Remo settled into his compartment on the Euro train, although it was empty is would not be for long. The only seat available for the train was a shared compartment with the other passenger from Paris going to Madrid. Thus the first part of the journey was solitary. That suited Remo fine. He settled into the first drill of Masters practice.
When the train arrived at Paris, eventually he noticed the compartment door open. First he observed the feet of his new companion. She was 24 and from the thickness of her ankles, he saw she had about 12 years of serious gymnastics training. She hadn’t studies in a few years but from the training and basic centering of her step she was still balanced. Then he observed her wrists, somewhat thicker from that training. Finally the eyes, the gateway into a person’s soul., there he saw she was filled with hope for the future.
Remo introduced himself and found she was Leslie Saint. That she had graduated from the Sorbonne and was just going for her first job interview. She went on about how her studies in Economics were going to be to her advantage during her interview.
Remo decided to spend the time on his second daily drill, working on triple awareness. With each inhalation he focused his awareness on his defensive awareness. He could not remain unaware of his surrounding, he was being targeted after all. Then with a portion of his remaining awareness he maintained a pleasant conversation with the young woman. With the remaining portion of his mind, he thought of his past.
She was so young, and although he looked 29 he was older, closer to 60. Had he ever been so young and hopeful. When he was 17 he had joined the Marines, the discipline of the Orphanage replaced by the Corps. Because of an incident in basic training, his DI (a former Raider) saw some potential and made a recommendation. Before he knew it he was in Vietnam assigned to the Unit. There he was given assignments of a solitary nature, eliminating individual enemy commanders. That was the only order he was given, the name and the location.
He didn’t belong to a unit, just received orders. Weapons were his choice, rifles or knives made no difference, somehow by instinct knew where to place himself and get the job done. His free time was his alone. Then came disengagement and the Police Department, he still felt alone but he had hoped with Kathy it might change.
The entire time he replies to Leslie, who she found him to be a pleasant companion. Finally the train reached Madrid and he discontinued his practice, focused his total awareness on the Present and bid Leslie goodbye.
The train then left for Lisbon and Remo took a cleaning breath and as he inhaled the curtain began to wrap itself around his fingers…
Remo arrived in Lisbon and disembarked the train, he thought on how to proceed with the remaining part of his journey.
But suddenly a bullet was flying towards his face. He simply shifted to the right and it missed. He took a step toward where he perceived the gunman to be. A simple push, no more gunman.
Then he realized three different bullets were again flying towards his face, He realized it was the 3x3x3. Again instinct and his earliest training took over. He started running the Scarlet Ribbon without using the Sun source. Weaving amid the three layers of attackers. He turned their gunfire on itself, but this time ran the complete technique, even after all these years, it worked. The attacker’s awareness was confused and finally they started firing on each other. They completed the attack and did all the work eliminating each other.
Remo walked away feeling frustrated by the clumsy nature of the threats. On the third step he was again attacked. Another gunman another bullet.
He proceeded towards this gunman when three more bullets flew his way. At least it was something new, someone trying the same attack against Sinanju, on the same day. Again his body shifted into the Scarlet Ribbon. Again he floated through the steps automatically, but this time he saw the fire was not directed to him, but to where his training showed him to be. Those future steps were where the attack was going. He stutter stepped dodging a bullet and then he now took control. He was not going to use the Sun Source directly except for his enhanced senses, instead he was going to run the reverse image Scarlett Ribbon which he had previously done with Sunny Joe.
To fast for the gunmen to react to with their programmed firing instructions. Again the haze of blood descended on the gunmen, but this time Remo entered the haze. Ears flew there, legs flew here. Dismemberment everywhere. Finally there was a lone gunman. Remo touched his ear and he felt as if he was dipped in molten lead. But Remo found out he knew only how to follow the clients orders. There was much money involved and he knew nothing else. Then Remo disposed of him.
Still standing near the train. Most passengers didn’t know what occurred. Those that did see something, didn’t understand what they saw. Only that night’s Sanitation crew would find those remains. The remaining passengers left the train.
An older man passed, a hand thrust flew towards Remo. The fingertips like razors from a perfect spear hand thrust. Perfect balance, perfect timing , perfect breathing for the most advanced Ueichi trained killer, 50 years of practice behind the technique. Remo felt but didn’t hear the attack. His body bent slightly forward, then turned and slapped down and thrust his own fingers into the attacker’s throat. There was no sound just death.
