The action shifts to Tanzania as Danika and her new assistant go on the hunt for Zanzibar’s deadliest acid bomber
Little does she know that unseen forces are conspiring to lead her to a far more rewarding job
Meanwhile the Wishing Demon and his human associate Zimmerman retrieve a deadly artefact from the cave of the First Scribe
Zanzibar City, Zanzibar, Tanzania
Jonathan watched as Danika arranged transport to the hotel on the taxi lot outside Zanzibar International Airport. On the plane he had formed an opinion about his rescuer, he found Danika very distant and that she was carrying some-kind of sadness, one that he wasn’t willing to prise into. On the plane she had mentioned something about hunting a terrorist in the streets of Zanzibar, one who had been attacking Western tourists. After what seemed like an age, Danika found a taxi driver willing to take both of them to the hotel that had been set aside for the assorted mercenaries and hunters that had descended on the island to hunt for their illusive prey.
“So what do we do when we find this terrorist?” Jonathan asked as the cab headed towards the historical part of the city.
“She is illusive, the local government has a hotline regarding her. Once we’ve detained her we call it, the police take her and we get the bounty and leave.” Danika replied as she removed a tablet from her bag and pulled up a profile photo of a dark skinned woman wearing a pair of overalls and a pair of dark glasses over her eyes. “The government have called her ‘the Rinkhals’ after a particular nasty species of spitting cobra.” She added as she looked out of the window at the nearly abandoned streets. “Are we stopping? We’re not at the hotel yet?” She asked as the cab came to a stop.
“There is an obstruction.” The driver stated as two men wearing wide brimmed hats, cotton trousers and hunting jackets, their faces covered with bandanas walked up to the driver’s door, their hands wrapped round a pair of pistols.
“Toll please!” One of the bandits asked, as the driver wound the window down. “Since we’re here saving your city I think we deserve a little something for staying in this dump. You can refuse of course, but you might not like the consequences if you do.” He added, as Danika slipped out of the car, her exit drawing the gunmen’s attention. “Lady get back in the car or we’ll have to take a little extra toll money from you as well.”
“David and Ryan Hunter, I’m surprised you don’t know me from my reputation.” Danika sighed as the man turned his weapon on her. “We are guests here in this country, you shouldn’t be stealing the livelihood of the people who work and live here.”
“Sedova, we can recognise you from your bleeding heart!” One of the gunmen hissed as he lowered his weapon. As he did Danika delivered a snap kick to the man’s face, the blow cracking his nose. Reacting quickly, his brother went to smack her in the neck with the butt of his gun, only for his target to grab him by the arm and break it, before slamming him into the hood of the car.
“And now you can recognise me by the bruises I just gave you.” Danika replied, as she opened the back door. “Jonathan grab the bags out of the boot,” she stated as she removed a wad of cash from her bag and handed it to the driver. “This should cover our journey and a trip to the hospital.” She added, as she shouldered the bag Jonathan had removed out of the car before heading towards the interior of Stone Town. “Stick close to me Jonathan, this town is crawling with mercenaries and bounty hunters with less than honest motives.”
“Would they openly target us?” Jonathan asked as the cab-driver helped the Hunter brothers into the back of his taxi.
“Most wouldn’t, but on a big job like this one there would be a few who would try and reduce the competition.” Danika told him as a team of mechanics walked out of a nearby garage, followed by a man dressed in leather trousers and a bulletproof vest, a sledge hammer resting over his shoulder. “Of course there is always those you have a personal relationship against such as Zimmerman.” She added, as the man ran his hand over the bonnet of the jeep. “Head up to the hotel, I will meet you up there, she added as she walked over to the parked Jeep, her hands resting on the sidearm holstered on her hip. She got within fifteen meters before Zimmerman turned round, a stub nosed revolver pointed at her head, the cruel barrel overshadowed in wickedness by the smile on the big Texan’s face.
“Well looks like there’s all kind of vermin out here in Africa.” Zimmerman sneered as Danika removed her hand from her pistol. “Smart move Danni, I don’t want to have to get into a fire-fight right outside the hotel.”
