The Butterfly Dragon II: What Different Eyes See - Act V - Eastern Maelstrom

Left to right: Monique Defleur (Eclipse), Heylyn Yates (Butterfly Dragon),
Alicia Westin (Night Style), Valerie Aspen (Valkyra)

Click for a larger image

Cooperation, Conflict And Masquerade

"You're faster! Get to the source of the explosions and I'll catch up!" Heylyn yelled to Monique as they streamed through the air, Heylyn's wings shaping themselves aerodynamically for speed.

"Meet you there!" Monique said as she transformed into a streak of light and disappeared towards the entrance to the Forbidden City.

Armed men had poured in through the front gates and were charging towards both delegations and the security personnel leading them to safety. Far ahead of them taking point were Alicia and Valerie who, unable to fly were still on foot. They charged the threat as quickly as they could and as they did gunfire erupted from outside of the Forbidden City gates.

The first wave of armed men stopped, leveling their firearms at Alicia who charged them freakishly in her Night Style garb. As the first shots left their SMGs she dodged anticipating correctly their trajectory leveraging her balance to gain as much distance towards them as she could while distracting them from the delegation and Valerie. She cartwheeled landing in a roll thrusting herself into the air, arcing down to her first target. She slammed him face first into the paved ground of the Forbidden City, using him as a human projectile to take down another one of his comrades. One of the assailants from behind her turned to fire on her. She jumped straight up into the air as the gunfire missed her plowing into one of the other armed men.

The Chinese security forces surrounded the armed men taking firing positions from cover.

"Hold your fire! Those two Women are from the delegation security team!" the Chinese security chief informed the rest of their security forces via their earpiece communicators.

Eight of the remaining armed assailants focused their efforts on taking Alicia down. Norler watched from a distance with baited breath as she did her thing.

"Honey. Please don't get stage fright..." he said under his breath.

Valerie approached taking advantage of Alicia's distraction. She picked two of the armed men up off the ground slamming them together with ease.

"Nice doing business with you." she said dropping their unconscious bodies as she moved forward to take on the next pair.

Alicia swept her leg in a low arc cutting the footing of three assailants.

They fell to the ground as she rolled towards them taking two down with her free hands then leaping onto the third with her knee.

From one of the towers in the Forbidden City a sniper leveled his rifle trying to get a clear shot at Norler or Professor Ling Jie, who sat behind a brass statue of a lion with wings. The sniper adjusted his position hoping for a better shot waiting for Norler to expose himself enough to take him.

The armed men outside of the front gates were behind cover watching the two security vans that had been incinerated earlier by one of their members with an RPG. The rocket propelled grenade had made quick work of the Tynan Security vans which were fortunately unoccupied at that point. The armed men waited for any signs of either delegation as they'd been instructed to eradicate them.

One of them retracted in agony as a blinding flash exploded in his face. For a moment he thought he might have been flash banged by one of his own team members until a solid fist connected with his face. He folded to the ground unconscious.

Monique quickly transformed herself into a shadowy dark cloud moving with lightning speed to circle around to one of the other armed men. She once again exploded into the brilliance of a bright light blinding him. She took advantage of his predicament to incapacitate him.

Another one of the armed men had gotten behind her with his SMG leveled at her back. He'd just pulled the trigger when he was thrown into one of the walls of the Forbidden City with incredible force by Heylyn. Heylyn had landed her wings disappearing into her back.

"I've got your back." Heylyn said to her friend.

"Thanks boss. I've got the next one." Monique replied disappearing as she sped towards the next target.

Heylyn examined the vans outside of the gates for any injured parties.

Four of the armed men had taken advantage of the opportunity to sneak up behind her unaware that she could see behind herself as well as she could in front.

"You're that Butterfly lady I've heard so much about. I thought you were only in North America? Aren't you?" one of the armed men asked her.

"Sorry to break it to you but I'm everywhere. We can do this the quick way with the guns or the fun way, without them. What do you say?" Heylyn asked as she turned making her proposal.