As he straightened up a small man leapt towards Remo’s back. Using a old attack, the Cricket. He only found why it received that name when Remo stepped on him and broke his back.
Then as suddenly as it began it was over.
Remo decided it was finished, his unknown attackers had tried multiple attacks, gaining knowledge of his Knight Tiger skills. There would soon be more challenges. He decided to take the first train anywhere at random. He was right it had been a good day to practice.
Back at “Veien Environnement S.A.”, Hercule Gineve was giving an update report to the other directors of the Night Tigers. The planned attacks against the Master didn’t work, for all appearances he is a functioning Night Tiger. Standard assassin attacks are not effective. That he handled the second 3 x 3x 3 so readily shows he is innovatively competent. Still that was to be expected. We are now going to start the second tier of out challenge to Sinanju.
The old man is another matter. He has been dispatched readily with our new drone technology and all traces are gone. We no longer have concerns about him. On the other hand we are perplexed at his travels from Dallas to Los Angeles His disappearance does trouble us, perhaps there is another Sinanju resource somewhere?
With that in mind, We are dispatching the Trackers of the Night Tigers to seek that out, if there is anything to see.
For the first time in 3,000 years Sinanju will face defeat and the Night Tigers will succeed.
He mused on the errors that initially lead to defeat. This time 3,000 years of work would change the dimension of the target.
A drone tore off the wing of the jet when the drone exploded.
Another tore off the nose of the jet. Still another exploded taking the tail.
418 people died almost instantly from the violent decompression, 57 children among them.
Chun exhaled and then closed his bodily orifices automatically fully being with the Sun Source. His only thought was the uselessness of the children slaughtered, for all children were precious to Sinanju. No one was left alive as the plane wreckage began its plunge of 40,000 feet.
Chiun swam through wreckage and bodies to free him of the plane.
Suddenly he was plunging through the air.
What after reaching 200 mph terminal velocity and with increasing air pressure would normally be seven minutes of free fall, did not apply to he Sinanju Master. He closed his eyes to protect them from the high altitude. Automatically he took on the weight of a leaf, falling lazily like a feather. The steadily increasing air pressure working like a break to his falling speed.
In time his body knew when he reached enough attitudes to safely breathe, then Chiun felt the rush of life giving air enter his lungs. His eyes opened. He had slowed t0 about 100 mph. The water’s of the Pacific ever reaching closer. With such speed he began the Wall, falling ever faster, mere physics not an obstacle.
Closer he fell towards the water. The day was tranquil on the sea. When he had fallen to about an eyelash of the entry, his body snapped over, and he transverse Chiun literally swam with the ‘Fishes’.
The waters in horizontal flight. With far more speed than a falcon, he sped across the face of the sea.
Finally he gently dropped into the waters of the Pacific. His legs moved as if the tale of a shark and he ‘swooshed’ away heading towards the location of old Mu. Chiun literally swam with the ‘Fishes’.
The two men had arrived at Lubbock, Texas early in the morning. They were from Kigali, Rwanda, their branch of the Night Tigers had merged into the Tutsi Nuiginya clan almost 2,500 years ago. Living in the mountainous region worked with the Mountain Gorillas protecting them and in turn strengthening their tracking skills. From 15 years training in Patagonia on Night Tiger training, then 15 years on their family’s specialty arts under their uncle, They were 40 when they became night tigers, Dae Hyun Night Tigers. Their names were Tsutsi . Gabiji and Habinama.
When the orders came from Hercule they immediately began their lengthy travel through the night towards Dallas.
Most Dae Hyun Night Tiger teams were 5 in number, and from mixed families depending on the mixture of arts called for each assignment. But the Trackers were just 2, from their family. The analysis was the old one had landed in Dallas, but there was no trace of his departure from the plane, instead he had appeared in Lubbock and was spotted wearing red robes. There he had rice and water in a Japanese restaurant and had paid in gold. Then all trace of him was gone. Simple deduction showed he seemed to travel in a straight line due West from Dallas. That gave the brothers a line to work assuming he held to that direction. That was were they started.
As they left town the night sky descended.
Remo slipped off the train so no one could follow. The night had fallen.
He began to run down the nearby road. Almost immediately he was doing 150 kmh. Shortly he found himself in Toulouse France. He knew what he required most, information about what was happening. He found a taxi and for a huge sum was guaranteed a trip to Geneva. He settled back in his seat.
In Lyon there was a Korean restaurant and he had his driver stop for food. He entered and was met by an insolent waiter.
