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@DoomFlavored
Weird question: Are there a set list of elements, or will it be like in the shower were basically anything could be made into a type of slayer magics?


Ah, yes, the famous shower dragon!

For reals though, hi all! All looking good, Bam.

Burai Kasei
Chakra Levels: 65%



The impact was so sudden that it was all he could do to disperse his chakra skin before his teammate sent them both crashing to the ground. Sheer instinct alone stopped the Lance from burning Kenshiro as Burai retracted it, the water retreating up his arm with it, still affected by his practise seals. And it was only his respect for the boy, coiled as it was around a lance of indignance, that kept him from lashing out as they rolled into a nearby trench. He snarled, but took the shove in his stead. There were more important things to worry about. (Any other day, he would have laughed at the quiet shiver lanced down his spine as he refocused on his Sense- The Traitor.)

"Burai quit your goddamned grandstanding!!!"

The darker boy tensed, anger coursing through him, but he held his nerve. The Hyuuga - and damn him for it, the smug prick - was right, in every way that mattered. Kenshiro-san's admonishment was as concise as it was cutting, and he hated to admit that it was entirely truthful: Burai had no reason to believe he could defeat that woman, and he seriously doubted Shiori would choose Ken-san's survival over her own. He gritted his teeth, and bowed his head.

"We're a team. I should act like it." A slightly hysterical smile crossed his lips. Isn't that what had started this? What had put them all in danger? Burai had believed it was the solution to the test then; now, it might just get the two, (three) of them out alive. He flared his chakra skin. It felt right.

Kenshiro's plan was both simple and brutal, (How very Kasei of him!). Burai approved.

"Oh, we'll kill her alright. Just you watch" A strange energy pulsed through him then; a hot, writhing thing that reminded him, somehow, of his mother. 'Go down fighting, Burai, or not at all', he told himself, and prepared to move. As Kenshiro launched himself out of the trench, he raised his voice. "My thanks for the save, Hyuuga-san!"

Burai leapt.

The traitor was ahead of him, hurling logs around like a maniac, and he smirked weakly as his teammate began to mould chakra just ahead of him. Splinters cracked through the air around him as he dashed towards the enemy, dodging the largest even as smaller shards turned to dust against his chakra, wooden cores slapping against him with enough force to bruise. A grim part of him noted Shiori's presence off to one side, doubtless plotting something, but the larger part remained fixated on Suto. Her chakra was flowing hard and fast, almost jubilant in its movements. She was enjoying this!

A strange calm washed over him then. It was like... like something had snapped. Kenshiro was lining up an attack, and Burai realised quickly, (as he knew he should), that doubling the frontal assault would be distracting at best and fatal at worst. But distracting her... 'I'm going to burn her stinking heart out of her chest!' Behind her was a log. Unassumiung, but ideal for his purposes. It was, after all, still marked by his tracking pulse from earlier. for the second time in minutes, his hands blurred through familiar seals.

"Substitution!" A grin crossed his face, and he marvelled at the sheer freedom of it all! Kenshiro was building something. Something brutal. Something he needed to hit! Burai felt for the water he'd captured earlier. Most had dispersed, but enough remained for his purposes.

Distract.

Incapacitate.

Kill.

He was a Ninja. A protector. This was his duty.

His hands flew through his mother's seals. The familiar lance of burning chakra extended from his off-hand, even as he relinquished his hold over the chakra-infused water that was now flowing down his other arm.

Ken's attack was ready, now, he knew.

So was his.

"Don't you dare turn your back on me, you bitch!" he yelled. It was a gamble, but a necessary one. Drops of caustic water fanned from his right hand at her eye level. Provided she turned to face him, she'd be even blinder than he was.

His left hand coursed towards a different target. A shining, malign mass that consumed his sight. The heart. 'I'll burn it out, you swine.'

He leapt forward.

"Kasei Hiden: Disintegrating Spear!"


Takayuki Mekakushi



Once again, Takayuki couldn't help but marvel at how lucky he'd got with this batch of Genin. Every one of them seemed attentive, inquisitive and, (perhaps most importantly), eager to learn! His eyes flickered over his students' faces, taking in their reactions to his little speech and the emotions that resulted. Truth be told, he was somewhat worried that he'd overdone it by dumping so much on them so soon. Teamwork was important to him, and he couldn't help but let his enthusiasm carry him away from time to time. And they'd just done so well! Regardless, the kids seemed happy enough, and he hoped the little chats he planned to have with each of them later on that day would assuage any major concerns they had left over.