"I say we mow her down now." one of them said opening fire on her.

The others followed suit and as the first shots impacted Heylyn, her skin took the form of metallic dragon scales as her wings shot out from her back wrapping her body protectively. She winced as the rounds impacted her wings and bod,y bouncing harmlessly from her. A moment later their guns were empty and smoking. She remained standing and largely unscathed as her skin returned to its smooth complexion.

"Ok. I guess we do it the quick way. At least they can say that they got their bottom handed to them by a gorgeous girl." Heylyn said as she moved into a butterfly kick sweeping both legs through the air taking all four of them down in one move.

"Awwwe, thanks for compliment boss, but leave some for me." Monique said after dispatching another two.

"We've got some people injured on the other side of that van. We've got to get that van clear so the emergency medical staff can get to them." Heylyn informed Monique.

"Alright. I don't think I can quite move a van. My powers don't work that way. Sorry boss." Monique told Heylyn.

"Get Valerie and fly her here. I'll do what I can in the meantime." Heylyn asked Monique who disappeared as soon as she'd been asked.

"Any chance you can help us with this Welthwithsp?" Heylyn asked herself aloud, but no reply came from the ever absent dragon.

Back inside Alicia had just taken down the last of the armed men with Valerie's help. They shook hands nodding to each other.

"A pleasure working with you again Alicia." Valerie said to Alicia.

"Likewise. Let's do this more often." Alicia said as the Chinese Security team approached their guns at ease.

"We've got control of this situation ladies. Thank you for your assistance. You will be required to stick around for questioning." one of the Chinese Security forces informed Alicia and Valerie in a commanding tone of voice.

"We really don't want to blow our cover. Why don't you take the credit for this and keep us out of it?" Valerie suggested being the better negotiator.

The Chinese Security Chief stepped forward and spoke.

"We understand. I thank you for protecting this place of our heritage and our people. We will gladly keep you out of our report. You heard that men. That's a standing order. Any man who violates that order will answer directly to me. Restrain these men before they regain their consciousness." the Chief yelled to his security forces.

Alicia and Valerie began jogging back to the delegation as Monique landed. Valerie jumped back startled and ready for anything. She relaxed when she saw that it was Monique.

"We need to get a bell to put around your neck or something. You scared me half to death." Valerie said stepping back from Monique.

"Nix the bell around my neck idea. We need your strength Valerie. There's injuries at the front gate." Monique said slightly out of breath.

"Alright. Let's go already!" Valerie grabbed Monique's hand as she carried both of them into the air.

"I guess that's settled. Don't worry about me, I'll check on the delegations." Alicia said calmly if not sarcastically after them.

Alicia turned continuing towards the delegation on foot looking frantically for Norler in the distance.

Meanwhile both delegations remained in cover waiting for a signal from the security teams.

"They're interesting Women, aren't they? There's obviously more to this story than you've been telling." Bryce said to Norler.

Norler looked to Bryce assessing him for a moment.

"That's up to Alicia to speak to you about it." Norler replied.

"It seems like she's got a greater weight on her shoulders than we've been led to believe. I agree. If she wants to speak to us about it, she will. If not, then mums the word." Bryce responded.

"I agree. They have a lot of potatoes on their plate as we might say back in our Russian homeland." Katya said in agreement with Bryce.

"I'm with Bryce too. I didn't see anything except for a group of brave and heroic Women and a protective security team." Doctor Briggs agreed.

"Well I have to admit, Alicia just doesn't seem the type that would have a secret of these proportions. She's a surprising lady for sure. I'm with Bryce." Zheng added.

"I'm with my wife Katya for certain but I have to admit, I have no idea what means the word mums?" Victor said looking puzzled.

"I think that you can expect the same from each of us too. Your secret is our secret." Professor Ling Jie spoke on behalf of the Chinese delegation standing as she did.

