Kim and Yori filled Betty in on what they believed Drakken and the Seniors were up to. They suggested that she put some spies around the Seniors’ manor to watch the activity around the place. Betty agreed with that. It would be best to capture the plotters right before they were about to start out because it would give her a chance to take whatever weapons they had gathered. She just knew that she had to be careful with it because if she went in too late, her forces would be in grave danger and she could not afford losing more agents.
“Are we going to be involved with the raid?” Yori asked with hope in her eyes. Things like that were more her speed and she would like to be a part of something that she was familiar with after such a tiresome assignment.
“No,” Betty answered.
The girls’ expressions simultaneously dropped like the temperature in the winter. They were not going to be allowed into the sweetest part of the mission? But, they wanted to fight. They were warriors for crying out loud. In fact, one of the things keeping them going while they were on the undercover assignment was that soon they would get to do something that they were accustomed to and yet they were to be denied. Injustice.
“You two will stay here until the Seniors and Drakken are arrested,” Betty informed them.
Now, they looked absolutely aghast. She might as well have told them that they were going to shot in the face at sunrise. They were going to be stuck in the house until the very end of the mission? That was not fair! Did she have any idea what kind of Hell it was for them to be there? To have to pretend to be something that they were not? And for Yori, to try to walk in those okobo? How cruel! Perhaps Betty was a devil, they considered.
“Why?” Kim managed to ask once she found her voice, which seemed to have abandoned her for a few seconds because of that news.
“Just in case. You can never be too careful. Once everything is in order, I’ll come get you two,” Betty assured them.
Yori and Kim were ready to beg to just get out of the house. It had been too long and they wanted to go outside. They wanted to walk down a street. Kim would not even care if everyone that she passed called her a fox spirit as loud as possible if she could just stroll the area with her swords at her side and a pair of zori on her feet. Yori would take any stares from anyone if she could just be with her husband again and in no footwear at all. They did not even want to get started on being able to get out of the heavy, formal kimonos that they had to wear all of the time.
They glanced at each other and were willing to bet that they were having the same bad idea. They were considering attacking Betty and then making a run for it. It was a bad idea for a couple of reasons, though. They were more than aware that it would be committing a horrible suicide to attack a madwoman like Betty and even if they had the incredible luck and fortune to escape, she knew where they lived. So, they both shook their heads to inform the other that it was a stupid notion that they could not go through with.
“Chin up, ladies. If they’re moving soon like you say, you’ll be home in a little while, doing whatever it is you do,” Betty commented. It scared her to consider what they probably did do when they were home because they were such strange teens.
“Easy for you to say,” they grumbled like angry children.
“What? Vivian’s taking good care of you, right?” the one-eyed woman asked. She was sure that the blonde was taking the best of care of the girls, even if she was probably being hard on them.
“She likes hitting us with her fan,” they reported in a mumble. It was rather shameful in their opinions. They were fierce and noble warriors getting smacked around by a geisha mother with a fan.
Betty laughed a bit. “She’s a perfectionist when it comes to what she does and she’s good at what she does. You two seem to be sitting straighter than usual,” she commented, obviously teasing them.
Kim and Yori decided that they were offended by that, even though they were actually sitting straighter than ever before. She was making light of their suffering, after all. They were really hurting. They were stuck some place pretending to be people that they were not, almost the opposites of what they were and they had been doing it for over two months. Pulling their eyes out would have been more humane, they considered.
“Hang in there, you two. You’re doing an excellent job,” Betty assured them, as if those words were going to make the ache go away.
“Thanks,” they muttered.
Betty decided to not address their rudeness toward her. She knew that things were hard for them since they were totally out of their element; hell, a fish on land probably would have been more comfortable than they were, but they were doing a good job. They had identified the two main men in the plot, namely Drakken and the elder Senior. They had also mentioned Junior and “yojimbo-san,” but they had not said much on them because they were not major players in what was going on.
The duo of teens had come to understand what the plot was for the most part, even though the men never came right out and said the plan. They had even come upon information to let Betty know that she could be able to catch the two men in the act before they had a chance to mobilize and cause any grief. It was a good job, especially since that was their first time doing something like what they were doing.
“Hang in there,” Betty repeated and then she went to go set up for the new operation.
“I’m never volunteering for something without hearing what it is again,” Kim stated with a sigh as she lowered her head in exhaustion. The girls were in their room in their current “prison” and it was rather late at night since that was the safest time for Betty get word from them.
“I feel like this should repay any and every debt that I have to anyone that’s ever lived,” Yori remarked, shaking her head in defeat slightly.
