“Good morning, Tohoyaka Corporation, how can I help you?”
The dark haired women sat at the reception desk were busy answering the calls that came in and dealing with the various visitors as Jonathon Tanaka walked into the reception area, nodding curtly to them as he passed through the security barrier and heading for the large glass elevators that climbed up the central atrium of the skyscraper. Entering one of the lifts, he pressed a button and stood quietly, paying little attention to the view as the lift sped up.
The doors opened to a young woman standing waiting for him. She was about five foot eight, and her looks and skin tone betrayed her Asian ancestry. Her dark hair was pulled back and held up in a tight bun on the top of her head, the brown streaks showing over the black, and she wore a dark blue jacket over a light blue blouse, a matching skirt and short heeled black shoes. A pair of horn rimmed glasses covered her green eyes as she watched the lift doors close.
“Good morning, Mister Tanaka,” she said as she bowed her head slightly, moving to one side as he strode out and following a few paces behind him.
“Good Morning, Miss Elgen,” he said as they passed by a number of offices. “What is in the diary for today?” His assistant looked at the pad in her arm before replying “You have a one to one meeting with the head of Security at 10, a lunch appointment with Mr Branson, and then a board meeting at 3.”
“Excellent – I need you to place a call to Tokyo for me, and then contact Elton and find out what he wants for a donation to the White Tie and Tiara ball this year.”
“As you wish, Sir,” the young woman said as Jonathon opened a door and walked into his office, closing the door behind him. A smile crossed her lips as she walked quickly over to her desk and sat down, lifting the receiver to place the cal to the Tokyo office.
As she finished the call, she felt her own cell phone vibrate. Taking it out, she looked at the screen as an image appeared on it – a green eagle reaching out with its talons extended. Pressing the delete key, Jade returned to her work – the message had been delivered, and she understood what it meant.
The dark night closed around the streets as the woman walked down the street, her coat collar pulled up around her neck. The gaudy paper lanterns hanging from the store fronts shone a dim light on the street, but she paid it little attention as she walked along, the heels of her boots clicking on the concrete as she approached a small alleyway.
Looking from left to right, she ducked into the alleyway and knocked on a plain wooden door. A small panel in the door opened, and a pair of blue eyes looked out. As the panel closed, the door opened and the woman stepped in, stopping in the dim candle light as the door closed behind her.
“You are expected,” a male voice said as the woman shed her coat, the flames from the candles casting an eerie glow on her garments. Taking a deep breath, she walked through a second door, stopping in the darkened room as a spotlight shone on her. The light reflected off the golden eagle that was emblazoned across her chest, casting a hue over her green jumpsuit.
A disembodied voice spoke out.
“What is your name?”
“Call me Jade Eagle, of the Eagle Lords.”
“What is your purpose and aim?”
“To serve the clan and to avenge the wrong done to us.”
“What will you give to that aim?”
“My all, body, mind and soul.”
“It is good. Report, Jade Eagle.”
“I have gained a position of trust in the Tohoyaka Corporation, and have obtained the information that I need. Mister Tanaka has taken me into his confidence, and I have been invited to his house for dinner tomorrow.”
“Excellent - your plan?”
“I believe the object we seek is within the rooms of his house - I will obtain what information I need, and proceed.”
“And your plan? You have worked it out? Covered every angle?”
Jade had to check herself for a moment from rolling her eyes. “I have, my lords. There will be no problems.”
“It is good - report back when you have completed the task assigned you. What is our parting word?”
“The traitor will pay.”
The spotlight went out, and Jade slowly turned and walked back to the open doorway, a rectangle of light in the dark. “What could possible go wrong,” she said to herself as she donned her coat and left, the streets still quiet.
“Ah, Jade, welcome - may I introduce my wife, Coral?”
Jade smiled as she shook the hand of the tall, thin blonde haired woman standing in front of her. She could not be much older than her, and was wearing a red dress emblazoned with a dragon print, fastened at the corner. Jade was more conservatively dressed, in a floor length dark green silk gown with evening gloves. The toes of a pair of green shoes could be seen peeking out from the hen as it hit the floor.
“Thank you for the invite, sir,” she said quietly as she looked down. The room was filled with people in evening dress, milling round and drinking what looked like very expensive champagne from thin glasses.
“Please, feel free to look round,” Jonathon said as he waved his hand towards the open room. “Tonight, my house is your house.”
Jade stepped into the area, looking round as she did so. Most of the gathered group were of little interest to her - but the ones who were the waitresses that walked round, trays expertly balanced on their hands, their white blouses starched and their black skirts tight. To the untrained eye, nothing looked amiss about them, but to Jade some things were obvious - the bulges at their waistline, the musculature that showed through the sleeves.