"Thank you. I'm sure that Alicia will want to thank you herself. There she is now." Norler said as he stood waving to Alicia who began running back to their position.

Just as she took her first step the shot was fired from the tower and Norler fell to the ground.

Meanwhile at the front gate Valerie had quickly moved the remains of two vans out of the way with her tremendous strength. Heylyn and Monique quickly moved in carrying the injured a safe distance from the flaming debris.

"Uhhhh... Butterfly...? Eclipse...? take a look at this. Take a look at this..." Valerie said directing her attention to Heylyn and Monique.

"What is it?" Heylyn asked as she and Monique made their way to Valerie.

"Look at the side of this van. There's still a bit of the side panel here with a logo on it." Valerie indicated to a door sized piece of the van wreckage.

"That's the Future Tangent Logo, isn't it?" Monique commented aloud.

Heylyn was already looking at the undamaged vans. They were clearly marked with the Tynan and Associates logo.

"There's something wrong here. Check the uniforms of the men we took down. Quickly!" Heylyn said frantically looking about for one of the unconscious men they'd earlier dispatched.

"Hey! This one has a Tynan and Associates crest on his body armor." Monique said in shock.

"So does this one." Valerie said indicating another.

"How is it that we took down Tynan's entire security team?" Monique asked looking to both Heylyn and Valerie.

"We didn't. We've been setup to make it appear that we did. Whoever did this was trying to make Tynan look like the aggressors in this attack." Heylyn suggested.

"Attacking Future Tangent security. But why their security forces? That would make no sense?" Valerie asked her friends.

"These other damaged vans. They're part of the Chinese Security Forces." Heylyn said checking the wreckage of the other vans as the sound of sirens approached.

"So they set this up to look like Tynan security attacked both Future Tangent and the Chinese forces here in the Forbidden City? Why attack the security and leave the delegations unscathed?..." Monique asked Heylyn and Valerie.

Monique and Heylyn grabbed Valerie at the same time taking to flight speeding towards the delegations as they realized the full implications of what had happened.

Unfathomable Mystery; Subtle and Ineffable 莫名其妙

"Everyone down!" Alicia yelled as she scanned her surroundings for any traces of a gun man.

Doctor Lin Soo crawled over to Norler's body as he writhed in pain. Beside him was Doctor Waitak Te Hong who too was in the throws of agony.

"They've been shot!" Doctor Lin Soo yelled as she applied pressure to Norler's chest wound.

"I need a bandage! Your jackets. Tear them up into strips if you can! Anything long!" Doctor Lin Soo yelled.

"...arrrhhh... the gun man... he's on the west tower... I see him just before he fired the shot..." Doctor Hong struggled to speak.

"Alicia! There's a sniper in the west tower!" Bryce yelled just as another shot rang out.

Alicia was struck by the force of a large caliber round which spun her clear around. She dropped to the ground struggling to crawl to cover.

"Arrrrrgghhhhh! Dammit that hurts! You son of a...! Arrrrggghhhh!" Alicia yelled as her body's accelerated healing began to repair the wound on her shoulder.

Heylyn and Monique dropped Valerie barely slowing for her. Valerie rolled coming to her feet a few steps from Alicia. She quickly picked Alicia up in her arms and began running for the delegation.

Heylyn proceeded in the direction of the sniper in the west tower having found him with her keen senses. Monique proceeded to the delegation transforming herself to a dark shadowy cloud and placing herself between the sniper and the delegation.

As she reached the tower the sniper dropped his rifle and went for his side arm pistol. He drew the gun as Heylyn breached the tower firing at her several times. The rounds bounced harmlessly off her dragon scales as she folded her right palm delivering a punch to the center of his rib cage. Despite the body armor he wore, he folded to the floor of the tower gasping for breath. She took the rifle and threw it off the tower along with his pistol.

"Who put you up to this?" she asked him as her scales disappeared becoming smooth and soft skin.

