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oh dear thorned rose,
you are beautiful as you are deadly.

 

"Hey, sweet cheeks," the voice echoes in the prison cell, shattering the silence which had long since settled in, and the woman looks up at the gruff-looking man in the cell with her. "You seem like a nice, tight little virgin. Why don't I do you a favour by showing you how great it is to have your brains fucked out of you, and you do me a favour by letting me go?"

The words sicken her, but it's nothing she's never heard of before. She's been part of a much dirtier world for the most part of her life, after all.

Playing innocent, she quirks an eyebrow at him. "What did you call me again?" She asks, keeping her voice carefully neutral, knowing full well that the man is underestimating her. She knows how young she looks, even if she's hitting twenty seven at the turn of the year, and it confers her a great advantage when it comes to surprising her opponents. She'll make him pay, soon enough.

The man is dense enough to have overlooked the undertone of warning in her words – they always do, she thinks exasperatedly – and repeats himself, complete with a leer as he checks out her chest again. "I said sweet cheeks–"

At this, she loses the last of her patience, heaving a quiet sigh in lamentation for his stupidity. The only warning she gives him is the way she slams her palms against the table, before propelling her small body onto it and sliding across the table, aiming a kick at the man's neck, sending him tilting backwards in his chair with no means to break his fall, considering how his hands are handcuffed in front of him.

The way the man splutters as he tries to catch his breath and make sense of what's happening kind of satisfies her, and she makes it a point to straddle his chest, keeping her knee at the level of his trachea. She hates it when prisoners try to hit on her, thinking that she's an easy target, but she's not a part of Exodus because someone had taken a liking to her looks and decided to pity her past. It's too bad they like underestimating her so much, but it only makes things all the more fun, when she sees the bewildered expressions on their faces, as though they had no idea what hit them.

"Do you want to repeat yourself?" She asks, intonation bored as she checks her nails, only to glare at the man when he scoffs in disbelief.

"I'll repeat myself as many times as I want, sweet cheeks–"

She doesn't hesitate in the slightest when she gives him an uppercut, then hauling the prisoner to his feet and slamming him hard against the wall, causing him to howl in agony. Factoring in the fact that he's been wasting her time by refusing to talk about the crime he's being charged with, she's really pretty pissed at him right now. Before she could even deal her next blow, though, her in-ear device beeps and catches her attention.

It doesn't stop her from punching the prisoner in the face and kneeing him hard in the crotch before answering the incoming call, however, and the pained groans of the prisoner is like music in the background as she casts a dirty look at his curled up form on the floor.

"Yeah?" She huffs curtly into the mic clipped onto the front of her blouse. The prisoner calls her something along the lines of prude virgin bitch just then, and she makes it a point to let him know she doesn't take very kindly to such insults by digging the heel of her stiletto into the back of his hand.

An exasperated sigh comes from the direction of her in-ear device at the noise in the background. "Agent Thorned Rose, are you torturing our prisoner again?"

She schools her expressions into one of innocence, knowing that the woman who's speaking to her can see her every action through the CCTV. It doesn't stop her from twisting the heel of her stiletto against the flesh of the man's hand again, though. The way he screams is utterly satisfying. "No," she says, sounding as clueless as she can manage. Sometimes it pays off to be a good actress. "What gives you the idea that I'm doing so, Agent Lynx?"

Another sigh – this time one of surrender. Kim Minseok is always such a pushover, and she resists the urge to laugh. "Nothing. Never mind. Anyway, Bloodhound wants to see you in his office immediately. I'll take over the interrogation from you."

This time, she actually groans, because getting called to Bloodhound's office can go two ways – it's either he's trying to reprimand her for yet another screw-up (in his books, at least), whatever it is, or he has a new job for her. She certainly hopes it's the latter, because she's about to be bored out of her mind if she has to get stuck in the headquarters any longer than this.

"Fine, I'll go," she says in the end, cutting the communication system before turning to look at the prisoner who's still lying on the floor in pain. She grabs him by the collar, forcing him to look in her eyes as she says, "Look, dickhead, you better play nice with Lynx, or I'll fucking come over and castrate you when I'm done. You hear me?"

The pathetic whimper coming from the man is like music to her ears, evidently scared shitless by the tip of the blade which she had thought fit to press against the base of his jaw. Satisfied, she shoves him back against the ground and leaves him there, her stilettos clacking against the marble flooring as she walks away from the room.

Besides, she knows the prisoner is in good hands. There's only one woman scarier than Thorned Rose in Exodus when she feels insulted, and it's Lynx.

Shame. She'd like to see his ass getting whooped big time.

 

 

"You have a new mission."

The woman who's seated on the other side of the desk, dressed in a black leather jacket and a pair of equally tight pair of pants and her heart-shaped lips painted in a sinful shade of red, quirks a perfectly threaded brow at the man when he slides a file across the table. The man himself is impeccably dressed in a tailored business suit, adding a little bit of age to his otherwise deceptively youthful face.

She purses her lips at the man, wondering what the rush is. He would usually wait till her seat is at least properly warmed up before jumping into business. "You're not deigning me with a proper greeting anymore, Ryeowook? I thought I was your favourite mentee."

Despite the initial seriousness of their meeting, the man actually laughs at her words before schooling his expressions back into one that meant business, though the ghost of a fond smile still lingers on his lips. "You've never been one to care about these things, Kyungsoo," Ryeowook points out, to which Kyungsoo shrugs as nonchalantly as she possibly can before picking up the file from the table.

"What's it about this time? Do I get to blow things up? Play with a sniper rifle?" Kyungsoo asks, almost monotonous, but she knows that Ryeowook understands her well enough to even think that she's not interested.

It's been eight years since she's joined Exodus, a group of secret service agents under the South Korean government, after all. Back then, Kyungsoo had been eighteen and was one of the deadliest contract killers around, keeping her identity tightly under wraps and can only be found if she wants to be found. It didn't deter Ryeowook from tracking her down, regardless, and he was the first and only person who had ever managed to get Kyungsoo cornered like the street rat she was.

I'm Kim Ryeowook, codename Bloodhound, and I come from an organisation called Exodus, Ryeowook had revealed his identity to her without hesitation back then, keeping his gun away when he was sure she wouldn't fight back, an act which was extremely risky – and incredibly stupid, given the fact that Ryeowook knew of Kyungsoo's abilities very well, otherwise he wouldn't have a reason to track her down like this – even in Kyungsoo's eyes, but it had successfully earned Kyungsoo's trust, too. Why don't you kill someone for a good reason? For the government. And you'll never have to fear about getting caught ever again.

Kyungsoo had rejected the offer at first, thinking that Ryeowook was a quack job trying to con her into a shady organisation which would eventually prostitute her – she wasn't stupid, and Ryeowook had seemed too straight-laced to be an assassin for the South Korean government, if not a little sly-looking. But Ryeowook had been extremely persistent, tracking Kyungsoo down no matter how hard she tried to cover up her tracks, and would keep throwing the proposal at her whenever they met.

In the end, Kyungsoo had agreed to join Ryeowook at Exodus to get him off her back, and she has never looked back since.

"None of those, unfortunately," Ryeowook tells her, a smirk playing on his lips because he knows she'd be disappointed when she doesn't get to toy around with weapons. And Kyungsoo almost plays right into his hands, only barely holding back an audible groan from escaping her throat. She must be wearing a pinched look when she looks up from the second line of the file, though, because Ryeowook laughs at her, and boy has Kyungsoo never regretted calling him her mentor more than this. "Not overtly, Kyungsoo. You know we can't let you go into the thick of the mission without equipping you with something to defend yourself – not that I'm belittling your martial arts skills, of course."

This time it's Kyungsoo's turn to stifle a laugh. Ryeowook's no doubt turning warm under the collar from remembering about that one time he'd tried to launch a surprise attack on her, only to have his ass whooped. Hard. It's one of the many blackmail materials she has on Ryeowook, of course, and probably the only reason why Ryeowook isn't as hard on her as the other mentors in Exodus are on their own mentees. Kyungsoo would like to think that this is a win-win situation.

"Now, if you would like to turn your attention back onto the file, Thorned Rose–" Ryeowook states before Kyungsoo could even make a snarky remark about it like she usually does, "–our target this time is Park Kyungjin, banker extraordinaire."

Kyungsoo frowns a little at the photo staring back up at her from the file, and cocks her head to the side. "Isn't he that philanthropist who pledged half his company's stocks to fund a ground-breaking cancer research?"

"Bingo. You've been doing some reading, I see," Ryeowook snaps his fingers satisfactorily, before pulling up a video from his computer.

The projected image on the screen behind Ryeowook shows Park Kyungjin in a neatly-pressed suit and a kind face, with a scientist dressed in his customary white coat standing beside him, addressing a group of reporters about his contribution to the cancer research fund. Kyungsoo knows him; she's read about his noble desire to find a cure for every single form of cancer out there by acting upon the mutated genes responsible for malignant transformation of the cells before the disease could even manifest, his own wife having died from a metastatic cancer herself. Frankly, Kyungsoo's rather impressed, if not a little sceptical about his plans. If someone were to find a cure for cancer, it would definitely make them the richest person to walk the face of Earth.

Then again, if it were that easy, the cure would've already been found years ago.

"What's wrong with him?" Kyungsoo asks. Park Kyungjin seems like an honest businessman, with his gentle smiles and mild mannerisms. She's seen enough of the greedy ones to be able to pick up even the slightest of slyness in them.

Ryeowook shrugs, and pulls up yet another screen which focuses on the scientist who'd been with Park Kyungjin. The time stamp on the video shows that it was taken a couple of months ago, along with the name of the man. Lee Taeyong. "There has been a substantial, unexplained increase in crime rates ever since this project of Mr Park's has been underway. What's even more worrying is the fact that they involve the usage of firearms which normally cannot be found in South Korea."

The information troubles Kyungsoo a little. While it's true that Kyungsoo has seen a surge of crime rates around the nation, she'd thought that the mafia groups were just trying to outdo each other in the underworld; she's dabbled amongst their ranks long enough to know that they'd resort to such lame ass methods to show off their prowess.

"And Park Kyungjin is involved in this, how? He's a banker," Kyungsoo says instead, still unable to follow Ryeowook's train of thoughts. Then again, her gut feeling is telling her that this is all not a mere coincidence.

Ryeowook smirks again, as he always does whenever he manages to stump Kyungsoo with a subject. He's always been the showy type, despite being her mentor. He'll find a way to tease her later, she's sure. "On the surface he is. Recently, a video from a prominent terrorist organisation in Russia had made its rounds to all the major firms in the world–" he starts, loading yet another video for Kyungsoo's perusal, and she pays her full attention to it, "–and in this very video, the leader of that organisation had thanked a South Korean partner for having provided them with enough firearms to win the skirmish against the Russian government."

Kyungsoo frowns harder. "It could be anyone in the country, Ryeowook." Even though Kyungsoo puts her complete faith in Exodus, she thinks that they're grasping at loose straws right now. There's a substantial number of millionaires in the country, after all, and anyone could be a prime suspect for this firearms deal. You'd need to be extremely loaded to play this game; Kyungsoo knows that much. Then again, Exodus has spies planted in most of the mafia groups in the nation, and have them under tight surveillance; most of them dealt with illicit substances, but never firearms, for the sheer reason that drugs are a lot easier to smuggle into the country, unless they have extensive dealings with the highest ranked officers in the Customs Department.

"True, but recently we've found significant evidence linking Park Kyungjin to these firearms deals." Ryeowook acquiesces, pointing towards Lee Taeyong again. "One, we can't find the so-called facility where they're supposedly doing their cancer research, and Park Kyungjin has time and again refused to allow anyone near his facility. Two, assuming Park Kyungjin had been truthful when he'd introduced Lee Taeyong as the lead scientist who's running the research, then why can't we find his name on any of the alumni registers of the most reputable universities in the world?"

"Could he have changed his name?" Kyungsoo suggests, because there's always a possibility of that happening. In Exodus, they'd have to dig up every possible identity their suspects have used in order to run a thorough background check on them. They can never be too careful.

Ryeowook seems satisfied at her suggestion. "He technically can, but why would you change your name when you're involved in a ground-breaking cancer research project which could propel you into world fame?" He questions, and Kyungsoo finds herself agreeing with it. Anyone would want their name stamped in the history books, no matter what. Kyungsoo's the same, if she were given the chance.

"Okay, so the dude's fishy. How?"

Ryeowook taps his index finger against the side of the file in Kyungsoo's hands, and she turns her attention upon it once again, flipping it to the next page. Printed on paper are numerous records of Lee Taeyong's immigration entry and exit documentations, all into and out of Russia. Kyungsoo raises her brow in surprise yet again. "It seems that his lead scientist is an avid traveller," Ryeowook says in lieu of a joke, and Kyungsoo shakes her head.

"Maybe that's why their research is going nowhere," she replies, eyes scanning the rest of the document in her hands to pick up the salient points within. Exodus would never throw an agent into the thick of an investigation without good reason, and the initial data collection would have been done by other personnel within the organisation beforehand. For them to propose Kyungsoo as an undercover agent to investigate Park Kyungjin further would only mean that they have substantial leads, and would require Kyungsoo to obtain the ultimate piece of evidence for them to pin the crime on his head. She's been in a mission like this, once, and hadn't quite enjoyed it, considering the amount of time and effort she had to spend before she could hit the metaphorical jackpot. But an order is an order, and Kyungsoo doesn't have the heart to go against her mentor. "So where do I stand in this project?"

"You're going to disguise yourself as the live-in personal assistant to Park Kyungjin this time, Kyungsoo. It's the only opening they have on their bank's website," Ryeowook tells her, but Kyungsoo only looks at him with confusion on her face.

"What's that supposed to mean?" She asks, though Ryeowook merely shrugs at her.

"That, is something for you to find out," he tells her simply as he shoos her out of the room, and boy, has Kyungsoo never hated her mentor more.

 

 

"Can you believe that asshole Ryeowook– fuck, yes–" Kyungsoo gasps in the middle of her sentence when the person between her legs presses the flat of her tongue against Kyungsoo's cunt, sending delicious shivers down the length of her spine and making her toes curl into the mattress.

Kyungsoo's not usually one to talk about work-related matters during sex, but Minseok drives a hard bargain, and had offered to help Kyungsoo relax the moment she'd managed to leave Park Kyungjin's private office with a brand new job title attached to her name. They're not mutually exclusive, Kyungsoo and Minseok, and Kyungsoo doesn't intend for them to stay exclusive, either. It's obvious Minseok has the hots for Jongdae's gorgeous piece of ass and tiny pair of tits, but she still refuses to admit it even though Kyungsoo has caught her staring after Jongdae lustfully on more than one occasion. Besides, Minseok's great in bed, and Kyungsoo would be stupid not to make full use of their friends-with-benefits status.

Of course, Minseok who has always been turned on by the sight of Kyungsoo in an office lady outfit – her button-down blouse and pencil skirt shows off her toned abs and legs perfectly well, apparently – had pounced on Kyungsoo the moment she'd walked into her own apartment, with Minseok's hands diving under her blouse to caress her ample breasts. One thing led to another, and Kyungsoo found herself writhing on her bed with Minseok's godly tongue stuck right up her vagina.

"It's not so bad, is it? The job?" Minseok pulls away from devouring Kyungsoo's cunt, smothering the disappointed whimper which escapes Kyungsoo's lips with a searing kiss as she repositions herself on the bed. Kyungsoo kind of wants to die from bliss when the hot heat of Minseok's clitoris finally rubs up against hers, and Kyungsoo mindlessly ruts against Minseok, feeling the building friction between them.

"Not so bad?" Kyungsoo gasps, angling her head to the side when Minseok begins nosing at the angle of her jaw and presses fleeting kisses down her neck. "I'm not being a stay-in personal assistant for Park Kyungjin– oh god, fuck– I'm supposed to be a fucking babysitter for his socialite princess!"

Kyungsoo remembers how her jaw had nearly dropped wide open in complete horror when Park Kyungjin had explained about the job description to her. It's a good thing she's professionally trained to not let her emotions show, because it would have been an extremely embarrassing affair. Of course, Kyungsoo had heard a lot about Park Kyungjin's daughter, Park Chanyeol, and the infamy that surrounds her. The media seems to be having a field day, reporting on her terrible fashion sense and chaotic behaviour that's extremely unbecoming of a girl of her status, and her father wants all that to stop. And Kyungsoo learns in the same meeting that it's not the first time the post had been offered on the classifieds, but no one has ever lasted more than a week, when they had to deal with Park Chanyeol. Park Kyungjin is desperate, considering that Chanyeol's of a ripe age to be married off to another family of a high social standing, the way the socialites always do, but she's too wild to catch the hearts of a decent family. Even if the son of a good family can stand her, his parents can't.

