi asked sweetly.
"What a beautiful moment," Soun declared, letting loose with the fireworks. "Ranma is finally
admitting to himself how he loves Akane."
"Yes, Tendo," Genma agreed. "This is a moment that will live on in my memory forever."
"Oh my, where did they go?" Kasumi asked. The fathers scanned the now couple-less room. "Oh
hello, Shampoo, is there anything wrong." They looked to where Shampoo was standing quietly
as Nabiki also came into the room.
"No...*sniff*...Shampoo fine...*sniff*..." She walked around the corner toward the front door,
stiffly. Genma and Tendo sweatdropped as she disappeared from sight.
"Shampoo-" Nabiki started to follow her.
*THUD-CRASH* Nabiki flinched as the wall caved in from Shampoo hitting it.
Kodachi examined a table full of various trick clubs and other rhythmic gymnastics props. She
looked up for a moment at the next table where they were selling a variety of specially designed
"Excuse me, sir" Kodachi said to the man in front of her. "But you look familiar somehow."
"Kasumi Tendo?" Mousse asked as he turned to face her. "What are you doing at this hidden
"I am not Miss Tendo," Kodachi protested. "Oh yes, now I remember. You're that blind Chinese
peasant that's always after that blue-haired harlot."
"Shampoo is not a harlot, Ukyou!" Mousse shouted.
"Silly boy," Kodachi laughed. "I am Kodachi Kuno, the Black Rose of St. Hebereke High
School, not some second rate Okonomiyaki chef!"
"Bless you," Ryouga said, then suddenly he started getting protective. "You're not catching a
cold, are you?"
"I don't think so," Ukyou said. "But I might if you don't find a way out of this theme by
nightfall." They were walking through an indoor aquarium surrounded, behind the glass, by a
variety of sharks, rays and assorted fish.
"Hey, you're not helping any."
"Well, I'm stuck down here in a wheelchair. I can't see past most of this crowd."
"Not that, I mean hold off with the spatulas. Violent maniac." The last was not said quite softly
"Watch it P-Chan," Ukyou said to the dazed form.
"Oh, you're that insane woman that is chasing that womanizing Saotome," Mousse noted.
"How dare you talk about my darling Ranma like that!" Kodachi shouted. "I'm not going to allow
some floozy's dog to insult my love like that!"
"'Some floozy?'" Mousse repeated. "You have no room to talk, chasing after a masochistic
casanova who avoids you like the plague!" The pair glared at each other and then stomped off
angrily. Neither noticed that one of the booths was apparently manned by classmates of Akane's,
or that one of them had a camera and the other had video camcorder.
Nabiki hadn't been able to locate Shampoo since she burst out of the Tendo Dojo. This was
decently disturbing, usually Nabiki had no trouble finding anybody. For some reason though, she
was having a hard time thinking about anything else.
"Here's the surveillance, chief," Sayuri said as she handed Nabiki an envelope and video cassette.
"Why are we watching Kodachi anyway?" Yuka asked. "It's not like you can tell when she is
going to do something."
"Somebody asked me to do them a favor," Nabiki explained sedately.
"Chief, are you all right?" Yuka asked. "You seem a little down."
"I'm a little preoccupied," she told them while flipping through the photographs.
"Preoccupied, you?" Sayuri asked. "I've never even heard of you being distracted."
"What's going on Chief?"
"I've been having a little trou-" Nabiki paused and blinked at the photo in her hands "This is
"It was a hidden weapons convention, chief," Sayuri noted. "He was bound to show up sooner or
"Yes, but was he bound to end up in a shouting match with Kodachi?" Nabiki asked. "Hmm."
Then her eyes narrowed and she started laughing softly and evilly.
"Um, is this good?" Sayuri asked.
"Hey, did you hear?" Sayuri asked excitedly as she ran up to a group of her friends. "One of
Ranma's fiancee's gave up on him."
"Really?" Yuka responded from inside the group. "Which one?"
"Ukyou!" Sayuri answered, saying it in disbelief.
"Yeah, I heard about that," a third girl added. "She ran off with Ryouga after he saved her from
"Well that makes since," somebody else added, and the gossiping was on in full. The girls had
one spectator, a Chinese boy with thick glasses and long hair eating his lunch nearby. "They
were always doing things together."
"Yeah, but wasn't that because Ryouga always helps Ukyou with her matchmaking plans? Why
would you help someone you love win somebody else's heart?" The Chinese boy perked up at
"Oh that was just cover..."
"I think-Achoo!-that somebody is gossiping about us."
"You kn-kn-kn-Achoo!-You know what, I think you're right sugar."
"Couldn't this hap-Achoo!-pen while we're fighting?"
"Shut-Achoo!-up and enjoy the view."
"Welcome, Nabiki Tendo," Cologne said without turning her back. "What brings you here?" The
middle Tendo smiled confidently as she walked from the Cat Cafe's doorway to the middle of the
room. Cologne noted for once that the confidence was a facade, the girl was nervous about
"I was hoping to find Shampoo here," Nabiki told her. "She heard something earlier that...upset
"And what concern of yours is it if Shampoo is upset?" Cologne asked.
"Unhappy customers don't spend as much money," Nabiki responded glibly. "What else."
"Your greed will be your downfall, girl," the pair were watching each other very closely now.
Nabiki smiled, the action held more in common with a predator's glance.
"I don't claim to know more about fighting than you," Nabiki said. "Don't claim to know more
about people than me."
"Don't push your luck, girl," Cologne growled. "I've been pulling strings since before you were
born." Nabiki smiled again.
"I assume this means that Shampoo isn't here," she decided. "I have no reason to stay here then."
"Stay away from my granddaughter, girl," Cologne commanded her. Nabiki scowled and turned
slowly to face Cologne.
"Well that all depends on whether she asks for my services again," Nabiki told her.
Kodachi ran towards the horse, leaped into a handstand. From there she sprung into a reverse
double flip, twirled herself length wise three-hundred-sixty degrees and landed.
"OO-hahahahahahahahahahaha!" she laughed cheerfully. "Isn't it wonderful my dear Sasuke?"
"What is that Mistress Kodachi?" he asked despondently.
"The freedom," Kodachi responded.
"I see mistress," Sasuke said, yawning. Kodachi backflipped across the small gymnasium her
"For once, I'm actually having fun training." Sasuke half-glared at her, but ceased soon enough.
He didn't see how she could get any decent training without Mas-...Tatewaki Kuno to run the
"That is good, Mistress Kodachi." She leaped up to the rings and performed a quick series of
motions before launching herself over to the parallel bars. She had seen her darling Ranma
perform better, but to most people she appeared to be nothing more than a blur.
"...the chef and the vagabond out together on some sort of vacation..."
"Yes, Mistress Kodachi."
"...It'll be boring without my brother around..."
"Yes, Mistress Koda-" Sasuke paused, blinked and then smiled.
"...but otherwise, everything is going my way, soon I'll shall be my darling Ranma's one true
love. Then we shall live on to dignified old age as Lord and Lady of the Kuno fortunes."
"Oh, definitely, Mistress Kodachi," Sasuke answered a deal more cheerfully than he had been.
Then he started to edge out of the practice room. "If you'll excuse me, Mistress Kodachi, I have
some errands I need to run."
"Oh, I don't care," Kodachi said, waving him off as she performed a standing forward flip. "In
fact, I have something that I need to do myself."
"Thank you Mistress Kodachi, I'll be off now," Sasuke was gone in the next moment.
Only a few minutes later Kodachi was leaping across rooftops cackling away with more than her
usual insane glee.
"OO-hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Oh my darling Ranma, how can anything go wrong now.
All that remains between me and you, oh my truest love, is that blue-haired hussy and your so-
called fiancee, Akane Tendo."
"Hmhmhmhmhmhmhmhmhm!" Kodachi stopped as she heard the low, sinister laughter.
"Oh," Kodachi said flatly. "It's you."
"Do you really think you'll succeed in acquiring your Ranma-darling's love merely because
you've been having a lucky streak."
"No, I expect him to fall in love with me because I am obviously the best choice for him. And I
suppose you expect that air-headed floozy would pick a spineless moron like you over a
peerless-warrior like my Ranma-darling."
"Point taken," Mousse said after a moment's angry thought. "But perhaps if we pool our
"Hmm, intriguing," Kodachi said, rubbing her chin. "You get your floozy."
"And you get your jerk," Mousse tossed in.
The pair stopped laughing and stared at each other in mild shock and surprise, and then each
went back to their own variation of the insane laugh.
"Ah ha," Nabiki declared as she climbed up to the rooftop Shampoo had chosen. "I found you."
"Xie Xie," Shampoo said glumly.
"What are you doing up here anyway?" Nabiki asked as she sat down next to the glum amazon.
Shampoo pointed out away from the building and Nabiki saw Ranma and Akane sitting at a
window seat in the restaurant across the street. They were laughing and generally relaxing away
from the prying of their parents and friends.