"Go to hell! I ain't tellin' you sh...." he barely had time to finish his sentence before he was hauled into the air. Heylyn flew, hanging onto him by his ankle lifting him up to a height of a kilometer from the ground. She then hovered, her aura and wings glowing intensely.

"A fall from this height and they'll be picking up your pieces for years to come. Who put you up to this!" Heylyn demanded.

"I'm not saying a word!" the sniper yelled back to her.

Heylyn let go with one hand quickly catching him with the other.

"I'm still not talkin!" the sniper responded.

Heylyn grabbed him tight flying downward as fast as she could as he screamed. Just as they were about to impact the ground she turned sharply taking for a trip through a nearby orchard. She dangled him at treetop height, the branched impacting him they flew. She carried him like that for thirty seconds before landing on the ground with him.

"The next ride you'll do alone, with the help of gravity. Who put you up to this?!" Heylyn demanded.

"There's nothing that you could do that would be worse than what Warley would do if I talked!" he said his face battered from branches and leaves.

"That's better. Did you get that Valerie?" Heylyn asked pulling her cellular phone from her belt.

"Every word. You'd better get back here quick." Valerie advised Heylyn through the speaker phone.

"Let's get you back to the authorities. I'm sure they'll have some questions of their own." Heylyn told the sniper picking him up.

"I shot your friend. Norler. Even if he lives, he's going to be breathing through a tube for the rest of his life." the sniper said a sinister look on his face.

Heylyn ignored him instead concentrating on getting him back to the Forbidden city as quickly as possible.

By the time she'd arrived they'd already gotten Norler to an ambulance, Alicia riding with him. Heylyn did her best to arrive unnoticed, dragging the sniper behind her. She took a moment to knock him unconscious so she could remove her mask and return to her own identity. When she was confident she looked the part, she emerged from hiding dragging the sniper behind her.

A group of Chinese security officials took the sniper from her as she presented her Chinese visitor's visa.

"He tried to attack me. I was so scared but I just remembered my martial arts training." she said to them as they took him.

"You did good. Thank you. We have the rest of the delegates at the front gates. We'll send an escort with you." the security team sent Heylyn with an armed escort.

Heylyn arrived as the authorities were finishing their questioning and she thanked her security escort as he left her with the delegation.

"How's Alicia and Norler?" Heylyn immediately asked.

"Alicia's much better. She's practically healed already. Norler... if he makes it through the night he should be alright though it's going to take him a few months before he can leave a bed under his own power and unsupervised. Doctor Hong's injuries were superficial by comparison. He should recover in about two weeks." Doctor Lin Soo advised Heylyn.

"Doctor Hong observed the reflection of the sniper's scope and tried to push Norler to safety as the round impacted them both. It went through the length of Doctor Hong's arm proceeding through Norler's back and exiting his chest from what we can tell. Norler would certainly not be alive right now if not for Doctor Hong's actions." Bryce explained to Heylyn.

"Alicia is going to call us tonight and let us know the fate of our delegation. Whether we continue on to South Korea as scheduled without Norler given his injuries. He would likely want us to continue without him. That decision is up to Alicia ultimately." Valerie said as compassionately as she could.

"I got the sniper to admit he is working for Warley... or Steadman... whichever one he is now." Heylyn informed the delegation.

"From what we've pieced together of this so far, they were trying to make it look like this was a Tynan organized hit on Future Tangent. I'd be willing to bet that the sniper's real target was someone from the Chinese delegation in addition to Norler." Bryce suggested.

"That makes little sense. Why would they make it appear that Tynan was attacking Future Tangent Industries and it's own CEO?" Doctor Briggs asked playing the devil's advocate.

"As far as the press were concerned, Norler and Alicia were having relationship problems. Maybe they were preying upon that impression in some way?" Monique suggested.

"Alicia and Norler made up earlier this afternoon. Nobody would have known that except for us. As far as everyone else was concerned there was a divide between them." Katya said rubbing her chin in thought.

