Part Three:
BITTER
TO THE CORE

“Don’t wake up Penn. Stay with me.”
Her words ringing in my head are not useful right now. Right now I need to focus

Outside the Tea House we both stand. Mao is confused. He rarely is so I feel accomplished at making the lanky yet confident man anxious. I can tell by the look on his face that he is unsure of the situation at hand. He smirks at me after some amount of silence has gone by.

I don’t smirk back.

“Something amusing?” I ask him, stoically.

He nods, still smiling. “W- What is this?” He almost bursts out laughing. “Come on, did you have a bad opium trip last night or what? What’s with this shit Li?”

I just continue staring at him.

“So you kill one of your highest enforcers and his crew and then ask some child to let us know what you did and where to find you. Why?” He drops the smile but is still speaking jovially.

“Mao, when the day is done I will explain my actions and what caused them to only one man. Eiji.”

“Eiji?” He asks in disbelief whilst taking a step forward to me.

I nod once. “Eiji.”

“Eiji never comes to these filthy parts of the city, Li. You know that-”

“He will by the end of the day. He will have no choice.”

“But he’s- He’s an old man, what is going on?” He scoffs.

“I told you. I will only explain my actions to him, and him alone.”

He looks at me seriously now. “I see. You..  You know then?”

“Would you like to come in for a chat Mao?”

He looks over my shoulder at the Tea House and spits on to the floor.

“Thing is, if I go in there… I won’t come out.”

“Well… You won’t come out alive.”

He looks flustered. “It was an accident-”

“Don’t.”

“But they didn’t know it was-”

I break his nose to stop him from talking. He stumbles over himself and falls in a puddle, messing up his expensive over coat. After some groaning he gets up and walks past me in to the shop. Mao knows when to fight and when not to. He’ll put up a weak fight inside out of honour to himself, I would expect nothing less of him.

He takes a seat at the table that me and Lady sat at and I sit across from him. He holds his broken nose in one hand and tries to stop the blood gushing.

“I’m a message then?” He asks.

I nod.

“And you are going to deface my body somehow?”

“Correct.”

He laughs. “What are you going to do? Hang me from the roof top?”

I stare at him quietly and he drops his smile.

“I’m not a fighter.” He whispers.

I lean forward. “I am.”

Mao sighs and leans back. “When you get the chance… Make it quick.”

“As you wish.” I reply whilst getting to my feet and making a clearing of tables. He slowly gets to his feet and walks over to me. He swings once and I dodge his fist, sending a punch towards his side. He leans over and grunts and I spin around him, placing a hand on the top of his head and another on his jaw. A quick snap later and he falls to his knees and then to the floor dead.

Mao’s body blows lightly in the wind. The noose around his neck keeps him hanging in front of the shop window and a few residents of the slums come out to see what’s happening. I exit the shop and walk to them.

“Spread the word!” I call out. “Li Penn has murdered Zin Mao!”

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