It wasn’t entirely through circumstance that the Elegant Spy Mistress found herself in the home of an old flame. Though the word home seemed a bit too humble to describe such a location; the mansion was set atop a hill overlooking the city. It stood tall and imposing, the Host, of course, had the mansion built for that very purpose – he didn’t like to think of himself as some common thug, and such a grandiose display as his Mansion On The Hill helped to separate himself, at least in his own mind, from the city’s more shadowy characters.

Though the Host had invited the Elegant Spy Mistress to his dinner party as a social event, she was there strictly on business. The Host, however, was not the target, but that isn’t to say he couldn’t be a bonus. Everybody knew, or at least they thought they knew, of the origins of his riches, but one did not elevate to such a height as he did without knowing how to become somewhat untouchable by the authorities.

That night it was the No-Good Dirty-Rotten Smuggler that had caught the attention of spies and he was as slippery as the fish he used to hide the black-market weaponry with. Of course it should have been easy once his location was revealed, but it can only be assumed that the Host caught wind of the mission that he decided to change his plans from an intimate dinner party to a masked ball, with many more guests invited. None of which the Elegant Spy Mistress found particularly enjoyable company.

It was this series of events that had led to the Host and the Spy Mistress to be alone on the balcony overlooking the city once more. Though now there was no love lost between the pair. The Elegant Spy Mistress loathed the Host, he had, after all, broken her heart. Although he would argue that the harpy didn’t have one to begin with. What had started as bitter words shared between lovers scorned soon became quite a heated argument and ended with the Host having the larger half of his drink covering his face following a lewd request made towards the Spy Mistress.

The Elegant Spy Mistress cursed herself for wasting time on such trivial matters and returned to the “grand hall.” The No-Good Dirty-Rotten Smuggler was in here somewhere and the Spy Mistress, using all her powers of deduction, figured that it must have been the short man in the fish-mask who smelt like the sea. It was not a great disguise. Out from a hidden pocket concealed in her dress came a powerful revolver and before the smuggler could react a bullet had flew through his brain. A reckless move, she admitted to herself, before removing his mask to make sure she had hit the target.

Her powers of deduction had not failed her. She apologized to the guests for ruining the party, though some remarked that it had been the only interesting thing to happen all evening, and quickly left the building.

She was not, however, finished for the night. The Elegant Spy Mistress found somewhere she would not be seen and changed her outfit as to be the Practical Spy Mistress. While her official task had been completed – in a fashion – she now had something more personal to attend to. Of course, nothing in her line of work is easy and so she soon found herself attempting to scale the wall of the mansion in the rain.

Her plan was to find evidence against the Host, she had overheard plenty at the ball to realize that he was slipping up, not being as careful as he should be. Loose lips sink ships and all that. In particular she had heard of an Incriminating Envelope, a guest had seen it being handed to the Host some time ago in a dark alley.

Of course, this information could be rubbish, but the Host was an arse and the Practical Spy Mistress had decided that she’d take him down a peg or two. Or three, or four, with any luck.

She crept across the rooftops of the mansion, heading towards the Tall Tower. Once again using her powers of deduction, she had decided that an exhibitionist such as the Host would keep the most important items in such a structure.

It was a dangerous climb and required top secret gadgetry – the grapple hook! The wind didn’t help, nor did the rain, but the Practical Spy Mistress soon found standing on the balcony and picking the lock to the topmost room of the tower.

Sure enough, sat in the centre of the circular room with a dome ceiling was a large, dark green safe. The Spy Mistress started to think that she hadn’t exactly thought her plan through, she did not have the combination and didn’t think that the Host would be as romantic enough to use anything related to her.

She did try her birth date anyway, and the Host’s birth date and many other dates notable to them both. It disappointed her somewhat; perhaps she didn’t make as big an impact on his life as she thought she had.

There was only one thing for it, she would have to steal, or confiscate, the safe and take it back to her headquarters. There she would have the appropriate tools to get the Incredibly Large Safe open – and hopefully inside would be the Incriminating Envelope.

The Incredibly Large Safe, it turns out, was also incredibly heavy. She had managed to shove it onto the balcony, but had nowhere to take it from there. She was hoping to do something fancy with the rope of her grapple hook and lower the safe down, but it seemed that it wouldn’t be possible to even get the safe over the balcony railing.

Not that it would be an issue for too long, the Practical Spy Mistress leapt back just in time as the weight of the Incredibly Large And Heavy Safe tore the balcony from its wall. The Incredibly Large And Heavy And Now Quite Fast Safe dropped through the sky at an incredibly speed and smashed through the ceiling of the mansion’s “great hall.”

Luckily, the only person it landed on was the already deceased No-Good Dirty-Rotten Smuggler.

“And now, I suppose, it’s time for my daring escape.” The Practical Spy Mistress sighed. HQ would probably give her a stern talking to about this mission.

A particularly quick guard had already made it up to the top of the tower as the Escaping Spy Mistress prepared to rappel down the wall. She couldn’t risk the guard having at least half a brain and decided not to leave the way she came in lest he loosen the rope allowing her to fall to her death.

Though in hindsight she thought that she’d be safe on that occasion, she was sure the Host was still somewhat fond of her and would behead any guard that dared try to kill her.

Instead she leap-frogged over the guard’s head in one impressive manoeuvre and bolted down the stairs, taking at least 3 steps at a time. The Escaping Spy Mistress was at least half way down when another guard spotted her, and in an attempt to make her escape a little more varied she didn’t leap-frog this one; instead she jumped onto him and rode the guard down the stairs like a sled.

The Host, of course, was waiting for her at the bottom of the tower. He couldn’t help but smirk at her method of escape. Unfortunately the Host had a camera set up, not the speediest of devices, but if he caught her face the Spy Ministry would be forced to drop her. Of course, by the time she had dusted herself off and gathered her bearings two guards had seized an arm each.

The camera flashed and an image was printed, the Caught Red-Handed Spy Mistress had been caught. . . Red handed.

Though, there was a chance of escape. Behind the Host she could see where the Incredibly Large And Heavy But Now Motionless Safe had landed, the fall had caused its door to creak open slightly and let spill a few important looking documents – including what she could only assume to be the Incriminating Envelope.

It would take all her wit and dexterity to wriggle out of this one, Incriminating Envelope in hand. Or a decent distraction, which in this case was her glancing to the left and looking shocked. The Host and guards couldn’t help but follow her gaze, and it was in that moment that the Cunning Spy Mistress broke free of the guards and sidestepped past the Host, doing an unnecessary cartwheel over the Incredibly Large And Heavy And  Open Safe picking up the Incriminating Envelope in the process.

The Cunning Spy Mistress winked at the Host and their deal remained unspoken, but they were both aware – You keep the photo a secret, and I’ll make sure the Incriminating Envelope is never opened.

Only a half failure, then, she thought to herself. The No-Good Dirty-Rotten Smuggler had been taken care of and she had retrieved the Incriminating Envelope! But she couldn’t use the Incriminating Envelope against the Host and she had been embarrassingly caught.

Maybe she’ll have better luck next time.