“Neither do I.” Danika replied. “I’d much prefer to slip a blade between your ribs for what you did!” She hissed, malice dripping like venom from her words. “But out of professional courtesy and respect for our client I’ll refrain from doing that!”
“Your client is different to my client. I ain’t here to chase some backwoods bottle smasher.” Zimmerman replied, the revolver still trained on his former partner’s head. “And out of professional courtesy, not to mention respect for my client I ain’t telling you no more than that.” He added as the Wishing Demon stepped out of the car rental agency, a few blue sparks running up and down his arms and the sword holstered across his shoulders. “Now excuse me, we have to leave.” Zimmerman sneered as the local porters closed the back of the vehicle up and handed the big man a set of keys and a bundle of well-worn maps. Lowering his gun, Zimmerman climbed into the cab and started the engine, whilst the Wishing Demon shot Danika a look before skulking away towards the passenger seat.
“Who was that?” The Demon asked his partner as he closed the door.
“Former friend of mine, we had a falling out over a business mater.” Zimmerman replied as he checked to see where Danika was in the rear view mirror, before throwing the vehicle into reverse straight towards her, his target leaping out the way just in time, dust staining her clothes and skin. “She won’t be a problem, she’s occupied by some local matters by the sounds of it.”
“If that is what you believe then I will trust your judgment.” The Wishing Demon stated as Danika stood up and threw a stone picked up from the roar at the car, the projectile bouncing off the back window. The first missile was joined by three more, the first one striking the roof, whilst the second went long and low, bouncing off the bottom of the vehicle as Zimmerman threw the car into first and drove away.
The last fell short and Zimmerman wound down the window and sneered back at Danika, only for a fifth stone to come flying at him, the master mercenary getting inside just in time, with the rock smashing the driver’s side door mirror instead.
“You were saying?” The Demon purred, a look of amusement hidden on his face under the mask he wore.
“No more than that at least!!” Zimmerman growled as he drove towards the bridge off of Zanzibar and out towards their destination in the country.
Danika was in a terrible mood as the pair of them walked through the market, her eyes glowering as she went from stall to stall. As he’d waited for her at the hotel Jonathan had googled Zimmerman and found a long list of captures that the bounty hunter had brought in not to mention a few mentions of teaming up with Danika, whatever had gone down between them hadn’t been revealed but he assumed that it was something unpleasant. Walking past a stall full of knock of mobile phones, his gaze gravitated to a cheap model and pulled out a handful of shillings and handed them to the vendor.
“What are you doing?” Danika called as she glowered at him.
“Blending in and getting a few things I need.” Jonathan replied as he took the change from the vendor before having the phone taken from him.
“Not now.” Danika replied as the vendor removed a handgun from behind the stall and opened fire, the acid filled pellets spraying across the street causing the master mercenary and her assistant to hit the deck as their attacker, vaulted over the stall and got ready to deliver an execution strike. Reacting quickly, Danika swung her feet upwards and pulled the assassin down onto the floor, before struggling to her feet. “Speed Dial Eight!” Danika ordered as she kicked her bag towards Jonathan. “Hurry!” She added, as Rinkhals removed a stave strapped to the leg of her overalls and swiped at her opponent, as both women got to their feet.
“I’ll be seeing you.” Rinkhals hissed as she took a stab at Danika, the thick head of the weapon exploding as her target parried the blow sending the strike into the store, the wood and plastic of the stall bubbling as the materials were eaten away by the acid.
“I don’t think so.” Danika snarled as he landed a kick into the assassin’s chest, the blow staggering her.
“I agree,” A voice replied as a hail of mercy bullets streaked across the street, several of the rounds striking Danika with enough force to leave a series of welts across her body. Shooting her a look and then glowering up at the mystery shooter, Rinkhals bolted heading deeper into the old city. Groaning Danika turned to Jonathan to see him typing a number into her phone.
“No!” Danika snarled, as she snatched the phone from him.
“I don’t know why you are so concerned!!” Jonathan snapped, “I want to go home, I don’t want to be shanghaied by some Russian b***h!! I want to see my family, I don’t want to work with you, I want to go home!”
