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3.

Ms. Green now had four parts of the code, and Mr. Silver had the one remaining. They would soon go one after another, and only one of them was going to survive the game they were playing for most of their lives. Mr. Silver was a young man when he was recruited. He had just finished high school, when Mr. Gold approached him and offered him the life of excitement and intrigue. And for a while, that kind of lifestyle suited him perfectly. He played almost every sport in high school, so he was easily trained and quickly achieved a physical peak. For the first several years, the agency was his home and he had no regrets for joining it and abandoning his old friends. He was living a life of a spy from a book or from a film. An adventurous life that he always had dreamed of. Yet, as the time was passing by, he realized that his childish perspective had faded away and all that remained was the harsh reality. His business was death. And he was very proficient at it.

Yet, the weight of his work had been burdening over the last decade. The agency could not deceive him anymore into thinking that he was doing good for the people around the world. He knew the truth, but he could do nothing to change it, and make his own. Mr. Silver was aware of the agency’s policy. Their agents could leave the agency only by dying. For a while, Mr. Silver contemplated about suicide. It was a hard period for him. He did his assignments, he breathed the air around him and did everything any other person does as a part of a daily routine. Yet, there was a thought, constantly following him, a thought which tempted him to end it all with a simple shot to his head. He was an expert in both slow and quick death. If he wanted to, he could help himself with that one particular problem that his existence became. Still, somehow he could not force himself to do it. It was not the fear of dying. Surrounded with misery for so long, he had become accustomed to death. It was something else. A sort of a personal test.

Mr. Silver yearned to see how far he was able to go, how much he could endure in that environment. He wanted to see how much more pain he could inflict, and how much of a lesser person he could become. And then, one time when he was on a mission of retrieving the information about the new Atlantic anti-nuclear shield, the agency contacted him and told him about the reward they would give away for their best agents. The reward was the release from service, a cleared record and a chance for a peaceful life. They only needed to retrieve the code which would provide the agency with a new weapon. Mr. Silver abandoned all of his espionage projects immediately and began searching for the code. At first, he thought of teaming up with the others from his Spy Exceptional program. However, the agency warned him that such strategy would not be tolerated, and that it was their way of resetting their agent staff. It was a game with only one winner. Mr. Silver soon got a new influx of energy, as if he returned to the mind and body state of his young self. Espionage was interesting again. Perhaps that was a task he needed to make him feel alive again. The ultimate chase for an old, tired spy. Even if it meant killing people that he had known for years. But, there were no true friends in this business.

Ms. Green was the last one to join Spy Exceptional program. She was also the youngest of the agents. Her youth was a clever deception for her skills. She was fast, strong, and above all else, ruthless. Just as Mr. Gold recruited Mr. Silver, so Mr. Silver recruited Ms. Green. Right away he noticed her dedication to tasks, and lack of empathy towards any person who would get in her way. She looked like she was bred to be an agent. Mr. Silver, Mr. Blue and the others would stray from their primary goals once in a while, but she was focused at all times, always prepared, always vigilant. It was both fascinating and frightening. Mr. Silver, as her mentor, tried to discover more about her past, but there the information was scarce. And what little information he managed to find was contradictory. Even Ms. Green would tell him stories about herself, which would not match his findings.

She was in the agency for seven years before the chase for the code began. Mr. Silver had an impression that she did not care for the reward even the slightest. It was just another task for her, another day of field work. She made sure that it was as violent as possible. Ms. Green had brutally been beating up Mr. Blue, shooting his kneecaps, putting weights on his chest, so that he could barely breathe. In fact, when Mr. Red found them and after he somehow fought Ms. Green off, Mr. Blue begged him to end his life and take the part of the code for himself. It seemed that she was capable of anything, without having any remorse. Ms. Red was a living, breathing weapon, and she was nearly unstoppable. Mr. Silver was aware that he lived through the encounter in the hotel only because she was hurt badly. However, every time she was injured, somehow her survival instinct would prevail and she would come back even more dangerous and even stronger. So, Mr. Silver was expecting the worst from their next encounter.

4.

A year and four months had passed since the last time Ms. Red and Mr. Silver saw each other. He followed her through every city and every country she had been to. He just could not understand why she refused to face him. She was not afraid. Perhaps she was training hard to secure her victory against Mr. Silver. During the last two months, he completely lost track of her. The last information he had was that she spent some time in Geneva, but when he travelled there, she was nowhere to be found.

Ms. Green was preparing. She was waiting for the right time to reappear and take Mr. Silver down. Unlike him, she knew where her foe was all the time. He did not know that she was watching him, as he would leave his apartment in Amsterdam and go to his different sources to find out where she was. And after every investigation, he would go back to his apartment, disappointed and confused. She almost felt sorry for him. After all, he was the one she relied on when she started working in the agency. She respected him, and maybe that respect was the reason why she did not attack him yet.