“Frenchman, we don’t want your business.” The waiter spoke to him.
Unfortunately for him the next moment he was writhing on the floor. Remo appeared to just stand there. In perfect Korean he spoke to the Restaurant owner who was rushing there.
“I am the Master of Sinanju, I require food!” Remo spoke.
The owner turned very pale. “My apologies Master, while I remember legends of Sinanju glory I had not heard you were white, No insult intended. How may I assist you.” He groveled.
“Take this fool from my sight. I require plain water, simple Rice and Steamed Duck with simple herbs, a simple Korean fare.”
The owner rushed to comply and shortly brought the food himself.
As Remo ate he spoke, “Now forget I was here” as he touched his throat. He then continued to eat in silence.
When he finished, he quietly left.
Outside the restaurant I observed a cab down the street just waiting. Having observed he was being watched, silently slipped down the street.
The driver was sitting alone, waiting and he didn’t feel Remo enter his cab. But one instant Remo was seated beside the driver. A subtle pressure alongside his neck and he was in ultimate agony, as if his energy was disrupted,
“Believe me, this is pain”
Then the touch ceased.
“And this in no pain, you now have a choice. Answer me or the pain returns” Remo stated.
Not wanting the pain to return the driver began answering Remo’s questions.
“I and a thousand other drivers across France are looking for you, and transponders have been placed in our engines to allow whoever is paying us to follow your path. I never met our patron. I’m just in it for the money” the driver answered Remo. “that’s all I know”
“Well, first if you don’t want more pain, you will remove the transponder. Then you and I are going for a ride” Remo responded.
The taxi driver took back roads following a deceiving route, then Remo worked a bit and a quiet border crossing and they were in Switzerland. Next they drove eventually reaching the Bank of Sinju. There he departed the taxi where the driver queried would he be paid. Instead with a slight wave of his hand the driver ceased to be. Outside Alphonse was hurrying towards Remo “it is all correct,, Master Remo. We’ll have him disposed of immediately, this is a normal occurrence. Follow me and we’ll go to your private residence.”
A nearby elevator took them to the roof, there a replica of the House of Sinanju stood in the roof’s center.
Once inside a tea in hand Alphonse began to speak. “ We have received word that a Korean Jetliner from Los Angeles traveling to Soeul was lost over the Pacific. I don’t know if this concerns you but felt you should know this”
Remo felt a pang in his stomach, could this concern Chiun? Not knowing he just was sure nothing would ever stop Chiun from protecting their home.
“Thank you Alphonse, I have no concerns at this time. Please bring me the latest reports from the Assassins News Bureau, I have a lot to think about.”
Alphonse scurried off.
Chiun dropped gently into the Pacific. As the waters covered his head, his body began to move as if he was a great shark, He remembered the first time he learned how to do this. His father had taken him out to sea. Mentioning he was a most unworthy student many times. Finally he stopped the boat and with a slight kick caused the boat to begin to sink. His father dropped, or more accurately was sucked down into the water. Ghiun all of 7 fell into the waters. He felt his head move under the water. He flustered Inhaling what felt like the entire sea.
He didn’t know what to do.
Suddenly his father’s hand was on his back and confidence filled him. He now felt what he must do.
He started to move in a wave motion. His body cracking with power like the motion of a shark.
Then his father released the touch. Chiun shot forward now knowing what to do. He swam for the first time. Suddenly shooting through the waters. Then rising to the surface for a breath.
His father matched his motion.
“Nuhic, this is the start of your water skills. Yes, this can be fun, but I must caution you, Not yet are you skills sufficient to protect you here. Predator fish would see you as a meal, Most especially must you be wary of the Octopus, but more on that later. You don’t have to fear the shark, they will see you as one of their own. Likewise your breath control is still developing, be wary of diving too deep, your regulation of your body makes this dangerous to you. You might find the pressure of the depths too much for you. Still we can work in the shallower waters and you can work on water assassination skills, wet work.” Nuhic the Elder spoke.”Come let us see you learn to hide in those coral.”
Those memories came flooding back. After all these years he thought of his own father.
Now Chiun’s thoughts focused on the present. There is no doubt this was the work of the Night Tigers.
Sloppy thinking. They were using booms to get at him. Not understanding the only sure way to strike at him was by hand. Eventually that would be their downfall.
He rose to the surface, took in a breath, allowing the Sun Source to permeate his body. Then dove down and swam away towards Sinanju, though it was 3,000 miles away.
The Sun shone over the calm waters of the Pacific.