There was a slight knock on my door before a girl of about sixteen entered the room. She was obviously attempting to smile harder than she was used to. I paid her no heed and continued unpacking my belongings, mainly a spare change of clothes and my guns.

"Your food, Ayame-sama." The girl said, making me turn. I gave the girl a look that said very, very clearly, "get the fuck out. Now." The girl only smiled.

"Would you like anything? An extra blanket? Some company maybe?"

I brought a gun out of seemingly no where so fast she didn't have time to blink. She wouldn't have anyway though. I was amazed. This girl had absolutely no fighting spirit, but she had something else within her that enabled her to stand up to me. She was so determined to act normal around me. But she was so.. Innocent. She had never killed, I couldn't smell any blood on her. She was pure, but damn was she brave.

"I'll be fine." I said, looking away. I couldn't stand it. She shouldn't be able to look me in the eye like that and smile. I was death in the flesh.

"Do you need any help unpacking, then? I'd love to help with anything." I turned around to face her again and was relieved when she backed down ever so slightly.

"What's your name?" I asked her. My voice betrayed no emotion, and just enough feeling at all to make the sentence sound like a question. Her smile never faltered though.

"Ling Xiao."

"Who are you?"

"I'm Keihani's semi-adopted sister, the main electronic engineer here. I also function as the cook and hacker of the facility." I stared at her, astonished.

"You. you're Keihani's sister? He let's a little girl like you stay in a place like this?" I was almost afraid of the small hint of emotion in the question.

"Yes," She looked me in the eye, smile never fading but her face changing to show she could care less where she was. She was proud of being here.

"You fight at all?"

"Only a little for defense."

I smirked at her, careful to suppress that emotion again.

"Girl, I think I like you."

"That was the goal." Ling's smile was so tempting. It almost hurt to look at it. It was like looking full on into an eclipse. I am not loved. I am not liked. I was ashamed to feel it, but this girl, she was making me. happy.

The days dragged on and I found myself teaching a horde of thugs how to fight like men. I would not pronounce training done until they could touch me. Most of the men were small, like Keihani, so I had to teach them to be fast. Those who were bulkier and more muscled, I had to teach to be powerful. Once they landed a blow, their opponent should not be able to fight back. Unfortunately for them, I wouldn't train them the obvious way, like having the big men lift weights and the small ones run. The small ones had to dodge me, and the big ones had to actually bruise me with a punch. Now, I'm sure these boys would've been frightening to just about anyone else, but to me, these boys had a /long/ way to go.

"Ayame-sama?" I heard Lings comfortable voice ask quietly from outside my doorway one night. I opened it and let her in, silently wondering what she wanted. "I wanted to give you a little background." She said seriously. I waited patiently for her to continue. That was never all she had to say.


"And to give you these cookies!" She grinned. I chuckled with more emotion I had ever felt, and took the plate of cookies she handed me. We moved to my bed and sat, each taking a cookie. She practically shoved the whole thing in her mouth, and I was content just to watch her for a while. She swallowed thickly and began. "Alright, you know Imuragani Corps. right?"

I nodded and prompted her to continue.

"Well, they have a bout seven hundred scandals per department, and about seventy thousand departments all over the world. You probably knew that. Anyway, I heard you were called to kill Kei-kun once by some guy, right?"

I once again nodded, absentmindedly nibbling my cookie.

"Well, the guy who called you wasn't the one who wanted him dead. He was just the one who called, to make it seem like some small-time information leak cover up. There was a leak, and it was coming from Keihani. Our group had hacked into the corporation, and was feeding scandals to the police for money, because back then we were barely getting enough food to survive. It ended up the leak got so huge that Imuragani himself had to deal with it. They couldn't tell who was the leak, until Keihani accidentally slipped while he was hacking once. He only left a hint, but that hint was enough." The pain on her face revealed that this had been a very difficult time for her. Marisol would have guessed anyway. Keihani was her brother, and he could've been found out at any moment.