Quite predictably, Akira spoke up first, his energy almost infectious in its pervasiveness. A part of him couldn't help but melt when the kid pinned his medal to his lapels. His question, while preceded by the kind of flattering splurge one would expect from a child his age, was a fair one though, and it took the man a second to find an answer that wouldn't discourage his youngest student.

"Thank you, Akira, that's very kind of you to say." He smiled appreciatively at the boy. "I'm afraid the techniques I use to achieve my speed are bloodline-specific, and took me a long time to create. That said, a lot of your training will be focused on getting you quick and nimble, so there's nothing to worry about on that front!" He only hoped the kid wouldn't be too disappointed. And who knew, perhaps Wood Style had the potential for high speed propulsion? Something to be followed up later.

He turned his attention next to Rashiku, (and he really had to try not to flinch at the fiery glare he was getting), and he had to admit that he certainly gave some food for thought. Truthfully, he rarely considered such things unless a situation was very clearly off. In Taka's mind, enemies were usually as plain as they came and traitors always wormed out of the woodwork eventually. Again, however, it was certainly a valid question, and he was somewhat grateful to Ami for piping up when she did. It gave him an extra moment to figure out what to say!

"You're half right there, Uzumaki-chan. Our line of work often leads us into situations we'd prefer not to be in, and it's a short step from there to working under duress proper, especially in villages like the Mist." He frowned. "But a ninja must never be so naïve as to assume their opponent will surrender if given the opportunity. I myself am more than a little guilty of killing first and asking questions later. The important part, Rashiku, is to never take things at face value. Question every order, consider every motivation. Enemies are everywhere in our world, as are friends, and one of the keys to success as a ninja is to learn the difference." He paused, fixing the boy with somewhat stony eyes, albeit with a kindly smile on his face.

Abruptly, he dropped the tension from his body and flopped into his armchair. He cast a quick look at each of the three in turn, before sighing.

"Anyway! This has already been a long morning, and I'm sure we'd all like to de-stress. Make sure to look over your schedules, and try to blow off some steam before training starts." He smiled, then started, remembering something. "Oh, and I'd like to see each of you in private this afternoon! That way we can discuss anything you think needs it." He tossed each of them a small wooden stick with a short scroll wrapped around it. Written on the scrolls was the time he wanted them to drop by. "Now hurry up and bog off, I've got things to do! Go and get some lunch together, get to know each other. Enjoy yourselves!" He laughed, jovially, and waited to see if any of them would linger for free tea.

Burai Kasei




For the first time that day, Burai found himself at a loss for words.

"I-" Kenshiro's retort was as efficient as it was effectively cutting, each word chosen far more carefully than his own had been, and he had to admit, if begrudgingly, that the boy had a point. He bristled, his hackles raising indignantly.

"I didn't-!" Who did this Hyuuga think he was, telling him how to use his own bloodline?! How could he possibly deign to understand the work he’d put into mastering that technique?! The nerve!

“You-!” How dare he? It wasn’t Burai’s fault that his teammates seemed so determined to fail this test! His reasoning was rock solid! Had he been too insistent? No, that couldn’t be it, his clan-mates had never reacted so poorly to his more forward outbursts-

"Oh." The realisation was as sudden as it was unpleasant. ‘These people aren’t family.’ How could he have been so stupid? Hadn’t his cousins warned him of the way the Kasei were seen? Hadn’t he worked for his entire academy career to cultivate an image of competence and wit? He’d been so caught up in thoughts of friendship and teamwork that he’d forgotten how little he actually knew these people and made an utter fool of himself as a result! His face contorted angrily.

For a moment, his thoughts whirled like a hurricane before he drew his focus back onto his surroundings. Kenshiro's chakra was swirling angrily as Burai’s, matching the frustration in his tone, and Shiori... Shiori seemed almost mocking. Words swirled at the tip of his tongue, retorts and explanations both. By the time Kenshiro had announced he was leaving, the only words Burai could form were "Did I really sound like Jin?" He watched the boy set off, followed shortly after by Shiori whose chakra was stained with outwardly malicious disdain.

