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The First Contract (Closed:PyroBlaze)

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Yūrei simply listened as Swift continued talking, using coins and tweezers to make his point. The mare stared at the coin he had given her, sighing after a little bit. She stood as the door opened, stowing the coin away and beginning to walk away. 

 

"<Well, thank you for your gifts and the job.>" She said as she walked, turning around briefly and catching another glint from outside. She sighed again, shaking her head and waving her hoof as if to dismiss someone. 

 

"For your information, I do have friends outside of the clan. And my pickup lines are just fine, thank you." She spoke in Equestrian, a much better display than before, though her accent was still there. She smirked at him, turning and walking towards the door again. 

 

"<Before you complain, you never asked about it.>" She added as she reached the door, switching back to her language. 

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"<Both the first of many Miss Henka. I can guarantee that.>" Squall reassured the foreign mare.

"<Please don't think that I am trying to patronize you. I just wanted to remind you of things, that those who bear the weigh of great responsibility - like you or me - often tend forget. I am sure you understand, even if you don't agree.>" unicorn said, while giving aside glance towards the mare as she walked towards the door.

 

When Yūrei however spoke in fluent Equestrian, his only visible iris widened for a split second. Moment later Swift's expression on muzzle twisted into slight smile, one of pony that gracefully admitted defeat.

"<I certainly didn't Miss Yūrei. I certainly didn't.>" he agreed with Henka's remark.

"<Don't hesitate to ask for umbrella in the lobby. The aura is still awful after all. Have a good night Miss Henka. Good nigh and good luck.>" noblepony wished. After 'pegasus' shinobi disappeared behind the door, Squall stared at the streets below.

"Good luck indeed." he murmured to himself.

 

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Two weeks later

 

Another long day. Another long, rainy evening. Swift Squall was working late in his office, probably the last week he was occupying it. The constitution of Tempest Tower was coming along nicely. Soon he will be enjoying the magnificent view, from the top floor of the brand new, 800 meters tall behemoth. In fact the papers he was signing right now were connected with opening of this wonder of modern engineering, 159 floors that were proof of Equestrian resourcefulness. There sure will be a lot of guest that he should....

 

Squall took his eye from the documents and flickered his ears. A quite, barely noticable sound. A sound just outside of his office, and Swift didn't had any more meetings today. At this hour, he was the only pony in the building....

It definitely wasn't the sound of the raindrops pattering against his window-wall. Neither it was coming straight from behind office door. "Walls, ceiling?" unicorn considered in his thoughts, as he glanced around suspiciously. Swordstallion wasn't using this building long enough to memorize position of all ventilation shafts - and dim light of the office wasn't helping either. Swift Squall stiffened in his seat, his eyes narrowing, as his magic slowly reached towards the shortsword and the pair of bowguns, hidden under his desk....

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Yūrei gave a slight smile at Swift's response, taking some delight in the secrets she managed to keep from him. Of course, it helped that he had never mentioned those subjects, but still. The mare closed the door behind her as she left, leaving the confused guides behind her with another smile. 

 

She accepted an umbrella on the way out, holding it with one wing as she set out. She was excited for what was to come, and her mind briefly went over the names of her clan members that she knew well enough to remember before putting it out of her head. That was a matter for later, now was the time for a night on the town. She just had to find a good bar or something of the sort. 

 

-------

 

Well, she'd be lying if she said she wasn't interested with how these golems were made. She had decided it was time to deliver at least a status report on the mission, if not end it entirely. As far as she could tell, they had dug up all the relevant information on the old metal that those companies had. 

 

While she sent others to deal with the smaller targets, Yūrei had personally infiltrated the company that had created golems for the current Shogun and his brother. Now though, she was outside the door to Swift's office, glad she hadn't seen or sensed anyone else on her way up. There was only one pony in the room though, so it was reasonable to assume it was him. 

 

Still though, the ninja was cautious, and she focused her magic into her sword, suddenly vanishing from where she was with only a quiet noise of displaced air to note she was ever there. A moment later, the sound came again between Swift and his window, Yūrei appearing behind him with all her gear on. 

 

"<I'd suggest leaving those alone. I'm only here to keep you posted.>" Yūrei said, spotting signs of him reaching for hidden weapons. "<Let's keep them in our pants, so to speak.>"

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Well, well, well....that was unexpected...kind of. It's not like he wasn't foreseeing Henka's return, because he did. Just not so soon.

"<That was rather quick.>" he mused while looking at the calendar standing on his desk. Two weeks wasn't a long time at all. Was her Clan working double shifts or something?

Squall then focused on the way Yūrei appeared in his office. The familiar smirk crept on unicorn's face as he leaned back in his comfortable chair. If he had any doubts about his suspicions from their first meeting, now they were dispelled. Not that he had to vocalize this. He can prod about it in a friendly manner when the good opportunity in the conversation arises.

"<You would need stamps for that I am afraid. And envelope. Large one at that.>" Squall sassed. The hour was very late at this point, and besides he doubted that Yūrei would mind. After all the only limit he placed was on flirting "<And we don't wear pants.>" he added in snarky tone. Metaphor, schmetaphor.

 

"<Well in any case, I assume it's important? But before you start let me ask, important or very important? As in - 'Can't wait till morning' important? I mean, do you know what hour it is?>" Squall asked. It was clear that he wasn't really serious. Apparently he just needed to vent after a really long day. "<I mean sure we can talk now, but I am curious. Are you always on nigh-shift or do you just hate waiting rooms and queues that much?>" unicorn inquired as he waved his hoof.

 

"<Well okay. Fine, let's go. Let's go and have it behind us.>" Swift quickly gave up as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes. When his gaze met hers again his expression was serious. Time for goofiness was over.