"Ah," Minseok exclaims, but Kyungsoo can't be sure if it's from realisation that Kyungsoo's gotten herself into a huge pile of shit, or if she's moaning from the way Kyungsoo's finger has slipped between their bodies to rub at Minseok's clit. Either way, it makes Kyungsoo feel smug when Minseok's hips stutter a little. Someone has to wreck Minseok sometimes; she's much too put-together. "The pay is good, I presume? Since no one else wants the job?"

"I have low tolerance for bullshit," Kyungsoo says, gasping when Minseok bends forward to bite on her nipple. She lets Minseok pin her arms above her head as Minseok laps at her skin, feeling the electrical current of pleasure run through her. "What's to say I won't shoot that little bitch in the head when she pisses me off?"

Minseok's eyes are bright with mischief when she looks up at Kyungsoo. "I dare you to keep her alive until the end of your mission, then," she says, and fuck, Kyungsoo really wants to strangle her fuckbuddy sometimes. Minseok knows that Kyungsoo will never back down from a dare.

But fine, so be it. "What's on the line?"

"This ass–" Minseok tells her, standing up and slapping her own ass to make a point, and she wiggles it tauntingly as she crawls towards the drawer where Kyungsoo keeps all her toys, and Kyungsoo's mouth waters when she pulls out the strap-on. "You can fuck me all you want if you stick to the deal and not kill Park Chanyeol, but if you don't, you won't get to fuck me ever again."

It's an offer Kyungsoo can't refuse, mainly because Minseok has never liked bottoming, and her decision is made in a heartbeat. "Deal."

Minseok's grin is almost feral when she fastens the last strap in place, and Kyungsoo finds herself spreading her legs a little wider in anticipation. "Good. Now open up and let me fuck you hard."

Kyungsoo has never been more obliging in her life.

 

 

Much unlike the previous jobs she's had to take upon for her missions, Kyungsoo is summoned to the Park's mansion on her first day at work instead of the Royal Park Bank's main branch, where Kyungsoo had attended her interview at. The Park mansion far surpasses every other house she has ever infiltrated, including the billionaires living abroad, and Kyungsoo finally gets why Park Kyungjin is considered as the prime suspect of the illegal arms trade happening underground. There's no way in hell a banker could amass such a great amount of fortune, not even the most prodigious ones, and here Park Kyungjin is, living in a mansion located on one of the most prestigious addresses South Korea could boast, even though he had only started his banking business a mere five years ago.

Kyungsoo doesn't let her suspicions show, though, merely putting on a look of amazement as she trails after Park Kyungjin, as he probably expects of someone who's setting foot in his mansion for the very first time. She's not known as a fantastic actress for nothing, and she's more than glad to put on a show for them, if she could trick Park Kyungjin into investing his unconditional trust in her. Park Kyungjin is an amazingly private person, for all the publicity he gets on magazines and newspapers for his success and his philanthropic activities, and Minseok had faced quite a significant amount of difficulty in her attempts at getting the blueprint of the Park family mansion for Kyungsoo, owing to the lack of materials on-line for her to piece the information together.

It doesn't matter, though; they always have Plan B to back themselves up. Kyungsoo focuses completely on picking up the security cameras along the way while still pretending to be the awestruck new assistant, tapping on the charm on her bracelet whenever she finds one as a signal.

She tries not to get distracted by the way Minseok whistles lowly as she works. "Damn, his mansion is crawling with security cameras."

"No shit," Kyungsoo scoffs as quietly as she can, knowing Minseok can hear her perfectly well through the mic that's embedded in her earring, but she immediately perks up when Park Kyungjin comes to a stop at the end of a particularly long corridor, and forces herself to work up a semblance of a smile. Kyungsoo has never been good at this smiling business, having preferred scowling at her targets before their deaths all her life, and Minseok had once commented that she looks overeager and squishy when a full smile blooms on her face. It definitely does not do her reputation any good, unless she wants others to identify her as a psychopath killer.

The idea is tempting, but no.

"Sorry I had to make you walk all the way here. Chanyeol isn't exactly very welcoming of our guests," he tells Kyungsoo, whom nods in understanding. At first glance, Park Kyungjin seems like an ordinary businessman who happened to make it big in the finance world. There's kindness in his eyes when he smiles, the crowfeet at the corner of his eyes accentuating his age, and normally one wouldn't be able to relate to this man as an illegal arms dealer. Kyungsoo would have made the same mistake and thought that Park Kyungjin had been framed, if she hadn't been with Exodus long enough to know that oftentimes, the ones who look the kindest are the ones who are most merciless in their actions. It's much too dangerous to come to a conclusion this soon, and Kyungsoo keeps a hint of scepticism towards Park Kyungjin's every move, every word.

"It's fine. I'll take the time to get to know her better after this," Kyungsoo reassures him to the best of her ability, seamlessly falling back into the role of his enthusiastic new assistant with eyes too wide. She doesn't think her outfit that morning – a black form-fitting blouse with a dangerously low cut and a pair of skirt which barely reaches the middle of her thigh – fits the image she's trying to sell all that much, especially when Minseok had commented how obscenely delicious Kyungsoo looks before she'd left the apartment, but she can't really be bothered right now. It would be an extra perk if Park Kyungjin happens to be a lascivious old man beneath the mask he's wearing; Kyungsoo's not really averse to the idea of resorting to sexual favours to get the information she needs out of him, if she has to.

"Good, come along now," Park Kyungjin tells her, and the servants are already opening the heavy mahogany doors for them, bowing respectfully at Kyungsoo as she passes them by.

A girl who looks about twenty, whom Kyungsoo presumes is Park Chanyeol, is seated on the settee located in the middle of the room when they enter, long legs draped across the seat as her fingers tap rapidly against the screen of her iPad, tongue stuck out the corner of her mouth in complete attention. It takes Kyungsoo several seconds longer to realise that she's playing a music game on it, one that features the trendiest pop songs playing on the radios these days. Kyungsoo definitely doesn't stop to stare at the pale expanse of her legs, or dwell upon the fact that Chanyeol's wearing a pair of dangerously short boy shorts that offers almost no coverage for her modesty. Up close, Chanyeol's actually prettier than the media portrays her to be, and save for the few pimples on her forehead, she's almost blemish-free, her long brown hair tumbling down her shoulders in soft curls, if not a bit unruly, almost as though Chanyeol hadn't bothered with brushing her hair upon waking up from her sleep.

Kyungsoo can relate; she's the same, when she's lazy and isn't expecting anyone to show up at her door.

Then again, Kyungsoo can see why Park Kyungjin is so terribly frustrated with his younger daughter. Chanyeol merely shoots them a quick glance over the top of her iPad, calling out a brief 'sup dad? before immersing herself in her game once again. She doesn't even seem perturbed by the fact that there's a stranger in her room with her father.

"Chanyeol, I thought I told you to make yourself presentable by noon?" Kyungjin says, and his voice is a little strained, as though his patience is wearing thin. "What are you doing, being like... that still?"

Chanyeol punches her fist into the air when she's done with the game, and judging by the sound of the trumpets that blare from the speakers, Kyungsoo surmises that she has managed to beat her previous high score. Only then does Chanyeol put her device to sleep, heaving an exaggerated sigh before rearranging herself on the settee, leaning forward with a frown. Kyungsoo shifts a little uncomfortably in her position when she notices the way Chanyeol's nipples are straining against the thin fabric of her white tank top, and if she focuses just a little more, she could probably even see its dusky colour through Chanyeol's shirt.

Okay, fine, Kyungsoo doesn't deny that Chanyeol looks attractive, but she doesn't need the distraction right now.

"I am presentable enough, dad, otherwise I'd be in bed still." Chanyeol replies, as though pleased with herself. Kyungsoo resists the urge to roll her eyes at Chanyeol.

With another impatient sigh, Kyungjin ignores Chanyeol's comment and proceeds to the main event of the day. "Chanyeol, this is Jung Kyungmi. She's your new personal assistant beginning today."

"Another one? Haven't you received enough resignation letters already?" Chanyeol asks, but in the next moment, her eyes widen when she finally takes a good look at Kyungsoo, and sits forward to scrutinise Kyungsoo's features even more. Kyungsoo narrows her eyes at Chanyeol in warning, though it seems to only make Chanyeol's grin wider. "Oh, this one's actually cute. Strait-laced, but cute. Busty, too–"

Fucking socialite princess– Kyungsoo bristles within, but she's stopped from doing anything drastic when Minseok hisses at her to control her temper through her in-ear device.

Thankfully, Park Kyungjin saves her the trouble of teaching Chanyeol a lesson when he berates his daughter on Kyungsoo's behalf. "Chanyeol, manners. Now be nice. I don't want you chasing her off before the week is even up again, do you hear me?"

Chanyeol shrugs unrepentantly, leaning against the backrest with a smug smile. "I can't promise you anything. Can't help it if they can't deal with me."

Park Kyungjin sighs again before finally turning to regard Kyungsoo, not bothered to answer his daughter any longer. "Sorry for the terrible first impression."

"Difficult, I get it," Kyungsoo acquiesces, placing emphasis on her first word and making sure it's loud enough for Chanyeol to hear, barely holding off a snigger when she catches Chanyeol pointing her middle finger at Kyungsoo. Two can play that game, really.

Only when they're left alone does Kyungsoo abandon all forms of formality, knowing that Chanyeol won't be able to rattle off to her dad when Kyungsoo has been the epitome of a good-mannered lady in front of him. He wouldn't trust Chanyeol in the least.

"So what are you supposed to do around here again? Be my maid or something?" Chanyeol asks haughtily, intentionally stretching her arms so that her nipples strain against her top even more prominently.

"Help you manage your appointments, making you look presentable, prompting you with other people's names and titles at events so that you don't embarrass yourself–" Kyungsoo recites from the top of her head, remembering what Park Kyungjin had told her during her interview, and tries not to stare too hard in the general direction of Chanyeol's chest. "–apparently."

"Apparently?" Chanyeol raises an amused brow at her, as though unable to sense the imminent danger she's in. Park Kyungjin hadn't mentioned any form of restriction for Kyungsoo to accomplish her goals, and she figures he wouldn't mind it if Kyungsoo taught Chanyeol a severe lesson from time to time.

"Yes, apparently, you little pampered princess–" Kyungsoo says, watching in satisfaction as Chanyeol flinches at the title. It's obvious she doesn't like to be called with girlish names. "–because you will live to regret it if you don't listen to me."

"Is that a challenge, cute face?" Chanyeol asks, smirking when Kyungsoo crosses her arms before her chest. Kyungsoo already wants to put a bullet through Park Chanyeol's skull on their very first meeting.

"Yes, that's a challenge, princess."

Chanyeol narrows her eyes at Kyungsoo. "You're on."

 

 

It's a good thing Park Kyungjin is generous enough to provide Kyungsoo with a personal computer in her room, and Kyungsoo gets to work the moment she manages to break away from that insufferable socialite princess for the day, beginning with sweeping the computer for bugs and putting in a brand new encryption of her own to prevent Park Kyungjin from snooping.

Minseok is already laughing away in her in-ear device the moment Kyungsoo shuts herself in her new room, but Kyungsoo knows better than to curse her out, because it'll only make Minseok laugh even harder. Bitch. "Fantastic first meeting. I'll have to give it to you for not pulling the trigger."

"As if I'm going to lose the bet because of that fucking princess," Kyungsoo snorts, tapping rapidly across the keyboard after plugging the USB device provided by Minseok into its port. For someone who has almost literally wired his entire mansion with CCTVs, Park Kyungjin's internet connection is almost too easy to hack into, even with all the layered connections he's taken care to incorporate beneath the surface. "First things first–" she chimes, and hijacks the only security camera in her room, letting Minseok have a full view of the place. She waits for five full minutes, taking care to get up from her seat and walking towards the door out of the camera's view before reappearing again, allowing Minseok to grab a full footage of her going about her daily business in the room.

"Video loop created and integrated into their security camera footage," Minseok calls the affirmation while still laughing, and it irks Kyungsoo to no ends that she's enjoying this a little too much. And then an idea pops up in her head, and Kyungsoo whistles a little to catch Minseok's attention, knowing that she can still see Kyungsoo in real time.

With slow, deliberate steps, Kyungsoo walks towards the security camera, slowly undoing the buttons of her blouse and giving Minseok a generous view down her shirt, before she slides a hand beneath her bra and flashes a dusky nipple at Minseok. The sharp intake of breath coming from her in-ear device is utterly satisfying, and Kyungsoo ups her game an ante by pulling up her skirt, sliding a finger past the waistband of her silk panties into herself before showing her digit to the camera, letting Minseok know how wet she is right now. She sucks her finger between her plush lips, licking it clean before releasing it with a pop, then winks at Minseok. "I've been thinking about how I want to fuck your brains out when I win the bet–"

"If you win the bet–" Minseok cuts her off tauntingly, but Kyungsoo can hear how breathless she is, no doubt turned on by the sight. "Fuck you, Agent Thorned Rose."

Kyungsoo wags her finger at the camera and clicks her tongue, before activating the spycam integrated in her pair of thick-rimmed dummy glasses. "When I win the bet, Lynx, and when I do, I'm going to tie you against the bedpost–" Kyungsoo turns her view towards the majestic four poster bed on the other end of the room, draped with luxurious sheets. "–and I will fuck you until your voice is all hoarse from screaming."

"You better keep your promise, then," Minseok tells her, voice tinged with lust, and Kyungsoo can't help but wonder if she has already soaked through her pair of panties. Minseok has always been a fan of dirty talking, especially when Kyungsoo does it to her. And then they're back to serious business. "I'm in the mainframe; this is amateur's work. I sure hope Park Kyungjin didn't have to pay a fortune to get this done, because he's been severely short-changed."

Kyungsoo laughs airily as she sashays back to her seat, eyes lighting up at the blueprint of the mansion which has now shown up on her computer screen, complete with labels of each room's function and the CCTVs around the building. Minseok definitely wasn't kidding when she said the mansion was crawling with CCTVs, judging by the amount of flashing red dots on her screen.

Just what is Park Kyungjin so terrified of people stumbling upon, exactly?

"Oh, we're going to have so much fun deactivating all of these," Kyungsoo hums, and Minseok only laughs in response.

"Hell yeah."

 

 

Being given free reign to do anything she wants to is the single best thing her new 'job' can ever offer to her, Kyungsoo thinks gleefully as she strides into Chanyeol's room the first thing in the morning. Having gone through rigorous training under Exodus's roof at the most ungodly of hours (Kyungsoo can't exactly remember if they were even allowed to sleep much), it's only too normal for Kyungsoo to already be awake before the crack of dawn – something which she's sure Chanyeol can't deal with, judging by what she had said to her father about it being a miracle of sorts that she's even up before noon.

She'd received a copy of Chanyeol's itinerary for the week on the previous night in her e-mail, while Kyungsoo had still been tinkering with the Park mansion's security features with Minseok, and laughed at the mere thought that she'd be able to make Chanyeol's life a misery.

With a smirk, Kyungsoo yanks the heavy velvet curtains open, letting the morning sun stream into the room. There's an annoyed grunt coming from within, then more silence, and it soon becomes clear to Kyungsoo that this isn't enough to get Chanyeol out of bed. She casually strolls towards where Chanyeol's bed is situated, ignoring the panicked look on Chanyeol's maids' faces as they chase after her with wild gestures – surely Chanyeol would turn into some sort of grumpy monster if anyone dares disturb her sleep, if the way her maids are acting is anything to go by – but that's where Kyungsoo comes in. It's a good thing Ryeowook had decided to omit the fact that Kyungsoo's well-trained in martial arts when he'd sent in her résumé on her behalf, which means no one in this household knows what exactly Kyungsoo is capable of doing. Good, because Kyungsoo loves springing surprises.

As expected of an affluent family like Chanyeol's, her bedspread is made of high quality cotton, and she's currently snuggled up into an ungraceful lump beneath her blankets, still unassumingly snoozing away. The clack of Kyungsoo's heels are muffled against the lush carpets covering the floorboards, which provides Kyungsoo with the perfect material to surprise Chanyeol out of sleep.

The moment she reaches the edge of Chanyeol's bed, Kyungsoo stretches herself across it and coos sweetly. "Chanyeol, sweetheart, it's time for you to wake up."

More disgruntled, incoherent mumbling, but Chanyeol makes no move to get up. In fact, she doesn't even seem to have heard Kyungsoo at all. Feeling her patience starting to wear thin, Kyungsoo straightens herself and crosses her arms in front of her chest.

"Park Chanyeol," she says sternly, this time a lot louder than before. "Get your ass out of bed right this instant, or I'm going to hurt you." Even more groaning and no movement whatsoever.

Man, Kyungsoo loathes sounding like a nagging mother, but she needs to at least look the part of a live-in personal assistant to gain Park Kyungjin's trust. She isn't quite sure how she's supposed to go about doing it, but Kyungsoo's sure she'll be able to figure things out in the long run. Already she can hear Minseok sniggering away in her in-ear device, and she resists the extreme urge to snap at Minseok, lest Chanyeol picks that particular moment to be perfectly awake. She really, really hates Park Chanyeol right now.

"Playtime's over. Don't say I didn't warn you," she hisses finally, and grabs hold of the corners of Chanyeol's blanket, shooting a warning look at Chanyeol's housemaids to not say a word when they try to stop her, perhaps underestimating Kyungsoo because of the size of her body. Thankfully they had the sense to retreat from the room, leaving Kyungsoo to do her thing. With an exasperated roll of her eyes, Kyungsoo tugs at Chanyeol's blanket hard, sending the younger girl tumbling off her bed and onto the carpeted floor in a heap of tangled limbs.

"Ow," Minseok choruses at the same time that Chanyeol lets out a pained groan, "savage."

Serves her right, Kyungsoo wants to reply, though she's almost a hundred percent sure Minseok already knows that. Kyungsoo keeps a straight face when Chanyeol finally throws the blankets off her back and glares at Kyungsoo with all her might, pissed off that her sleep had been disturbed.

"What the fuck is wrong with you?" Chanyeol growls, rubbing at the sore spot on her head, and Kyungsoo thinks her life is so fucking hard when the blanket falls off Chanyeol's shoulders completely, revealing the fact that Chanyeol sleeps only in her panties.

She walks away from Chanyeol's reach before the girl can even make a grab for her ankles. Kyungsoo can see the intent in Chanyeol's eyes, and there's no way she's going to let an amateur like Chanyeol bring her down to the floor when she's half-distracted. "PA, remember?" Kyungsoo reminds her, then calls for Chanyeol's maids to immediately tend after the socialite princess. She wants to sigh at how pathetic they are, cowering as they take slow, cautious steps towards Chanyeol like she's capable of eating them whole. Chanyeol's all bark and no bite, really. "You have a class to attend in thirty minutes. Get ready."

"Fuck you," Chanyeol hisses back, only to draw back when Kyungsoo fixes her with a glare over her shoulder. Many people have told Kyungsoo that they'd wither under the intensity of Kyungsoo's glare, and she doesn't doubt that Chanyeol's just the same.

"You have something to say about that, Miss Park?" Kyungsoo raises an eyebrow in a silent challenge, daring Chanyeol to lash out at her again. To her satisfaction, Chanyeol merely grumbles again as she gathers the blankets around her almost naked body, and stomps all the way to the bathroom while mumbling more quiet curses under her breath.

Kyungsoo can only smirk at the sight. This is almost too easy.

 

 

Of all things expected of her, Kyungsoo actually has to bring Chanyeol on a shopping trip, after spending one afternoon seated in Chanyeol's settee with an extremely unimpressed look as Chanyeol walks out in one outfit after the other. It's a split second decision made on the very first day itself, to see what sort of atrocities Chanyeol has stashed away in her closet, when Kyungsoo had woken Chanyeol up from her sleep by dumping her unceremoniously onto the floor, and Kyungsoo nearly had a heart attack at the sight of Chanyeol's baggy clothes and fraying jeans. For all the wealth the Park family possesses, Kyungsoo's actually surprised that Chanyeol doesn't already have a personal shopper at her every beck and call. Then again, Chanyeol probably doesn't care, hence the amount of fashion faux pas she has committed over the years.

Kyungsoo usually can't even be bothered about what these socialites do or wear, but she's currently paid to keep Chanyeol's image intact, while attempting to gain Park Kyungjin's trust and subsequently access to the secrets he's been hiding, and thus has to take matters into her own hands to transform Chanyeol.

Chanyeol doesn't seem to be thrilled with the idea at all, and she makes this known by scowling at Kyungsoo's back while Kyungsoo digs through rack upon rack of clothes in the up-scale boutique in Apgujeong they're currently in, trying to find something that would actually fit Chanyeol's long torso. The girl is much too tall for her own good, damn it. "Are you really supposed to help me reconstruct my wardrobe? Because I'm probably going to end up looking like a goth queen wannabe like you," she sneers, and Kyungsoo immediately whips around to fix her with a glare.

"Excuse me?" Kyungsoo asks with an undertone of warning, ignoring Minseok's advice to keep calm. Kyungsoo swears to whichever God listening to her from above right now that she will put a bullet through Chanyeol's head if she keeps throwing bitch fits like this.

Chanyeol merely slides her shades down to the tip of her nose, peering at Kyungsoo over the top of the frame, and smirks. "You heard me," she says, and Kyungsoo has honestly never met someone else who lacks self-preservation as badly as Chanyeol does. "Your wardrobe is filled with nothing but black. If you asked me, I'd take my colourful but ugly wardrobe over yours any day."

Kyungsoo feels her temper rise, but she sucks in a deep breath to calm herself down instead, and stops herself short of telling Chanyeol that her profession calls for the dark colours. It's much easier to hide the bloodstains after a particularly messy kill, but Chanyeol doesn't have to know that. Instead, she flashes a saccharine sweet smile at Chanyeol, taking particular joy in seeing her flinch. "I'm going to prove you wrong, princess, now shut up and march yourself into the changing rooms for the fitting right now," Kyungsoo snipes at her, shoving the pile of clothes she'd picked out into Chanyeol's arms.

At least Chanyeol doesn't protest against Kyungsoo's orders, merely scrunching her nose in distaste and turning around without another word said.

At the end of the day, the boot of Chanyeol's limo is filled to the brim with brand new shopping bags containing a multitude of clothes which fit Chanyeol a lot better than the ones in her wardrobe at home, all bought – none of which is black – without coercion on Kyungsoo's part. The girl herself is tapping away at her phone, decidedly not looking in Kyungsoo's direction from the very moment they climbed into the car. She probably knows that Kyungsoo will be wearing a smug smile on her face, which Kyungsoo actually is.

It always feels great to be able to prove stubborn princesses wrong.

 

 

There's nothing better than pulling on a bodysuit that fits her like second skin, after a long streak of wearing stifling collared blouses and pencil skirts in the day. This feels more like her, less pretentious, but that's where the irony of her profession as a spy for Exodus comes in. Kyungsoo's expected to pretend to be someone she's not, all while trying to not lose her grip on the thin thread that links her to her actual identity. They all are.

If there's one thing Kyungsoo can be thankful for, it's the fact that Minseok's always there to keep her sanity intact. Minseok used to be a prominent field agent with Exodus, until a freak accident during one of her missions had left her incapable of doing anything physically taxing. The metal rod in her thigh is a constant reminder of the accident, and on such days, Minseok would be confined to her chair, trying to dull the pain that comes with it by distracting herself to the best of her abilities, with the help of a lot of analgesics. In the end, Minseok had to be relegated to her current role, hacking into security systems and manipulating anything electronic to their advantage. Even though Minseok seems happy on the outside, Kyungsoo can see the sadness in Minseok's eyes sometimes, and the quiet lamentation of how she longs to wield a gun on the field again. They never talk about it, not really; Minseok doesn't like to be viewed as a weakling, preferring instead to keep her feelings to herself, so Kyungsoo doesn't pry.

With Park Kyungjin out of the mansion that evening and his servants taking advantage of the situation to rest as much as they can, the Park mansion is almost left deserted, which allows Kyungsoo to finally snoop around without fearing that someone would find her acting suspiciously. Minseok has disarmed every single CCTV in the house, putting in place stills of the areas these cameras are supposed to cover while the clock continues to tick. It's child's play, really, when Park Kyungjin had unfortunately contracted the services of a security firm which had every intention to rip him off by providing him with subpar surveillance systems.

Kyungsoo doesn't let her guard down, though, knowing it would prove detrimental if she doesn't pay attention to her surroundings. Now that she's dealing with the head of a family who's under suspicion of being involved in gunrunning, one wrong move could even be fatal. It gives her the adrenaline rush which Kyungsoo absolutely loves, though, so she doesn't complain. It's one of the reasons why Kyungsoo had accepted the job in the first place, being someone who likes throwing herself into the most dangerous of situations and actually thrives well under extreme pressure. She doesn't doubt that Ryeowook knows that, too, prompting him to choose her for the mission over all his other protégés even though she'd just concluded her last one literally days before.

"Lynx," she says quietly, knowing that the microphone embedded in her earring can pick up even the softest of voices. "Location ping."

There's the sound of Minseok typing away on the keyboard, then: "Two doors down on your right. That's Alpha's study."

"Gotcha," Kyungsoo replies, and wastes no time in covering the rest of the distance to her target location that evening, glancing around surreptitiously to ensure that no one's heading in her direction. Minseok, on the other hand, is already hard at work in unscrambling the password for the door, and gives Kyungsoo the green light once she's done.

There's a distinct click which Kyungsoo's already all too familiar with, and she immediately slips into Park Kyungjin's study after making sure for the last time that she's completely alone in this wing of the mansion. Park Kyungjin must be keeping something of great value within these four walls; other millionaires wouldn't go through the trouble of arming their study with a keypad, though Kyungsoo must admit that Park Kyungjin is a little lax with his requirements. If she were in his shoes, Kyungsoo would have installed a security feature which requires the thumbprint of the authorised person. Again, she's not complaining. This makes her life a lot easier, anyway.

"Lynx, is there anything in particular I should watch out for?" Kyungsoo asks, switching on the night vision function on her glasses, and she begins rummaging through the many drawers at Park Kyungjin's desk, picking up an innocent-looking folder only to find pages upon pages of statistical information within.

"I doubt Alpha's much of a traditional sort of person, and those don't look like research data, either," Minseok hums, taking a look at Park Kyungjin's study through Kyungsoo's eyes. It doesn't offer much illumination, being on night vision mode, but Kyungsoo can't possibly risk her neck by switching on the lights in the study to make her search easier, either. It would definitely alert the mansion's staff and security personnel about the presence of an intruder, and Kyungsoo honestly isn't very keen on having an army of people converging upon her. She can take them all down singlehandedly, that much is true, but Ryeowook would probably pull her out of the mission and punish her severely if there were too many unnecessary casualties.

Clean up's a massive bitch, anyway.

"Computer?" Kyungsoo prompts, abandoning the folder where she had found it, immediately making her way to the desk where Park Kyungjin's laptop sits upon when Minseok hums the affirmative. The screen is emitting a pale blue light that illuminates Kyungsoo's features when she sits before it, and it's not difficult to figure out that he's been working on something before his dinner that evening.

"Password locked. The encryption's heavy on this," Kyungsoo scrunches her nose distastefully after tinkering with the keyboard a little. She may not be a tech expert like Minseok is, but she's been taught a healthy amount of techniques to hack into a computer on her own at Exodus. Clearly, Park Kyungjin had invested a larger sum of money into protecting his work instead of his mansion, which brings Kyungsoo to wonder: why?

She doesn't waste her time trying to decode something so complicated, though, when she doesn't even know how much time she has to stick around, so Kyungsoo pulls out a thumbdrive from her right boot and plugs it into the laptop. It's a special device of Exodus's, a thumbdrive which contains multiple softwares to decode any sort of encryption on its own, and it has admittedly saved Kyungsoo's ass more than once. She would dread to think what would happen if the device falls into the wrong hands; no information would be safe from the world.

"I'll take over from here. You can continue on with your search," Minseok tells her, rapidly typing away on her keyboard as she reads the coding being projected on her computer screen. Of course, Kyungsoo's more than familiar with the way Minseok works by now, and she merely grunts her acknowledgement before turning to rummage through the physical files in Park Kyungjin's office once again.

That's when Minseok curses in her in-ear device, and Kyungsoo is on high alert. Minseok rarely ever cusses when she's not in bed, even less so when they're working on a mission together, and it would usually mean that something is very, very wrong.

Minseok's words that come several moments later only serve to confirm her suspicions. "Alpha is back and headed towards your location. Get out of there, now."

Kyungsoo doesn't need to be told twice, making sure that everything is in place and unplugging the thumbdrive containing the decoding program from the laptop, before sneaking out of the study once again, allowing Minseok ample time to redo the lock mechanism for the door as Kyungsoo blends into the shadows and disappears from view.

 

 

The itch to reach for the gun strapped against her inner thigh and to fire a shot at the tall woman before her is getting increasingly strong, and Kyungsoo has to take several deep breaths to calm herself down. After the nightmare of a shopping trip she's had to endure the other day, Kyungsoo has graduated into the next level of torture: correcting Chanyeol's etiquette and mannerisms.

Kyungsoo might not be the best judge of how a socialite like Chanyeol should act, but she's received enough lessons polishing up her posture and mannerisms at Exodus, as part of her training package. As a spy, they're all bound to be sent to a formal dinner party and mingle with others from the top tier of the social ladder, and behaving anything less than is expected of someone of such an esteemed status almost equates to giving their identities away. It's the sole reason why Kyungsoo can easily fool Park Kyungjin into thinking that she's such a mild-mannered person, when in fact Kyungsoo had grown up as a street rat with the nastiest of manners, and would tend to slip back into her true nature whenever she gets a little too comfortable being around a certain person. She's only thankful that Minseok and Ryeowook have never judged her for her roughness.

Park Chanyeol is on an entire new level of clumsy, though, and Kyungsoo smacks her own forehead when Chanyeol trips on her own feet for the umpteenth time that morning.

"Could you please pay a little more attention, princess?" Kyungsoo sighs in exasperation as she watches Chanyeol gracelessly pull herself to stand, standing there with her legs wide open as she brushes the lint off her clothing. So terribly unladylike.

She doesn't miss the scowl which Chanyeol sends in her direction, though. Kyungsoo has gotten the habit of calling Chanyeol 'princess', for the sheer reason that it would irk Chanyeol to no ends, especially when Kyungsoo has proven Chanyeol wrong by managing to stay at the Park household for more than a week. For some reason, Chanyeol would prefer wearing pants to skirts and dresses as she's supposed to, and couldn't be trusted to walk in a pair of two-inched heels to save her own life. Even platforms pose as a huge problem to Chanyeol, whose wardrobe is filled with dozens of pairs of sneakers.

"Fuck you," Chanyeol snaps, the frustration radiating off her in strong pulses, and Kyungsoo feels just a little sorry for her. If Chanyeol had been born into a family like Kyungsoo's, she would've had the freedom to put on anything she wanted, and act however she pleased. Yet another price to pay in exchange for being born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Chanyeol only has her luck to blame. "I don't get why I'm supposed to act all ladylike–" Chanyeol spits the word out like venom and rolls her eyes as though she's having a fit. "–when it isn't even me."

Kyungsoo sighs again and rubs her temples with the pads of her thumbs. Talking to Chanyeol is really like talking to an annoying kid. It's not as though Kyungsoo hasn't already addressed the issue before they'd started all this nonsense, unless Chanyeol hadn't been listening to her at all. Still, with a colossal amount of patience which Kyungsoo never knew she had, she tells Chanyeol, "Your father expects you to find a guy from a good family at these social events he so frequently brings you to. He doesn't think the way you're acting or the way you dress yourself up is going to cut it, and that's why I'm here to help you figure that out."

"Fuck this shit," Chanyeol spits again, pulling out a cigarette from the handbag she's carrying and lights it, before taking a deep drag from it. "I'm not even interested in men. I'll never be like Yura. Why can't he understand this?"

Ever since Kyungsoo's schedules had been filled with nothing but Chanyeol's annoying presence, she's come to learn that Chanyeol has a terrible habit of smoking when she's stressed, and she probably won't stop at a pack if she ever starts. She needs to fix that someday, too, but for now, Kyungsoo's brain decides to file that away and focus on something else completely irrelevant. "You're not interested in men?" She asks, though she's not really surprised with the way Chanyeol has constantly tried to hit on her. Not that Kyungsoo is interested, of course.

"No," Chanyeol grins back, then takes surprisingly steady steps in her stilettos towards Kyungsoo, a predatory look in her eyes. "I prefer girls with huge tits like yours–"

Kyungsoo slaps Chanyeol's hand away from her boobs just as the double mahogany doors to Chanyeol's study swing open, revealing Park Kyungjin from behind. Chanyeol immediately puts out the cigarette she'd been smoking, and waves her hand in the air to dissipate the smoke to the best of her abilities. Kyungsoo stops short of telling her that the smell is actually stuck to Chanyeol's long hair, which she hadn't bothered to gather into a ponytail to match the dress she was forced to put on, but doesn't.

"Is there something the matter, Mr Park?" Kyungsoo asks with a saccharine sweet smile, internally gagging at her fake display of enthusiasm, but putting up a front is a must. Her target had never interrupted her teaching sessions with Chanyeol before, and it's definitely a cause for alarm, when Kyungsoo had just infiltrated Park Kyungjin's study mere days ago.

Had Kyungsoo been careless enough to leave a trace of her presence in the room? Ryeowook would probably have her head if she did, especially when Kyungsoo has always been meticulously careful at covering her tracks. It's just the way Ryeowook had taken care to train her.

Thankfully, there doesn't seem to be an ounce of suspicion on Park Kyungjin's expressions when he smiles at her in reassurance. "No, Miss Jung. I merely wanted to check on Chanyeol's progress. I hope she hasn't been giving you too much trouble."

That statement has Kyungsoo casting a sideward glance at Chanyeol, frowning a little when she remembers how Chanyeol had very nearly groped her chest, though before Kyungsoo has the opportunity to say anything about it, another person walks through the door with a panicked housemaid hot on his heels asking for him to please, sir, you can't enter the room without permission, and Kyungsoo does a double take when she recognises the face. Apparently, so does Minseok, who lets out an audible gasp when she sees what Kyungsoo sees through the camera embedded in Kyungsoo's glasses.

It's Lee Taeyong, the scientist whom Park Kyungjin had allegedly appointed to spearhead the cancer research programme. He appears younger than the photos credit him for, with a sharp jawline and piercing gaze, hair dyed a shocking platinum silver which surprisingly complements him well. He doesn't exactly look like a scientist, but Kyungsoo keeps that comment to herself.

"Taeyong," Park Kyungjin says, not appearing particularly pleased that Taeyong is there in the room with him, "I believe I have requested for you to adjourn to my study. What are you doing here?"

Taeyong doesn't seem to be perturbed by the displeasure in his voice, merely shrugging in response. "I did mention we need to speak at once, sir. You were the one who'd ignored the urgency of the matter at hand and decided to go on a detour to visit your daughter."

The way Park Kyungjin clenches his jaw in irritation, or the distrust that shows in Chanyeol's eyes doesn't go unnoticed by Kyungsoo. It's obvious that not everything's rosy between Kyungjin and Taeyong, but Kyungsoo will have to figure out why. A botched firearms deal? Taeyong demanding for a higher commission in exchange for his services? There are so many possibilities. Kyungsoo's itching to find out.

"You seem to be busy, dad. I hate to keep your guest waiting," Chanyeol speaks up just then, feigning calmness, but Kyungsoo frowns a little when she could sense the discontent simmering beneath the surface.

Prime suspect for an illegal arms trade or not, Park Kyungjin at least plays his part as Chanyeol's father when he sighs and flashes a look of remorse for not being able to spend more time with his daughter. His words, however, are stern when he speaks up again. "Be nice to Miss Jung now. If I hear a word about you driving her up the wall–"

"You'll disown me on the spot," Chanyeol sighs exasperatedly. "I know, you've threatened me with that one too many times. Maybe you should start thinking of something new."

That's the last straw for Park Kyungjin, whose expressions darkens and he leaves with an angry huff directed at Chanyeol. Lee Taeyong doesn't immediately move to follow after him though, instead standing in a half-turn, critical eyes taking in Kyungsoo's existence with barely-concealed curiosity. He flashes her a smirk when Kyungsoo reacts by crossing her arms before her chest, then stuffs his hands in his slacks pockets and takes his leave as well.

"Who is he?" Kyungsoo asks the moment Taeyong is out of earshot, pretending as though she doesn't already know his identity. It's better to ask Chanyeol about him, she figures; Chanyeol might know a thing or two about the man, if he does come to the Park mansion often enough to invoke Chanyeol's ill feelings.

"I'm judging you hard if you tell me you're interested in him," Chanyeol scoffs, narrowing her eyes at Kyungsoo to prove her words.

Kyungsoo gags at the notion. "No, of course not. I thought he looked familiar, that's all."

At least her statement pacifies Chanyeol, and Chanyeol relaxes her stance. "He's Lee Taeyong. He's supposed to be the lead scientist of the research my dad's funding, but I think he's a thief."

"Thief?" Kyungsoo echoes, suddenly interested in what Chanyeol knows about the man. "Why do you say so?"

"A researcher doesn't dress as flashily as he does, nor do they make serious threats at others. They're nerds, aren't they?" Chanyeol makes a face, and Kyungsoo barely stops herself from deflating in front of the socialite princess. So not a valid observation.

"Why is your dad interested in funding a cancer research project, anyway?" Kyungsoo says instead, changing the subject of their conversation.

She isn't sure if she's said something wrong, though, when Chanyeol's expression drops, and the girl starts playing absently with her hair. "I had a younger sister which no one knew about. Mum loved her the most, her and her long, brown hair. She lost all her hair in the end, and died from a cancer which has absolutely no cure. Mum was so devastated she..."

It's the first semblance of emotion apart from anger and rebellion that Kyungsoo has seen on Chanyeol so far, and her heart softens just a little for the girl. Kyungsoo had done her research on the day she had found out she was supposed to be Chanyeol's PA, and knew that Chanyeol had lost her mother to suicide, but she hadn't heard of the Park family having another daughter apart from Yura and Chanyeol, or why Park Haejung had chosen to take her life.

"Anyway," Chanyeol stresses again, dragging Kyungsoo out of her thoughts, and suddenly she's a lot less depressed than before. It's a wonder, how Chanyeol manages to rein her emotions in so quickly, especially when she had been talking about something so close to her heart just minutes ago. "My dad wanted something to remember my mother by, hence the project."

Kyungsoo nods thoughtfully, and for once, they're not actively antagonising each other with every passing second. She's sure Minseok will have something to say about this once she's alone. "Do you know anything about it, though? Its progress and the like? I know many people who are interested, but there isn't much news for us to fall back upon."

Chanyeol lights another cigarette and inhales deeply, now that her father is no longer around to chew her ear off for the habit. "Nope," she shrugs, and Kyungsoo positively deflates. So much for attempting to gain more information from Chanyeol; she's about as clueless and Kyungsoo and the rest of the world is about her father's project. "He's so fucking secretive about it, and I'm really not bothered."

Kyungsoo sighs in exasperation. "You ought to be more concerned about the things your father does–" she says; Chanyeol doesn't have to know that she means something else, not yet. "–since, you know, people are actually going to try to talk to you about them when you're at the ball. It won't do for you to be absolutely clueless about his charity project."

At this, Chanyeol actually whines aloud. "But they're so boring! I'm not interested in business or marketing or banking or any of that serious shit!"

"Too bad," Kyungsoo sneers, dragging Chanyeol by the collar of her dress in the general direction of her closet, and pushes her to change into a longer evening gown. "Your dad expects you to follow, and I'm here to get that job done."

Amongst others, but of course Chanyeol doesn't have to know that, either.

 

 

"Honestly," Minseok's voice filters into Kyungsoo's in-ear device the moment she's back in her own room, "everything just spells fishy to me. If Alpha's investing his money into this cancer research project to commemorate his wife and his youngest daughter, why is he keeping this a secret even from Princess?"

Kyungsoo impatiently peels off her clothes which feels much too restrictive for her liking, and changes into something more loose-fitting before parking herself before her laptop. She'd been so annoyed by Chanyeol's over-the-top whining for the rest of the evening that she really needs to do something else before she blows a hole in that damned socialite princess's brain. Minseok's snickering isn't helping her calm down at all. It's a juvenile thought, but Kyungsoo kind of wants to find something to blackmail the brat into listening to her. It's with such intentions that Kyungsoo hacks into the Park mansion's WiFi connection, knowing that Chanyeol's laptop will be connected to the network. Their security features are shitty as hell, and Chanyeol doesn't seem like the sort of person who'd pay extra attention to protect her data, too.

"Beats me. Alpha probably gave up on her, since you know, she doesn't give a shit," Kyungsoo snorts, typing a code into her computer to activate the hacking programme. It's so easy to gain access into Chanyeol's computer that Kyungsoo can probably do this with her eyes closed, and she can hear Minseok sighing at her. "What? She's made it clear. You saw it."

"Very mature," Minseok berates, and Kyungsoo rolls her eyes at her friend, trusting the security camera to carry her actions across. "Now we're back to square one. The higher-ups are getting impatient, you know. Or wait, you don't, since you're not here in the headquarters at all, which leaves me here to suffer from Ryeowook's nagging. I hate you."

"They can stuff it, and quit lying, you love me to pieces. Any other great ideas on your side?" Kyungsoo asks instead, smirking when she finds exactly what she needs to blackmail Chanyeol into submission. Trust Park Chanyeol to keep an entire folder full of selfies of her making out with another girl whom Kyungsoo recognises to be Kim Junmyeon, daughter of one of the largest conglomerates in South Korea. There had been some rumours of them dating circulating around the press, but they'd been quashed before the news could even be on the lips of the general public. There's no doubt that Kim Junmyeon's family has had a hand in this, to cover up all traces of the scandal. They have enough funds to shut a lot of people up if they wanted to.

And besides, if Kyungsoo can't go trigger-happy, then Minseok should at least indulge her with this.

"Do you think you can sneak a tag in?" Minseok suggests just then, and Kyungsoo's smirk grows wider as she unplugs her thumbdrive from the laptop, having filled it with the photos from Chanyeol's computer and erased all traces of her ever having accessed it remotely. Minseok's asking the obvious, really, because Kyungsoo just happens to be the best agent in Exodus to bug an unsuspecting target.

"Of course, Lynx. Have you forgotten who you're talking to?"

 

 

It's a good thing Kyungsoo had brought along a particularly revealing dress – one which is sure to catch the attention of any man on the streets, no matter how seemingly proper they are – with her on her current mission. She has no qualms towards using her body for the sake of a mission, something which she had picked up from her years living as an assassin-for-hire before she'd been absorbed into Exodus. Ryeowook doesn't really approve of it, telling Kyungsoo to respect her body a little more, but to Kyungsoo, a job is a job, and she'll employ any means necessary of her to complete the mission assigned to her, as long as she doesn't die or get grievously hurt in the process.

Park Kyungjin had been graciously quick to agree to a request for dinner from Kyungsoo, when she'd told him she needed to talk to him about Chanyeol, away from the prying ears of his servants and daughter. She had been expecting a dinner at the priciest restaurant in all of Gangnam, then a night at the closest hotel they could find after a bit of seduction on Kyungsoo's side, but of course Park Kyungjin is concerned enough about being seen out and about with a woman on the streets. The cameras are always waiting to snap up some juicy gossip amongst the rich and elite. Instead, he'd invited Kyungsoo over to the reception area adjoining his bedroom in his wing of the mansion, where a table and candlelight dinner has been laid out for them both when Kyungsoo walks in with her stilettos and black dress with a plunging neckline. Her breasts are her greatest assets, Minseok had commented as she had devoured them the first night they'd ever had sex, and Kyungsoo knows how to use it to her greatest advantage. She has never failed so far; Kyungsoo can't see why it'd be any different this time.

Of course, Minseok wasn't too keen on the idea of Kyungsoo losing her glasses for the night, considering the fact that she won't be able to follow Kyungsoo's progress without it. She couldn't hack into the CCTVs in their target's room for fear of raising suspicion, but Kyungsoo had managed to reassure Minseok that she'll be fine. Kyungsoo has gotten herself out of more tight spots than she could count, and she isn't labelled as the most lethal closed-quarters fighter for nothing. She appreciates Minseok's concern, though, and makes it known, to which Minseok had grunted and had very reluctantly agreed to go along with Kyungsoo's plans.

For how strait-laced Park Kyungjin seems to be on the outside, he's the same as any other man Kyungsoo has ever encountered, eyes automatically zooming in on Kyungsoo's ample cleavage that's on display when he joins her at the table. She'd intentionally worn a necklace that dangles right down her cleavage that evening, drawing more attention to her assets and keeping Park Kyungjin's attention there.

"You're very different tonight. Beautiful," he praises, pressing his lips to the back of her hand in greeting. Kyungsoo pretends to blush at his compliment, and takes her seat across the table from him.

Dinner was a particularly brisk affair, with Kyungsoo relaying Chanyeol's progress and pitfalls to a very attentive Park Kyungjin, the way he expects her to report back to him. Despite the mission with Exodus at hand to expose Park Kyungjin's dabbles with the illegal trade, Kyungsoo's also supposed to play her part as his live-in assistant perfectly, and she's determined not to fail. It would inevitably mean that she'd be kicked out of the household if Park Kyungjin deems her incapable of handling her role well, and that would really be counterproductive in the long run. She's facing enough setbacks as it is, even though she has unrestricted access to the Park mansion right now.

Soon enough, Park Kyungjin's inviting her to join him on the settee in his room, red wine in their hands as they continue with their conversation. Kyungsoo agrees without hesitation, batting her lashes shyly at him when Park Kyungjin rests his hand on the small of her back to keep her steady when she wobbles on her feet.

Oh, Minseok is so going to mock her for her attempts at playing coy if she ever knew; Kyungsoo had never been particularly good at it despite all the practice she's put into it, gagging automatically the moment she has to flirt in such a manner. She prefers dirty talking a lot more, but it won't do with her current image.

Park Kyungjin's cologne is a little overwhelming from the lack of distance, but Kyungsoo doesn't let it show. Instead, she scoots closer to him on the settee – as close as she probably can afford to without making things seem overtly inappropriate until he initiates the next step, anyway – and crosses her legs, letting the pale expanse of her skin show through the daring slit that cuts all the way up to her ass. She doesn't miss the way his gaze flickers towards her exposed skin, and barely holds back her smirk when Park Kyungjin not-so-subtly rests his broad hand on her thigh. Gotcha.

Several more glasses of wine in, Park Kyungjin's cheeks are already tainted red, his speech slurring as his hand slides daringly higher up her thigh, inching beneath the smooth fabric of Kyungsoo's dress. She leans into his private space, their alcohol-tainted breaths mingling in the air between, tempting him to close the distance. For someone who flits around charity balls and high-end parties almost every other day, Kyungjin's particularly terrible at holding his liquor, and the last of his inhibition is thrown out of the window when he leans in to claim Kyungsoo's lips with a kiss, surprisingly controlled for how he's supposedly out of touch with the act, his wife having died years ago.

It could only mean one thing, though – Park Kyungjin has been fooling around with other women without his daughter's knowledge, and Kyungsoo's struck with a hollow feeling in the pit of her stomach when she tries to imagine how Chanyeol might react to that piece of news. Despite her dislike for the socialite princess, Kyungsoo doesn't exactly approve of the way Park Kyungjin's trying to mold Chanyeol into someone she's not comfortable with being, just so she could conform to society's expectations of her. Now she thinks even less of the man, and feels guilty for having to fool around with Park Kyungjin for the sake of her mission behind Chanyeol's back.

Stop thinking too much, she hears a voice at the back of her mind say – it belongs to someone she knew once a point in time, a person who'd sacrificed themselves for the sake of protecting Kyungsoo who'd been far too distracted – and she immediately pushes all her hesitation away.

She's not sure if Park Kyungjin's conscious enough of his actions right now, but he's already sliding her dress off her shoulders, kissing a heated trail down her chest. Kyungsoo barely stops him from pulling off the pin holding her hair up, pressing her chest flush against him and grinding her hips down against his groin. It earns her an appreciative moan from Kyungjin, and Kyungsoo leans in further to whisper in his ear.

"The settle isn't particularly comfortable. Why don't we bring this to the bed?" She asks, and Kyungsoo bites on his earlobe for extra effect.

Park Kyungjin only smiles at her, and hoists her up into his arms, bringing Kyungsoo towards his bed without breaking off their kiss.

 

 

Later that night, while Park Kyungjin is still fast asleep after their sexual encounter, Kyungsoo opens her eyes and glances at the room around her, feeling as filthy as she usually would whenever she has to have sex with someone she doesn't even fancy. Minseok would nag at her like Ryeowook does if she ever finds out how Kyungsoo thinks of these sex romps, and Kyungsoo is only thankful that Minseok's incapable of reading her mind. She could act nonchalant about it, no problem.

Being careful not to wake her sleeping target, Kyungsoo slides out from beneath the covers as quietly as she could, wincing a little when she has to pry Park Kyungjin's fingers off her shoulder. He doesn't even stir, thank God, because her sacrifice would have been for naught if she doesn't manage to achieve what she's here for. Kyungsoo isn't very keen on spending yet another night in Park Kyungjin's bed, if she could help it, and it's not even because she loathes the idea of having Chanyeol catching them in such an unsavoury situation.

Once she's managed to gather her clothes which have been strewn across the carpeted floor, Kyungsoo silently pads towards Park Kyungjin's side of the bed, undoing the pin that's holding her hair together in a bun, letting her long locks tumble over her shoulders and covering the marks of blossoming red which Park Kyungjin had left on her skin. She taps the tiny button located on the side of the pin, activating the device which has been embedded within. It's an innovation which Ryeowook had the weapons' research division of Exodus make, incorporating a tracking-cum-bugging device into the hairpin which could easily be transformed into a subdermal injection unit. Sure, it has its pitfalls, because Kyungsoo would have to be in close contact with her targets to use it on them, but she's never had much of a problem embedding the tracking device in her targets so far.

Park Kyungjin's the same, merely groaning a little at the discomfort when Kyungsoo pricks the skin at the back of his neck and slots the device in, then falls asleep again immediately after. He won't even notice the device beneath his skin; the redness would have faded by the time he wakes in the morning, and he won't be able to feel its outline, either. Just the perfect thing they need to continue spying on Park Kyungjin and his shady business which no one knows about.

Patting herself on the back for another job well done, Kyungsoo quickly puts on her dress, and slips out of the room before anyone even notices that she'd been here at all.

 

 

Park Kyungjin surprisingly doesn't mention about their tryst the other night when they meet again, which Kyungsoo is more than grateful for, and his behaviour towards her doesn't even seem to have changed at all. It's still strictly business between them when Park Kyungjin approaches her one day, telling Kyungsoo that she needs to get Chanyeol ready by the end of the month for the charity ball he's throwing for the sake of the cancer patients who'd potentially benefit from his ongoing research. Apparently, he's invited some of the wealthiest and most influential families in South Korea to the charity ball, and these families all have sons who are single and available.

Another matchmaking event; Kyungsoo scrunches her nose distastefully the moment Park Kyungjin's out of sight. She never ceases to be surprised that there are those who are traditional enough to believe in arranged marriages at this time and age, or believe that the younger generation who would willingly go along with it without ending up cheating on their spouses in the end.

Chanyeol, on the other hand, gives Kyungsoo a shitload of trouble when she tells the younger girl just that, again citing that she doesn't understand why her father's so insistent on making her walk down the path Yura has taken. By then, Kyungsoo has come to learn that Park Yura had been married off to another conglomerate's son for the sake of strengthening the ties between the conglomerate's company and Park Kyungjin's financial institution, and Yura isn't exactly such a happy wife beneath all those smiles she flashes at the reporters.

All that glitters is not gold, clearly.

"Look," Kyungsoo says in exasperation to the tune of Minseok's sniggering in her in-ear device when Chanyeol refuses to budge from the sofa to try on the dresses which Kyungsoo had so painstakingly picked out for her. Minseok is so dead when Kyungsoo gets the chance to return to the headquarters, but right now, establishing any form of contact with Ryeowook could be suicidal if they were caught. It's better for Kyungsoo to collect as much information as she possibly can before reporting in to her superiors. Spying 101. "If you don't listen to me, you're going to regret it real bad. Stop making my life difficult and just let me do my job, okay?"

"You could always quit, then my dad will have to bear the headache of finding a replacement for you," Chanyeol snaps back. While it's entirely true that Kyungsoo could do that, she hasn't made enough progress in terms of discovering Park Kyungjin's alleged involvement in the international illegal arms trading business.

Frustrated to no ends with Chanyeol's stubbornness, Kyungsoo decides that it's time to bring out the blackmail material. The way Chanyeol's eyes widen at the photo on the screen of Kyungsoo's phone is comical, almost laughable, but Kyungsoo isn't about to spoil the fun for herself. "What do you think your dad would say if he discovers these photos?" She asks, smirking. Deep down, though, Kyungsoo doesn't have the intention of exposing Chanyeol's sexual orientation to Park Kyungjin without the girl's express permission. She understands how frightening it must be, to not know how her father might react to the news of Chanyeol being a lesbian, but Kyungsoo is really at her wit's end trying to keep Chanyeol in line.

"You wouldn't," says Chanyeol, an undertone of warning in her words, but Kyungsoo is pretty much fearless when it comes to the socialite princess. Chanyeol's all bark and no bite; she knows that well enough by now.

"Would you like to try me?" Kyungsoo challenges, smirking when Chanyeol visibly deflates and begrudgingly drags herself up from her seat.

"Fuck, fine," Chanyeol growls, loud enough to make heads turn at her rough language. Kyungsoo only tuts and reminds her to watch her mouth, to which Chanyeol sticks her tongue out at Kyungsoo in response.

"I won't do it unless you're there, too," Chanyeol suddenly tells Kyungsoo when she's already midway to the changing room, and Kyungsoo finds herself momentarily stunned. That's not what she had expected, and Chanyeol seems to know that, too. "You're supposed to be my mentor, aren't you? I can't promise that I won't speak or act out of line during the stupid ball, so you'd better be there, or my father might actually fire you for doing such a poor job on me."

Kyungsoo narrows her eyes at Chanyeol, wondering how she had ended up getting blackmailed into attending such a high profile party in the end. But the competitiveness in her runs strong, and Kyungsoo's already agreeing without putting in much thought. "Fine, you're on."

She wishes she could wipe that victorious smirk off Chanyeol's stupid face.

 

 

"Any luck with tracking down Park Kyungjin's activities?" Kyungsoo asks the moment she returns to her room, a habit she's managed to contract from this mission. Minseok's always there to speak to her when she needs it, and it's really the only thing that's keeping Kyungsoo from losing her mind because of the mission. The mission is comparatively mild as far as her other tasks are concerned, but the mental stress she's getting from Chanyeol's shenanigans and constant inability to listen to instructions is driving Kyungsoo up the wall.

At the very least, Kyungsoo has gotten over the initial uncontrollable urge of putting a bullet through Chanyeol's skull at the slightest irritation, if only because she pities the girl for living such a restricted life.

Minseok yawns from the other side of the communication device, and Kyungsoo surmises she must have been working around the clock again. Reprimanding Minseok would be a futile effort, because the girl would deny every single accusation being thrown in her direction, so Kyungsoo doesn't bother. She does, however, silently hope that Minseok will remember to take a break when she's exhausted. "He's only been going in and out of his bank's HQ. Nothing out of the norm. Does he suspect anything on your side?"

"Not at the moment. Thank God he's not allergic to the bug," Kyungsoo tells her, and Minseok laughs. Surely Minseok remembers the last time Kyungsoo had implanted the tracking device on a wealthy businessman who'd been suspected of money laundering, only to end up having the man blow up in hives from being allergic to the metal chip. Not a great experience.

"His conversations with his staff are so fucking boring," Minseok laments. "And it doesn't seem like he meets Beta much, either."

Kyungsoo hums thoughtfully, remembering the last time Lee Taeyong had paid a visit to the Park Mansion. There had been an altercation coming from Park Kyungjin's study after they'd left Chanyeol's room, it seems, and the housemaids have been talking about it in hushed voices, only to be picked up by Kyungsoo along the way. Whatever partnership Taeyong has with Park Kyungjin doesn't appear to be going all too well, and Kyungsoo hopes that they'll be able to bag something useful from their efforts this time, at least.

"So, you're attending the ball with Princess, huh?" Minseok speaks up again just then, while Kyungsoo's still busy hacking into the Park's network, trying her luck at getting connected to Kyungjin's laptop; he's home early that evening, they've been told by the maids, and Chanyeol had stalked off in the direction of her room, telling her househelps not to bother her until her father is done with his dinner.

Kyungsoo chokes on air, momentarily forgetting that Minseok had been listening in on their conversation through the tiny mic embedded in Kyungsoo's earring. She remembers that afternoon all too well, the way Chanyeol had appraised her with a critical eye as she walked out of the dressing room in cocktail dresses she could only dream of having, considering their expensive price tags. Much to Kyungsoo's chagrin, she'd forgotten all about the good girl image she's supposed to maintain, and walked out in a black halter dress with a plunging neckline that shows off her ample cleavage.

Chanyeol had whistled lowly at the sight of the tattoo inked at the base of Kyungsoo's neck, in the pattern of a bleeding rose sitting atop a bunch of vines with thorns which had given Kyungsoo her codename in Exodus. The underworld knows of her insignia, too, and it would strike fear in their hearts if they ever spot the thorned rose on her nape. Chanyeol, on the other hand, thinks that it's a mere rebellious move on Kyungsoo's part to get a tattoo that betrays her image.

"I don't even know why I'd agreed," Kyungsoo huffs, crossing her arms in front of her chest and leaning into her seat with a scowl on her face. She finds that she can't avert her gaze from the black, shimmery dress with a maroon satin finish which now hangs from the knob of her closet, but Minseok doesn't have to know that.

"She's beginning to tire you out, isn't she?" Minseok teases, and Kyungsoo almost cusses out at her when the other girl suddenly exclaims. "Wait, hold your tongue, I'm getting a feed from Alpha's tracker."

Any and all argument is forgotten as Kyungsoo waits with bated breath for Minseok to record the feed, and the smirk grows wider when Minseok plays the recording for her in real time.

The deep timbre of Lee Taeyong's voice is almost too difficult to miss, and Kyungsoo thinks they might've just found their first clue to accomplish the mission.

 

 

Kyungsoo frowns as she follows after Chanyeol into a bar one evening – entirely unwilling on her part, but being a nanny is unfortunately a part of the job description where she's concerned – fending off disgustingly underhanded approaches by the other patrons who are trying to cope a feel on her ass with a painful twist of their wrists. There's a sense of satisfaction bubbling within her when she hears them groan in pain, but they deserve it. These people do not seem to understand the concept of just look, don't touch.

Surprisingly, there isn't a single paparazzi in sight, trying to get a grand scoop on Chanyeol's next screwup that night, though Kyungsoo supposes Chanyeol has paid the bouncer at the door enough to keep the nosy reporters out. Fine with her; she'd rather not have her face splashed all across the papers, and be seen beside the socialite princess in a bar, of all places. Ryeowook would definitely have her head, considering the fact that she's supposed to keep a low profile, what with her identity as an agent under Exodus at stake. It won't do to have the whole of South Korea recognise her; Kyungsoo wouldn't be able to work on any undercover missions in the country in the future, and there's nothing more that Kyungsoo hates than being incredibly jobless.

"Princess," Kyungsoo says out of spite, knowing that the term still irks the living daylights out of Chanyeol, and she's right, when Chanyeol stops in her steps and turns around to glare at Kyungsoo. The socialite princess ought to learn herself some manners. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"

Chanyeol actually has the nerve to grin at her. "You're always talking like you have an actual stick up your ass–" she comments, and Kyungsoo makes a strangled sound when she remembers the times Minseok had fucked her right up the ass. She's only thankful Chanyeol can't hear her over the noise levels in the bar. "–so I thought you ought to chill a bit."

"Your father–"

"–can stuff it," Chanyeol rolls her eyes, then drags Kyungsoo over to the table closest to the stage. "Come on, let loose for a night. It's not going to hurt, nanny."

Why this little bitch–

Apparently, Chanyeol's also incredibly oblivious towards Kyungsoo's wrath right now (or she probably doesn't even care; Kyungsoo banks on the latter), when she takes the liberty of picking both their drinks, striking up an easy conversation with the waitress who comes over to take their orders. Kyungsoo rolls her eyes at the way they're flirting with each other in public, figuring that Chanyeol's on the verge of letting her image go to hell, but that's her life to live, really.

And then Kyungsoo's hit with a massive surprise when the waitress tells Chanyeol that her band's up next, and asks Chanyeol to get ready for her performance. Her shock must've been obvious on her features, because the waitress – Luna, if Kyungsoo had heard Chanyeol correctly – turns to grin at Kyungsoo. "You must be new here. Chanyeol's a great guitarist and vocalist. Shame her dad's not a huge fan of the idea of Chanyeol performing on stage. All that crap about having to maintain their elite social standing. Can you believe him?"

Why actually, yes, Kyungsoo can imagine how it's like being in Park Kyungjin's shoes and having to read about his younger daughter's wild escapades and media shaming on an almost daily basis, because image is everything to the rich and famous. She's witnessed the downfall of many rich asses who decided it'd be fun to let loose in public. Still, it doesn't stop Kyungsoo from sympathising with Chanyeol's controlled life. She can't imagine how she'd fare, if Kyungsoo had to watch her every word and action whenever she's around someone else, not knowing if they'd use it against her in the future, and never being truly comfortable in her own skin.

She is quite the famous figure, Kyungsoo wants to say, but Chanyeol and her band's taking the stage by then, and the whistling and catcalls all around Kyungsoo reaches a deafening level. It amazes her, how it seems as though Chanyeol's well-known and well-received enough in a world she's not supposed to even set foot in, but in a way, Kyungsoo's also glad that Chanyeol is rebellious enough to do this for her own entertainment. Perhaps it's embedded in her personality, to give no fucks about what the others think of her. She reminds Kyungsoo a lot of herself.

Luna leaves Kyungsoo alone at her table to stare at Chanyeol in wonder the moment the music starts to play, following the rhythmic clack of the drumsticks by the drummer. It's not exactly the type of music Kyungsoo would enjoy listening to on a daily basis, but the band's sound is impressive enough as they dish out cover after cover of songs by bands like Coldplay and Maroon 5, getting the crowd in the bar to sing along with them.

Kyungsoo is even more surprised when Chanyeol reaches for the mic and tells the crowd that they're going to play a new set of songs – all self-composed by Chanyeol herself – to even wilder cheers from the audience. Judging by the way the crowd seems to know most of the words to their current set, it doesn't take much for Kyungsoo to guess that they've been playing these songs very frequently.

In fact – Kyungsoo wouldn't admit this to Chanyeol – these songs are actually good enough to be made into a studio album. Kyungsoo would know; she has ironically been in love with music all her life, despite the violence that surrounds her days in the past. Kyungsoo rather agrees with Luna's statement earlier, though. It's really a shame that Park Kyungjin wouldn't ever let Chanyeol set foot in the music industry, when he's more than keen to lead Chanyeol into an arranged marriage for the sake of securing his business ventures instead.

Maybe, just maybe, Kyungsoo sees Chanyeol in a brand new light right now.

 

 

A pleasant buzz courses through her veins when Kyungsoo emerges from the bar with Chanyeol by her side, cheeks stained pink from the amount of alcohol she's had, but nowhere near drunk still. Usually, Kyungsoo would expect Minseok's snide remarks about drinking on the job by now, but she's forgone the earrings and spectacles which would offer Minseok a perfect idea of what she's up to that night. Minseok will understand, she hopes.

"So what do you think of our band? Good huh?" Chanyeol asks, giggling a little from the intoxication as she bumps her arm against Kyungsoo's, nearly slamming her elbow into the side of Kyungsoo's head owing to their height difference, had Kyungsoo not managed to lean away just in time. She'd hate to experience a concussion while also being intoxicated; it would inevitably spell disaster and a lot of puking.

Kyungsoo scrunches her nose in thought, then shrugs unaffectedly. "Not bad, I guess," she replies, earning an indignant squawk from Chanyeol, and she laughs in a carefree manner for the first time in a long while. Funny how good music and some alcohol could make Kyungsoo unwind. "I didn't know you were into composing."

The gloating expression Chanyeol's wearing at the concealed compliment doesn't go unnoticed, and Kyungsoo tries to hide a smile. It's a good thing Chanyeol isn't looking at her, or she probably wouldn't have let Kyungsoo live it down. "There are a lot of things you don't know about me," says Chanyeol, but her expression drops moments later. Kyungsoo wants to tell her that it's the same for Chanyeol; and here Kyungsoo is, hiding the greatest secret of all. "Dad doesn't approve of me doing music, for obvious reasons. Thinks that it's a shameless industry where I'd be throwing my body to everyone else of importance, just to get my music out there. He doesn't even understand that it's what I'm passionate about."

Despite her initial apprehension, Kyungsoo pats Chanyeol awkwardly on her back. She seems so lonely sometimes, when she can't even trust in her friends to be there for her. Chanyeol has talked about the subject matter to Kyungsoo more than once, and Kyungsoo has seen the way Chanyeol's friends had stood her up on more than one occasion, dousing out the fire of her enthusiasm. She may be loud, but Chanyeol truly cares about the people she loves. It doesn't take much for Kyungsoo to notice that fact, especially after watching her interaction with Luna and her band mates tonight.

"It'll take time for him to accept it, considering your family's social standing. I may not have been born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I think I can see why your father's so adamant that you followed in his footsteps and married a man who's capable of running a company." Kyungsoo says, and Chanyeol turns to smile at her weakly. Surely Chanyeol knows of the societal expectations being piled on her head; the stress is beginning to show.

"If mum were still alive–" Chanyeol starts, choking a little on her emotions, and again she reaches to play with her hair. Kyungsoo realises belatedly that Chanyeol must have kept her hair long in memory of her mother, because she would always stroke her long locks whenever Chanyeol talks about her mother. "–she would have understood that I have no interest in the business sector, and allowed me to pursue what I liked."

"Your mother sounds kind. She doesn't strike me as a typical wife of a wealthy family," Kyungsoo mentions, and Chanyeol smiles weakly yet again. Her eyes are glistening with unshed tears.

"She was, since she came from a humble background. Dad wasn't like this before, either. I don't know what has gotten into him; suddenly he's trying to push me towards a man whom I don't even necessarily know, and wants me to get married as soon as possible," Chanyeol mumbles, but Kyungsoo hears her all the same.

"Societal expectations–" Kyungsoo starts, but she cuts herself off abruptly when she hears the sound of a bullet cutting through the air, barely managing to yell at Chanyeol to duck before the bullet embeds itself in the brick wall to their left, sending debris flying.

And then the blood is pounding in Kyungsoo's ears, the adrenaline running high as she turns around in search of their attacker. Beside her, Chanyeol's completely shell-shocked, frantically asking Kyungsoo, "What the hell is going on?!"

"Assassins. Or kidnappers. Run when I tell you to," Kyungsoo tells her, not caring if she sounds too calm for their current situation when she's not even supposed to have experienced shit like this, as far as Chanyeol's concerned. It's eerily silent for a long while, before heavy footsteps loom upon them, and Kyungsoo's already springing into action before they're even in sight, dragging Chanyeol down the street along with her.

Chanyeol's long limbs seem to pose a great problem for them both, when she keeps tripping on her own feet as they run, too much alcohol in her system for Chanyeol to keep her balance. It's only by a miracle that Chanyeol hasn't slammed her face into the concrete beneath them yet, but Kyungsoo isn't going to let that happen, either. She dreads to think of the amount of explanation she'll have to provide Park Kyungjin and Ryeowook with, if they ever survive this ordeal.

Soon enough, though, the group of men – five of them in total – manages to catch up to them, and Kyungsoo finds that she's left with no choice but to stay and fight. The largest man smirks when Kyungsoo raises her fists, as though looking down on her abilities to put up a fight. He's going to regret this in the next couple minutes, Kyungsoo swears.

"Why girlie, are you sure you can take on all of us?" Another man comments, and it strikes a raw nerve in Kyungsoo.

She merely draws her hair up into a ponytail, letting the tattoo on the nape of her neck show, and smirks. "Why don't you try me?" She taunts, then turns to a visibly shaken Chanyeol and says, "Don't get in the way."

When she gets Chanyeol's promise, Kyungsoo's already running towards the group of men, aiming a roundhouse kick at the first one who approaches her, her leg landing squarely on his neck and knocking him out cold. The kidnappers seem stunned, but it soon becomes clear to Kyungsoo that they think she had gotten lucky when a derisive chuckle rings through the air.

Terrible move.

She doesn't say a thing, though, merely receiving their attacks as they come. Kyungsoo ducks when one of the men throws a punch at her, before kicking at his feet to bring him down to the ground. Then Kyungsoo cartwheels out of the way when more of the kidnappers converge upon her, grabbing the opportunity to snatch the handgun hanging from the waist of one of them and slotting it down the waistband of her jeans. She hides it from sight, though, not wanting to use it unless she absolutely has to.

"Really?" She asks in mock exasperation when she sees the hesitation in their eyes. "Is that all you've got?"

It seems to grate on their nerves, because soon they're charging at her once again, knives brandished this time. It's a good thing Kyungsoo has been trained to engage in a close-quarters combat even when she's outnumbered, and with her lithe body, it isn't difficult for her to manoeuvre herself in the tiny space, throwing punches and avoiding their attacks at the same time. It's a bit of a challenge when there's alcohol in her system, though, and Kyungsoo's head spins when she whips her gaze around a little too abruptly.

"Give up, you little bitch! Do you seriously think you can fight all of us on your own? Don't make me laugh!" The man whom Kyungsoo had nicked the handgun off yells at her, irritating Kyungsoo to no ends with his words. Kyungsoo has never liked it when she's being underestimated, though she's even more motivated to prove them wrong.

What pisses Kyungsoo off the most, though, is when the tip of a dagger grazes across the angle of her jaw, causing a sharp jolt of pain that makes her hiss, bright red blood slowly dripping down her neck and congealing on her skin. Fuck, Kyungsoo had spent aeons getting rid of that last scar some bastard had left on her face when she'd been nothing more than a street rat killing for money, and these idiots just had to give her another one to deal with.

"That's it, play time's over," Kyungsoo snarls, pulling out the dagger strapped against her thigh in a backhanded grip, before slicing the carotid of the man nearest to her. She then kicks out at the thug who'd slashed her face, tugging on the sleeve of his jacket so that it's half off him before wrapping the material around the handle of his dagger, stabbing the man in the chest with his own weapon directly over where his heart is, and he gurgles and drowns in his own blood.

She hears curses all around her with two men down in less than a minute's time, the remainder of the kidnappers evidently having underestimated Kyungsoo's abilities – funny, because Kyungsoo had thought the tattoo on her nape would be instantly recognisable by anyone who's been involved in the underground world long enough to know; their loss, really – but she doesn't take the time to gloat at their foolishness. The sooner they get off the streets, the better, because Kyungsoo can't afford to get caught on camera with Chanyeol beside her. Someone's bound to stumble upon the dead bodies and the blood soon enough, and Kyungsoo and Chanyeol need to be as close to the Park family mansion as possible by then.

"Bitch, what the fuck?!" Another one of their attackers curses, but Kyungsoo has honestly gotten so sick of the label that she knees him in the groin, sending him doubling over in pain before stabbing him in the back of his neck with her own dagger.

It only takes one sharp look from Kyungsoo for the last man standing to completely chicken out from the attack, and he immediately makes his escape before Kyungsoo can even get close enough to him. She has half the mind to give chase, considering how dangerous it is for her if there were survivors from tonight – only the dead can't talk, after all – but Chanyeol calls out for her with a shaky voice just then, and Kyungsoo snaps out of her bloodlust-induced trance.

Ryeowook's right; Kyungsoo needs to keep her sanity in check and her feet grounded to reality during her missions, instead of going on a happy killing spree the moment she manages to cut the first person down.

After making sure that those who are on the ground are indeed lifeless, Kyungsoo heads over to where Chanyeol is, crouched against the wall and away from where the fighting had taken place. Her heart clenches when she sees the distress in Chanyeol's eyes, but Kyungsoo feels thankful enough that the fear isn't directed at her, but rather at their now-dead group of attackers. Chanyeol readily takes Kyungsoo's hand when the older woman offers it to her, shakily pulling herself to stand albeit with a some degree of difficulty, with how uncoordinated her limbs are from the alcohol and the shock.

"Come on, Chanyeol. We need to leave before more of them come back for us," Kyungsoo urges, though her tone is soft for the first time since they've met, not wanting the girl to feel even more stressed out than she already is. Chanyeol's already pale enough from the scare.

Chanyeol is uncannily silent when she nods in acquiescence, letting Kyungsoo lead her away from the bloody scene by hand without a single word of protest. Her hand is cold and clammy against Kyungsoo's warmer one, and Kyungsoo subconsciously tightens her hold.

 

 

Later that night, Kyungsoo finds herself heading in the direction of Chanyeol's room after cleaning herself up. She's still extremely worried about the socialite princess despite everything, because Kyungsoo is sure that Chanyeol hasn't seen anything of that scale with her own eyes before. In Kyungsoo's opinion, the movies don't even come close to depicting the scene of an actual fight, considering that they're not usually personally involved in such situations.

Earlier, they'd walked several blocks before they had managed to flag down a taxi, since Chanyeol had taken to dismissing her driver before bringing Kyungsoo along to her stint at the bar. It was a good thing the driver hadn't asked about the bloodstains smearing Kyungsoo's pale skin, or the cut which Kyungsoo was sporting on the angle of her jaw, merely driving them back to the Park mansion as he was hired to do.

Chanyeol had remained extremely quiet throughout the ride, though, mind distracted as she stared blankly out the window of the taxi at the scenery which passed them by. Even when they'd arrived at the Park mansion, Chanyeol had taken off on her own while Kyungsoo was fishing out some cash to pay for their ride, and had disappeared into her room before Kyungsoo could even catch up to her.

Kyungsoo hadn't been able to keep her mind off Chanyeol while showering, either, something which Minseok had pointed out with concern. You're not usually this out of it, what's going on? Minseok had asked, but Kyungsoo merely told her she'll explain everything later, once she gets her thoughts sorted out.

The door to Chanyeol's room is left open, Kyungsoo realises when she gets close enough, and the sound of a guitar being strummed fills the air of the corridor. Of course; Kyungsoo should have expected Chanyeol to turn to music in order to clear her mind. The socialite princess did appear to be the happiest when she was on stage with her band, after all.

For some reason, Kyungsoo finds herself smiling at the thought. At least Chanyeol had a proper outlet to turn to when she's depressed or bothered by something, unlike Kyungsoo whose life is a path filled with blood.

"Chanyeol," Kyungsoo calls out softly, leaning against the ajar door of Chanyeol's room. Kyungsoo's hair is still damp from the shower, as is Chanyeol's, but it seems that Chanyeol hasn't bothered taming her wild locks at all, the ends of her hair sticking up in odd angles as she bends over her guitar, fingers playing a slow tune. It doesn't seem as though Chanyeol had noticed Kyungsoo's presence, however, and she continues to be immersed in her own music.

"Chanyeol," she repeats herself, louder this time, so that Chanyeol can hear Kyungsoo above her own thoughts and the guitar. Thankfully, Chanyeol finally stops playing, and looks up at Kyungsoo with confusion written all over her features. "Do you mind if I came in?"

Surprisingly, Chanyeol doesn't offer any resistance, merely quipping an exhausted, "Sure, make yourself at home." Under normal circumstances, Chanyeol would be snapping at Kyungsoo to leave her alone when their scheduled together-time is over for the day, not wanting to see Kyungsoo's face for even a minute longer. It only bears evidence to Chanyeol's current messed up state of mind, though, when she even scoots over on her bed to allow Kyungsoo to take a seat, which Kyungsoo does, sitting on the bed with her legs crossed, facing Chanyeol.

"What's up?" Chanyeol asks again when Kyungsoo falls silent, and Kyungsoo immediately straightens herself in alarm, only to relax once again when she remembers where she is. It's a bad habit of Kyungsoo's, to let her mind wander off when she's a little too comfortable around someone else; Minseok has pointed it out a fair amount of times. Chanyeol's eyes are narrowed curiously when Kyungsoo looks up next. "You don't usually show up in my room at night. Did Dad send you to reprimand me for something I've done?"

Despite the heavy mood enshrouding the later part of their evening which still lingers even now, Kyungsoo actually chuckles at Chanyeol's question, a reaction which surprises even herself because she's always been a serious person. No one apart from Minseok and Ryeowook have ever seen her smile, especially not when Kyungsoo's on a mission, by virtue that Kyungsoo would definitely be taken lightly and ridiculed by her targets and enemies.

"No, what makes you think your father sent me?" Kyungsoo asks, the mirth thick in her voice. "He's out of the country, remember?"

Chanyeol scrunches her nose and rests her arms on the body of her guitar. Suddenly the room feels all too quiet without Chanyeol's music filling the spaces in between. "That man has spies everywhere. He's bound to find out that I've been playing again, but whatever," Chanyeol shrugs, though it's anything but nonchalant. Kyungsoo can still see the sadness in Chanyeol's eyes, the craving for her interest to be recognised by the person closest to her. There's no doubt that Chanyeol respects her father, but sometimes the things he does drives her to the brink of dislike instead. "So, what are you here for then, if not to reprimand me?"

There's a brief moment of hesitation – another anomaly, as far as Kyungsoo is concerned, because there's absolutely no room for hesitation in the cutthroat underworld and in being a spy for Exodus – as Kyungsoo chews on her bottom lip, though she's not oblivious to the way Chanyeol's gaze follows her every movement. Kyungsoo shakes that thought off. "I'm just here to see how you're doing after – well, that. You've never experienced things like that before, have you?"

Chanyeol shakes her head, a small pout forming on her lips. "No, I've never really been allowed to wander the streets alone, if you've noticed. Always surrounded by bodyguards and my chauffeur. Tonight's the first time I haven't had to bribe my dad's workers into letting me step into the bar, honestly," she says, and Kyungsoo's heart reaches out for her. "I don't understand, though. Why would anyone go after us like that?"

The corner of Kyungsoo's mouth quirks into a wry smile. "Your family is rich enough to warrant such incidents, unfortunately. I won't ask you to get used to it, because it's simply horrible," she tells Chanyeol, though somewhere at the back of her mind, Kyungsoo really doesn't think that the assassins had been aiming for Chanyeol. They'd left Chanyeol completely untouched during the scuffle earlier, even though they had every chance to make a grab for Chanyeol while the others kept Kyungsoo occupied. Instead, Kyungsoo feels as though they were targeting her, specifically, but she doesn't understand why.

"I... didn't know you could fight like that. It was extremely impressive," Chanyeol mentions out of the blue, and Kyungsoo's extremities grow cold at her words. She hadn't planned on talking about it to Chanyeol just yet – or ever, if she could help it – and she needs to think about something to parry the question, and fast.

"I was quite a fan of the art of self-defense when I was younger. I've learned a great deal of them," Kyungsoo lies when the idea comes to mind, watching Chanyeol's expressions closely for any sign that she might not buy Kyungsoo's words. Thankfully, Chanyeol merely nods thoughtfully, before setting her guitar aside and proceeding to lie down on Kyungsoo's lap. The action surprises Kyungsoo, because Chanyeol never came across as a touchy person.

And, for the first time, Kyungsoo actually blushes when Chanyeol blinks up sleepily at her. She's so tempted to run a finger down the perfect slope of Chanyeol's nose, and trace the freckles dusting her cheeks, only obvious when Kyungsoo's looking at her from a close distance. Chanyeol's stunningly gorgeous, Kyungsoo thinks, especially now that she's letting her defenses down around Kyungsoo instead of keeping up with her usual ice princess façade.

"I don't believe you," Chanyeol says simply, though Kyungsoo's stomach lurches sickeningly regardless.

Instead of prodding for the reasons behind Chanyeol's statement, Kyungsoo merely flicks her in the forehead. "Brat," she says, almost fondly, and her own intonation scares Kyungsoo. She doesn't dwell on it long enough for her to start panicking, though. "Aren't you afraid of me? After watching me hurt so many of them?"

Chanyeol purses her lips and shakes her head. "Why should I?" She asks, and again Kyungsoo feels guilty for having to hide her true identity from Chanyeol – until she completes the mission, anyway – because Chanyeol will never understand just how dangerous Kyungsoo can be, or how she might endanger those who get much too close to her. "You didn't have a choice but to do that to keep us safe."

Well, at least Kyungsoo knows now just how innocent Chanyeol can get sometimes, even if the way she flirts with Luna wasn't. "Don't let your father know about the incident tonight, or the fact that I can actually fight," Kyungsoo requests instead, disguising it as a joke by adding, "or your old man is going to make me take on the job of your bodyguard too, and I don't think he'll give me a pay rise for that."

At the very least, she manages to loosen up the atmosphere, triggering a loud bark of laughter from Chanyeol. The sound warms her heart, and Kyungsoo finds herself falling asleep leaning against the headboard of Chanyeol's bed that night, with a lapful of the sleeping socialite princess and a heart that grows even fonder of the girl, for how tranquil she seems when she's fast asleep, vulnerable and free of worries.

 

 

The air of Seoul grows chilly at night, even though it's just the earlier days of Autumn, and Kyungsoo finds herself bundled up in her overcoat, scarf wrapped snugly around her neck as she waits at a nondescript bench in the park several blocks away from the Exodus headquarters. It's unfortunate that she can't be seen anywhere near the headquarters while working undercover on a mission, but she thinks that Ryeowook really should've picked any café in town that's deserted enough for them to talk. At least she'll be out of the cold and with a steaming hot mug of coffee in her hands.

Thankfully, Ryeowook arrives soon enough, equally as bundled in his coat and with a fedora shielding his head from the worst of the winds, and he takes a seat beside Kyungsoo on the bench. "You're early as always, I see."

Kyungsoo resists the urge to roll her eyes at her mentor. "Old habits die hard, Bloodhound. What's up with the sudden need to meet, anyway?"

It's rare enough that Ryeowook would initiate a meet-up with Kyungsoo in the middle of a mission, because Ryeowook is a firm believer that handlers and undercover agents should minimise their interactions whenever possible, for fear that someone on their target's side would stumble upon their meetings and launch an all-out investigation on the agents' lives. Ryeowook also trusts in Kyungsoo a great deal, and would usually allow Kyungsoo to run the mission on her own, with the occasional feedback coming in from Minseok's side about Kyungsoo's progress.

"I heard about your success in planting the tracker in Alpha, and Lynx has provided us with a great deal of information from the audio recordings. Good job with that," Ryeowook replies, but it only makes Kyungsoo more suspicious.

Kyungsoo makes her doubts known when she turns to Ryeowook and narrows her eyes. "You never casually ask me out to congratulate me on a job well done, Bloodhound. What is really up with this?"

She's only glad that Ryeowook decides that it's best to get straight to the point, and sighs in response to her question. "Two nights ago. I heard what happened while you were out with Princess, and your distress signal to Lynx about requiring a cleanup downtown."

Ah, so that was it. Kyungsoo swallows the invisible lump in her throat, and rearranges herself on the bench. "Yeah, we were attacked out of nowhere."

"You don't think it was a plan to kidnap Princess for ransom, do you?" Ryeowook asks. Kyungsoo can always count on her mentor to be perceptive enough of the hints she drops in her words.

"No. They had me surrounded at one point, but none of them even thought of nabbing Princess while I was preoccupied with fending them off. In fact, they didn't even seem interested in Princess," Kyungsoo confesses, and her own words make her grow uneasy. She hadn't shared this piece of information with Minseok, for fear that her best friend would think it appropriate to pull Kyungsoo out of the mission with her authority. If her hunch is true, it would mean that they've discovered Kyungsoo's true identity as an agent of Exodus, and that her life is in imminent danger.

Unfortunately, Ryeowook seems to be harbouring such thoughts himself. "Sounds to me like your identity might have been compromised, if what you said is true. You need to find a way to get away as soon as possible, and we'll get someone else to take over from y–"

"No," Kyungsoo interrupts Ryeowook almost angrily, but there are tendrils of fear that creeps up to her and winds itself around her heart, for reasons unknown. "I'm close to uncovering the truth behind Alpha's illegal arms trade, and I'm not going to give up just like that. And there's Chanyeol–"

She immediately slaps a hand over her mouth when the name slips from her lips, but knows that it's much too late when Ryeowook turns to frown at her. "You're getting too attached to the Princess, aren't you?"

"I'm not," Kyungsoo defends herself immediately, but her tone seems to be giving off an entirely different vibe. She ignores that, too. "It's such a waste to pull me out when I'm so close to completing the mission, Bloodhound. You and I both know that it'll take years before we can even get proper closure, if you were to make me abandon the mission now."

Ryeowook doesn't seem to be having any of it, though. "You, of all people, should also know that it is Exodus's policy to pull agents out of the field when things get too dangerous. We treasure your lives more than we do the success of these missions, Thorned Rose!"

It's the first time Ryeowook has ever raised his voice at Kyungsoo over a disagreement, but Kyungsoo is more determined than ever to not budge from her stance. "I will continue on this mission no matter what, Bloodhound," she insists, getting to her feet at once. "I can take care of myself, and I know when things get too risky for me. You don't have to worry."

Above all, Kyungsoo doesn't think she's ready to leave Chanyeol's side just yet, not when there's so much more to learn about the girl, and she needs to protect Chanyeol until she can ascertain that the other day's attacks were aimed at her and not at Chanyeol.

Just before Kyungsoo walks out of earshot, though, Ryeowook speaks up once again. "Forming attachments to your job will only impair your judgement in the long run, Kyungsoo. I hope you remember that."

Kyungsoo pauses in her steps for a brief moment, then walks away without acknowledging Ryeowook's advice. She hates that she can feel Ryeowook's gaze burning into her back, even when she's already safely back in the Park mansion thirty minutes later.

 

 

The charity ball looms upon them soon enough, and Chanyeol is the epitome of a complete nervous wreck.

Chanyeol has been taking her etiquette training a lot more seriously after that incident near the club the other day, something which Kyungsoo is honestly very pleased to learn. At least Chanyeol's paying a lot more attention to what Kyungsoo has to say now, and would do her best to follow through with them. Her mistakes have dwindled down significantly, which Kyungsoo has taken care to point out and praise her for a job well done, but all it takes is a word from Chanyeol's father to trigger the stress reaction once again. It's the first blunder Chanyeol makes in a long while, having been surprised by the doors swinging open all of a sudden, but Park Kyungjin hadn't wanted to listen.

"If you make a disgrace out of yourself during the charity ball, be assured that I will disown you by the end of it," Park Kyungjin had told Chanyeol, when he had walked into Chanyeol's room and witnessed the unfortunate sight of Chanyeol tripping on her heels.

Despite what Chanyeol might say about her father, Kyungsoo can also see her affections for the man, and her eagerness to make her father happy and be proud of her. Yura, according to Chanyeol, had never faced any difficulties because she is girly enough to follow all the latest trends and ensure that her appearance is well-kempt enough to step into the public eye. That, and the fact that Yura isn't attracted to anyone of the same gender, which makes it easier for her to accept an arranged marriage and play along with their father's orders. Chanyeol, on the other hand, can't even bear the thought of sleeping with a man; she's made that clear to Kyungsoo, who can only smile wryly in response.

The height of Chanyeol's stress manifests in the way she reaches for the pack of cigarettes on her desk, lighting one up and inhaling deeply to calm her nerves. Another soon followed, and another, then another, and by the time Kyungsoo had noticed, Chanyeol had already smoked half a pack in less than two hours' time, filling the entire room of hers in a thick, suffocating layer of smog.

Just as Chanyeol lights up yet another cancerous stick, Kyungsoo snatches it out of her fingers and stubs it out, before taking away the rest of the packet as well.

"What the fuck? I was smoking that!" Chanyeol practically snarls, making a grab for the pack of cigarettes, but Kyungsoo keeps it on the far end of the table behind her, and sits between Chanyeol and the packet.

"Yeah, except the charity ball is tomorrow, and you've just paid a trip to the dentist to have your teeth whitened," Kyungsoo reminds Chanyeol, and when she hears how weak the defense is even to her own ears, she amends herself. "Besides, if you get hooked onto the habit again now, you'll keep itching for a cigarette during the ball tomorrow. What do you think your father would say about you smelling like a chimney while wearing a dress?"

Kyungsoo doesn't like controlling Chanyeol's actions, but she really doesn't have a choice, when she's been hired by Park Kyungjin to do exactly that. She can't afford to throw away the mission for the sake of following her ideals, no matter how tempted she is to do so.

Chanyeol runs a hand through her in frustration, before proceeding to slump against her seat, hands crossed in front of her chest. Kyungsoo hates to admit it, but Chanyeol looks a lot more attractive when her hair is a little unruly. "I can't help it! You heard what he said, like my efforts don't mean a thing to him," she says, and Kyungsoo sighs in response. Park Kyungjin had been extremely harsh to Chanyeol, even though he hadn't witnessed most of her training sessions at all. Kyungsoo knows better, though; Chanyeol has shown tremendous improvement, and it's really unfair of Park Kyungjin to put his daughter down without taking everything else into consideration.

This, unfortunately, is the harsh reality of being a part of the rich and famous.

"Then prove him wrong. Prove that you can change," Kyungsoo challenges Chanyeol, knowing that she'll never back down when her pride is hanging on the line.

"I want to do well for the charity ball. Not for pleasing my dad, but for you," Chanyeol admits just then, and Kyungsoo finds herself taken aback by the sudden confession. There's soft pink dusting Chanyeol's cheeks, and she's not quite meeting Kyungsoo's gaze, evidently embarrassed, but Kyungsoo finds this side of Chanyeol endearing regardless.

"For me? Why?" Kyungsoo blinks in confusion.

"No particular reason," Chanyeol mumbles, but it's not very convincing. Kyungsoo leaves it at that. "So if you know of a way to stop me from reaching for a cigarette in the middle of the ball, you should let me know."

Kyungsoo glances around Chanyeol's study area for something to spark an idea, and her heart races when she sees the stash of lollipop Chanyeol keeps in a glass bowl on top of her desk. It's the method Ryeowook himself had taught Kyungsoo when she was trying to kick the habit and ignore the itch to smoke, and Kyungsoo had thought it effective enough.

Chanyeol's watching her with a keen gaze when Kyungsoo unwraps the candy, eyes simmering with something Kyungsoo can't put a finger on. She's not sure if she wants to delve deeper into it, either.

"The main idea is to keep your mouth occupied," Kyungsoo explains, giving the lollipop a tentative lick to gauge if she'd like the flavour. The explosion of taste on her tongue makes her hum in satisfaction. "A lollipop works best for me, to distract myself whenever the itch to stick a cigarette into my mouth starts." Then she stretches her lips over the rounded surface of the lollipop, sucking on it gently before pulling it out with a soft pop and swirling her tongue around it.

Through it all, Kyungsoo's acutely aware of the way Chanyeol's gaze darkens, and it's with perfect clarity that Kyungsoo recognises it as desire when she takes a better look. It only makes Kyungsoo want to step her game up, and she does just that, licking her lips not-so-innocently and watching Chanyeol swallow thickly at the sight. She's also conscious of the way Chanyeol's resting a hand on Kyungsoo's thigh, inching forward slightly in her seat and spreading Kyungsoo's legs just a little wider apart. It makes Kyungsoo's pulse quicken beneath her skin, the atmosphere of the room growing warmer when she thinks about just where this might potentially lead to.

It drives her to shower the lollipop in her hand with kittenish licks, alternating it between sucking on the candy and swirling her tongue around it, making sure her lips are nice and slick and sticky with the tangy grape flavouring. Chanyeol's eyes are almost glazed over by now, and when Kyungsoo lets out a soft moan, she practically loses all forms of self-control to the wind.

Kyungsoo can't say she's surprised when Chanyeol makes a grab for her hand, stilling it and disallowing Kyungsoo from wrapping her lips around the lollipop again. She even sounds rather breathless when she says, "If my performance at the charity ball exceeds your expectations tomorrow, promise me you'll give me a reward of my choice."

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out just what sort of reward Chanyeol is looking for, with the way her fingers are digging into the flesh of Kyungsoo's wrist, and how she leans forward to suck the lollipop Kyungsoo had been eating between her own lips, but Kyungsoo oddly feels inclined to indulge the socialite princess in her request.

It's what prompts a smirk to spread across Kyungsoo's lips when she says, "Try your best, Princess."

 

 

For how nervous Chanyeol had been while changing into her dress and getting her makeup done for the charity ball earlier that evening, the woman is surprisingly composed and poised during the actual event itself.

Chanyeol's extremely stunning in a midnight blue ruffled sweetheart dress, with a slit that cuts to the top of her thigh, showing off her long legs which Kyungsoo envies a great deal. The sequins sewn onto the satin folds of the dress are shining beneath the incandescent lights with every movement, making heads turn whenever Chanyeol passes them by. It's a dress which Kyungsoo picked out for Chanyeol, who'd been hesitant about putting it on at first, considering the fact that the neckline is a lot lower than Chanyeol's really used to, but she had assented to it in the end, after countless reassurance on Kyungsoo's part that she looked fine in the dress. Kyungsoo hears the murmurs of approval wherever she goes, and in her books, she's greatly successful in making Chanyeol stand out amongst the crowd.

Kyungsoo herself is in a sleeveless A-line dress that evening, with a black laced bodice which trails off into a maroon satin finishing, a colour which she wouldn't otherwise be seen dead in, if Chanyeol hadn't insisted that she wear it for the charity ball as Chanyeol's date. No one needs to know about the latter part, though, not even Chanyeol's father, who seems to think that Kyungsoo's merely there to chaperone Chanyeol and to stop his daughter from embarrassing herself further, like the countless times she's done so in the previous formal events Chanyeol has been to.

Kyungsoo catches Park Kyungjin's eyes from across the room at one point in time, and wants to gag at the well-concealed lecherous smile he sends in her direction. Clearly her target still remembers the night they'd fucked in his room, but Kyungsoo would rather not be reminded of the experience.

Chanyeol does surprisingly well that night, gliding through the event hall with such grace that Kyungsoo can't help admiring. It's a great contrast from how Chanyeol had carried herself when Kyungsoo had first met her, appearance dishevelled as she lay on the sofa playing some sort of game on her tablet. Kyungsoo would probably not believe it if she were told that they were one and the same, if Kyungsoo hadn't had a hand in sculpting Chanyeol's image tonight.

In fact, Chanyeol doesn't even require cues from Kyungsoo regarding the identities of the people who approach them throughout the course of the charity ball, greeting them by name with wide smiles and a bright, polite tone. She'd been doing plenty of studying before the big night, it seems, and Kyungsoo realises that Chanyeol was serious when she said she wanted to do well for the charity ball. The thought itself warms Kyungsoo up from within, and Kyungsoo finds herself wearing a rare smile as she follows after Chanyeol, nodding whenever she's addressed by the rich and famous crowd thronging the event.

The night progresses relatively well, with Park Kyungjin introducing Chanyeol to his peers on stage before giving his speech on how thankful he is for everyone's participation, that their donations are very much appreciated by him and the cancer patients who will benefit from his fund, once they achieve a breakthrough in the research project. Chanyeol's not as awkward as she used to be when she's on stage with her father, still wearing the warm smile on her face as she glances at her father, and with the stage lights on her, she's practically glowing.

Kyungsoo would have continued to admire how gorgeous Chanyeol looks for the night, if she wasn't preoccupied with the thoughts that Chanyeol would be terribly disappointed if she happens to learn of the truth behind everything – of her father's apparently philanthropic deed being a guise for his illegal arms deal, of Kyungsoo having slept with her father for the sake of completing her mission, of Kyungsoo's true identity as a spy under Exodus. Above all, Kyungsoo tries not to think about how empty her life would be, without the sounds of Chanyeol strumming the guitar and singing her heart out to accompany her.

The thought itself scares her, because it's only then that Kyungsoo realises just how attached she's become to Chanyeol and her annoyingly, endearingly loud presence. Ryeowook had been right, after all.

She isn't given the opportunity to dwell upon it, though, when someone comes to stand beside her just then, and initiates a conversation. "Having a good night?" The voice with a deep timbre asks, and Kyungsoo immediately freezes in her position when she recognises the voice. Clearly, Minseok who's been listening in on Chanyeol's conversations with the people they've been meeting throughout the night via the microphone embedded in Kyungsoo's earrings recognises it too, because she lets out a soft gasp when the voice enters the feed.

Composing herself quickly enough, Kyungsoo wears a thin smile when she turns to look at none other than Lee Taeyong. "Yes, thank you for your concern, Dr. Lee," she says, even though she's well-aware by now that Lee Taeyong is anything but a scientist. She has been listening to the audio playbacks from the tracker she'd embedded beneath Park Kyungjin's skin, and knows that Taeyong is indeed a part of a new underground group that's supplying illegal firearms to the other gangs in Seoul, which has contributed to the sudden rise in crime rates in the city, while Park Kyungjin is the major person bringing in these firearms from another country and providing it to the Russian mafia as well.

Nevertheless, her efforts at ignoring Lee Taeyong aren't yielding any rewards, because Taeyong still sticks around, sipping on his flute of champagne and making small talk with Kyungsoo. "I'd have to say that you've done a great job with Chanyeol tonight. All those acting classes certainly paid off, haven't they?"

Kyungsoo's skin crawls with apprehension, unsure if she's reading too much into Taeyong's words, or if her hunch is actually right – it has rarely ever failed her, after all. "What do you mean, acting classes? They're grooming sessions," she replies, choosing her words carefully while measuring Taeyong's expressions at the same time.

Taeyong's smirk only grows wider at her question, and immediately Kyungsoo knows that he's onto something. She keeps her expressions carefully neutral, even as the panic rises in her chest.

"Oh, I really meant acting classes. You took them from the very same place you've learned all your close-quarters combat skills, didn't you? And by the way – I'm surprised by how flexible your body can be, and how you took down men who are larger than you with such ease. You don't look the type to fight, but you've definitely proved me wrong, Thorned Rose."

That's when the horror truly seizes her; he knows.

"Fuck," Minseok curses quietly from the direction of her in-ear microphone. "Your identity's been compromised."

Kyungsoo's so tempted to roll her eyes at Minseok for stating the obvious, but doesn't.

Still, Kyungsoo tries at playing cool, pinning Taeyong with a level gaze. "I believe you've had too much to drink for the night, Dr. Lee; it sounds to me like you're starting to hallucinate. Why don't you go sober up before you make a fool of yourself?"

Thankfully, Park Kyungjin finishes his speech just then, and Chanyeol immediately rejoins Kyungsoo in the crowd, abruptly interrupting Kyungsoo and Taeyong's conversation. The contempt Chanyeol holds for Taeyong is obvious in the way she hisses at him, shielding Kyungsoo from the man. "Stop bothering Kyungmi, or I will get the security to escort you out of the event."

At least Chanyeol's threat is useful enough, and Taeyong merely lets out a mirthful chuckle before raising his champagne flute at Chanyeol. "You've grown to be quite the gutsy person, Chanyeol. Nice meeting you tonight," he says, then turns on his heels to leave, mingling with the rest of the crowd who seems to have recognised him.

"Are you okay, Kyungmi?" Chanyeol asks her just then, breaking Kyungsoo's eye contact with Taeyong's retreating back, and Kyungsoo quickly nods before the silence grows suspicious.

"Yeah, fine. I'm just not used to these events, that's all," she lies, but Chanyeol still buys it regardless.