Oh, and wasn't she her own kettle of fish? He cursed himself for his stubbornness; The girl was clearly beyond his reach. She had turned to leave without so much as looking at him. 'She never intended to trust me, did she?' Anger roiled again, hot and focused: His whole life had been leading him here, and she deigned herself as being above that?! Part of him tensed instinctively, his own chakra flowing erratically as, for a moment, he considered going after her. He was snapped out of it, however, by his teacher speaking up. He missed what was said, but turned around to give her his proper attention. Only, she wasn’t-

YAAAAAAHHH!

He cried out, a sharp pain overwhelming him as a flare of blinding chakra overpowered his mind momentarily. He doubled over, clutching his head in an attempt to cope with the sudden onslaught of sensation. A wave killer intent assaulted him, suddenly, like nothing he’d felt before. Through the haze, he could make out Suto-sensei behind the others. Was she-?

"sutooOOOOO-"

“Kenshiro, look out!”

Panicked, it was all he could force from his lungs as he searched frantically for a chakra signature. The buckets!

“Substitution!”

A puff of smoke heralded his sudden replacement with a bucket of water, moments before the tail-end of a lance of energy flashed past. Shuddering, he tensed his body, tenketsu straining as he forced his chakra skin to its absolute thickest. Almost an inch of syrup-like purple aura crawled over him, and in the second it took for his brain to reboot itself, he took comfort in its warmth.

“What… What is happening?” Had… had he been wrong? But he couldn’t have been! He knew the procedures! He knew how this worked! And yet-

Another wave of killing intent hit him like a battering ram, and he heaved, bile and the remains of his breakfast spilling onto the ground beneath him. Was… was she really going to kill them?! Then, was she a spy? Some kind of rogue?! And what about the others?! Hurriedly, he formed his hands into the Kasei seal and flared a bubble of chakra, tagging the others. It seemed Shio- Spiga-san and Kenshiro had escaped the blast, which was… relieving.

“What the hell is going on?!” The question tore from his throat unbidden, rasping and painful from vomiting. This was… far beyond him. Beyond his reach. He was going to die here, wasn’t he? All three of them were.

Uncle Jou would be so disappointed.

For a second time, his brain crashed, and he vacantly observed as, lazily, a single fat fly alighted onto the contents of his remaining bucket for a drink and-

“What?” It died! But then-?

“This water… is caustic?” The realisation struck him suddenly, followed shortly by a wave of surging, frantic energy. “Water style… is within my reach!” A manic smile pulled itself onto his lips and stuck fast. It wasn’t over until it was over, was it? At that moment, he could’ve hit himself. “Mum and Dad wouldn’t have gone down like this, would they Burai?” He flashed his hands through his Water Style practise seals before plunging his right into the bucket. The water, as if pulled towards its origin, snaked up his arm, small rivulets peeling away and dropping to the floor. “They went down fighting, and so will you.”

A manic tear rolled down his cheek.

A laugh tore from his throat, wild and painful.

“Burai Kasei never backs down from a challenge!”

With a yell, he charged back towards the others, a disintegrating lance forming at his side. Water droplets streamed behind him. He'd go for the arm. A disabling strike, after all, would be his best chance at survival against so vastly superior an opponent.

“You two! Get out of here! I’m going to put this right!”

Rokumaru the Crusher




As a Missing Nin, Rokumaru of the Hidden Stone had been in some tricky situations in his short life; from barely outrunning Hunter Nin to finding himself on the receiving end of one of his brothers' tempers, the bokken he'd stolen all those years ago had certainly landed him in hot water more than once. Rarely, however, had those situations left him in as much anticipation as this. Earthtongue was almost shaking in his hand as he held it to the earth, as it had been from the moment he'd collapsed the entrance.

Those clones had left them both unsatisfied.

Truly, he was glad he'd accepted this job. Sure, the circumstances were shady, but the pay was good enough to leave him comfortable for at least a month, and the fights it looked as though he'd be getting were worth it in themselves! Helped that the other Chuunin he was stuck with were decent company: Both of them were decently attractive (although one of them was... creepy) and they were good to needle. Not now, of course! They were up against Jounin! 'Won't be easy to kill, that's for sure.' He rolled his current twig between his teeth and grinned.

He was already quivering with excitement.

He was broken from his thoughts, however, by a tremor in the earth. The seal-inscribed Bokken in his hand quivered, and he quickly ran some chakra into it, feeling the earth nearby. The entrance!

