Rogue - A Katla Novel (Amsterdam Assassin Series Book 3)
But your death will satisfy him. His eyes bulged and his hands went up—as if to fend off what had already happened—before dropping in his urine-stained lap, where they twitched as the life seeped out of him. Muscle spasms traveled through the steel and made the hilt tremble in her hand. Wary of gushing arteries, Katla released the sword and stepped aside, but only a drop of blood welled up from the gash to stain the collar of his shirt. His last breath whistled through the ragged slit clogged with blood and phlegm.
Then—as if someone cut the string that held it up—his head sank forward until his chin rested at an angle on the blunt side of the sword.
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Katla let the messenger bag slip from her shoulder and turned to the desk, where a monitor on the wall showed a wide-angle view of the entrance. She pressed the eject button of the time-lapse recorder hidden under the desk, put the cassette in her bag, and squatted by the safe. Inside she found a money tray with cash in various denominations and a grey-black semi-automatic pistol hidden under a stack of papers. Carefully removing the pistol and the money tray, she checked the papers. Nothing of interest. Katla put everything back, closed the safe and locked it again before she turned to the desk.
She pulled the drawers from the desk and emptied them on the rug, strewing papers all over the cubicle. The top drawer containing the ledger was locked. She inserted the bloodstained tip in the gap over the lock and wrenched the sword sideways and up.
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She tossed the damaged sword on the couch behind her and pulled out the drawer. Katla crept to the blinds and lifted one of the rosewood slats. The bright morning sun turned the intruder into a slender silhouette. Long dark hair. No clue to race or gender. Dolfijn had to leave urgently… The words dried up in her throat.
His slender hands were wrapped around the wooden grip of a long white cane with red bands, the worn leather strap curled around the long fingers of his right hand. The blind man tilted his head and opened his mouth to speak, but she regained her poise. You better leave. My name is Merleyn. The blind man pressed a stud on the handle, folded the cane and moved the strap to his wrist. Merleyn formed a circle between his thumbs and index fingers. A flat disk, about this size. His face changed into a mask, all emotion fading away. His blank expression lasted a couple of seconds before animation came back to his face.
If I describe the tsuba to you…. He rubbed his temple.
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Pierced wheel design, Momoyama period. She stepped closer to the blind man. Merleyn backed to the door and leaned against the frame.
I paid for it already. The dark frost filled her heart.
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Katla flexed her fingers. The frost spread throughout her body. One blow and he would never ask anything anymore. In her mind she crushed his throat. Pink bubbles on his lips as he died without even comprehending the reason.
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Katla shuddered with the desire to kill him, but there was no reason for killing him. No reason, except sheer annoyance. She blinked and the frost retreated grudgingly.
She stalked away to the back of the store, her soft-soled running shoes inaudible in the silent gallery. Guards would be stored in the sword cabinet. She switched the spotlight back on, squatted near the two drawers at the lower half of the cabinet and opened the bottom drawer first to save time. The bottom drawer contained various sword fittings; sageo , cords to secure the scabbard to the belt; kogai , ornamental pins worn on the outside of the scabbard; kozuka , ornate handles for the kogatana utility knives; and cleaning kits.
Leaving the bottom drawer open, she pulled out the top drawer, filled with rows of sword guards. Maybe she could just hand him one. She riffled through them. None of them had wheel designs. Katla sighed and someone sighed in unison. Her head swivelled around so fast her neck creaked. She whirled to her feet, her right hand raised high and open to distract while her left curled into a loose fist at her hip, poised to strike. To her surprise, the blind man stepped back in an unmistakable defence posture—left leg in front, bent at the knee and bearing his weight, the right leg stretched behind him for balance.
His left hand hovered near his heart, palm out, and his right hand protected his crotch with the folded cane swinging from his wrist. Not a pose. There was no tension in his shoulders and he remained perfectly still, waiting for her move. No, you told me to wait. The corner of his mouth twitched as if he was suppressing a smile. I told you. Her hands shook with the desire to clench into fists and punch his smug face, but she managed to control herself. By the door.http://savekobaru.com/wp-content/lycy-chloroquine-acheter.php
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The blind man shrugged without changing the position of his hands. My tsuba is probably in his office. The blind man crossed the gallery like a hooded falcon, skirting unseen objects with the ease of someone used to eternal darkness. Katla waited until he reached the door, stepped into the office cubicle and picked up the ebony box. On a bed of velvet lay a tsuba with lateral apertures fanned out like the spokes of a wheel from the central slit, the iron burnished silver with age. She held the sword guard under the desk lamp. Gold flashed around the rim.
She closed the box, left the cubicle, and padded softly towards the blind man. Before she came within reach, Merleyn turned around with an expectant smile on his face. His smile turned smug again and he held out his left hand.