"Maybe the people setting Tynan up were using that as their false motive. But that still doesn't make sense. I'm going to inform Werner of these new findings. I'm sure he's up to his neck in problems right now." Valerie said dialing her cellular phone.

"When stones are dropped into a pond and agitate the waters, the disturbed waters of the pond eventually clear revealing the stones themselves." Professor Ling Jie said to both delegations.

The delegation members waited to be cleared from the scene and to their respective hotels. Alicia sat in a waiting room as the Doctors and Surgeons of Beijing Hospital prepared Norler for emergency surgery.

A Pond That's Clear

"...The news came earlier today when a representative from Future Tangent Industries went public with the accusations and a pending law suit. They are suing Tynan And Associates for corporate espionage regarding research that we've come to know as the SY349 formula program. Future Tangent Industries has released documents and research papers that it claims proves that it was working on the same concept for the SY349 before Tynan And Associates. The two formulas are identical in composition and process which is leading some experts to believe that the court proceedings in this case could take years to play out. That comes when the Tynan And Associates delegation is officially under investigation for hiring a security service to conduct a series of violent attacks which resulted in an estimated seven hundred and fifty million Yen in damages and the near fatal shooting of its own CEO, Walton Norler. Chinese delegation official Doctor Waitek Te Hong, from Tatung University in Taiwan was also injured as were a number of security force members hired by Tynan And Associates. Tynan And Assciates Senior Executive Officer Helmut Werner responded in a press conference held earlier today in Toronto, Canada." the news anchor paused as the footage of the press conference began.

"First of all we are keeping our fingers crossed that our Chief Executive Officer, Walton Norler will recover from this tragedy with his health intact. He's currently in surgery as I speak and in the best care facility in Beijing. Chinese delegation member Doctor Jiao Lin Soo is directly overseeing the surgery herself with a team of their best surgeons. We are joyed to hear that Doctor Waitak He Hong's injuries are mostly superficial, though he has minor surgery scheduled. We wish him the best of health. We're grateful that there were no further serious injuries to either delegation or any members of the public. As far as the other issue is concerned we'd like to assure our shareholders and the public that these allegations are completely false. Our legal team is investigating and we are putting together a counter suit against Future Tangent Industries." Werner spoke in a calm and collect voice addressing the press.

The doors to the surgery unit opened and Doctor Jiao Lin Soo emerged. She proceeded to the television and thumbed the volume down dimming the audio of the rest of the press conference. She looked stressed and worn after the fourteen hour intensive operation. She approached Alicia who sat in the waiting area with Heylyn, Monique and Valerie.

"It was a long surgery and there were complications but Norler should recover with time. He won't be leaving our care anytime soon nor are we going to release him for any reason for at least three weeks until we're sure his condition is stabilized. The round from the rifle pierced his side passing through his right lung. It continued through his body passing through his liver before exiting his belly. The injuries to his liver will recover with time however his lung had collapsed by the time he'd arrived in the surgery unit. He's on a respirator and will remain on it for a week as his condition improves." Doctor Lin Soo advised the Women.

"Is he conscious?" Alicia asked tears welling up in her eyes.

"No. He'll be unconscious for some time. Possibly the next day or two." Doctor Lin Soo responded as clinically as she could.

"Thank you Doctor." Alicia said wiping her eyes.

"I'd advise that you get to your hotel and get some sleep. It will certainly help his recovery. We've found that in cases where relatives and loved ones are stressed that it can have a measurable effect upon the process of healing. If not for your sake then get some rest for his. I'll be available any time if you want updates to his condition and we'll keep you notified. Do you have any questions?" Doctor Lin Soo asked them.

"How's Doctor Hong?" Alicia asked sniffling.

"He's fine. His injuries were superficial. We'll be releasing him by tomorrow. He probably saved Norler's life by his actions." Doctor Lin Soo replied.