"Oy, you two!" He spat out his twig and moved to a more ready stance as he addressed the others, smirking viciously. His eyes narrowed. "We've got company!"

Discreetly, he tapped Earthtongue to the ground once, twice, then three times, feeling the lay of the rocks beneath him as the collapsed entrance began to glow hot and fall away. Almost too soon, it was gone, and for a moment, things were still. A stand-off. One of the adults turned to the other to speak, (he didn't bother to listen), while the kids around them got themselves ready to fight.

"Genin," he muttered, still grinning viciously. "This'll be more fun than I thought!"

He looked to the other two, casting them a warning look, before deciding it was time to break through the no-man's land between them. With a yell, and a pulse of chakra, he slammed his Bokken into the ground beneath him. Rocks burst upwards in response, seeming to hover for a moment as he lined up another swing.

"Sixth Brother Technique: Storm of Shrapnel!"

With practiced precision, he swung the chakra weapon in a great arc, his off-hand pressed to his moving arm in a series of one-handed seals. It slammed into each of the stones as they began to fall, and with a pulse of earth chakra they exploded outwards, towards the enemy, in a wave of sharp, fast-moving fragments.

"Bring it on, ya fucks!"
In HJM's Tester 2 yrs ago Forum: Test Forum

Burai Kasei




For the first time that day, Burai found himself at a loss for words.

"I-" Kenshiro's retort was as efficient as it was effectively cutting, each word chosen far more carefully than his own had been, and he had to admit, if begrudgingly, that the boy had a point. He bristled, his hackles raising indignantly.

"I didn't-!" Who did this Hyuuga think he was, telling him how to use his own bloodline?! How could he possibly deign to understand the work he’d put into mastering that technique?! The nerve!

“You-!” How dare he? It wasn’t Burai’s fault that his teammates seemed so determined to fail this test! His reasoning was rock solid! Had he been too insistent? No, that couldn’t be it, his clan-mates had never reacted so poorly to his more forward outbursts-

"Oh." The realisation was as sudden as it was unpleasant. ‘These people aren’t family.’ How could he have been so stupid? Hadn’t his cousins warned him of the way the Kasei were seen? Hadn’t he worked for his entire academy career to cultivate an image of competence and wit? He’d been so caught up in thoughts of friendship and teamwork that he’d forgotten how little he actually knew these people and made an utter fool of himself as a result! His face contorted angrily.

For a moment, his thoughts whirled like a hurricane before he drew his focus back onto his surroundings. Kenshiro's chakra was swirling angrily as Burai’s, matching the frustration in his tone, and Shiori... Shiori seemed almost mocking. Words swirled at the tip of his tongue, retorts and explanations both. By the time Kenshiro had announced he was leaving, the only words Burai could form were "Did I really sound like Jin?" He watched the boy set off, followed shortly after by Shiori whose chakra was stained with outwardly malicious disdain.

Oh, and wasn't she her own kettle of fish? He cursed himself for his stubbornness; The girl was clearly beyond his reach. She had turned to leave without so much as looking at him. 'She never intended to trust me, did she?' Anger roiled again, hot and focused: His whole life had been leading him here, and she deigned herself as being above that?! Part of him tensed instinctively, his own chakra flowing erratically as, for a moment, he considered going after her. He was snapped out of it, however, by his teacher speaking up. He missed what was said, but turned around to give her his proper attention. Only, she wasn’t-

YAAAAAAHHH!

He cried out, a sharp pain overwhelming him as a flare of blinding chakra overpowered his mind momentarily. He doubled over, clutching his head in an attempt to cope with the sudden onslaught of sensation. A wave killer intent assaulted him, suddenly, like nothing he’d felt before. Through the haze, he could make out Suto-sensei behind the others. Was she-?

"sutooOOOOO-"

“Kenshiro, look out!”

Panicked, it was all he could force from his lungs as he searched frantically for a chakra signature. The buckets!

“Substitution!”

A puff of smoke heralded his sudden replacement with a bucket of water, moments before the tail-end of a lance of energy flashed past. Shuddering, he tensed his body, tenketsu straining as he forced his chakra skin to its absolute thickest. Almost an inch of syrup-like purple aura crawled over him, and in the second it took for his brain to reboot itself, he took comfort in its warmth.

