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"Secrets"

Mouse and I perched on the bar stools inside the Red Dog.

Behind the bar, Revell stood with his arms folded across his barrel chest.

"It's true?" said Mouse.

"Da," said Revell. "Is true."

"You're Nicolai Medvedev," I said.

He nodded. "Once. Long ago."

I leaned forward, elbows on the bar top, fingers laced together. "What's going on, Revell?"

Revell's brow furrowed. He looked at Mouse. Then at me. Then let out a long exhale. "There is something you need to know. About this Sakura."

He paused, then added: "And there is something you need to know about Murphy."

"I don't like the sound of that," I said.

"Me either," said Mouse.

"First, Sakura," said Revell. "She is assassin. Or was assassin. No one has seen her in five years."

"Great," Mouse said and threw up her hands. "So she comes out of hiding and goes after us."

Revell's eyes narrowed and he leaned forward, hands on the edge of the bar. "What is this?"

I told him about the last three hours.

When I finished, his frown deepened and his eyes vanished beneath his bushy eyebrows. "Boszhe moi," he said.

"What I don't get," Mouse said, "is this joint assignment she mentioned. If she knows who we are and what we do, she knows we don't do wetwork."

"She mentioned you, Rev,' I said. "By name. By real name."

Revell nodded. "We have met before."

"When?"

"Five years ago. For short time, Murphy and Sakura were lovers."

I felt the wind go out of me, as if I'd been kicked in the stomach.

"Holy shit," said Mouse.

Revell said, "She would stay here sometimes. Or Murphy would go away for a few days."

"How long?" I said. "The two of them?"

"Maybe six months," said Revell. "Seven. And then she did not show up anymore."

"What happened?"

"Murphy found out what she did."

"You mean he didn't know?" said Mouse.

Revell shook his head. "As far as he was concerned, she was ronin. Like him. Like you."

"How'd he find out?" I said.

"Caught her in middle of job," Revell said. "She admitted it."

A thought struck.

"That was about the time she disppeared, right?" I said.

"Da," said Revell.

"If she's been gone all that time," said Mouse, "what was that bullshit about 'He was right about you two'? I'm pretty sure the 'he' was Murphy. When did he tell Sakura about us?"

"Perhaps they met again," said Revell. "Before Murphy died. I do not know. If they did, Murphy did not tell me of it."

I said to Revell, "Was Sakura a freelancer?"

Revell let out a long exhale and was quiet for a moment. When he spoke again, he said: "No."

"Who did she work for?" I said.

He looked at each of us, then said: "She was assassin for White Lotus."

--END--

NEXT TIME: "Date Night"

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