A dull sensation tapped at her mind suddenly. It became stronger as her mind started to wake up. It echoed softly through her body until her senses sharply returned. Something or someone was slapping her.

"Wakey wakey, kid." Chiharu flinched and opened her eyes finding herself in new surroundings. "There we are, seems Yuichi hit you pretty hard." She saw the teen that appeared to act like the leader look over his shoulder at the short one called Yuichi, who wielded the pipe before.

He shrugged back to Yuki. "She resisted...a lot."

Yuki looked back down at Chiharu from his knelt position, still taller than her as she was seated on the floor. "Yeah, you caused quite a lot of trouble for us. So who are you, kid?" He stared at the young ninja with a piercing gaze that measured him with more than a little experience.

Chiharu still worked on figured out her situation and looked down. None of her body was allowed to move very much as a metal beam wrapped around her upper torso and arms and then again with another jabbed into the concrete floor pinning her legs. She tried to shift her body and test the strength, but found it unusually sharp cutting into her clothes even though it a blunt piece of metal.

The gang leader raised a finger poking her nose. "I wouldn't do that unless you don't like your limbs. See my friend back there can make anything he wants into a cutting edge, even if it doesn't make sense. Fantasy world's a bitch, huh?" Seeing that he had Chiharu's attention now that she stopped moving, he lowered his finger and leaned in. "Now then, shall we have a chat?"

She remained silent, not planning to give into interrogation. Around the room that they tied her up in, she could finally see everyone. Yuki in front of her had a short haircut buzzed along the sides and a couple of scars along his eyebrow and lip, probably from fights. He looked to stay simple with his dress having what amounted to street clothes. For a gang member and leader, he did not seem to have the same sort of air that she expected. She expected someone that was cocky and arrogant, easy to manipulate, but he so far seemed to be none of those things. Perhaps, that was why he made a valuable pair of eyes for the broker.

On the right of him was the one he called Yuichi with shoulder length and tied back hair, a little bit of a wild look in his eyes, yet held in check. More directly behind Yuki were two women that were the final parts of the gang that she had not found, though it remained unclear which had the scanning power. And then on the left was the energy user.

A lot of unknowns appeared and while she did not like being captured, it sort of worked out for her. 'If I can find a way to work with them, I'll be able to get more information about them. Fighting five of these guys at the same time is not going to be easy...I could really use some backup with this.' Chiharu had one problem. This was not her strength or experience. Had it been her grandfather, he would have been able to find a way, but she was not him. She still continued to fail as a leader of her clan.

Chapter 603 - Twinkling Shadows

Yuki did not seem to like her silence and pulled out her tanto from its sheath and stabbed it into the ground, though it more rattled than pieced anything. "It's no use trying to act like you're scared or just wandered in by mistake. You had quite a few things on you." He pointed with the blade over to the laid out arrangement of all of her equipment. "You're on a mission and I want to know who it was that hired you."

'He's figured out that much then. This is going to be far more focused than I feared…'

"If you think I have problem killing a child, think again. You stepped into my territory and I don't look kindly on that." After another few moments of nothing as Chiharu tried to figure out a play, Yuki got tired of waiting. "Yuichi if you would." He handed over the tanto to him for a moment. Nothing seemed to happen, but Chiharu already had an idea.

The gang leader balanced the blade on the ground with just a single finger keeping it from falling over. With a demonstration, he pushed slightly on the weapon and it sank into the concrete as though it had been earth. "He can make things any sharpness he wants. It gets a little weird with non-standard weapons, but I think you get the point. Right?"

A bit of sweat built up on the back of her neck. She had less concern over conventional weapons thanks to the protections granted to her, but this completely ignored that. The position he held against her was already threatening enough. 'I would prefer to deal with things another way, but I can't afford to be getting injured this early when I'm going to need to fight my way out.' Escape still remained in the back of her mind. She had means that they were not aware of.

"Still going to be stubborn or brave?" He pulled up the blade and took it properly in his hand.

A sigh came from Chiharu's lips stopping him. "You're certainly more trouble than I planned for."

Yuki leaned back seeing that she finally started talk. "And we finally hear the little voice! And thanks, I do pride myself on planning." He returned the blade to the sheath, but held on it as a continued presence during the interrogation. "What are you doing here little girl?"

"I figured someone as smart as yourself would have already figured that out."

"I'm giving you some easy questions first. Let's you and me see that we understand each other."

Her eyes narrowed a little still trying to figure him out. It was not what she expected at all. She wished that the broker had warned her that he was actually an intelligent and cautious person. This was not the sort of gang that she wanted to be dealing with. "Understand each other? And what sort of understanding is that? That you're going to kill me after this is all done?"