“What… What is happening?” Had… had he been wrong? But he couldn’t have been! He knew the procedures! He knew how this worked! And yet-

Another wave of killing intent hit him like a battering ram, and he heaved, bile and the remains of his breakfast spilling onto the ground beneath him. Was… was she really going to kill them?! Then, was she a spy? Some kind of rogue?! And what about the others?! Hurriedly, he formed his hands into the Kasei seal and flared a bubble of chakra, tagging the others. It seemed Shio- Spiga-san and Kenshiro had escaped the blast, which was… relieving.

“What the hell is going on?!” The question tore from his throat unbidden, rasping and painful from vomiting. This was… far beyond him. Beyond his reach. He was going to die here, wasn’t he? All three of them were.

Uncle Jou would be so disappointed.

For a second time, his brain crashed, and he vacantly observed as, lazily, a single fat fly alighted onto the contents of his remaining bucket for a drink and-

“What?” It died! But then-?

“This water… is caustic?” The realisation struck him suddenly, followed shortly by a wave of surging, frantic energy. “Water style… is within my reach!” A manic smile pulled itself onto his lips and stuck fast. It wasn’t over until it was over, was it? At that moment, he could’ve hit himself. “Mum and Dad wouldn’t have gone down like this, would they Burai?” He flashed his hands through his Water Style practise seals before plunging his right into the bucket. The water, as if pulled towards its origin, snaked up his arm, small rivulets peeling away and dropping to the floor. “They went down fighting, and so will you.”

A manic tear rolled down his cheek.

A laugh tore from his throat, wild and painful.

“Burai Kasei never backs down from a challenge!”

With a yell, he charged back towards the others, a disintegrating lance forming at his side. Water droplets streamed behind him. He'd go for the arm. A disabling strike, after all, would be his best chance at survival against so vastly superior an opponent.

“You two! Get out of here! I’m going to put this right!”
Consider me interested! I've had a few One Piece ideas a-brewing, so this could be fun!
NOELLE HODGE

New York City
21st of August, 2050


Noelle's morning was, as usual, entirely mundane. Her alarm clock, a loud, shrill thing, met with its usual fate at precisely 6:30am, landing in a shattered, smouldering heap on the floor only to return to its perch, still crowing, some nine seconds later. She crawled out of bed a good ten minutes later, as she did most days, and stumbled to the washroom with a groan to splash some water over her face in an attempt to wake up. At 7 o'clock precisely, a slightly more composed Noelle, now clothed in a loose button-down one of her exes had left and a pair of baggy shorts, ambled into her apartment's kitchen and flicked on the radio to listen to the morning news while she made herself a cup of hot tea. As the same old New York gossip drifted past her still-bleary ears, she set about mindlessly cooking breakfast, a snap of her fingers yielding a flame to heat the pan (She wasn't worried about power costs, but it was good, mindless practise).

Her cup of lifeblood in one hand and a Full English in the other, she eventually made her way through to her lounge, flicking on the lights with a smack of her head against the switch. Tiredly, she flopped down onto the sofa, and downed half her mug in one go before flicking on the television. Like every other Sunday, there Soap Opera omnibus on almost every channel, so she flicked to the least annoying for some background noise and ate her breakfast with as much enthusiasm as she could muster. Time was, when she'd first settled down here some months prior, that she'd have been beside herself simply for a familiar living space and some alone time; nowadays, she couldn't help but feel bored.

She finished the last of her Bacon as some catfight broke out on her programme, and she chuckled half-heartedly before, finally, picking up her phone from the coffee table, where it had been left charging as usual. It was packed with the usual guff, along with a long-winded, insubstantial message from her father that she only half read, and, at 8 o'clock, she finally gave in and decided to get some work done. Her office was a small space to the side of the flat, sequestered in what used to be a storage cupboard. (She liked how snug it was). The computer was some fancy, top-of-the-line garbage that a sales assistant had flogged her for far more than it was probably worth, and it booted quickly, bringing her face-to-face with a loudly flashing priority e-Mail notification which she promptly ignored. She'd had the like a few times before, and, frankly, it was too bloody early to deal with governmental bullshit.

