A shattered moon raced across the rooftops and shone against the bulletproof window panes, partially blocking my view of the apartment within. Two hours had passed since the lights had switched off in the apartment, hopefully enough time for the sole resident to enter a deep sleep. My target was Yang Xiao Long, a gang leader of some sort. I’d heard her name, but I didn’t pay much attention at my earlier briefing, I was trying to avoid noticing how beautiful her face was. All the kills were the same anyway, scope out the target’s location, decide on the easiest way to kill them and then do it.
I worked for the Schnee Death Company, run by the legendary Weiss Schnee. Not by choice, but it was hard to get work when you had cat ears attached to your head. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade my enhanced senses and extra appendages for the world, but being an assassin for a Schnee wasn’t exactly my career of choice.
As time ticked on, I made my decision. Clearly, I was going to need to get closer to finish the job, so I would need to enter the building and shoot Miss Xiao Long from a closer distance. Drawing my grapple gun, I fired at the roof, aiming at the opposite side to Miss Xiao Long’s bedroom. Once my path between the apartment buildings was secure, I allowed myself to fall from the twelfth floor of one building to the tenth-floor balcony of another.
Since she was a supposed gang leader, I wasn’t surprised that Miss Xiao Long had a penthouse suite. Half the floor and roof were hers. And she lived alone. A hint of jealousy hit me as I thought about my modest place called home. It didn’t matter, my mind was on the job. Quickly looking around, I used the window sill as a step, hoisting myself onto the roof. I’d already spent the day preparing for a potential “break and murder”, since I suspected that Miss Xiao Long wasn’t going to be easy to kill.
I’d reached the roof. When I was up here earlier in the day, I’d picked the lock on the door to the floor below and stuck a plastic ID card into the door to hold it open. Somehow, I knew that Miss Xiao Long wouldn’t be using the roof. My intuition paid off. Swiftly snaking my way to the floor below, I only paused to draw the SDC issued pistol that Weiss forced me to carry. If I wanted to avoid putting my name on the kill, I’d have to use it.
Gingerly entering the apartment, my eyes scanned the moon-lit area. I had entered a lounge area that opened into a kitchen and dining area. To the right was a second lounge area, this time set up with a TV beside a hallway that I assumed the bedrooms were down. Plush carpet softened the floor and covered the sound of my footsteps as I took slow steps towards the kitchen.
A creaking door stopped me in my tracks. Ducking down behind a couch, I kept quiet as a shadow moved out from the bedroom and turned on a light in the kitchen. From my position behind the one-seater, I could only see the shadow of a 5’8 form and a wave of blonde hair. Irritation soaked through my brain as I heard her making noises in the kitchen. It didn’t matter where or how I killed her, as long as she died. Ugh why does she have to be a girl. If she was a power-hungry, corrupt…guy, like my usual targets, I could kill her easily. How could I harm a face that beautiful?
Silently fumbling with the gun in my hand, I weighed it up, sensing that Miss Xiao Long was minutes, if not seconds away from leaving the kitchen. Unfortunately, the allure of another pay-check was more than the pull on my conscience. If someone ordered a hit on her, surely she was as awful as they said. Making up my mind, I silently readied myself to stand up and shoot Miss Xiao Long in the head, through one ear and out the other. It wasn’t pretty, but I wanted the $20k on her head.
I fired the gun. Fire flashed before me and I felt myself fly back suddenly. As I crashed into a couch against the wall, I heard a clicking and turned just in time to avoid a shotgun burst flying towards me. Raising my gun, I fired back after materialising behind another couch, my ability to create shadow clones saving me from the initial shotgun blast. Another blast thundered towards me, forcing me to duck behind the couch.
“Come out and fight me bitch!” She yelled with another pair of shots as the kitchen light switched off.
Rolling my eyes, I slid out from behind the couch and fired twice towards the shadowy glow that I assumed was Miss Xiao Long. The bullets bounced off something before I had to slip under the dining table to avoid another shotgun blast. As the sound of splintering furniture reached my ears, I steadied myself under the table and took aim. My eyesight was considerably better in the dark than most humans, I just needed a moment to get off a well-placed shot.
Miss Xiao Long was in an awkward spot, she wasn’t far enough away that I could fire a killing shot between the chairs. All I could see was her legs, long sexy legs if I…get a grip Belladonna, stop being distracted by your target’s nice legs. That’s gonna get you killed. Forcibly ripping my eyes from the sexy lengths of Yang’s legs, I took a breath and focused on my task. Kill Miss Xiao Long and then I can finally take it easy for a week. Maybe hang out with that cute girl from the coffee shop down the road. Yeah.
Finally getting my attention back to my job, my eyes found Miss Xiao Long as I slunk between the chairs and out behind the table. Shooting her in the head should’ve been easy, but as I raised myself to a standing position, I stumbled for a moment. Previously, Yang’s face had been hidden in the darkness, but now that the moon was behind me, I could see Yang in all the glory her pyjamas could afford. Combine that with the fiery red glow in her eyes and you could call me shell shocked.
Yang fired first. Instinctively ducking down, I braced myself as splinters from the table rained down on me. I slipped around the table, launching a shadow clone onto the table as a distraction. Of course, Yang bought the bait as I drew my katana and launched into the kitchen behind her. Shotgun rounds slammed into the wall behind my clone as it faded into the air. I didn’t give Miss Xiao Long a second to respond before charging at her with my sword raised.
Her instincts kicked in as she spun and barely deflected my first blow. Throwing a counter-attack at me, I avoided her fist and dodged to the side. A short jump pushed me into Miss Xiao Long, forcing her to deflect my sword again before tumbling to the ground. Before she could get up, I moved my sword to her neck and held it there, pressing slightly so that she knew I was serious.
“Don’t move.” I snapped.
“You realise I can just shoot you with my gauntlets, right?” She asked with a half-shadowed grin.
Shallow breaths escaped my lungs as I tried to ignore the mess of long blonde hair framing the most beautiful face I’d ever seen. “Yeah, but I think you and I both know that won’t kill me.”
“Maybe not, but it’ll buy me enough time to get out of here.” She replied smoothly, her face confident and too beautiful to consider intentionally scarring it.
She was unnerving me, so I pressed my sword a little harder. “You don’t know that you’ll be able to make that shot and still live.”
“Maybe not, but you’re definitely going to kill me if I don’t.” Her lavender eyes glinted in the darkness and I tried desperately to avoid drowning in them.
“You don’t know that either.”
A genuine laugh escaped her lips and that alone was enough to tempt me into giving her something else to think about other than whether she’ll live or die. “Yes I do.” She said when her laughter had finally stopped. “You’re Blake fucking Belladonna. You always kill your targets.”