“Just makes you wish you could find out if the Shogun is grateful, huh?” Kim asked as she crawled over to her bed. She sat on the futon while Yori remained situated on the floor.
“I wouldn’t go that far. I’d just like to know that Director-sama is grateful. Well, that and maybe the fact that she’ll never ask me to do something like this ever again. I mean, I don’t belong to her anymore,” Yori replied.
“Obviously, she forgets that a lot.”
Yori nodded in agreement. She actually did used to belong to Betty. She had been sold to the one-eyed woman after her being taken in a battle from her former clan of ninja when she was twelve. Betty was always in need of personnel and when she found out that Yori was a ninja that was it for her. Yori was probably the wisest purchase that she had ever made. She was not cruel to the girl in any way. In fact, she allowed Yori to live with her and let the girl order around her servants, if that was Yori’s wish anyway.
It was through Betty that Yori met her husband and good friend, Kim. They had all gone on a mission together and Yori had assumed that there was something between Kim and Ron as the mission proceeded. It was just that the pair were so in sync with each other and she was fairly impressed with them, even though she realized that they were weird almost a minute after meeting them.
Yori quietly fell for Ron; well, it was quietly to them anyway since they were the last two to notice it. Betty had no problem with letting Yori go and marry Ron. She never did look at Yori as a servant, even though the girl served her loyally and faithfully. Yori felt it was her duty to serve Betty as best she could because of the kind way the woman treated her. And that sense was only heightened when Betty allowed her to leave without any strings attached to be with Ron. That was why Yori had taken the job that she was currently stuck with. It was the reason that she took any job from Betty.
“Maybe she’ll give us a break after this,” Kim said.
“Again you wish out loud, Kim-chan,” Yori remarked.
The redhead laughed. “Something has to keep me going. If not the optimism, then what?” she countered.
“I wish I knew,” Yori replied.
“Well, at least this is almost over.”
“I can’t wait to get back to Ron-kun. Are you going to go see Du-sama when we leave?” the ninja asked curiously.
Kim almost laughed out loud; the question was just as good as any joke that she ever heard. As if she would leave one stressful situation to go put herself in another one? Will was far from her mind almost all of the time. She never wondered about what he was doing or where he was. She knew more about him than she wanted to as it was, so there was no way that she wondered about anything.
“You still dislike Du-sama, huh?” the ebony-haired female guessed.
“There’s nothing to like about him and his big head,” she replied.
It was no secret to anyone that knew Kim and Will that they did not get along. Most people tried to say that the pair had a grudging respect for each other and really did care about each other. Kim and Will wondered what the hell those people used when thinking because it obviously was not their minds.
“What are you two going to do when you get married?” Yori asked curiously.
The ninja hated to think about Kim and Will on their wedding night. She was fairly sure that the sight would not be pretty. Kim might actually draw her katana on him if he tried to touch her. Of course, it would not be the first time that they pulled weapons on each other and probably would not be the last time. Yori was with Betty and others with the idea that that marriage was probably going to end with one of them killing the other.
“With luck, that day won’t ever come,” Kim replied. At least, deep in her heart, she hoped that she would never actually have to be married to Will.
Kim knew that their families were waiting for her and Will to get along just a little better, but that was never going to happen from what she could tell. He was never going to respect her or her abilities, so he was always going to be an annoying bighead to her. She did not want to marry him for any reason, even if it would unite two mighty clans. If the clans wanted to be together so badly, she had cousins that could be married off. It was not even like her branch of the Possible family was the main branch of the clan.
“Maybe you could meet someone, like I met Ron,” Yori commented. Maybe “yojimbo-san” for Kim was like Ron was for her.
“Thanks for the luck and all, but my grandmother arranged this wedding plan, so there’s no way it’ll be broken. So, if I did meet that person, nothing could come of it,” the redhead replied. Her grandmother had made a deal and the family was going to abide by it because they always did what her grandmother said. It was a bit of a miserable existence, but nothing compared to the existence that would follow if one did not obey. Surely, that was the worse fate possible, everyone in the family silently agreed on that.
“What about yojimbo-san?” the ebony-haired spy asked curiously.
“What about him?”
“You seem kind of attached to him,” Yori stated.
“I’m not,” Kim insisted. “Besides, when Director-sama puts everything in motion, yojimbo-san is going to be arrested and probably crucified,” she added. So, as far as wheels of destiny was concerned, the bodyguard was actually a walking dead man and it would be foolish to be involved with someone who was more or less a corpse with a pulse that would soon fade.
Yori nodded to that. She guessed that it would be foolish for Kim to fall for the enemy, especially the enemy who was going to die soon more than likely. Still, Yori thought that there was something between her spy partner and the bodyguard. If not an attraction, then a friendship, which she thought was good for Kim.