Still, there was no point in prolonging the silence in their conflict. If Ms. Green and Mr. Silver could not get the code, then the agency would send someone else after it and probably kill the two of them. Ms. Green was ready to confront Mr. Silver. She waited for the night to come, and then walked into the building where his apartment was. The river was without a stir, as midnight approached. Ms. Green sneaked around the other apartments, until she came to the one which belonged to Mr. Silver. Apparently, it was not locked. Slowly and quietly, she entered the apartment, prepared to face Mr. Silver at any moment. As soon as she stepped into the living room, Mr. Silver jumped in front of her and punched her in the stomach. She bent in pain and gasped for air, but she did not drop her gun. However, the sound of metal parts clicking against one another signalled her that Mr. Silver took out his gun as well. She picked herself up and looked down the cold, grey texture of his gun.

“So, now what? Are we going to stand here, like this, just holding our guns until one of us gets tired or loses a bit of attention?” Ms. Green asked. They were pointing their guns at each other, breathing shallowly.

“We will be here for as long as it takes. Where have you been all this time? I have been searching for you, and you just appear here as if you were living across the street,” Mr. Silver replied.

“I have been staying across the street for a while. I needed to watch you, to learn your new habits. You are different than you were in the agency, when we worked together,” she said.

“So, my prey has been my hunter all this time?” he smiled.

“Yes, and I have come to collect my reward. Where is your card? Where is your part of the code?” she asked in strict voice which caused a loud laugh on his side.

“Is that an ordering tone I detect? Did you come in here thinking that I will simply give it to you? I have given the agency the best years of my life, I deserve the reward more than you, surely,” he replied angrily.

“Deserve? I thought that spies earn their trophies,” she said. It was clear that the situation was not going anywhere. What should they do? Shoot and see who hits the target better? They could not wait all night to see who had more patience. Mr. Silver wanted to end the game as soon as possible. He decided to show her no mercy, the same way she would not show him any. Mr. Silver dodged the range of her gun and caught her gun. She fired a few shots into the air, as he was trying to remove the gun from her hand. He pressed his gun against her cheekbone, but she pushed him away before he could shoot her.

“Isn’t this more suitable for two agents?” he asked, hiding behind the couch. He could tell where she was. Then, he heard her voice.

“And only one of us will live to remember,” she replied from the other side of the couch. Mr. Silver shot several bullets into the couch, hoping that some of them might hit her. But, she anticipated this move of his, and abandoned her post in time. She jumped on the couch side and then fell onto him with her entire body weight. It was a clumsy outcome, but it was good enough to confuse Mr. Silver and make him drop his gun. However, his fists were still in place. He started punching her in the stomach and the ribs, but she returned the favour with the handle of her gun, hitting him over the head with it. Mr. Silver managed to grab her wrist and press it hard. Ms. Green screamed in pain as he twisted her wrist and a sound of bones cracking was heard. Her gun fell on the floor, but Ms. Green was still able to fight. Since she could not use her right hand anymore, she slapped Mr. Silver with her right hand and then kicked him in the knees with both of her feet.

She had to react fast. The apartment suddenly became too small, so she ran to the window and jumped through it. Mr. Silver followed her, and soon they found themselves running down the steel staircase attached to the back side of the building. In order to lose him faster, Ms. Green skipped several stairs and they continued their chase on the ground. Just when she started crossing one of the bridges, Mr. Silver caught up with her, and tripped her over. She fell and hit the ground, but quickly turned on her back and kicked him in the stomach as he came to deliver the final strike. Once she got up, she was ready to block as many hits from him as necessary. They were fighting on the concrete bridge, until Ms. Green saw another way for her escape. There was a boat passing under the bridge, so she jumped down on it, to catch her breath, even for a while. The boat driver shouted at her in surprise, but she dealt with him with a single strike at his neck. The man fell on the control panel, and kept the engine of the boat running. But, there was no one to steer the wheel. Unfortunately, Mr. Silver followed her, and now they were standing on the opposite sides of the boat, facing each other menacingly.

“The boat will soon lose its direction, and that doesn’t suit me. So, I will have to deal with you fast,” Mr. Silver said. The pain in her wrist was clouding her mind. Still, she had strength left in her and will to beat him.

“I think I’m going to be fine, even if you come at me with all of your strength,” she replied. The two ran at each other and clashed with their full force. The fight was exhausting for both. Ms. Green climbed over Mr. Silver and reached the wheel of the boat. She pushed the unconscious boat driver aside and took a sharp turns, first to the left and then to the right. Mr. Silver lost his balance and fell down. The increasing speed of the boat threw him all the way to the edge. He almost went overboard, but managed to grab a small pole fence and bring himself up. Mr. Silver struggled, but finally he ran up to Ms. Green and punched her. They wrestled over the wheel, while the boat speeded through the murky river. The cold water was splashing them, until the boat hit the wall of the canal and went up in the air after the impact. Mr. Silver and Ms. Green were holding tightly onto the wheel, when the boat smashed against the ground and then slid several metres until it crashed into a nearby restaurant.

Ms. Green was disoriented, tripping her way off the boat, with a sharp pain sensation in her already hurt wrist. She saw Mr. Silver moving the body of the boat driver in order to get himself up. The boat driver did not show any signs of life. Still, Mr. Silver did not have time to mourn the unfortunate man. Besides, the police would be soon at the scene, so he had to escape quickly. He noticed Ms. Green running away and pushing people in her way. Apparently, she was heading to the city’s centre. There, the crowd would protect her, at least for a while. She did not have her gun with her, but neither did he. The fists and wits were to decide the winner of the game.

