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Chapter 48

Anna watched as Anthony paced up and down the roof of Shaun’s house. It was a fairly strange thing to see to start with; what made it even more unusual was the fact he was talking rapid French on a cell phone. Anna hid her smile when she recognised at least three swearwords. He abruptly cut the call and glared off into the night.

Anna shook her head. “You still trying to co-ordinate the ninjas?”

Anthony didn’t turn, but nodded sharply in response. “It’s driving me to insanity. Most of them are out of state until this blows over. But we have a group of about fifteen – not including the five of us – who are willing to stay and help us.”

Turning her head to face the street, Anna watched a long grey car drive slowly past the house and up past the end of the block. “So why were you speaking French?”

Anthony turned to face her, and scowled at her. Dealing with Dmitri always pissed him off, and now Anna asking questions on top of it was beginning to grate his nerves. I thought her name was supposed to be Silent Ninja. “For a ninja who is supposed to be silent, you are asking an awful lot of questions.”

Anna growled under her breath, her face heating up under her black silk mask. It didn’t need to be silk; she just loved the feel against her skin. Right now, she was getting too angry to care what her mask felt like; only that Anthony had managed to touch on one of her sore points. She twisted around and hooked her legs over the edge of the roof. “I’m just making sure we can protect these innocents. Excuse me if it offends you.”

Anthony flopped down on the opposite gable of the house, and sighed as he stretched out with his hands behind his back. “The liaison to Justin is a CIA operative who had trained under the master in Nice. I can’t talk directly to Justin, since he’s trying to co-ordinate the ninjas leaving the state. He refuses to speak English, leaving me with the task of trying to translate angry thoughts into another language. It’s just that little bit harder since we aren’t sleeping regular hours in any case.”

Anna felt her ninja training kick in as she fought to cool her temper. “You didn’t seem to be having a problem translating.”

Anthony shrugged, conscious that Anna wouldn’t see it. “It’s just practice, really. I’m fluent in French, so it’s not difficult. I could do without having to, though.”

Anna nodded, knowing that Anthony was – in fact – fluent in four of the major languages across the world; French, English, Arabic and Spanish. “Was the language thing a part of your degree?”

Anthony felt himself scowling again. This ninja was starting to irritate his already raw nerves. He hated that French liaison, and usually refused to work with him. Not having a choice this time around had been a sore point for the ninja, and he could feel himself at the end of his wits. Turning his head to look over his shoulder, his eyes met a pair of blue ones, Anna having turned to face him. He had no idea why she was suddenly so interested to talk, when she normally didn’t say anything to him. “The dark really makes you brave, doesn’t it, Anna?”

He immediately regretted his snide comment, because he could almost feel the blonde ninja’s sudden confidence retreating as his words cooled in the air. She took a deep breath, and her voice broke the heavy silence. “I won’t bother you again, Green Ninja. Clearly you’re too busy.” Her voice caught on the last word, and Anthony flinched.

Anthony stood up, and turned to face Anna fully. Or, turned to face where he thought she would be. She had vanished like the ninja she was. Two seconds passed in a heartbeat of tense silence, and then Steven’s voice broke the moment. It appeared that he was consoling Anna, and Anthony stared angrily off into the inky black night.

Anthony wanted to kick himself. Now was not the time to piss off a ninja. There was no good time to do that, but they couldn’t afford to break the group. Not now.

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