"You think so little of me. We're just having a friendly conversation."

"And you're just keeping me safe and secure here."

"There's very dangerous people about."

"I've run into a few of them."

"See, this is what I'm talking about. An understanding between us."

'He really likes to talk, but it's less about arrogance and more that he knows he's got control…' Chiharu wished that she had more practice with this sort of situation. She imagined that even the idiot could do better than her, he really liked to talk and knew his way around people. "You've got a strange way of looking at understanding."

"Now, now, we were just making some progress. Stay on topic."

"Topic...why I'm here."

"That's right. And do speak clearly."

Monitoring the others in the room, none of them seemed interested in making a move. The leader ran the show and they just kept to the back while he did his thing. They did not even question his methods. She knew that would make it difficult to counterattack with them all there.

Chiharu tilted her head a little about the only part of her not being threatened with the razor bindings. "You made the wrong enemy. Pretty straightforward."

"I've made a few enemies that I haven't killed yet. You're going to need to be a little more specific."

"The sort that wants you dead." She said it bluntly to watch their reactions. Chiharu assumed that he had already guessed that to be the case. There were few options and for someone in his position, he had to figure death would be the main reason.

Based on their reaction, she planned to get a good idea of what sort that they were. The lack of any meaningful action told her a lot and troubled her even more. She thought one of them might get emotional and respond, but they just remained still. It was just another day for them. 'Very troubling people…'

Yuki ran his finger along the sheath looking over at Chiharu. "That wasn't so hard. But the easy part's out of the way. Now we get to the hard part. Which bastard sent you after me? And let's be more specific this time, little girl."

'Getting to the heart of the matter now...he wanted a message...but I'm not ready yet. This is not the terms that I want to be telling them who sent me.' Chiharu focused her mind concentrating on her power as she contemplated her actions. Things had not been as productive for her as she hoped. Nothing about them really came out. She considered just cutting her losses at this point.

A small sigh came from her as she looked up at the leader. "You really don't seem to care about any of this." That point still bothered her. It felt strange that they acted like the whole thing was normal.

"You're not the first one to try to kill me. Though I will admit you're the youngest assassin I've seen."

"The world isn't a kind place right now. So it might do you well to not make so many enemies."

"I'm not too concerned with the world. It's a little too big, if you understand me."

"Small scope sort of man."

"Gotta keep your home."

"And just stay here until it all blows over?"

He smiled a little at her. "No questions from you. Answers only , kid." A small wave of her weapon reminded her that he still held her life in his hands. A death remained the only outcome from her encounter with Yuki Hirose, that seemed clear.

"Right, you want the name of the one that hired me."

"I'm getting a little bored of our chatting."

"I thought you had more to offer for conversation," she continued dragging things out more.

The boy leaned in starting to present an aggressive posture once more. "You're not going to be able to enjoy many more soon."

"That is disappointing. After we were getting such an understanding."

Her tone did not seem to go over well with him. The entire time she never really presented much fear to him, though there were moments of nervousness with him waving around the blade. But that had disappeared from Chiharu's face. Confidence filled her and he did not like that the control looked to be leaving their interrogation.

Yuki pulled out the tanto once more but pointed it straight at her this time no longer dancing around the threat. "I don't like someone that's trying to avoid answering my question."

"And I don't like being threatened by my own weapon. Seems we still have some understanding to do."

"Last chance to answer without losing something more than your weapon."

Chiharu glared back at him seeing the shine of her blade getting closer to her. There was little recourse in her mind anymore. A failed mission was not an option. "I'll give you one last chance to kill yourself before I do it myself." She stared at him unflinching.

"Empty threats, little girl. But seems you want to start bleeding." As he started to move in towards her hand likely to slice off a finger, she did not give him the chance. Before any of them could react, a burst of black spikes leapt up from around her in all directions. One of them hit his hand forcing him to drop the weapon as it drew blood.

The black spikes grew large completely obscuring Chiharu from their view and sending both of her previous attackers on the immediate offensive. They swung down on the spikes breaking or cutting them off with their weapons, but found no signs of Chiharu anymore.

They jumped back up and looked around for where she might have gone. Yuichi looked over towards one of the girls who shook her head. "Damnit, she disappeared again."

Yuki got up and went over to where all of Chiharu's gear had been, but found that it was missing as well. "She still had a trick up her sleeve. Guess I have to get her credit for not being a complete failure at her job."

Suddenly from all around the room, Chiharu's voice broke through in an unnerving fashion. "I'm an assassin. You were never in control. Tonight you will die, Yuki Hirose."

To be continued...