"How about the others injured in the attack?" Heylyn asked.

"They too suffered only superficial injuries and most will leave tonight if not tomorrow." Doctor Lin Soo replied to Heylyn.

"Thank you Doctor so much for your efforts and for saving Norler. We'll be at our hotel rooms if we're needed." Alicia said offering her hand but ultimately ended up giving Doctor Lin Soo a hug.

The four of them proceeded out to the front of the hospital seeking transportation. They were flocked by reporters as they left the building. Heylyn addressed the Chinese speaking reporters while Valerie addressed the English reporters. Monique quickly found them a taxi bus and the four of them got in and began their journey back to their hotel.

It was a quiet trip for the most part until Alicia broke the silence with a statement.

"Unless the authorities prevent us from leaving, we're going to continue the delegation's itinerary as scheduled. I'm sure that's what Norler would want in this situation." Alicia said with determination and confidence.

"Whatever you decide Alicia, we're with you." Heylyn assured her.

"To tell you the truth, while we were waiting in the hospital I was making arrangements for that decision. I'm with you Alicia. Between us all we can cover for Norler." Valerie responded.

"You can count on me too. So I guess we're leaving for South Korea after all?" Monique asked.

"Not tomorrow but the day after at two in the afternoon." Valerie answered.

"That should be enough time to rest and more importantly it should give Norler some stress free space to recover." Heylyn said tapping Alicia's lap.

"Monique and I can call everyone and let the others know how everything went at the hospital." Valerie said volunteering herself and Monique for the task.

"Just take it easy tonight sweetie and get some rest. We've still got a lot of ground to cover." Heylyn said to Alicia.

Alicia remained silent and deep in thought for the rest of the trip back to the hotel.


"It looks like this fiasco has caused quite a stir in the East." Steadman said reading the headlines on his tablet.

"It played out almost exactly like you said it would. We predict that this will impact the vote negatively for Tynan And Associates if the Asian Alliance even agrees to hold another vote." responded Tainer, Steadman's new advisor.

"Good. How's the acquisition in the Pacific coming along?" Steadman asked Tainer.

"The facilities are ready for large scale production of the SY349 and most of the equipment is installed. The island is in international waters meaning our operations there will go unregulated. We suspect that we'll be able to produce enough to satisfy the entire Asian market once Tynan is out of the way." Tainer adjusted his tie.

"Good. That leaves the issue of our counter proposal to the Asian Alliance." Steadman leaned back in his chair looking down his nose at Tainer.

"Our consultants advise that we should wait at least a few weeks before submitting the proposal to take advantage of the deteriorating support for Tynan And Associates in the area. We can use the press to accelerate that process." Tainer said looking to his own tablet at the plan and time table.

"And to think, all of their efforts will be twisted to benefit Future Tangent Industries while driving them into bankruptcy court and litigation. I don't think that Warley could have done a better job himself." Steadman said referring to his former identity.

"I'm sorry Sir, I've never met Warley so I can't comment." Tainer replied pragmatically.

"My boy, I'd be willing to bet that you have. Most certainly." Steadman replied with a sinister smile on his face.

Minds Walk Together In Beijing

"Is there something wrong?" Heylyn  grogily answered her phone recognizing the incoming number as Alicia's.

"I just got a call from Professor Ling Jie. She'd like to meet us at ten this morning if that's alright with you?" Alicia responded pushing aside the morning pragma.

"Umm.... Sure? Who's invited?" Heylyn asked rubbing her eyes.

"The entire delegation, but I couldn't get a hold of Doctor Briggs." Alicia advised Heylyn.

"I think Zheng and Doctor Briggs are an item if you know what I mean..." Heylyn responded.

"That would explain why he didn't answer his... Wow? Really? Awesome! Can you and Monique meet us in the lobby in about an hour?" Alicia confirmed with Heylyn.

"Alright. Have you heard anything about Norler? Everything alright?" Heylyn asked grogily.