Her mission brief came to mind as she walked round. Jonathon Tanaka was indeed a successful businessman, but he had a few interests on the side - one of which was the procurement and delivery of rare artefacts. One such artefact was a small, intricately detailed emerald and gold brooch, said to have been worn by Empress Teimei, and now in his hands for delivery to an unknown buyer. Her clan had been approached by agents of the current emperor to ensure a discrete return of the item, for a reasonable fee.
Jade continued her tour of the room, noting the position of the cameras. After fifteen or so minutes, she had all the information she needed of this room, but she felt she had to see the rest of the house. For this, she would need some help - and a tall, well built man standing by the door looked just the target.
She walked over, her hips swaying as she smiled, and approached him. “Hello,” she said as she looked deep into his eyes, “I wonder if it if possible for you to show me where the bathroom is.”
He looked back into her green eyes, admiring her body and her face, and not realising just what Jade was doing as she stood there. “Certainly, Madame,” he said with a smile, “Through that door there.”
“Oh, I don’t feel safe going round a big house like this on my own. Perhaps you can show me the way?”
“Of course,” the man said a she took Jade by the arm, “this way.” The two of them walked towards a pair of large white doors, the eyes of one person following them all the time.
On the other side of the door, they walked down a large corridor, Jade looking from left to right as they did so. At the end of the corridor, the man turned and said “Through this door - would you like me to wait.”
“I’d like you to come in with me,” Jade said as she pushed the door open. He followed her, the door swinging shut as she pulled him to the far wall, put her gloved hands around his neck and bent his head down, her red lisp touching his as they kissed.
She watched as his eyes closed for a moment, and then opened wide in surprise as the mild sedative started to take effect. Within a minute he was unconscious on the floor, as Jade opened a cubicle and pulled him, seating him on the toilet as she locked the door behind them. She looked at him for a moment, before pulling her long gloves off to reveal a pair of fingerless gloves underneath. Her dress slipped down next, to reveal her bodysuit and boots. She could feel the adrenaline rush begin as she climbed quickly over the door and dropped noiselessly to the other side. Opening the door to the corridor, she looked from side to side before making her way slowly down towards the door she had noticed earlier.
It was a large office, discreetly lit - the perfect and obvious place to hide a safe. She slipped noiselessly in, closing the door behind her and walking carefully to the centre of the room. There were a number of pictures hanging from the wall, including one of Jonathon and Coral Tanaka sitting and posing. She could see the likeness, with Coral’s light brown hair falling around her face the only incongruity.
“Must have cut and dyed it,” she said to herself as she walked over to the picture. As she did so, however, the door opened and two of the waitresses walked in.
“How did you get in here,” one said as the other closed the door. Jade turned and looked at them, her eyes starting to glow as she stared back. Her hypnotic powers had some uses - and one of those was to make people forget what she looked like when she had to. Now was a good time to try it, as the other woman ran and launched herself at Jade, her right foot extended in mid air.
Jade tensed herself, watching as the foot approached closer, closer, before grabbing it a few inches from her chest and twisting, throwing the guard across the room as she hit her head against the heavy oaken table. The other women approached, her hands extended in a classic Karate pose as she circled with Jade, their eyes locked in concentration.
The fight was short, sweet and brutal - for the guard, as Jade dodged her wild blow and felled with the edge of her hand against her neck, hitting the nerve points at the right speed and pressure to send her unconscious. She looked at the two women and smiled, reaching into her bodysuit to remove a roll of silver duct tape. It only took a few minutes for her to tape the hands and wrists of the two women, before covering their mouths with several strips, sealing their lisp tightly together. She stood up and checked they were both still breathing before walking to the picture and pulling to the side, the frame swinging out like a door to reveal the safe behind.
“Nice one,” she said to herself as she started to work on the dials, secure in her confidence that the two other women would not wake up in time. She worked quickly, quietly, probing and turning until she heard a soft click and pulled down the handle of the safe. The heavy door swung open, revealing a number of shelves piled with money and boxes.
“For another time, maybe,” Jade said to herself as she searched quickly and found what she was looking for - a small mahogany box, the side inlaid with gold and a crest in the form of a dragon on the top of the lid.
There was a small keyhole at the side, and as Jade walked with it to the table, she withdrew from a small pouch at her belt a set of lock picks. Placing it on the table, she worked at the lock for a few moments, until the lid opened slightly.
“Piece of cake,” she said as she opened the lid of the box, but instead of the brooch a small cloud of fine white powder exploded into her face, with no time for her to close her nose and mouth. “When are you ever going to learn, Jade,” she thought to herself as she felt her eyes closing, “Engage brain before opening strangggeeeeeee......”
“Ah, good - she is awakening.”
Jade slowly opened her eyes, her arms strangely stiff and static. As she regained consciousness, she realised this was not an unfamiliar feeling - she was tied up.