“You can’t go home!” Danika snarled. “Your father wanted you killed, he didn’t want me to rescue you he wanted me to execute you. You call him up and he will send someone to do the job I wouldn’t do!”
“I don’t believe you!” Jonathan hissed.
“I can prove it.” Danika told him as she dialled the number he had inputted, the phone ringing once, twice before the person on the other end picked up. “Senator Ian Travers,” Danika asked in the New-York accent she had used in the Dragon Casino back in Macau, “it’s done.” She continued as she tapped the speakerphone on.
“Where did you leave him?” The man on the other end asked.
“You don’t want to know, let’s just say he’s six-foot under and will never see the light again.” Danika told him. “I’d like the other half of the money you promised for completing the contract.”
“It will be sent to you Miss Valentine, now don’t call me again, I have no desire to be connected to common assassins such as you.” The man replied before switching the phone off. Turning to look at Jonathan, Danika saw a look of horror and disgust on her assistant’s face. “I don’t think we need to stay here any longer then we have to.”
Storyteller Cave, 8km North of Tanga City, Tanzania
The Tanzanian dig team at the site known locally as ‘Storyteller’s Cave’ stopped their excavations as a 4x4 vehicle pulled up at the edge of the main excavation pit and two men exited the vehicle. The leader of the excavation walked over to meet them, and while the man dressed in leather was intimidating, the man in the samurai armour was worse on some base level, he exuded power and hatred in equal amounts.
“Nice dirt pit you have here.” Zimmerman mused as he looked at the partially excavated skeletons that the dig team were working on.
“This site is closed, you shouldn’t be here.” The excavation leader replied. “These bodies are a find of national importance.” He added, as the Wishing Demon drew his sword, the gesture silencing the man.
“What happened here was a tragedy.” The Wishing Demon stated. “Do you know what happened here?” He asked the man before him. “Do you wish you could?” He added the, excavation leader nodding, his gesture causing a wicked smile to form on the demon’s face. With a chant of some guttural language he sunk his blade into the earth, fingers of energy surging through the earth, clutching each member of the excavation team and seemingly vapouring them.
“With a light show like that why do you need me hoss?” Zimmerman asked as the Wishing Demon headed into the pit towards the entrance of Storyteller’s Cave.
“Because what I want is effected by no power other than its own.” The Wishing Demon answered as the pair of men stepped into the cave past countless imaged painted on the walls. Stopping at one, the Wishing Demon smiled. “Does he look familiar?” He asked Zimmerman, the big man peering at the image of a man dressed in modern clothes being hacked apart by a figure dressed like an ancient Egyptian. “They wanted to know about the remains unaware that they were their own.” He stated, as he placed his hand on part of the wall. “The Ledger that I seek was created here and moved by the second of thirteen.”
“Right, so you want me to kill this man.” Zimmerman asked.
“No he’s dead, the latest man to guard the ledger is another story. To be honest you couldn’t achieve victory against him even at his weakest.” The Wishing Demon hissed, as he stabbed his blade into the rock face, the stone wall shuddering under the demonic energy pouring into the structure. “But there is a way to defeat him, twelve ways in-fact.” He added, as the rock face crumbled to reveal twelve weapons, ranging from axes and daggers to antique pistols and rifles, suspended in an energy field. “Each weapon has killed one of these ‘scribes’, their prowess and that of any wielder are heightened to the level of our target.”
“Hmm.” Zimmerman grumbled as he removed a massive Visigoth war-hammer from the energy field, his touch causing all the other weapons to blink out of reality. With a roar he turned and slammed the weapon into the cave floor, the blow causing the earth to shake. With another growl, he slammed his fist into the wall of the cave, the stone cracking on contact.
“Satisfied?” The Demon asked as Zimmerman slotted his new weapon next to his original hammer.
“Where to next hoss?” Zimmerman asked.
“The Kingdom of Bhutan and our destiny.” The Wishing Demon hissed, malice radiating off of his voice as the pair of them headed out of the cave.