Well, this is boring. Sam sat in the shop he’d been hired to guard, lazing around and half asleep. Either his employer was paranoid, or he was just too good at his job. The employer had been sure there was going to be an attack on his business when he’d hired him.

Sam hated two things, hard days, and boring ones. He wasn’t sure which he hated more. As the day came to a close and the business started to drop off three men in black leather armour stepped into the shop. Given that it was a jewellery shop, men like that were likely not customers. Sam sat up and stretched as the men walked up to the owner.

“…Give us what we want, now.” Was the end of the conversation he heard.

“’Scuse me boys, but I’m going to have to ask you to stop harassing my employer.” The two men turned to look at him, one opened his travel cloak to reveal a knife.

“Back off pal, this is just some private negotiations.” Sam smiled, cracking his knuckles.

“Well, if that’s the case, why don’t we take the ‘negotiations’ outside, where things won’t get broken. Well, expensive things at least.” The one who hadn’t shown a weapon lunged, drawing a knife from within. Sam grabbed his wrist and pulled the lunge further, leaving the unbalanced thug to fall onto his face.

The second one had already drawn and positioned themselves between the door and Sam.

“I’m not the one who wants to leave here.” He charged the man, intercepting a slash and redirecting it to send the dagger clattering across the room. His first strike was met by a block, but his second slammed straight into the man’s head. Sam grabbed both incapacitated men by the collar and threw them out the door.

“Took you long eno…” A hinezumi was waiting outside, apparently waiting for her partners.

“These yours?” Sam asked as he dumped the two men in front of her.

“Ugh, must I do everything.” He watched as she got into position, her wrists blazing into a hot inferno.

“Hope you’re better than your partners.” Sam smiled, getting into his own stance.

“They’re just hired help.” She responded, and ran at Sam.

Sam caught the kick she threw at him and countered with a simple punch, the hinezumi ducked under the straightforward blow and struck him in the gut, sending him staggering backwards.

“Hmph, those guys must have been really worthless if YOU took them out.” She got back into her stance, as did Sam, but he was wearing a smile.

“Just testing the waters. Don’t see many mist mamono around Zip.” This time Sam instigated, pulling a series of punches and kicks in rapid succession. She blocked or dodged each one, her smaller frame allowing her to duck and close in on his guard easier. Sam made a motion for an overhead strike, she used the blow to duck under and behind him, but the blow changed into a back kick, striking her square in the chest and throwing her onto her back. She was quick to right herself, and she noticed he was waiting for her to get back into stance.

“Such a gentleman.” She purred mockingly.

“Well, I feel bad for hitting a woman with as nice a bust as yours. So, I guess it’s your turn to begin?” He smiled at the faint blush he’d incited on her face.

She opened with a feint kick, launching herself off the ground and bringing her foot to his face. He moved his hands to block the high strike, only for her to bring one foot back and throw the other out lower, striking him in the shoulder and throwing him off balance. This was followed by a second hit to his stomach, throwing him onto the ground.

She placed a foot on his chest, smiling. “Give up yet?” She asked, putting a slight amount of pressure on him.

“Well, it was nice of you to avoid my face and all, but… No.” He grabbed her foot and pulled her to the ground, straddling her and pinning her hands to the ground. Leaning forward he asked. “What about you?” With a dumb grin plastered across his face.

She struggled to break the grip he had on her, but he was strong enough to pin her. She looked up, something in her green eyes that he couldn’t place, until she stretched her neck and kissed him. He then knew what he’d spotted, and returned the kiss, letting go of her hands to cup her cheeks. They made out for several minutes before finally breaking away.

“As much as I want to pound you in a different way right now, I’m not much of a public performer, so can we take this inside?” She nodded, taking the offered hand he’d given her.

As they turned towards the shop the two thugs were sitting against the wall, eating a bowl of rice each. “Hey, numbnuts!” Sam called to them, both looking up with slight fear on their faces.

“Take over for me, would you? I’ve got some personal business to deal with.” The two looked at each other, then back to Sam.

“What the he…” One started before the hinezumi spoke up.

“Just do it, idiots. I’ll get your boss payed later.” The two looked at her, shrugged and walked inside. “So, where are you taking me?” She asked, pressing her bust to his chest and wrapping her tail around his waist.

“My place is just around the corner, so get that cute ass moving.” They get to the house with a lot of groping and kissing, making out as Sam unlocks the door.

“One last question before I run you into my mattress.” The hinezumi looks up at him impatiently.

“What?” She growls.

“What’s your name?”

“Hui, now shove that thing in me alreeeee!” He thrusts into her before she can finish.

The shopkeeper is locking up, her two employees standing around waiting for their pay. Sam walks up and smiles his usual charming smile.

“So, any more trouble you two?” Both shake their head and look at Hui.

“Right, right, ma’am, here’s your payment, with a little extra for these two.” The shopkeeper smiles and takes a pouch from her, counting out the coin inside and giving the extra to the two men.

“Wait, what?” Sam looked between the shopkeeper and Hui.

“Okay, Gina, what the hell’s going on here? And where’s MY pay for that matter?” The woman smiled, dropping her human disguise. The danuki put the key down her dress and turned to Sam.

“Well, I also happen to run a matchmaking service, Sam, and when young Hui here cam asking for a suitable match, well. We’ve been friends for a while, I’ve seen you fight, and I knew you would be perfect for the position. So I asked for a hand, and gave you a hand. I think you got payed in a much more satisfying way, don’t you?” She was grinning from ear to ear at him, her usual business logic as present as ever.

“Huh, well Gin, I don’t know about that.” Her eyes narrowed, waiting for the counter she knew Sam had ready. “I mean, not only did you offer me, without my knowledge or assent, but you did so under the pretence of hiring me to work for you. Now, I don’t know about your businesses, but if I told some of my other mercenary friends about this, well… They might just think twice about accepting work from you in the future.” Gina’s look turned to a glare.

“You wouldn’t.”

“Oh but I would. And you know I would.” He replied with a cheeky grin. She reached into her dress without taking her eyes off of him and produced another bag of coins.

“Fine, take your damn pay.” She grumbled.

“Thanks Gina, don’t worry, I’ll be around tomorrow to spend it. Peter found us a lead to an old castle in the mountains.” He left, Hui under his arm, waving to his merchant friend.

“Today just keeps getting better.” He muttered to himself.