let's be professional about this

Hevn cleaned her polished nails with a stiletto, and frowned at the result. "Now just look at this," she said reprovingly. "Have you any idea how much trouble it is to get blood out?"

The fat man kneeling in front of her whimpered. The other bodies lying on the floor didn't make a sound.

"Let's go through it again," Himiko said, "just to be absolutely sure on this." She was in loose silks and gloves, her skirt slit up at the side high enough to let her kick a man standing behind her in the throat. "Midou Ban was 'getting something back' from you."

The man nodded hastily.

"And when you somehow got the drop on him -- probably due to extreme carelessness on his part . . ."

Hevn nodded in agreement.

". . . he used the jagan on you to distract you."

"He showed me these visions," the man moaned. "All about the two of you and your flesh as you stood there naked and in the leather cuffs and then how she --"

Himiko sniffed. "And that was why you tried to kidnap us."

"But I had to see more! The dream only lasted a minute!" the man whined, wet lips quivering. "It stopped just when she'd bent you over the table and strapped on the --"

Himiko hit him neatly and precisely across the back of the head. He collapsed into a puddle of his own drool. The other bodies sprawled around the underground chamber didn't move.

"Let's look at this professionally," Hevn said. She slipped the stiletto back into her cleavage. "Midou Ban was just doing what he had to do in order to get the job done."

"Oh, absolutely," Himiko agreed dryly. "I just feel that as a professional, I have a duty to my professional reputation."

"Quite. I'm sure that Ban will totally understand that we're just being professional when we . . ." Hevn hesitated thoughtfully.

"Castrate him, dip them in bronze, and use them as earrings?" Himiko suggested.

"But don't you think that hiring Doctor Jackal through multiple cutouts to steal Ginji would be more satisfying in the long term?"

"Oh." Himiko shrugged. "I was saving that for after we steal his car, sell it for scrap, make coffee cups out of the remains, and give them to Paul to pay off part of his bar debt."

"You know, Himiko," Hevn said, "this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship."