Thank you Ariane DeVere aka Callie Sullivan on livejournal for the transcripts. They help so much.
Here is the next part of The Blind Banker.
I own nothing, except Calliah
John and I go to the table and sit on the stools on the opposite side of the table as the woman is. Sherlock stands at the end of the table. “Who is she?” I ask John softly.
“Soo Lin.” He explains.
I nods, even though that meant nothing to me.
“You say the cipher. Then you know he is coming for me.” Soo Lin says.
“You’ve been clever to avoid him so far.” Sherlock comments.
“I had to finish… to finish this work. It’s only a matter of time. I know he will find me.” Soo Lin tells us.
“Who is he? Have you met him before?” Sherlock ask.
Soo Lin nods. “When I was a girl, living in China. I recognize his…’signature’.” She says.
“The cipher.” Sherlock says.
“Only he would do this. Zhi Zhu.” She says.
“Zhi Zhu?” John asks.
“The spider.” Sherlock translates.
Soo Lin puts her right foot up on her opposite knee and unlaces her shoe and takes it off. On the underside of her heel is a black tattoo of a lotus flower inside a circle. “Do you know this mark?” She asks us.
“Yes. It’s the mark of a Tong.” Sherlock says.
“Hmm?” John asks.
“Ancient crime syndicate based in China.” Sherlock explains.
John and I nod in understand and turn back to Soo Lin. “Every foot solider bears the mark; everyone who hauls for them.
“’Hauls’?” John asks. Soo Lin looks up at John and his eyes widen. “Y-You mean you were a smuggler?”
Soo Lin looks down and puts her shoe back on. “I was fifteen. My parents were dead. I had no livelihood; no way of surviving day to day except to work for the bosses.” She explains to us. I understood her predicament. I get up and walk over to her and take her hand. She smiles softly at me and I do the same.
“Who are they?” Sherlock asks.
“They are called the Black Lotus. By the time I was sixteen, I was taking thousands of pounds’ worth of drugs across the border into Hong Kong. But I managed to leave that life behind me. I came to England.” She says and smiles a little. “They gave me a job here. Everything was good; a new life.”
“Then he came looking for you.” Sherlock says.
“Yes.” She swallows and continues tearfully. I rub her arm and frown. “I had hoped after five years maybe they would have forgotten me, but they never really let you leave. A small community like ours – they are never very far away.” She wipes tears from her face. “He came to my flat. He asked me to help him to track down something that was stolen.”
“And you’ve no idea what it was?” John asks.
“I refuse to help.” Soo Lin tells us.
John leans forward. “So you knew him well when you were living back in China?” He asks.
“Oh yes.” She says and looks up at Sherlock. “He’s my brother. Two orphans. We had no choice. We could work for the Black Lotus, or starve on the streets like beggars. My brother has become their puppet, in the power of the one they call Shan – the Black Lotus general. I turned my brother away. He said I had betrayed him. Next day I came to work and the cipher was waiting.” Soo Lin explains to us.
“Can you decipher these?” Sherlock asks.
Soo Lin leans forward and points to the mark beside Sir William’s portrait. “These are numbers.”
“Yes, I know.” Sherlock says.
Soo Lin points to another photo. “Here: the line across the man’s eyes – it’s the Chinese number one.”
Sherlock points to the first photo. “And this one is fifteen. But what’s the code?” Sherlock asks.
“All the smuggler know it. It’s based upon a book…” Soo Lin says. Just then, almost all the lights go out. Soo Lin looks up in dread. Sherlock straightens up and looks around sharply. “He’s here. Zhi Zhu. He has found me.” She says softly, her face full of terror.
Sherlock races across the room and John calls to him softly but urgently. “Sh-Shelock. Sherlock, wait!” Sherlock charges out of the room. John turns to Soo Lin and me and grabs our hands. “Come here.” He leads up to a cupboard and opens the doors. “Get in. Get in!” We all get in. We wait and then hear gunfire. John turns to us. “I have to go and help. Bolt the door after me.” He runs off and Soo Lin’s face fills with dead. I hold her. After a couple minutes, we slowly crawl out of our hiding place. On the desk, paperwork is fluttering in a slight breeze. We crawls to the edge of the table and peers over the top of it before slowly standing up. Soo Lin turns around and I follow her. We see a Chinese man behind us. Soo Lin greets him.
“亮” [Liang.] She says. She hesitates for a moment. “大哥” [Big brother.] She reaches out and cups his face with her hand. I grab her hand and stare at her brother. “请你” [Please ...] She begs. He pulls out a gun and Soo Lin starts to sob. I rush forward and grab his arm and try to get the gun. He pushes me off him and I hit my head on the floor. I try to get up as my sight turns black.
