xxvi. kamikaze nights

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Kamikazes, or tokubetsu kōgekitais, were air pilots who carried out suicide missions during World War II

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Kamikazes, or tokubetsu kōgekitais, were air pilots who carried out suicide missions during World War II. Their bravery, albeit misplaced, wrought destruction on anything they desired.

We would be kamikazes tonight.

Then they fire. Three fall immediately. Thirteen more to go.

Smoothly, Ace breaks through the windows, shattering glass all over the library. All the remaining attackers are bewildered but respond quickly by pointing their guns.

Skye hits a man with damning accuracy straight through the heart. Not to mention she's wearing high heels.

"Four down!" She yells.

Chase ducks behind old bookshelves. He curses; a bullet had grazed his arm. In retaliation, he kills the man that gave him a slight scar.

"Five," Chase spits.

Four of the men begin to gang up on Ace and I. Like a slight wimp, I hide behind Ace. But hey, if anyone had to be shot, better it be the spy.

Without thinking, I blindly fire my gun into the crowd. All the bullets miss to hit the furniture instead. The four men look at me with questionable gazes.

"I'm fucking new to this okay," I groan.

Ace leaps into action at my distraction. Fighting like fire, he trips the first man and uses him as a shield as the others fire onto us. In rapid succession, he fires to kill three others.

"Nine down!"

Over the commotion, I hear Skye scream "don't step on my dress!" Then a gunshot. Never mess with a girl's dress.

"Ten!" Skye shouts.

Chase pushes a bookshelf against two men and then guns them down through the books. Pages full of text float around in the room.

"Twelve!"

Ace faces off an armed man without any weapons. Ace breaks his aggressor's leg, then steals his gun to fire at his friend.

"Fourteen."

Eager to help, I take off my shoes and attack a man with the sharp heels. Skye shoots him in the back.

"Fifteen."

All of us are drenched in sweat and smattered in blood. The scene before us is going to raise suspicion: fifteen dead bodies and countless weapons. But at least those attending the gala are safe.

Our clothes were extremely suspicious. With all the blood, we looked like extras on The Walking Dead.

"Wait... weren't there sixteen of them?" Chase frowns.

"The blonde woman," I groan. "The one who led us here has disappeared."

"She must have slipped out in the fighting," Skye muses.

"Xavier, is Deschamps safe?" Ace says through the earpiece.

"He's fine. He's about to give his speech in ten minutes; come back whenever you can," Xavier responds.

Ace digs shuffles through the clothing of our opponents for extra magazines and clues as to who sent them. He pulls down their turtlenecks to reveal an interlocking triangle tattoo on a dead man's neck.

We all look between one another. The interlocking triangle tattoo was the symbol of the Thorned Kings—these were Thirteen's people.

"Where would you be if you were a psycho-blonde killer who works for an even crazier ex-CIA agent?" I ask with spite.

We split up so that Ace and I are going to hunt down the missing assailant while Skye and Chase return to the ballroom in case of any other attacks.

"Probably still trying to kill Deschamps," Ace concludes. "Thirteen will kill her if she doesn't finish the mission."

The palace was strangely peaceful at night. Despite being comically unsafe and possibly lingering with mercenaries, the historical architecture was breathtaking. I trail closely behind Ace as we try to find the woman.

"I got it. She has to be at the balcony," I whisper.

Ace runs a hand across his stubble. "You're right. That's the only place where she can get a clear shot of Deschamps when he's speaking."

We run back to the ballroom just as when the ambassador is due to give his speech. The guards stopped us as we tried to get back in.

"No one is allowed on the second floor mam," the security personnel says.

Quickly, I flash them my badge. "Octavia Snow, CIA. You need to let us through now."

Hesitantly, he lets us through. The entire balcony was empty since no guests were allowed. Scanning the room, I spot the blond woman aiming a gun at Deschamps, who was now entering the stage.

Ace quickly lunges himself at the woman. While the two are fighting, I quickly disable the sniper rifle she was setting up. The woman puts up a fair fight; she's fast and relentless. But eventually, Ace has his gun pressed up against her temple.

She stares at me, amused, with piercing blue eyes. That's when it hit me; it's the same woman who approached me at the Canal du Midi.

My hands begin to shake uncontrollably in absolute terror.

"How did you know Deschamps was working with us?" Ace spits.

"Thirteen knows everything," she says with a maniacal smile. She then turns to me. "Not really an exchange student huh?"

"You've failed," I demand with a wavering voice. "Give it up. Deschamps is almost done with his speech. This time, we defeated you."

"The rifle's empty," the woman smirks.

"What are you talking about?" I hiss.

"The rifle I've set doesn't have any bullets. This was all just a distraction."

I go cold. Frantic, Ace and I look into the crowd. There were no other weapons visible.

The speech was concluding. Waiters immediately entered from all corners of the room to pass out drinks. People were exchanging movements everywhere. This disorder provided the perfect backdrop for a murder.

Was one of them the real assassin?

"Fucking hell. Be on high alert," Ace seethes through the earpiece. "This was a distraction. Get Deschamps out of there immediately."

"So on this night, let the international community join together in a toast to peace," Grant Deschamps says while raising his glass. He drinks.

That's when everything clicked together. Everything, from this entire gala to the blonde woman, was set up like a game of chess.

"It's the drink!" I shout into the earpiece, "all the drinks are poisoned!"

It was too late. Right in front of my eyes—Grant Deschamps drops dead.

Amid the chaos, I run because I know exactly where Thirteen is. 

Ace: "Vote if you wanna hurt Thirteen right about now."

AN: "Also buckle in for the next chapter—we finally learn more about Thirteen's motivations"

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