Kim needed friends that seemed to understand her and Yori was willing to bet that the bodyguard did, which was why the samurai seemed comfortable with leaving with him and being alone with him. Kim did not have many friends that understood her, or even attempted to know what made her tick. Most of the people that she knew talked about her rather poorly once she left the room, even if her true friends were still there. Out of all of the good things that Kim did, people still did not accept her because of how strange she was and there was the fact that she might be a fox spirit or the offspring of a fox spirit. Yori did not understand it much herself, considering the fact that had Kim been a part of her ninja clan, she knew for a fact the redhead would have been celebrated for her constant and consistent heroics.
Kim thought about “yojimbo-san” as she lay there in her bed. He was going to be arrested and probably killed for scheming against the government. It made something inside of her sink and her stomach lurched, as if she was going to be ill. Even though the bodyguard seemed to accept that that might happen, it was starting to bother her and upset her inner workings.
She liked sitting and talking with the bodyguard and she considered that she might miss that if he was gone. At least if he lived, there was a chance of them meeting again after she left her job, but if he was dead, there was no chance of that in her current lifetime anyway. She wondered if there was someway to at least keep the bodyguard alive, but she could not think of any way for that to happen, which only made that sinking feeling go deeper.
It was almost a guarantee that anyone caught plotting against the Shogun would be executed. “Yojimbo-san” would be caught if he was seen with Drakken and the elder Senior, since they were considered the main conspirators and the ones that Betty was most focused on. That thought depressed Kim the more that she thought about it.
Okay, maybe she liked the bodyguard a little bit, she conceded mentally because of her thoughts. But, she was not attracted to him as Yori seemed to think. She just liked his company a little bit and she did not think that he deserved to die for some crazy scheme cooked up by people that he did not even like. He just wanted to be free and she could understand that. He just seemed to pick a bad way to be go about it.
Maybe, if given the chance, the bodyguard might change. But, there was no way to know that if he was killed. She wanted him to get a chance to change, but to remain free. What to do? What to do?
Shego finished up packing way the weapons that Drakken created. She could not believe how many boxes the weapons took up. She had been planning to just leave him to pack them all away, but she did not have anything better to do with her time. Well, at the time she did not have anything better to do, but she knew what she was going to do now that it was all over.
“Shego, you can guard the first shipment,” Drakken ordered her.
“Uh, yeah, about that,” Shego said as if she was hesitant to inform him that she had other plans. “No,” she replied plainly.
“What?” the cerulean inventor inquired because he was not sure if he heard right.
“I said no. I helped you pack this crap away. You should be thankful for that crap. I’m going out for a drink now,” Shego informed him.
“What do you mean? We have to get this stuff to Senior’s house tonight while it’s dark,” he pointed out. She could not expect him to do it all himself, could she?
“That’s your problem. I do a lot of things, but I don’t think moving crates in is on that list.”
“What? You’re my servant—” he started, but he did not get to finish that sentence.
“What?” Shego snarled and she grabbed the loose-lipped inventor by his collar. She held up a hand, which had claw-like nails on it. “Did you just call me your servant?” she demanded to know.
“I didn’t mean it,” he quickly amended his statement.
“Let’s get this straight, Drakken-kun,” she said, taunting him with the term “kun.” She frowned as she continued on. “I’m here because I want to be. I do things for you, like let you breathe, out of the kindness of my heart and because you can afford to pay me a decent wage. So don’t think that just because I’m with you on this nutty scheme that you can order me around or that I do grunt work. Got it?”
“I got it,” he answered in a trembling voice.
“Good, now I’m going to have a drink. When the fighting and everything starts, send word and I’ll show up. You understand that one?” she demanded to know with a growl.
Drakken nodded and she tossed him aside. She grabbed her hat and mask and left the lair. The nerve of him, she silently huffed. How dare that bastard call her his servant! If only he knew how many different ways she could kill him, he would probably learn to watch his mouth. She was only with him because she wanted to be there.
While Drakken annoyed her more often then not, she liked being around him and listening to his delusions of grandeur. He was amusing to her to watch him think that he was so great and that he would make sure a fantastic ruler and everything. He seemed like such a raving lunatic to her most of the time and it made her laugh on the inside because he thought so highly of himself. Secretly, she did not think that he would ever succeed, but with his current plan, she was not too sure.
When Drakken was on his own, she knew that he would never be able to make it anywhere. He did not have many men backing him, not enough to go against the Shogun anyway. But, with his men combined with Senior’s men, there was a chance that they would be able to do something. Plus, there were his great weapons that might possibly give them an edge to unleash agony unto the Shogun.