I wake up at the hospital and sit up. I see Mycroft sitting by my bed. “Croft. What happened?” I ask.
“You hit your head. I am your contact so they called.” He looks at me and frowns. “Almost gave me a heart attack.”
I frown and sit up. “I’m sorry Croft. I had to try and save Soo Lin.” He nods in understand. “Where is she? Did she get away?”
He frowns more. “No I’m sorry Ardaigh.” I frown as my phone goes off. It was a text from John.
We are on our way to the hospital. Meet us in the morgue? JW
Of course. CM
I get up and grab my clothes. I put on my jeans and take off the hospital gown and put on my shirt. I didn’t get embarrassed changing in front of Mycroft. He had seen the worst of me. “Where are you going?” He asks me.
“The boys are coming here to the morgue. I need to help in any way I can.” I tell him. He walks over to me and lifts my head to look at him.
“I think you should lay down in the bed and heal all the way but I know you won’t.” Mycroft says and smiles softly.
I smile and hug him. “You know me so well.” He chuckles and kisses my head.
“Now go before I change my mind and chain you to the bed.” He says and lets me go.
I look up at him. “No we can do that later.” I wink and run off.
I get down to the morgue and see Molly with Sherlock, John, and Dimmock. John looks back and smiles at me. “How are you feeling?” He asks.
“Fine. Mycroft was up there and wouldn’t have let me leave if I wasn’t fine.” I tell him. I see Sherlock look over and frown at the mention of Mycroft. I roll my eyes. Those boys need to get over their fight.
Sherlock looks at Molly. “We’re just interested in the feet.” He tells her.
“The feet?” Molly asks and frowns.
“Yes. D’you mind if we have a look at them?” He asks and smiles at her.
I lean over to John. “How did Sherlock get Molly to do this?”
“I think he flirted with her.” He answers.
I frown. I knew Sherlock wasn’t interested in her but he knew that she would do anything he asked if he asked it with flirting. He was going to get a mouthful when we got home.
Dimmock and Sherlock were looking at second body now. “So either these two men just happened to visit the same Chinese tattoo parlour or I’m telling the truth.” Sherlock says.
Dimmock sighs in resignation. “What do you want?” He asks.
“I want every book from Lukis’ apartment and Van Coon’s.” Sherlock says.
“The books?” Dimmock asks.
Later we get to 221B. We take off our coats and John sits in his chair. Sherlock remains standing and I lay on the couch.
“Not just a criminal organization; it’s a cult. Her brother was corrupted by one of its leader.” I hear Sherlock say as I fall asleep.
A while later I hear some people coming in and out of the room. I sit up and see crates all around our living room. I stand up and look around. “What the hell?!” I yell. Sherlock and John look at me.
“Sleeping beauty is awake.” John says and smiles.
“Well beauty is not adjective I would use to describe her.” Sherlock says and looks around. “So, the numbers are references.” I frown and roll my eyes.
John smiles apologetic at me and then looks at Sherlock. “To the books?”
“To specific pages and specific words on those pages.” Sherlock explains.
“Right, so … fifteen and one: that means …” John says, trying to figure out what Sherlock was saying.
I sit down and grab my phone.
Pick me up? CM
I get a reply a minute later.
On my way. Two minutes. MH
I get up and go to my room and grab my phone charger and some comfy clothes. I needed some time away from the boys. I leave my room and grab my coat. “Mycroft never texts.” I hear Sherlock say behind me.
“He does for me.” I tell him as I get my coat on.
“What makes you so special? You are just as boring as anyone from the street below. Why would Mycroft choose to spend time with you?” Sherlock ask.
I clench my fists and turn around and storm to Sherlock. “I am not boring! If you got to know me, you would know that I am a ton of fun. I listen to your brother, I get him out of his shell, and he helps me. He is better than you in every way!” I yell and storm towards the door. I stop and go back to him. “And another thing! Don’t flirt with Molly just to get something. It is one of the worst things to do and I won’t have you doing that to one of my best friends!” I slap him and storm down the stairs. I slam the door and get into the car that is waiting outside. I move into Mycroft’s arms and rest my head on his chest and cry softly. He just rubs my back and tells the driver to go to his house.
I took a shower once we got to Mycroft’s house to calm me down. I go out to the living room and see Mycroft on the couch in silk pajamas and a blanket. He pats the couch and I rush over. I sit by him and bring my legs up onto his lap. He wraps a blanket around me and him and grabs the remote. He hits play and the beginning of Harry Potter starts. I smile and snuggle into him.