"Then they called us." Marisol prompted again, seeing the girl withdrawing into her memories. Ling nodded, and continued, scarfing another cookie.

"The man you killed wasn't Kei-kun. He was a dummy. So many of the men were willing to give their lives for him. it just ended up that one guy was the one you found. Kei changed his name a bit, and moved schools, and you guys gave up, because you had killed someone, so who cared if the real guy was still out there right?" She looked angry, and almost ready to cry.

Marisol gave her a dark look.

"It's my job, Ling, I don't know the pasts or circumstances of any of my victims. It's all I know."

She gulped and nodded, wiping her eyes and shoving another cookie down her throat.

"Now go on."

"Right. Anyway, Imuragani knows Kei-kun's still alive. And he still wants him dead, even more now because he evaded his murder the first time. He fed lies to the surrounding gangs. Horrible lies. He said that if he leaked information about his company to the police, what would keep him from leaking information about his comrades? He said the police had already picked up on some of the illegal activities of the other gangs, and it had traced back to Kei-kun."

"So he turned his own friends against Keihani and made him look like the bad guy." Marisol murmured to herself. Ling nodded, teary eyed still. The mercenary patted her head comfortingly and absentmindedly, getting up and heading for the door.

"Where are you going?" Ling asked, almost frightened.

"I need to talk to Keihani, and then I'll need your help. You said you were the master hacker?"

Ling nodded enthusiastically and followed, cleaning herself up before stepping out the door.

//She really is strong. I hope she's not hurt when this is over.// Marisol frowned inwardly and kicked the thought out of her mind. //She'll die eventually. No use worrying about it now.// She set her mind back to its normal emotionless state and walked forward determinedly.

After another four or five hours, Marisol, Ling, and Keihani had successfully hacked far enough and in the right places to find all the men that were in on Keihani's planned murder inside the Imuragani corps. Marisol made an anonymous call to someone she couldn't give the name of, but insisted that the person would make sure all those men were "taken care of." Then, Marisol made a record of all the hacking Ling or anyone else had done in the past month, and put an encoding on it that would prove it had not been tampered with. She copied it to a disk, and told Ling to make a copy per gang against Keihani, and a couple more for the undecided. Even one for the people who believed them, just to reassure their decision. Keihani had to just step back and watch with awe. This girl knew what she was doing.

"This could be worse or far better than I originally comprehended the situation. They could all just believe you with this proof, or they could think you had a master hacker that could over ride the tamper encoding and say fuck you. We might even be able to avoid all battle."

"Saito won't believe us." Keihani said, mostly to himself.

"Tell me about Saito." Marisol said, sending Ling off to perform some other task on the computer.

"He's the leader of the main gang in the West. The West has more gang members that the East and South together, and our gang makes up the entire North. The South is on our side, but if the East goes over. we'll be out numbered ten to one. Saito's always had a grudge against us, because our fighters are more powerful than his, and I swear that guy's got world domination on the brain or something, because he always randomly attacks us. This is just an excuse for him to kill us off for good." Keihani's eyes darkened considerably, and I could tell the boy had little hope of surviving.

"So this is why you called me." I nodded, fully comprehending the situation. All right. I've analyzed your men. Five to one and they might win. If the East just stayed out of this all together your men would have no problem. After training's over they should be able to handle at least eight to one odds. But if the East decides to go with the West, you could very well lose anyway. I need you both to keep prepping them yourselves. If they have the will to live, ten to one odds will be difficult, and people /will/ die, but you will win in the end. Just try and keep them happy until this is all over." With that, she was done, and she quietly exited and walked down the silent corridor to her room.

"Do you think we have a chance.. Kei-kun?" Ling asked quietly, staring at the door Marisol had just left through. Her brother sighed.

"I don't know."

A/N: Woo hoo! I finally finished chapter three! Aren't you just so proud of me! ^_^v eh, who am I talking to, no one reads this story anyway! Oh well, next chapter will come out quicker than the last one, I promise