So, maybe they would win, but she was not even thinking that far ahead and she was not going to hold her breath if they made it that far. She was just thinking of the fight that would happen when everything was going to crack wide open. Victory was moot to her because idiots would only be taking power from another idiot as far as she was concerned. Still, she was leaning more to the fact that they would have to retreat when all the smoke cleared more than likely.
It was nice to see Drakken get his hopes up, though. Sure, she did not like him very much, but then again, she did not dislike him either. She just got a kick out of watching him work, which was probably why she stuck around him. He was extremely amusing to her, better than anything that could happen in the theater. So, in a small way, he was more like her servant. He did not even know it, which was something else that she thought was funny.
Drakken was so self-important and high and mighty in his own mind that he did not know she looked at him more as a clown than a conqueror. She bet that he was so blinded by his own thoughts of greatness that he did not know what he was going to do with his half of the country if they managed to succeed beyond naming it after himself. She did not even see why he would want to rule the country outside of the fact that he wanted someone somewhere to recognize his genius.
As she made her way to where she wanted to be, she wondered what the country would be like if Drakken were the shogun. That was easy, she considered. There would more than likely be rapid rebellions days into his reign. He would more than likely quell them with violence, as others had done in the past. So, there would probably just be a bloodbath when he took over with the rivers running red and the fields being fed by cadavers. He would be left to rule over ruins and any cowards left alive that wished to hang onto their pathetic existences. Yeah, that seemed right about his speed.
It did not stop there in her mind, though. She figured that the people left alive and too frightened to do anything, they would live in misery. Drakken would only want to indulge himself like a spoiled child with new toys and he would weaken the state more than likely. Maybe, if push came to shove, she would join up with some people and overthrow Drakken. That would be if he managed to stop being amusing to her.
Kim strolled into a room where Shego was waiting for her. Kim was happy to see the bodyguard. It was a relief to see that “yojimbo-san” had not been arrested and was still alive. She nearly sighed at the sight; a light feeling did course through her being like a nourishing stream for a moment, though.
“Good evening, yojimbo-san,” Kim greeted the bodyguard and bowed slightly.
“Hey, Akako-chan,” Shego replied.
“Are we to take another nighttime escape?” the redhead asked with a coy smile. Every now and then, “yojimbo-san” indulged her and took her outside to stretch her house-stiffened limbs. She did enjoy the outings and inquired about them whenever the mysterious bodyguard showed up, which was almost every night now. It would seem the bodyguard had money to burn and poured it into seeing her.
“I don’t think I have the time for that. I might have to do something tonight,” Shego answered. She was not sure when Drakken and Senior were planning to make their moves, but they might do it once all of the weapons were stockpiled at Senior’s home. So, there was a chance that she would probably have to leave earlier than she tended to.
Kim pouted slightly, which Shego noticed, but the teenager did not seem to know that she was wearing such a pathetic look. Shego found herself reacting strangely to the expression. She felt regret that she might have to leave earlier than usual.
“What do you think you might have to do?” Kim asked.
“Something stupid and fun. Don’t worry about it. When it’s all over and done, I’ll come back and get you out of this gilded cage. We can sit up every night and watch the stars,” Shego replied. It was somewhat of a promise and she was sincere about it, which the musician could tell just from the sound of the bodyguard’s voice.
Kim felt something weird go through her body. Was it hope and remorse at the same time? She hoped that she could sit with the bodyguard and watch the stars again, but she also felt some remorse over what the bodyguard would go through if he was caught up in the plot to overthrow the government. She now knew that she just could not let that happen. She could not let him get caught or she would regret it for the rest of her life.
“Yojimbo-san, can I pour you a drink?” Kim asked.
“Um…sure,” Shego answered.
Kim went to do as she offered. Shego was a little suspicious about the eagerness of the little maiko. She decided against commenting on it since the point of her coming out was for her get a drink and to see her “Akako-chan.” It was a win/win situation if the girl was offering to do things instead of having something smart to say.
“What about food? Would you like something to eat too?” Kim asked.
“Sure,” Shego agreed. She was a little hungry and if she did have to do anything tonight, it would be a good idea for her to have something in her stomach.
“Okay, I’ll go get some.”
Shego arched an eyebrow. Okay, it was official, Akako had been taken over by a demon, she figured. It was the only way to explain why the redhead was acting the way that she was. She was going to have to ask about the odd behavior the petite maiko was exhibiting. But, she did not really get around to it because when the food came, she started eating.