At the end of the movie, I get up and stretch. Mycroft stays sitting and I sit back down. “What happened?” He asks.
I sigh and lean forward and put my chin in my hands. I tell him what happened and sit back. “It just all got to me. I’m sorry. I know I shouldn’t rely on you this much, but if stayed I would have beat your brother.”
Mycroft moves me to his lap and wraps his arms around me. “Ardaigh. I am here for you at all times. Sherlock was wrong about it all. You aren’t boring and you are beautiful.” He says and kisses my head. I sigh and shrug.
I have always been told I was not beautiful. Mycroft knew that I had problems with my looks and helped me a lot to accept myself, just like I did with him. One time he caught me trying to cut my fat off my body. If he hadn’t been there, I would have died.
Mycroft rubs my back. “Want to get some ice cream from that shop down the street. Then we can come back here or do anything you like.”
I smile up at him. “I would love that.” I say and get up. “Let me go get changed.” I say and run out of the room. Mycroft made me want to be a better person for myself and I wanted to show that. I look in my closet to see what I had here. ‘Anthea’ made sure I had some nice clothes here if I wanted to use them. I look through the closet and find a maroon dress with lace over it. The sleeves were three quarter sleeves and it feel down to my mid-thigh. I smiled. I was going to make him take me out to dinner. I deserve it. I pair it with a nice black heeled boot, purple drop ear rings, a purple necklace, and a black clutch. I do my makeup light and throw my hair half up and down. I look at myself in the mirror and smile. Mycroft wouldn’t know what hit him. (To see the outfit go here: http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/set?id=145321132)
I walk out and down to the living room. Mycroft turns around and mouth drops open. I laugh and walk over to him. “You can catch flies that way Croft.” I say and closes his mouth.
“Ardaigh, you look amazing.” He says softly.
“Well, after ice cream, you sir are taking me to dinner. I deserve a night out.” I tell him.
He nods and offers me his arm. I take it and he leads me to the car. We go to the ice cream parlor and get our usual booth. We order our ice cream, strawberry for Mycroft and mint for me. We talk about unimportant things till our ice cream showed up. We eat in comfortable silence. I look up to see that Mycroft was looking at me. He smiles. “You have a little something…” He says softly and leans over. He wipes some ice cream off my upper brow but keeps his hand on my cheek. He looks down at my lips quickly and my heart beat speeds up. Was he going to kiss me? I wouldn’t mind. Mycroft was very attractive and I would be lying if I never thought about him in that way. He starts to lean in and I lean in too. We were a second away from kissing when my phone goes off. We both jump and look down. I grab my phone and see a new text:
Come back to the flat. Now. It is important. SH
I glare at my phone and look up at Mycroft. He is looking at me. “Sherlock?” He asks. I nod and he holds his hand out for my phone. I give it to him and as our hands touch, I feel my heart beating even faster. I take my hand back and look down. He reads the text. “Okay let’s go.” He gets up and sets my phone down on the table. I frown and get out of the booth. I grab my phone and follow him. He leads me to the car and opens the door for me. I get in and he follows. He tells the driver 221 Baker Street. I frown. I didn’t care about Sherlock right now. I look at Mycroft and see that he is staring straight ahead. I look down and we drive in uncomfortable silence. We hadn’t had this happen since I met him. I didn’t like it. We get to the flat and I look at Mycroft.
“Croft?” I ask softly.
“Go Miss Mullen.” He says and doesn’t even look at me. I frown and get out of the car. I rush to the house, tears coming to my eyes. I go upstairs and wipes my eyes before I walk in. I go into the flat and see Sherlock sitting in his chair.
“What do you want Sherlock?” I ask slightly angrily.
He looks up and looks shocked. “Why are you dressed like that?” He asks.
“It doesn’t matter. What do you want?” I ask. I just wanted to go to my room and cry.
“We are going out tonight. What you are wearing is fine.” Sherlock says.
“Oh no! You didn’t make me leave what I was doing to go out with you! Where is John?” I ask.
“He is on his date. We will meet up with him.” Sherlock says and gets up and grabs his coat. He grabs my hand and goes down the stairs. I try to get out of his grip but he isn’t budging.
“Let me go!” I yell but it is useless. He gets a taxi and pushes me into it. He gets in and tells the driver the address. I sit on the other side as far as possible and frown. He ruined what could have been one of the best nights of my life to go out with him to replace John. Mycroft didn’t even give me a choice. He just decided that I would be going home. I would rather be having dinner or not having dinner with him right now. We get out of the car and go into the building. I am standing away from Sherlock. I see John up ahead at the ticket booth with a woman. At least he was happy tonight.
“Actually, I have four in that name.” I hear the manager tell John.