This time she was seated on one of the chairs that had been by the desk, her wrists pulled through the slats at the back of the chair and lashed together with what felt, to her touch, like silk ropes. Looking down, she could see her ankles had also been crossed and bound, and her legs were secured together below her knees.
Jonathon was sitting on the edge of the desk opposite her, Coral standing beside him. She wasn’t smiling now - instead, her blue eyes glinted like steel as she stood there. After a moment, she reached down and held Jade’s head up by the chin, looking directly into her green eyes.
“You do look very much like your sister,” she said as she let go, “A pity you do not share her skills.” That made Jade angry, as she raised her voice and said loudly “You know nothing of me or my sister, Mrs Tanaka.”
“Oh, how sweet - she called me Mrs Tanaka,” Coral said with a laugh - not one of joy, but a cold, mirthless laugh, one that made Jade feel cold. “I know more about you than you can possibly imagine, Jade Eagle - but it will do you little good. You have failed - failed your clan, and failed yourself. Enjoy your stay - it will be a short one with an unpleasant end.”
She picked up a long white scarf from the desk, and walked behind her, the scarf taut in both her hands. “We have guests to attend to, darling,” she said as she pulled the material tightly between her lips, forcing the corners of Jade’s mouth back as she wound it twice round her head.
“What about them,” Jonathan said as he looked at the two women rolling around on the floor.
“Those idiots can stay there and keep an eye on her,” Coral said as she walked out of the room, her partner walking quickly behind. As the door closed, the two women turned and mewled at Jade, expecting her to help them.
For her part, Jade looked round the room. She could see her equipment on the desk in front of her - they must have searched her when they tied her up, as the rolls of duct tape and other items testified. Of particular interest to her was the small, thin dagger they had retrieved from her boot, the hilt lying tantalisingly close to the edge of the desk.
The two gagged women watched as Jade slowly forced her chair to turn, the wooden legs grating on the floor as she moved so that she was sitting side on to the table. Taking a moment to catch her breath, she looked at the dagger, concentrating as her eyes started to glow, and the eerie green light visible to the two other women as they watched the dagger slowly start to move across the desk towards the chair.
Jade’s eyes followed the knife as it moved closer, concentrating as with her mind she brought the hilt to the edge, balancing precariously on the side. With a slight flick of her head, the dagger flew off the table, landing in her hand as she clasped the hilt with her fingers. She turned to look at the two guards, smiling as she started to saw at the silken cords that had been wrapped around her wrists until she felt them part and her hands were freed.
As she removed the now wet scarf from her mouth, Jade turned and looked at her other captives. “Bit of a taskmaster, isn’t she,” she said as she reached down and cut the cords around her ankles and legs. The two women nodded as Jade stood up, stretched and collected her equipment, storing it in her bodysuit but keeping one roll of duct tape out as she walked over to them. Reaching down, she pulled the tape away from the mouth of one of the guards and looked at her.
“Unless you want me to cover your head with this,” she said as she held the roll of tape in her hand, “You will tell me where Mister Tanaka is keeping the Imperial Brooch. I know it is here - where?”
“In... In the master bedroom,” she said as she looked into Jade’s eyes. “Second floor.”
“Over there - it’s linked to his computer terminal.”
“Good girl,” Jade said as she pinched her on the neck, the guard’s eyes closing as her head slumped down. “Just relax,” she said to the other woman as she sent her to sleep, before re-gagging the first girl and then going to the computer. Switching it on, she flexed her fingers as she waited for the login screen to come on.
“Time for a little surprise for Mister Tanaka,” she said as she started to type, a smile playing on her lips as she did so.
The long corridor stretched in front of her as Jade walked down, the lights on the security cameras blinking as they followed her. Stopping by a pair of doors, she opened them and slipped inside, closing them behind her as she took a flashlight from her pocket and turned it on.
The room was well furnished, the bed in the centre of the far wall with a large headboard, a set of doors at one side leading to a walk in wardrobe, and a dressing table to the other side. It was to this that Jade walked, looking carefully around as she did so. It was modest, a large mirror along the edge and three drawers in the bottom part. Taking the lock picks out from her pocket, it only took a few moments for her to open the drawer, reach in and take out a small pale blue handkerchief.
Opening it out, she admired for a moment the green light that shone as her torch hit the emeralds, before wrapping it up and placing it in her pocket. “Should read more Edgar Allen Poe,” she said to herself as she turned to leave, only for a sound to catch her ear, like a cat mewling as it calls her kittens to her.
Looking at the large wooden doors, painted a pale blue in the torch light, Jade walked slowly over, expecting another trap as she grabbed the handle and pulled. The door swung open, folding like a concertina as it did so, but the sight that greeted her made even Jade gasp.