"Oh...Shampoo," Nabiki started gently. "Watching Ranma and my sister get along isn't really the
healthiest activity you could be doing."
"Airen think Shampoo psycho," Shampoo sniffed.
"Oh don't worry about that," Nabiki said gently, a depressed customer was not good. "He calls
Akane a violent maniac all the time, and they..." Shampoo looked at Nabiki, stricken. Suddenly
Nabiki was thinking, "Oops...that was the wrong track."
"Money-girl saying Ranma really love violent-girl?" Shampoo asked, sniffing.
"Now, I don't know that," Nabiki said desperately. It seemed that she was losing her touch
somewhat recently, especially around Shampoo. "I just know that they really get along despite
"WAAA!" Shampoo started wailing and Nabiki quickly moved to try to comfort her.
"Oh, calm down," Nabiki said quietly, patting the Amazon on the back and letting Shampoo cry
on her shoulder. "They haven't made any real commitment to each other, you have plenty of
"*sniff* really?" Shampoo asked looking up into Nabiki's face.
"Hey, would I lie to you, Kitty," Nabiki asked, looking back and brushing back some stray locks
of blue hair from Shampoo's face.
"Aiya!" Shampoo virtually glomped Nabiki, the brown-haired girl patted her on the back and
smiled in relief. Then both blinked and scuttled away from each other about a foot.
"By the way, I've started on the two favors you asked me about," expertly reclaiming her
"Really?" Shampoo asked, in a neutral, curious tone. "What you doing?"
Nabiki merely smiled and snickered.
"So your saying that Shampoo has to marry the man that beats her in combat?"
"Yeah, and she was beaten by Saotome twice," Mousse confirmed.
"Then why, pray tell, haven't you beaten her yet?" Kodachi asked.
"I can't really fight her," Mousse said aghast. "She might get hurt."
"You think that she is really so weak as that?" Kodachi hmphed. "And yet you let her treat you
like dirt? No wonder she dislikes you, what kind of woman goes for a doormat?"
"As if a Borgia-reincarnate is anything anybody wants to mess with."
"It appears quite simple then," Kodachi trilled her words. "All we have to do is give you some
"And maybe convince you to stop tossing around paralyzation powders," Mousse suggested.
Kodachi almost seemed to get paler than her normal unhealthy shade. "Anything wrong with
that?" He asked curiously.
"I..." Kodachi faltered. "...You are absolutely positive this will help me win Ranma-darling?"
"It will at least be a large step in the right direction," Mousse noted. Kodachi produced a small
packet from somewhere inside her brown school-girl's outfit. She started to set it aside and her
hand started shaking. "Are you all right?" Mousse asked for the second time.
Kodachi closed her eyes and sighed once before whispering in a voice that Mousse could barely
hear. He only caught "...gone," before Kodachi seemed gain some willpower and set the packet
"That was easy," she said and drew out about five more similar packets. She hesitated setting
down the last one and replaced it somewhere. "Just in case." She said it by way of explanation,
but whether the explanation was to herself or Mousse, the boy could not tell.
"Well, I guess it's a start," Mousse said. Kodachi turned to look at him, and the gleam in her eye
made the master of dark magic more than a little nervous.
"And now, we start with you," Kodachi hummed softly to herself.
"W-w-what do you mean?" he asked nervously. "What can you tell me about being presentable."
"Well there is that in the first place," Kodachi noted. "How can you be such a doormat and at the
same time be so insulting?"
"Insulting?" Mousse nearly shouted. "How dare you call me insulting?"
"I request that you remember that I am of the samurai caste," Kodachi told him in a soft dignified
manner. "And that you treat me with the respect I am due."
"I-I-I beg your forgiveness," Mousse stammered, kowtowing.
"That is exactly what I'm talking about," Kodachi declared as she walked about the virtually
prone Mousse. "Hmmm, I think this may take some time."
"You want me to do what?" the speaker on the other of the phone asked. "And you are willing to
pay for this?"
"Name your price," Sasuke stated.
"Oh, that is very simple," the other answered. "I merely want another shot at him. What else does
"Hmm, oh yes, that is a very good point, and very easily obtained. After the job though, we don't
want anybody to know you are there."
"So I'm supposed to sneak in past her eyes as well?"
"I think she has been distracted of late," Sasuke told him. "It should be relatively easy to enter
the city without her knowing it."
"Well then, whoever you are, you've hired me."
"Very good, I hope my master will be pleased with your results."
"I've never failed professionally," he responded. ""And only once in a personal matter."