The best part of an hour was spent doing some cursory research into an esoteric fire spell her dad had suggested she look at a few weeks ago. It took a few passwords she maybe shouldn't have had access to, but hey, payment was payment, and she came out of it with a new project to work on! That done, she took a moment to write out a decent reply to her dad before deciding she'd procrastinated enough. With a sigh, she opened up her e-Mail and, leaving the pop-up for last, began her daily review of the hundreds of job requests that regularly flooded her inbox. It was largely the usual: new magitech reactors needing an overseer, a couple of private live-fires, an experiment into the effect of pain on a Daeva's natural abilities from some new-age group in Tokyo (which was swiftly ignored), and a few British civil servants requesting her help on the security front, which she flagged up as potentials. (As unique as her Time Slip was, she always appreciated being recognised for her more standard talents). There was also a high-paying job as a stunt supervisor for a nearby film shoot, and the money seemed good, so she added that to the shortlist. Only after a good twenty minutes of this routine did she finally reach the end of the list and, with some reluctance, turn her attention to whatever the CIA wanted from her this time.

When she left her office, there was an uncharacteristically cheerful look on her face, and she hummed thoughtfully to herself as she made her second cup of tea that morning.

"Well, this should spice up my month."
In HJM's Tester 2 yrs ago Forum: Test Forum
NOELLE HODGE

New York City
21st of August, 2050


Noelle's morning was, as usual, entirely mundane. Her alarm clock, a loud, shrill thing, met with its usual fate at precisely 6:30am, landing in a shattered, smouldering heap on the floor only to return to its perch, still crowing, some nine seconds later. She crawled out of bed a good ten minutes later, as she did most days, and stumbled to the washroom with a groan to splash some water over her face in an attempt to wake up. At 7 o'clock precisely, a slightly more composed Noelle, now clothed in a loose button-down one of her exes had left and a pair of baggy shorts, ambled into her apartment's kitchen and flicked on the radio to listen to the morning news while she made herself a cup of hot tea. As the same old New York gossip drifted past her still-bleary ears, she set about mindlessly cooking breakfast, a snap of her fingers yielding a flame to heat the pan (She wasn't worried about power costs, but it was good, mindless practise).

Her cup of lifeblood in one hand and a Full English in the other, she eventually made her way through to her lounge, flicking on the lights with a smack of her head against the switch. Tiredly, she flopped down onto the sofa, and downed half her mug in one go before flicking on the television. Like every other Sunday, there Soap Opera omnibus on almost every channel, so she flicked to the least annoying for some background noise and ate her breakfast with as much enthusiasm as she could muster. Time was, when she'd first settled down here some months prior, that she'd have been beside herself simply for a familiar living space and some alone time; nowadays, she couldn't help but feel bored.

She finished the last of her Bacon as some catfight broke out on her programme, and she chuckled half-heartedly before, finally, picking up her phone from the coffee table, where it had been left charging as usual. It was packed with the usual guff, along with a long-winded, insubstantial message from her father that she only half read, and, at 8 o'clock, she finally gave in and decided to get some work done. Her office was a small space to the side of the flat, sequestered in what used to be a storage cupboard. (She liked how snug it was). The computer was some fancy, top-of-the-line garbage that a sales assistant had flogged her for far more than it was probably worth, and it booted quickly, bringing her face-to-face with a loudly flashing priority e-Mail notification which she promptly ignored. She'd had the like a few times before, and, frankly, it was too bloody early to deal with governmental bullshit.

The best part of an hour was spent doing some cursory research into an esoteric fire spell her dad had suggested she look at a few weeks ago. It took a few passwords she maybe shouldn't have had access to, but hey, payment was payment, and she came out of it with a new project to work on! That done, she took a moment to write out a decent reply to her dad before deciding she'd procrastinated enough. With a sigh, she opened up her e-Mail and, leaving the pop-up for last, began her daily review of the hundreds of job requests that regularly flooded her inbox. It was largely the usual: new magitech reactors needing an overseer, a couple of private live-fires, an experiment into the effect of pain on a Daeva's natural abilities from some new-age group in Tokyo (which was swiftly ignored), and a few British civil servants requesting her help on the security front, which she flagged up as potentials. (As unique as her Time Slip was, she always appreciated being recognised for her more standard talents). There was also a high-paying job as a stunt supervisor for a nearby film shoot, and the money seemed good, so she added that to the shortlist. Only after a good twenty minutes of this routine did she finally reach the end of the list and, with some reluctance, turn her attention to whatever the CIA wanted from her this time.

When she left her office, there was an uncharacteristically cheerful look on her face, and she hummed thoughtfully to herself as she made her second cup of tea that morning.

"Well, this should spice up my month."


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