“No, I don’t think. We only booked two.” John tries to explain.
“And then I phoned back and got two more. One for me and one for Calliah.” Sherlock says behind John. John looks back at us in disbelief. Sherlock offers the woman his hand. “I’m Sherlock.” He says. The woman shakes his hand. “And this is Calliah.” He says and looks to me. I nod at the woman.
“Er, hi. I’m Sarah.” She tells me and nods at me. I nod back. “I’m going to the loo.” She says and walks to the loo.
The boys go to the steps and go off to the side. “You couldn’t let me have just one night off?” John asks Sherlock.
“Yellow Dragon Circus, in London for one day. It fits. The Tong sent an assassin to England…” Sherlock explains.
“…dressed as a tightrope walker. Come on, Sherlock, behave!” John yells. He looks at me and I frown and shrug. He looks at what I was wearing and I shake my head.
“We’re looking for a killer who can climb, who can shin up a rope. Where else would you find that level of dexterity? Exit visas are scarce in China. They need a pretty good reason to get out of that country. Now, all I need to do is have a quick look round the place ...” Sherlock explains.
“Fine. You do that; I’m gonna take Sarah for a pint.” John says.
“I need your help.” Sherlock says sternly.
“You have Calliah!” John offers up.
“Do not bring me into this. I want to be here far less than you do.” I say and glare at Sherlock, who ignores me.
“Well,” John says and turns back to Sherlock. “I do have a couple of other things on my mind this evening!”
“Like what?” Sherlock ask.
I smirk, at least there was a little of entertainment.
John looks at him in disbelief. “You are kidding.”
“What’s so important?” Sherlock asks.
“Sherlock, I’m right in the middle of a date. D’you want me to chase some killer while I’m trying to ...” John breaks off.
“What?” Sherlock asks.
“... while I’m trying to get off with Sarah!” John yells a little loud. Inevitably Sarah comes around the corner at that moment. John turns to her and smiles awkwardly. “Heyyy.” Rolling his eyes, Sherlock turns and heads up the stairs, pulling me along.
We get to the performance area. There’s a stage on one side of the large hall and the curtains are closed. However, it seems that the stage is not going to be used: a circle of candles has been laid out in the middle of the floor, about thirty feet in diameter. The room is dimly lit. The patrons are gathering around the circle but there are no seats. Apparently the number of tickets has been limited and there’s room for everyone to stand around the circle with a clear view. Sarah and John stand side by side while Sherlock and I stands behind them, Sherlock with his back to them, looking all around the room and peering up to the ceiling. John talks quietly over his shoulder to us, turning his head away from Sarah so that she can’t hear. “You said circus. This is not a circus. Look at the size of this crowd. Sherlock, this is ...” He grimaces with distaste. “... art.”
“This is not his day job.” Sherlock says quietly over his shoulder.
“No, sorry, I forgot. They’re not a circus; there’re a gang of international smugglers.” John says.
The performance begins with someone tapping out a rhythm on a tiny hand drum. Sherlock turns to face the same way as his companions and John looks over his shoulder at him. Sherlock quirks an eyebrow at him. An ornately costumed Chinese woman with a heavily painted face – traditionally known as the Opera Singer – walks into the center of the circle and looks imperiously out at the audience before raising a hand in the air. The drummer finishes his riff. The Opera Singer walks across the circle to a large object covered with a cloth which she now pulls back to reveal an antique-looking crossbow on a stand. She picks up a long thick wooden arrow with white feathers at one end and a vicious metal point at the other and shows it to the audience before fitting it into place in the crossbow. Straightening up, she pulls a single small white feather from her headdress and again shows it to the audience. On the rear of the crossbow is a small metal cup and she gently drops the feather into it. Instantly the arrow is released and whizzes across the room. Sherlock’s head whips around to follow its flight while John, Sarah, and I are still gasping at the sound of the arrow’s release. By the time they look round a moment later, the arrow is embedded in a large painted board on the other side of the circle. Sarah turns to John and laughs, dramatically putting her hand over her heart.
Instrumental music begins, and the audience applauds as a new character enters the circle, wearing chainmail and an ornate head mask. He holds his arms out to the sides and two men come over and start to attach heavy chains and straps to him, strapping his now-folded arms in front of him and then backing him up against the board and starting to chain him to it.
“Classic Chinese escapology act.” Sherlock says softly.
John, Sarah, and I look at him. “Hmm?” John asks.
“The crossbow’s on a delicate string. The warrior has to escape his bonds before it fires.” Sherlock explains.