She looked at her card, with almost all parts of the code. She worked hard to get those codes and Mr. Silver would not stop her from getting the reward. He was a dangerous opponent, one that would not give up easily. The main square of Amsterdam was glowing from the many lights. The people were walking, laughing, talking about their busy days. They did not even notice when a young woman with an almost broken wrist, bruised face and body came among them. Mr. Silver was just behind her. She would run if she had any strength left for that. Instead, she simply walked into one of the narrow streets, leading away from the centre and towards another canal. Then, she quickly turned into a dark passage on the side. She silenced her breathing and waited for Mr. Silver to pass by. And soon, the steps of the old spy were near.

“You are here somewhere, I know it. Wouldn’t be more tactical if you had stayed at the main square? I would never start a fight out in the open, the agency does not operate in that manner,” Mr. Silver said.

“But, I want to fight you Mr. Silver, only under my terms, in the dark,” she replied and appeared behind him. Indeed, the lights were smoky and dim, but he could see the contours of her face.

“Somehow, I am glad that it is you and I who are the last ones standing. My old student and I,” Mr. Silver said. He was getting ready for what was coming. Fighting in an obscure environment was challenging, but possible. After all, it was not that dark. The street lights were weak, but they could see each other very well. The shadows were on the walls, waiting for the resolution. Ms. Green decided to attack first. Her attempt of a high kick at his head, but Mr. Silver blocked it quickly. His counterattack was swift and painful for her when he punched her injured wrist. She bit her lip to try to forget about the pain spreading through her arm. If she wanted to win, she had to be fast and precise. Mr. Silver slapped her over her mouth, but she managed to escape his kicks and punch him in the stomach as hard as she could. She kept attacking fiercely. Uppercut, kick. Turn, high kick, low kick. Punch, jump. Block, punch on his chest with both of her hands. But, Mr. Silver was not an easy opponent to fight against. He had his own asset of skills and strikes. Punch, hit, kick. Double kick on her face, hit, low punch. Flip, block, fist hit on the shoulder from above. The fight took them to another canal. The night was fresh. Both of them were covered in blood, breathing heavily, exhausted. Yet, they could not stop. The reward was so near.

Luckily for them, all around the canal there were no people. They had all the time in the world. But, Ms. Green did not want to waste much of it. When Mr. Silver ran at her, she avoided his fists and slipped behind him. With a quick reaction of her skilful fingers, she was soon holding her goal in her hand. Fortunately, he showed the inside pocket of his shirt, where is code card was, which she saw as an opportunity and she used it well.

“Seems that my victory is close,” Ms. Green said in a proud voice.

“My dear, you still have to type the word from my card into yours. Or haven’t you forgotten? Unless, of course you can block my hits at the same time you report the final part of the code,” he said. He was upset that such brief loss of attention got him into this situation.

“This ends now, Mr. Silver. You’ve played a good game,” she said.

“So have you. Have you ever wondered what you would like to do once you are free?” Mr. Silver asked.

“I haven’t thought about it, actually. I guess I need to earn my freedom first, and then spend it without a single worry,” she replied. A glimpse of sympathy showed on his face, but it disappeared in a second.

“I always wanted to live the rest of my life by the seaside,” he said. As soon as he finished his sentence, he started another attack at Ms. Green. She blocked few of his hits, but then he kicked her on the side, and she fell on the cold ground. He was preparing to start beating her, until she faints and eventually dies. However, Ms. Green found her last chance to defeat him. She discovered a piece of a broken glass where she fell. It was long and thick enough to cause a lot of bleeding. She concealed it when Mr. Silver raised his foot to hit her, but just in time, Ms. Green swiftly cut his ankle and got up. He shouted painfully, as she jumped in front of him just in time to look into his eyes. The piece of glass sunk deeply into his chest, and he fell on his knees. It appeared that the sharp, pointy end pierced through his lungs and his heart. Mr. Silver’s last breath was drowned in blood he spat from his mouth. It looked like he was trying to tell her something, but death was running faster than him. She kneeled next to him, and he slowly placed his head on her shoulder.

“I am sorry,” she whispered. He seemed to be smiling.

“All is…” he spoke softly, but choked in his blood before he could finish his sentence. Ms. Green typed in the last word into her card. The code was complete. She contacted the agency base in Brussels and sent them the code for unlocking the next generation of weapons.

She picked up a package left for her in Munich. It was a box containing a passport, an identification card and an electronic file which she opened on her phone. In it, there were details about her bank account and a significant amount of money on it, as well as a confirmation that her record had been cleared. Ms. Green was free. Enjoying her coffee on the balcony of her house, looking at the Geneva Lake, Ms. Green thought about Mr. Silver and their fight. Now, she would never become like him. She was still young, and more of life was ahead of her. An ordinary life is all that she yearned for. All of them did. Now, she had a chance.

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