"Still the same. He's unconscious... still... My fingers are crossed." Alicia responded hesitantly.

"So are mine... and Monique's." Heylyn replied.

"He'd have wanted us to continue... We agreed to continue. Even if one of us were suddenly... gone?" Alicia expressed reaching for Heylyn.

Heylyn could feel it.

"He's not gone. He'll be with us every step of the way." Heylyn paused feeling Alicia's nod on the other end of the cellular phone.

"Anyway, I've got to get up and shower before Monique does. You know how long she likes to take in the shower." Heylyn told Alicia drawing a chuckle from her.

"I heard that." Monique said groggily from her bed in their shared room.

"Yeah, I still remember our time at the Treadwater resort." Alicia replied.

"Then... we've got to put on our peace paint." Heylyn continued.

"...And we all know how long that takes..." Monique responded nearly face down from under her pillow.

Alicia laughed from her end of the phone.

"Good morning Alicia." Monique said as she propped herself up and out of bed running for the shower.

"Ok. See you in a bit sweetie." Heylyn replied.

"Bye." Alicia said as she started her morning routine.

An hour and a half later and both delegations made their way to a modestly sized conference room within the hotel for a continental breakfast.

"We're saddened by the events of the last few days, but encouraged by the work of both our delegations. It is good to see that our mutually different approaches to medicine can be beneficial to our different forms of diagnosis and treatment." Professor Huang He stated, addressing both delegations.

"You've been most hospitable to us on this difficult journey. Perhaps the future will see us friends and neighbors by the bridge we've built together despite our different approaches to medicine. I know that's what Norler wants to see." Alicia responded.

"There is a tale that some of us were taught when we were young." Professor Ling Jie began speaking.

On a warm starry night three star gazers lay upon the top of a hill, a clear view of the magnificent sky.

The first one, a man spied an as of yet unnamed constellation and spoke:

Look, it is a fisherman on a boat trying to catch a big fish.

The second one, a lady said looking at the same constellation:

No, it is a lady, her hair tied by red and gold silk lace. She holds a flower in her hand.

The third person, a wise old man then said calmly:

I see a fisherman out on a boat trying to catch the day's supper for a lady whose hair is tied by red and gold silk lace. She waves to him, a flower in her hand.

"Let us think of our different points of view in this manner. Two different ways of looking at the same thing can be brought together." Professor Ling Jie finished.

"In Russia we used to say: Just because they're different does not mean that the cow and the horse have to graze in different fields." Katya added.

"In Canada I think that there's a saying from an early explorer in our Country's history that goes: best to hear the mountain lion, the wolves and the moose out before turning any of them away." Bryce said intuitively.

"To give up individuality in the name of cooperation is to give up freedom in the name of liberty. The truth is that you can't have cooperation without individuality. Individuality is a must at my company. Cooperation is sought but not enforced. Even I have to be reminded from time to time. Right Monique?" Heylyn spoke then looking to Monique drawing her into the conversation.

"Well, you can be a control freak. Sometimes. But all in all I'd say you're the best employer that I've ever had or known." Monique smiled at Heylyn who smiled back graciously.

"Boss, can I have a raise?" Monique quickly continued drawing laughter from everyone.

"No! Get back to work!" Heylyn blared sounding like a dictator.

A moment later a smile appeared on her face and she began laughing.

"Monique, everything in life is timing..." Valerie replied shaking her head as she giggled.

"We've been privy to some information regarding the investigation. Your delegation will be allowed to leave China though you might be required at some time in the near future to return for a court hearing. We believe that Future Tangent Industries is using this situation..." Professor Huang He began.

"Using? They set it up!" Monique blurted out.

"Monique, let him finish." Alicia countered Monique.