Kim watched the bodyguard eat while picking up her shamisen. She began playing a soft melody, but stopped every so often to make sure that there was drink in the bodyguard’s cup or to get more food. She also made sure to offer up conversation by asking about things that she figured out interest the bodyguard, like the stars, or the shamisen, or weapons, and just about everything else that she could come up with. It was going pretty well. “Yojimbo-san” relaxed and eventually the bodyguard fell asleep. That was just what Kim wanted.
Betty gave the signal for her troops to move in. They had surrounded the Seniors’ manor and they were watching men bring in a lot of crates. They were going to find out what was in those crates before arresting everyone in the place. After all, if it turned out to be something other than weapons, then they missed their chance to find out what the secret weapons were.
Betty pried open one of the crates as she slipped into a storage room. She picked up one of the pieces of cargo. It looked like a rifle as far as she could tell, but it had been modified greatly. She picked up another one to see the same thing. Apparently, not only were they serious about taking over the government, but they were prepared for it.
“Good thing we caught this before it got out of hand,” the one-eyed woman muttered to herself.
Betty let her people know that it was time to take prisoners and they needed to do it quietly and quickly. She did not want to give anyone a chance to use the weapons. So, her people did try to take everyone on the manor quietly, but with so many people to capture, it was virtually impossible to take everyone fast enough to where others were not alerted.
Fighting broke out within minutes of the operation commencing as the guards and soldiers around the manor realized there was an attack. As orders went out for them to protect their lord, Betty went after the elder Senior. She trusted Will to go after the younger Senior, especially since Will knew what the young man looked like. There were already orders left by Betty for all of her agents to be on the lookout for a blue fellow.
The blue fellow was trying to make his getaway when he noticed all of the commotion going on. He crept to a secret door, thinking that he was about to make it out of the chaos. And then he opened the door.
“I don’t think you want to go this way,” government agent Barkin Steve commented. He was standing inside the secret passage, cracking his knuckles.
“Not the face!” Drakken pled when he saw that he was about to be hit.
Barkin shrugged and punched Drakken in the stomach. The inventor coughed in pain, muttered the name of his bodyguard, wondering where she was, and then he passed out, which was what Barkin expected. He tied Drakken up and decided to wait to see if anyone else would come his way for him to beat up. He could use the action and it turned out that he picked a good place to wait up.
Junior came running to the same secret passage while Will was being held up by guards. Barkin did not even know who Junior was, but he knew that he was expected to stop anyone not working under Betty. Junior was not an agent, therefore had to be stopped. He ran right into Barkin’s fists while trying to get out of the house.
Junior did not fall from one hit like Drakken did. Amazingly enough, Junior’s thick muscles were beyond show. He pulled out a knife to fight against Barkin, who was caught by surprise with the concealed weapon. Junior was about to go on the attack, but he suddenly dropped to the floor.
Behind Junior stood Will and when Junior hit the floor, there was a needle shuriken in his shoulder. Will had hit the large young man with the needle. Barkin looked down at the collapsed male.
“Did you…?” Barkin asked. He was curious about Junior’s status and if that shuriken was laced with deadly poison.
“He’s only unconscious. She wants him alive. What about the blue one?” Will inquired.
“Yeah, he’s alive too,” Barkin replied.
Will nodded. They had kept alive two main people that Betty had sent them after. She had done the same with the elder Senior, but his capture did not mean that his men stopped fighting. In the midst of all of the battling, some lanterns were knocked over and the house began to burn.
Shego woke up to find her head being cradled in Kim’s lap, which was almost unsettling in comfort. Her hat was over her head, but she was not sure if that meant that the maiko had not looked at her face completely. She sat up and looked at the redhead, who was humming to herself while looking off to the side.
“Oh, you’re awake,” Kim commented as the bodyguard rose off of her.
“Yeah,” Shego replied while fixing her hat and looking around for her mask. “Did you look, Akako-chan?” she inquired.
“You were so curious before, so did you take your chance to look at my face?” the bodyguard clarified.
“No,” Kim answered honestly. “I hope that one day you’ll trust me enough to show me someday.”
“Someday. But, I have to leave tonight. I’ll come see you again soon and take you outside again,” Shego promised.
Kim only nodded, wishing that she could actually do more, such as hug him at the least. Tonight might actually be the last time that they saw each other, if everything went down as it was supposed to. With luck, she had saved the bodyguard from a horrible fate, though.
Shego quickly exited the teahouse and was about to return to the lair since Drakken had not sent word for her. When she hit the outside though, she noted all of the commotion. Apparently, there was a fire, so she went to go check that out. She was surprised when she got closer to the fire and she saw what was burning, the Seniors’ home. She was could not believe her eyes.
“This isn’t good,” Shego muttered.
Next time: Shego to the rescue.