"<I assume you have copies or transcripts of what I asked you for? It would be very problematic if they would notice that they secrets were leaked. And speaking of problems, was there any issues you ran across during the mission?>"

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Yūrei smirked at Swift's response, giving a short laugh before things shifted in a more business direction. The disguised changeling waited patiently for him to finish speaking before she began herself. 

 

"<I'm a ninja, of course I'd rather work in the dark. Not to say I can't hide in plain sight and work in the light when needed. Anyways, here you go.>" Yūrei passed him some papers, copies of all the relevant information they had found so far. 

 

"<Nothing of note. It took a bit more work than I thought to infiltrate them, but it's successful so far.>" She answered. "<The one I was at was surprisingly trusting with its employees.>"

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"<Well of course you would. But we Equestrians often say that the darkest place is under the candlestick.>" he mused as he took the papers and started skimming through them.

 

"<Only a bit?>" Squall inquired, for a moment taking his eyes from the letters. With each passing page noblepony smirk turned more and more into genuine grin, and his eyes sparked brighter and brighter.

"<Yes. That is exactly was what I was looking for and more.>" Swift said in a pleased tone. However second later he made a heavy sigh and set documents aside. "<Shame that we can't put all of those to use immediately. And not only because Tempest Corporation is yet to expand into industries those would be useful.>" unicorn said while making a 'bridge' with is front hooves.

"<We have to go through through the motions to make it appear that we attained it on our own. Make some improvements in meantime. For example, from what can I read here, Neighponese make their golems only from natural materials. Waste of potential if you ask me. And what do you think Miss Henka ?>" Squall asked.

 

"<Still, whenever we put products using those patterns on the market doesn't really matter. What was earned was time. Thanks to these, my researchers can spent their time on inventing truly new designs, instead of cracking those on their own. And time is an only thing you can't buy.>" swordpony mused.

"<You fulfilled your part of the deal Miss Henka.>" his focus shifted to a mare before him. "<Now it's time to fulfill mine.>" Squall stood from behind a desk and walked to the bookshelf. Clearly a hidden safe of some kind. Moments later he returned and put down....

"<A deed from the mountain valley I described in or previous meeting, as was promised. All it needs is your signature Miss Yūrei.>" Squall explained as he pointed down the documents. Swift even had enough foresight to have copies in both Equestrian and Neighponese.

"<And of course, the monetary reward. I don't have it here for obvious reasons. Besides I can't really see you walking with all of these through the streets, would you? That and, and I wasn't sure what form you would prefer. Coins, jewels or cheque? All can be arranged but waiting period for each would be different.>"

 

Business-stallion felt silent for a moment before speaking again.

"<Miss Henka, as you can see, I am employer who's word you can trust. And now I can say the same about you as well. When we first met, I expressed interest in making this partnership permanent. My offer is still stands.>" he explained before opening his drawer and laying yet another document on the table.

"<The skill and abilities of your Clan would be a great boons.....both for my corporation and myself. But it isn't just monetary arrangement. I support behind Clan Henka in every way I can Miss Yūrei. Resources, healthcare, equipment, retirement plans, insurance, legal aid, all kind of necessary things...and of course appropriate cover that would justify expenses coming with these.>" Squall said.

"<Under my payroll your Clan would receive two kind of contracts. One-shots, and permanent ones. One shots would've been like the one we just resolved. A various missions with different parameters, with reward for each discussed individually. The others would be continuous, with regular payments each month just like any other job. For example you service just now was about....industrial espionage.>" Squall muttered, making a grimace at 'espionage' part. "<I am not a fool, I have full awareness that the similar thing can happen to Tempest Corporation, and I wouldn't realize until it was too late. I have to take countermeasures against it. And who would be better at counter-espionage, then shinobi who know it like back of their hooves? After all, it takes one to know one.>" Squall spread his forelegs with a smile. "<Our agreement about honesty would still stand, but now officially. In addition I vow to not involve your Clan in the situations that could turn political, without Your prior agreement that is.>" noblepony promised

"<And last but not least, this agreement wouldn't prevent you from taking jobs from other private and not private employers. As long as they not harm my corporation, myself or ponies and non-ponies from my closest environment you will be free to undertake and pursue them, just as you did before.>" he explained.

 

The office fell silent. Clearly what Squall just offered would take a time to digest. More and more seconds passed before business pony stood up and walked towards the window. 

"<I know it may be a little much, but please consider it Miss Yūrei. Someone of you kind is both pragmatic, and has enough foresight to see where true prosperity lays. And I will admit it first - Equestria may be one of world's biggest countries, but for a long, way too long  it was a moldered, sleeping giant. But now...now after a millennium of static, giant woke up, and changes are coming - and mark my words - they will only come only faster and faster. This means changes, many of them. And as we both know changes.....changes provide opportunities. Opportunities for work and prosperity. Your homeland is a wonderful country, but as I remember it steadily becomes harder and harder to find job requiring your skills there. Shogunate prefers to rely on their own agents instead, now that they don't have to worry about Long Guo anymore...>" Swift pointed out. "<As I said during our last meeting, You are smart enough not to put all your eggs in one basket. But there is more than that. If we join forces we can determinate both the shape, and size of this new basket.>"

 

"<So....what do you say Miss Henka? Read this contract if you still have doubts. See? There are no tricks, no small letters, no additional pages - everything is just as I said. Believe me, I really care for this to be fair and equal relationship. If you want to add more points we can discuss this as well. If you want to discuss this with your Clan I can wait as well. I offer you partnership, loyalty and friendship now and in the future. And besides, if you look closely at my signature I already put on it...>" noblepony mused as he started to roll up sleeve of his trench coat "<...I offer precaution more secure then just my word Yūrei. Written or not.>" unicorn turned around, presenting Henka his bandaged wrist.

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