Winds of Change VI: Promises
Keir sheathed his knife. He raised his hand so he could see it. It was covered in dirt, blood, and gore. He made a first and looked at his elbow. None of the blood seemed to be his own. A quick check of his other extremities yielded the same answer.
Behind him, the jungle tried its best to hide the death and damage Keir knew he had left. He did not know exactly how many bodies he left in his wake- he only knew that he wanted more.
The crackle of his earpiece did not please him. They never call you to tell you to kill more, he thought.
"SEVEN THIS IS ZERO."
"YEAH, ZERO."
"WE ARE PLEASED WITH YOUR PROGRESS. JUST ONE THING."
Here it comes.
"DO NOT KILL KARSTEN WOLFCHILD IF FOUND. REPEAT, DO NOT..."
Figures.
"BY LILITH'S LONG LOCKS WHY THE EFF NOT?"
The other end was silent. "I PROMISED."
WHATEVER. SEVEN OUT."

Zero put down the receiver, and strolled outside to the courtyard of Cesar Augusto's villa. His host had few terms when he agreed to join the Sim team: he wanted to keep command of his troops, keep his resources, and he asked for regular training to keep his skills sharp. He also asked, should the Sim team ever fight the Wolfchilds, that he be granted a man-to-man fight with Karsten.
He remembered the moment. Cesar had just poured him another glass of wine from his family's vineyard. Zero had commented on its blood red color.
"Interesting how the Irish work for whisky comes from 'water of life', yet the Spanish got sangria from their word for blood."
"But wine tastes much better than actual blood."
Cesar had smiled. "I don't have much of a taste for blood."
Then his smile faded. "With one exception."

He had gone home to see family. His father's brother owned a villa in Tuscany, and Cesar went to pay a visit. His cousin Ernesto had won a contract for security of a gymnastic exhibition in Torino. After a few jokes about who was going to watch over the goombas Ernesto would staff his team with, his cousin suggested they attend the event themselves.
Armed with an all access pass and a "Security" jacket, Cesar was free to roam the halls of the Pala Alpitour. The halls were choked with giggling girls, lithe young men, and their oversized parents and coaches. Cesar slipped down an employee passage.

That's when he saw her.

There were only two people in that hall, so Cesar knew that the look she gave him could only be for him. She was not a child- she looked thin, but not fragile. Two strong legs, converging on the maxima of gluteus maximuses.
"Signorina?"
The woman was startled. She looked Japanese- he wondered if she knew Italian. He tried English.
"Miss?"
"Yes?"
"I am Cesar."
"I'm, um, Korri."
"Are you sure?"
"Here I'm Korri. Back home, my name is Kotomi."
"Kotomi it is. You came a long way."
"I'm living in Germany now. I came here for the exhibition."
"Me too."
"So you're a gymnastics fan."
Cesar smiled. Today, I will be a Kotomi fan.
"Never got to see it this close before. But aren't you away from the staging area?"
"No, I just needed to do something...private."
She smiled. "Want to help?"
"Sure."
She opened the door. Inside was a small training table and some sinks. She looked at Cesar.
"Guard this door with your life," she commanded. "And I will give you a reward."
Cesar saw her eyes sparkle. He could only imagine what that reward would be.
"I swear."