There was a woman sitting on the floor - the woman Jade had seen in the portrait downstairs. She was wearing a pair of golden silk pyjamas, but her knees were drawn right up under her chin as layer after layer of rope was used to hold them in place. Her arms were obviously pinioned behind her back, and a layer of black tape was covering her mouth and lower jaw.
“Mrs Tanaka,” Jade said in her usual, quiet voice, and smiled as the other woman nodded. As she reached down, she heard footsteps approaching, so like a cat she pulled the door closed and hid in the wardrobe, a finger on her lips as she looked at Mrs Tanaka.
The door to the room opened and Coral Tanaka walked in, turning the light on as she closed the door behind her. She sat on the bed, keeping still for a moment, before she took a purse that was lying there and pulled out a cell phone. Jade watched through the slats as the woman dialled a number and held the phone to her ear.
“It’s Coral - I need to talk to her.
“I don’t care what time it is - put her on.
“Mistress - I thought you should know we have captured an intruder attempting to retrieve an item - a person who will interest you greatly.
“Jade Eagle. Yes, I thought you might be pleased to hear that.
“I understand Mistress - she will be kept for your special attention.
“I am afraid I may have let slip that I knew of you - she did not take it well.
“As you wish, Mistress. All will be in readiness for your arrival.”
Jade watched as Coral placed the phone back into her bag, and stood up. “Ruby Spider is coming to this house,” she said quietly, “We must prepare.”
“Yes, I believe we must.”
Coral turned as Jade walked out of the cupboard, looking at her as her eyes started again to glow, the green seeming to fill her pupils as she said “My sister betrayed me, betrayed my clan and killed my family. Now, how do you think we should prepare for when we meet, hmm?”
“How - how did you...”
“Hush, Coral Tanaka - or whatever your name is,” Jade said as she continued to stare at the blonde haired woman, “Hush - time to sleep now.”
She watched as Coral fell back onto the bed, her eyes closed as she fell unconscious. Turning, she walked back into the cupboard and gently pulled the tape away from the captive’s mouth.
“I presume you are the real Mrs Tanaka.”
“Yes - I am Carol Tanaka,” the woman said as she started to cry. “she seduced my husband, made him tie and gag me in here, and... and....”
“Quiet now,” Jade said as she held Carol’s face up. “I am going to get you out of here, but I need you to do exactly what I tell you to do. Understand?”
“Good,” Jade said as she produced her dagger. “First, I am going to cut your ropes, and then I need you to help me prepare this woman for my sister’s arrival.”
“What about my husband?”
“Your husband is beyond your help, but we do not have much time. Stretch yourself and then join me.” Jade turned and walked back to the bed, reaching up and unfastening the clasps of Coral’s dress at her shoulder.
As Carol walked over, Jade pulled the dress up and over the other woman’s head, leaving her in a white corset and stockings as she took a roll of white tape from her pocket. “What are you going to do with that,” Carol said as Jade turned Coral onto her stomach.
“Give her a taste of what she did to you,” Jade said with a smile, “Would you like to help me.”
As Carol pulled on a pair of joggers, Jade finished wrapping the white tape around Coral’s body, fixing her legs tightly against her chest as she did so. She had secured her wrists together behind her back, then taped her arms tightly to her chest before securing her ankles and thighs, then completing the ball tie. As she tore the tape loose, Coral slowly opened her eyes.
“Ah good,” Jade said with a smile, “She is awakening. I need you to deliver a message for me, Coral, or whatever your name is.”
“Oh,” the blonde said as she looked at Jade with a look that could kill, “and what is that?”
“I am coming - be ready. Carol?”
“This is for the last three days, bitch,” Carol said as she pushed a balled up scarf into Coral’s mouth, before covering the cloth and her mouth with tape, wrapping it tightly around her head. Pushing her over onto her side, Jade and Carol turned - to see Jonathon Tanaka standing there, a gun in his hand.
“I don’t know how you got free,” he said a she looked at the two women, “but...”
“Oh, shut up,” Jade said as she kicked him in the gut, sending him to his knees as the breath left his body. Carol walked up, and much to Jade’s surprise kicked him in the gut as well, saying “This is for that bitch,” before turning and leaving the room with Jade.
“What did you mean, my husband is beyond my help,” Carol asked as the two women walked down the corridor.
“Before I came to the room, I sent certain information to the local law enforcement officers of your husband’s business dealings. I’m not sure who he is going to fear most - the IRS or my sister.”
Jade stood in the spotlight, looking into the darkness.
“You have done well, Jade Eagle, even if you have shown - some ill judgement in planning. The brooch has been safely returned, and we will ensure the safety of Mrs Tanaka.”
“and my sister?”
“I regret our agents were too late - when we arrived the woman had gone, and Tanaka was alone. The search continues.”
“As it always will, Lords,” Jade said as she bowed and left the room. Pulling on her coat, she accepted an envelope as she walked out - her next assignment awaited her.