"As I was saying, FTI is using this situation to leverage their market hold in Asia while running a smear campaign against Tynan And Associates. We've heard that they are attempting to file their own case against Tynan based upon the evidence at the scene outside of the Forbidden City. We've been contacted by them to act as witnesses against you. They even offered us a very large sum to do so. We are supporters of your cause and will not bend to their tactics. We thought that we should warn you before you left for Seoul. You best be careful for the rest of your journey while in Seoul and Tokyo. Future Tangent Industries will most certainly try to finish you and your delegation before you gain the support of other Alliance members." Professor Huang He finished what he had to say.

"Thank you for letting us know. We'll be in contact with you. Oh and we have a gift for you. Please set these upon the river during the Festival of Lanterns... to symbolize our future together." Alicia said as her delegation members placed their elaborately detailed lanterns on the table.

Later that afternoon their flight left Beijing for the trip to Seoul in South Korea. Norler lay still in the hospital bed unconscious but dreaming. He dreamt of a magnificent Dragon. A serpent like creature with glowing butterfly's wings who slithered it's way through the air towards him before landing on the ground before him.

"Walton Norler I presume? You've come to join us in this realm of dreams, in the field or perhaps its your world that's a dream as it may seem depending of course on the one who deems?" the Dragon spoke to him.

Flight And Scandal

"I can't believe that they'd do this!" Doctor Briggs said fuming as he watched the news through the  LCD television mounted on the seat ahead of him.

Zheng who sat beside him nearest the window of the aircraft tried her best to comfort him, rubbing his tense arm with her warm hands.

"We'll get through this. I hope." Zheng responded leaning her head on his shoulder.

The news story repeated again showing a video clip which had been censored. It was a video of his night with Zheng which had very obviously been taken by a hidden camera. That had been the night they'd broken the last of the ice between them and succumbed to their mutual attraction. It was in fact a very steamy night they'd tried to keep low key despite the attention the delegation was getting. In the clip they were both naked (their privates hidden by censorship bars). Doctor Briggs had just overpowered Zheng and pushed her onto the bed where he quickly mounted her. Their positions then reversed a moment later with Zheng on top holding Doctor Briggs down. They kissed one another passionately reversing positions once again before the news clip ended.

"Both Doctor Zheng and Doctor Briggs pictured here are representatives of Tynan And Associates. This is how Tynan representatives are using their time while in Asia. It isn't too hard to see that they have no real concern for the future well being and prosperity of Asia. Rather, more so they appear to be concerned with sewing their oats while there." the publicist from Future Tangent Industries spoke authoritatively for the press.

"Turn it down and ignore it. They're in the wrong and most people know it. They clearly abused your privacy with illegal surveillance. I mean there's nothing wrong with affection is there? Affection happens everywhere. Its not a crime." Valerie asked them rhetorically.

"Exactly but they exploited ours. A private moment between us to damage the delegation." Zheng responded.

"It hurts for a bit but it goes away. Ignore it and don't think about it. Think about each other. Think about the fact that while you were on this difficult journey that you found each other. We have a chance to seal this deal so to speak and build that bridge we've been so longing for. We are not required to give up our humanity in the process. If anything it is the reason we're doing this. Your relationship is not a crime. Their exploitation of you and your privacy is. Let that settle your minds." Bryce advised them.

"Really. Valerie and Bryce's advice is good. You should heed it. I know that Norler and I have been through the mill of public infamy a few times. If you need us we're here for you. Tynan's lawyers are already on this. In the mean time, enjoy the ride." Alicia added from across the aisle.

"I don't find it enjoyable someone exploiting a private moment between us." Doctor Briggs responded.

"For sure it isn't right, but for sure it has happened. We're here for you if you need us." Heylyn said sitting beside Alicia

The rest of the flight was quiet and nobody brought up the subject again. A few passengers commented as they passed the delegation on board the flight but for the most part it was peaceful as they flew into Vietnamese airspace.

To be continued in The Butterfly Dragon II: What Different Eyes See - Special Addition - From Hanoi Through To The Ho Chi Minh Trail

Copyright © 2018, 2020 Brian Joseph Johns