The Opera Singer loads another arrow into the crossbow. The men attach more padlocks and chains and one of them pulls a chain tight, yanking the warrior’s head back against the board. The warrior cries out. The men loop the chains through solid rings attached to the board and secure the warrior, who cries out again. Once they’ve finished, they step away. The music begins building in intensity and cymbals crash unexpectedly. Sarah jumps, clutching at John’s arm.
“Oh, Gaud! I’m sorry.” I hear her tell John. I smile softly at them and see that she keeps holding onto John’s arm.
The Opera Singer picks up a small knife and displays it to the audience.
“She splits the sandbag; the sand pours out; gradually the weight lowers into the bowl.” Sherlock says softly.
The Opera Singer does just what Sherlock predicted – she reaches up to a small sandbag hanging on a long cable and stabs the knife into the bottom of the sack. Sand begins to pour out, and the warrior repeatedly cries out with effort as he tugs at his chains. The sandbag’s cable is looped over a pulley and a metal ball is attached to the other end. As the sand continues to pour out of the bag the weight lowers towards the bowl at the back of the crossbow. The warrior gets one hand free. We turn to look at the warrior as he gets his other hand free and starts tugging at the chains around his neck. The weight is now only a few feet above the bowl and I notice Sarah clings tightly to John’s arm, grimacing. The warrior cries out again as he pulls at his chains and the weight gets ever closer. As it almost reaches the lip of the bowl the warrior loosens the chains around his neck and struggles to free himself. The weight touches the bowl and the arrow streaks across the room. With a split second to spare, the warrior pulls free of the chains and ducks down and the arrow thuds into the board. The warrior cries out triumphantly as the audience begins to applaud. I hear Sarah gasps in relief.
The warrior stands up and takes the applause. Still clapping, John looks over his shoulder at us, and frowns. I look over to see what Sherlock was doing but Sherlock has vanished. John looks at me and I frown. We start looking around the hall but can’t see him anywhere.
In the performance area, the Opera Singer raises a hand to halt the audience’s applause.
“Ladies and gentlemen, from the distant moonlight shores of the Yangtze River, we present for your pleasure the deadly Chinese bird-spider.” The opera singer says.
As she walks away, a masked acrobat descends from the ceiling, rolling through the air as the broad red band wrapped around his waist unravels. The audience applauds and he stops a couple of feet above the ground, holding his body parallel to the floor. Descending to the floor, the acrobat removes the band from around his waist and splits it, revealing that it’s made up of two strips of material which he now wraps around his arms and then runs around the circle before taking his weight on the bands, lifting into the air and flying around in a circle several feet above the ground, the red bands soaring out behind him. We all stare up open-mouthed.
We are watching the acrobat. On the other side of the circle, the closed curtains on the stage begin to billow in one particular place. I frown at the curtains for a moment but is then distracted back to the acrobat. Outside, the acrobat does a dramatic roll down the bands. The audience applauds.
Sherlock comes flying out onto the floor a few feet below. Crashing onto his back, he struggles to get upright again but is too winded and can’t move much as a warrior comes flying out of the curtains and onto the floor in front of him. John and I run towards the warrior as he raises a knife and prepares to plunge it downwards. John charges straight into him, pushing him back against the edge of the stage but the warrior lashes out with one foot, sending John stumbling across the room. I rush at the back of the warrior and jump onto his back. The warrior throws me off his back and onto mine. He comes at me with his knife. As he raises the sword above his head, his concentration focused on delivering the killing blow to me at his feet, Sarah slams one end of the arrow over the top of the warrior’s head. He cries out in pain and before he can react or retaliate she swings the arrow sideways and smashes it across his ribs. She instantly delivers a second blow to the same area and he falls to the ground, grunting and almost unconscious. I smile and get up. “Woah.” I say as she straightens up. Sherlock sits up and leans forward to the warrior’s right foot, pulling off his shoe to reveal a Tong tattoo on his heel. I frown and see that John has grabbed Sarah’s hand and starts to pull her to the exit. I follow as Sherlock picks up the end.
“Come on.” John says almost voicelessly.
Sherlock races ahead of us. “Come on! Let’s go!” He yells.
We go to the Scotland Yard. We follow Dimmock into the office. I sit down with Sarah as the boys talk. “Are you okay?” I ask. She nods and smiles softly. I get up and go outside the office. I take my phone out of my clutch and dial Mycroft’s number. I almost died tonight and knew I needed to talk to him. He doesn’t answer and I tear up. “Cr-Mycroft.” I say softly into the phone. “I need you.” I say softly and then end the call. I wipe my tears and go back into the office as Dimmock says “I gave the order for a raid. Please tell me I’ll have something to show for it – other than a massive bill for overtime.”