Chapter 7—Training Day

Gogo Yubari was a morning person. Back in Tokyo, she would rise with the sun and watch it slowly light up the smooth planes of the Japanese sky line, breathe in the subtle hint of engine oil in the city air. Her apartment, carefully hidden from those who paid her, was equipped with a small gym and acrobatics equipment. Gymnastics was one of the best ways to train, she had found—using her bodies own weight to train itself, and it kept her lithe and lethal.

But she hadn't been in Tokyo for awhile now, and the New Mexico sky was still dark outside her hotel room.

She made herself some tea using the coffee pot, curling her nose at the taste of old coffee in the water. She combed out her long hair and braided it tightly so that it circled itself into a bun. She left nothing in the room for the maid to rifle through, and started the car to drive to Elle's home. If the little black girl was serious, she had better be ready and waiting on the porch. Elle would probably want her to go easy on the girl, after all, she was green and unprepared. But by Nikki Green's age, O-Ren had already assasinated her parents killer, and Gogo herself was a well paid assassin. If Nikki Green had any hope of success, she had better be on board quickly. Gogo wouldn't hesitate to bury a girl in the middle of the desert. She had done it before.

When she had reached the trailer, miles from any other signs of life, the girl and Elle's kid were already out in the lawn. Elle was resting in a lawn chair with a beer, her sunglasses tight to her leathered face.

"It's a little early to be drinking, don't you think, Elle?" Gogo gracefully pulled a duffle from the back of her convertible, slinging it over her shoulder.

"Still late, as far as I can tell." Elle's smile was predatory.

"I suppose it's best that I'm not training you then." Gogo dropped to a squat and began to sort out her training materials.

"I beat your master, Gogo. I don't' need your training, girl." Elle laid back in the chair more, face turning towards the approaching sun.

"Girls grow up, Elle. And you're nothing but a blind woman, now." Gogo dismissed Elle, moving towards the children. "Kid, let me see what you're made of." She spoke to the son. Vernita Green's spawn was four years older and almost six inches taller, but he had been raised by a bitter assassin. Nikki Green had not.

Bill pulled out his pocket knife, and began circling Nikki, whose first reaction was panic. She hadn't thought to bring a knife out, let alone her mothers sword, and had now found herself defenseless. Bill dropped her without even having to put the knife to her. He smirked. He knew she was afraid, and he used it to his advantage.

"Girl, if you are going to fear everything, then I have nothing I can teach you." Gogo yawned. "You are a child in a den of vipers." She sized up Nikki. "You and I are about the same size. Watch what I do." She looked to Bill. "Come at me."

The boy had been waiting to strike at the Japanese assassin since she had insulted his mother earlier. He lunged, but she was faster then he expected, merely stepping to the side, grabbing his arm and bringing it behind his back like a fever, pushing the boy into the ground.

"His disadvantage is that he is small, that he is eager. He wishes to hurt me, so he cannot make the strike."

Nikki watched, though she was unsure how she could ever manage such a move as gracefully as Gogo had done it. Gogo was 120 pounds of pure feline grace, a killing machine, born and bed. She moved like water, she moved like liquid steel. Nikki had never thought of herself as graceful, had never imagined herself fighting a child in a desert battle field.

But this was what she wanted. Revenge was in her blood. She steeled herself.

She crouched, ready to defend against Bill, ready this time, though still afraid.

"Again." Gogo's voice was a whip in the morning light. Bill pounced.