For the rest of the night, Kyungsoo tucks herself in a secluded corner of the banquet hall, watching Chanyeol mingle with the rest of the people from her social caste, the pit of her stomach burning with an odd mix of jealousy and panic whenever Chanyeol dances with the sons of the other families, wondering if Chanyeol would end up fancying one of them and going along with her father's plans for her after all. She doesn't stop thinking about the fact that Lee Taeyong already knows who she is and for whom she works for, either, and wonders if he's let Park Kyungjin in on the information too.

Kyungsoo fervently prays that he hadn't.

 

 

Despite having pressing issues at hand, like her compromised identity and the potential for Taeyong to strike her down at any given time, Kyungsoo finds herself immensely distracted by something else instead.

And that something else, is none other than Park Chanyeol.

Chanyeol has been a great tease the entire night, licking her lips seductively whenever she notices Kyungsoo watching her across the room, and even surreptitiously squeezing Kyungsoo's ass whenever they cross paths. Kyungsoo hates to admit it, but the gesture sends a spark of desire running down the length of her spine all the same.

But the last straw came when Chanyeol had went on a particularly long restroom break without Kyungsoo. Kyungsoo had received a text message when she was about to go in search for Chanyeol, with the words I'll be waiting for my reward tonight printed across her screen and a winking emoji to accompany it. As if it wasn't enough, Chanyeol had sent another two photos to go along with it – one which showed her apparently in a bathroom stall with her hand disappearing beneath her dress, and another where her fingers are slick with her juices of arousal.

It was with great conscious effort that Kyungsoo hadn't immediately stormed all the way to the ladies' to give Chanyeol the reward she deserved.

Now that they were back at the Park family mansion, though, Kyungsoo can throw all caution to the wind. She's a woman of her words, anyway, and she definitely thinks that Chanyeol has rightfully earned the reward she deserves, having shown an excellent performance tonight with extremely minimal guidance on Kyungsoo's part. She can always think about the matter with Taeyong later, when they're done, especially when it's unlikely that the man would spring an attack on her when Park Kyungjin's in the vicinity. Kyungsoo's target himself doesn't seem to know about her identity yet, so there's that.

The door to Chanyeol's room is unlocked when Kyungsoo tests it, and she doesn't even announce her presence, silently slipping into the room just as she'd been trained at Exodus. Kyungsoo makes sure to lock the door behind her, though, barring further entry by anyone else. She'd hate to be disturbed when things are getting heated, and she's also sure that they'll both be kicked out of the house if Park Kyungjin ever finds out what they've been up to. That's the least of her worries.

Chanyeol's standing before her dresser, struggling to get to the zip of her dress when Kyungsoo finds her. Kyungsoo doesn't wait for an invitation, approaching her at once and takes over the task from Chanyeol. The surprise is written all over Chanyeol's face, reflected in the full length mirror before them when she looks up, and Kyungsoo flashes a rare smile at her.

"Kyungmi, what–"

"Let me do it for you, Princess," Kyungsoo silences her and says, and though Chanyeol grimaces a little at the nickname, she doesn't snap at Kyungsoo like she usually does. In fact, the way Chanyeol's swallowing her spit doesn't go unnoticed by Kyungsoo, and it's the sign that she needs to know that she hadn't misconstrued Chanyeol's request for a reward of such nature.

When she's satisfied with Chanyeol's silence, Kyungsoo goes on tip-toes so that her lips would meet the juncture of Chanyeol's neck, and Kyungsoo pulls Chanyeol's soft brown locks out of the way before sucking a bit of flesh between her teeth. "You've been such a good girl tonight," Kyungsoo purrs against her warm skin, feeling a full-bodied shudder wrack through Chanyeol, and a soft moan escapes Chanyeol's lips when Kyungsoo sucks on her flesh hard enough to leave a bruise.

"And you're going to give me the reward I deserve?" Chanyeol manages to ask, her breath quickening when Kyungsoo moves to plant butterfly kisses between her shoulder blades, and she braces herself against the mirror when Kyungsoo's hand circles around her front to cup her breasts through the fabric of Chanyeol's dress.

Kyungsoo hums her affirmative against the protrusion of Chanyeol's left shoulder blade, a hand moving to slide the zip of Chanyeol's dress open. Chanyeol offers no resistance, letting gravity do the job as it pulls her dress completely off her, and Kyungsoo holds her breath at the sight of Chanyeol's glorious body, clad only in a pair of laced thong that matches the colour of her dress. She'd forgone a bra that night, owing to the fact that her outfit is padded, and Kyungsoo has never been more thankful to be spared of the trouble.

After that stunt Chanyeol had pulled with the picture messages, Kyungsoo isn't exactly the most patient person around.

That's when Chanyeol turns in her position to look at Kyungsoo, her larger hands coming up to cup Kyungsoo's face, before bending down to claim Kyungsoo's lips in a searing kiss. Chanyeol is as good a kisser as she looked in the photos Kyungsoo had discovered of her with Junmyeon, taking her own sweet time exploring each seam of Kyungsoo's mouth with her tongue, licking and nipping and sucking and leaving Kyungsoo more breathless by the moment. Her hands soon move to caress Kyungsoo's nape, supporting her neck as she changes the angle of their kiss, and for once, Kyungsoo lets all of her inhibitions go.

She's never this trusting of anyone else apart from Minseok to handle her body, but Kyungsoo supposes there's always a first.

Chanyeol makes Kyungsoo feel as though her skin has been set alight, her body burning with a feverish bright, and she almost forgets that she's the one who's supposed to do the rewarding, not Chanyeol.

It's with such thoughts that Kyungsoo loops a finger past the waistband of Chanyeol's thong, thumb swiping over the prominent jut of her hipbone as she pulls Chanyeol in the direction of Chanyeol's bed, never breaking the kisses they're exchanging. Chanyeol's hands deftly undo the zip of Kyungsoo's dress, leaving it discarded on the floor just as Chanyeol's own clothes had been, and Kyungsoo as naked as Chanyeol is.

Kyungsoo trips on Chanyeol's carpet somewhere along the way, which causes Chanyeol to laugh into their kiss, but Chanyeol's hand is quick to wrap around Kyungsoo's waist, keeping her supported. Chanyeol's surprisingly steady on her feet even though her eyes aren't on the ground, a large contrast from her usually clumsy self, and Kyungsoo wonders if the latter had been all an act.

She doesn't dwell upon it though, laughing just as breathlessly when the back of her knees knock against the edge of Chanyeol's bed, causing her to lose her balance yet again and sending the both of them falling onto the soft sheets.

"Fuck," Chanyeol curses when Kyungsoo bites on her bottom lip hard enough to draw a bit of blood, but Kyungsoo's quick to lick it clean regardless. "You're driving me insane."

"You're one to talk," Kyungsoo retorts playfully, before flipping Chanyeol onto her back and straddling her abdomen. "Now, I'm supposed to be the one doing the rewarding, aren't I?"

Chanyeol's eyes are bright with lust, obvious even in the dim lighting of her room. Her chest is heaving, a thin sheen of sweat already beginning to form, and Kyungsoo thinks she's glorious. It's funny, how she's never seen Chanyeol in such a light before today – or perhaps things have begun to change when Chanyeol had brought Kyungsoo to the bar to watch her band perform; Kyungsoo isn't really sure – but she just knows that she'll never be able to view Chanyeol in a different manner ever again.

Chanyeol wriggles out from beneath Kyungsoo – an easy feat, considering how light Kyungsoo is – and props herself up on her elbows, spreading her legs enticingly. Kyungsoo can already see a dark, damp patch on the fabric of Chanyeol's underwear, and she swallows against the invisible lump in her throat.

"Why don't you give me your best shot?" Chanyeol challenges, and Kyungsoo merely smirks in response.

There's no time wasted as Kyungsoo closes the rest of the distance between them once again, hands gripping Chanyeol's hips and holding her down as she kisses a heated trail down Chanyeol's neck, nipping the skin along her way and leaving marks of crimson on the socialite. It'll turn purple in the morning, Kyungsoo is sure, and she absolutely can't wait to view her masterpiece.

She fits easily enough between Chanyeol's legs, and Chanyeol's grip on her shoulders is almost punishing when Kyungsoo pays more attention to her breasts, sucking a nipple between her teeth and biting lightly, while her hand busies itself with kneading Chanyeol's other breast. Chanyeol isn't as well-endowed as Minseok or Kyungsoo herself is, but her boobs fill Kyungsoo's hands up just perfectly, and Kyungsoo makes her appreciation known by lavishing more attention on Chanyeol's soft mounds.

The sounds Chanyeol's making are absolute music to her ears, soft panting crescendoing into high pitched whining whenever Kyungsoo discovers an erogenous spot on her body. Chanyeol's particularly sensitive around her bellybutton, it seems, and she keens loudly when Kyungsoo dips her tongue into it, hips arching up against Kyungsoo's chest in pleasure, a myriad of colourful curses spilling off Chanyeol's well-kissed lips.

Deciding that she needs to speed things up a little, considering the aching throb between her own legs that need to be taken care of as soon as possible, Kyungsoo spreads Chanyeol's legs wide apart, letting Chanyeol slide her fingers into Kyungsoo's hair. When she has ensured that Chanyeol's eyes are transfixed upon her, Kyungsoo slowly, deliberately plants more kisses on the insides of Chanyeol's thigh, working her way up from her knees.

Chanyeol's particularly sensitive there, too, and Kyungsoo knows this by the way her fingers dig into Kyungsoo's scalp, hips jerking up on their own accord with every contact of Kyungsoo's lips against her heated skin. The musky scent of Chanyeol's arousal hits Kyungsoo hard when she finally decides to stop teasing, panties already completely soaked through, and Kyungsoo pulls the fabric aside, watching as Chanyeol stops breathing momentarily, anticipating Kyungsoo's next move.

Knowing Chanyeol's sights are on her, Kyungsoo flashes a knowing smirk before leaning forward once again, the tip of her tongue dipping past Chanyeol's moist folds. The first contact already has Chanyeol arching off the bed in exquisite pleasure, cursing loudly as her toes curl into the sheets, and Kyungsoo has to physically hold her down from thrashing about uncontrollably. She doesn't hold back, however, continuously licking past Chanyeol's folds and exploring her languidly, tasting each and every seam that she's able to reach with her tongue.

"Oh, fuck," Chanyeol curses again, fingers digging almost painfully into Kyungsoo's scalp by now, when Kyungsoo introduces a finger along with her tongue, adding to the sensations. The view from below is absolutely beautiful, when Chanyeol's chest is flushed and heaving from the arousal, pupils blown wide from lust. Her hair is in a mess from thrashing against the headboard, but still Kyungsoo thinks it's perfect the way it is. After all, Chanyeol has never fitted into the mould of an orderly person, and Kyungsoo doesn't care.

One finger soon becomes two, and Chanyeol's reduced to an incoherent mess by the time Kyungsoo is three fingers deep in her, tongue still lapping up Chanyeol's wetness with extreme fervour. Kyungsoo never went against her promises, and she's not about to start doing so tonight – she will reward Chanyeol handsomely, for all the effort the other woman has put into the charity ball earlier that evening.

Chanyeol's orgasm hits her in the form of a loud moan of Kyungsoo's fake name when she comes, body spasming uncontrollably as her climax steals her breath and sanity away for a moment. Kyungsoo doesn't stop fingering her through it, but she keeps singing praises about how good Chanyeol is for her.

When Chanyeol finally comes down from her orgasm high, she's dragging Kyungsoo up so that she can kiss Kyungsoo, tongue swiping into Kyungsoo's mouth to taste herself on it. The pit of Kyungsoo's stomach twists with desire when Chanyeol reaches for the hand which Kyungsoo had fingered her with, pulling it to her mouth and licking it clean, all while maintaining eye contact with Kyungsoo.

Chanyeol is indeed as bold as she looks, and it excites Kyungsoo greatly. Most people were intimidated by Kyungsoo's cold aura, even in bed, and up until that night, Minseok was the only one who could completely dominate her. She definitely doesn't mind changing things up now.

"That's enough rewarding," Chanyeol purrs, which surprises Kyungsoo because the fun had barely even begun. Kyungsoo shudders when Chanyeol traces the line of words inked along her rib with her cold fingers though, and releases a shuddering breath when Chanyeol pinches a nipple between her fingers. "Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero," she reads, and Kyungsoo likes the way the Latin words roll off her tongue, foreign and accented. "What does it mean?"

"Seize the day; put no trust in the moment," Kyungsoo tells her, arching backwards on the bed to allow Chanyeol better access when the other woman bends forward to plant kisses along the cursive writing, the sensations making it difficult for her to think. When she's lying on the bed like this, their size difference is obvious with the way Chanyeol's body covers her almost completely, and Kyungsoo quite likes it. She likes it even more when Chanyeol wraps her arms around Kyungsoo's smaller frame, lavishing every inch of her skin with attention, alternating between warm kisses and light nips.

Chanyeol places extra emphasis on Kyungsoo's breasts, burying her face between the soft mounds and leaving more red marks on her skin there, before taking a nipple between her teeth and biting, sending sparks of pleasure shooting down her spine. Chanyeol's clinically efficient with her hands, a clear show of her experience in bed, when she gropes Kyungsoo's breast with one, while the other immediately finds its way between Kyungsoo's legs, two fingers sliding easily into Kyungsoo with how wet she already is. The overwhelming sensations has Kyungsoo scrabbling to find purchase on Chanyeol's back, wanting to keep herself anchored in position, and her nails rake angry red marks across Chanyeol's skin.

It doesn't even take long for Kyungsoo to get off on the feeling of Chanyeol's stretching her wide, for how high-strung she's been as of late. It's been weeks since Kyungsoo had been properly fucked, and masturbating just doesn't seem to cut it, considering the things Minseok subjects her to when they're together. Being with Chanyeol, while a lot less kinky than the things she's used to experimenting with Minseok, is also a fresh change.

"Fuck, you're amazing," Chanyeol watches her in awe, her cheeks tinged pink from arousal and exertion, and she doesn't even put up a fight when Kyungsoo flips her over to lie on her back.

"So are you," Kyungsoo says as she spreads Chanyeol's long legs apart, exposing her pink folds to the cold air around them. Chanyeol shudders, but the sight is endearing enough. "Let me return the favour," she says again, and watches as Chanyeol's eyes widen before rolling to the back of her head when Kyungsoo straddles her, spreading her own labia apart before rubbing up against Chanyeol's clit.

The delicious friction has Kyungsoo stuttering in her actions a bit, before she regains enough control of herself to keep going, her head thrown back in pleasure when Chanyeol's hands begin caressing her breasts. The way Chanyeol's breathing heavily, and the small sounds she's making every time Kyungsoo rocks forth is music to her ears, and Kyungsoo thinks she's absolutely intoxicated by the way Chanyeol looks beneath her, chest heaving and mouth parted to catch her breath.

Tonight's going to be a long, long night indeed.

 

 

"You were busy sexing Park Chanyeol up when you should be making your escape?!" Minseok hisses into Kyungsoo's in-ear device the moment she puts it on, and Kyungsoo resists the urge to groan in exasperation. Already she feels terrible enough for having to climb out of Chanyeol's sheets in the middle of the night, leaving the girl's warmth behind; she doesn't really need the reprimanding right now, with sleep still dusting her eyes and her brain barely functional. The tattoos over her nape and along her rib throb dully, a reminder of the way Chanyeol had lavished her attention on them earlier that evening, and there's a pleasant ache between her legs from how Chanyeol had pounded into her with a strap-on, leaving Kyungsoo screaming until her voice was hoarse, but a lot more satiated than she had ever been.

She really wishes the night wouldn't end, but unfortunately reality is always a bitch.

Kyungsoo stops short of wondering what Chanyeol might think, when she wakes up to find the space beside her – and the rest of the mansion, in fact – devoid of Kyungsoo's presence. She certainly hopes that the socialite princess won't start thinking that Kyungsoo was only trying to get into her pants, because as far as Kyungsoo's concerned, her attachment to Chanyeol has grown past the stage of being someone whom Chanyeol can depend on.

She doesn't admit this to Minseok. Instead, Kyungsoo huffs as she quickly gets herself dressed in a bodysuit, "I'm working on the mission now, aren't I? I couldn't make a move with Alpha still in the house."

Park Kyungjin had left the mansion for the airport half an hour ago in order to catch his flight to Amsterdam, and Kyungsoo knows that this is the opening she needs to get whatever she can from Park Kyungjin's study and disappear into the night, until they manage to build a solid case against her target. From their surveillance records, it has become clear to Exodus that Park Kyungjin's keeping most of his important documents with regards to the illegal arms trade in his study at home, hence the need for a high-tech security lock at its door, and a permanent entry ban for the rest of the household. Most of his meetings with Lee Taeyong and several other 'researchers' of the so-called cancer research project were held in this very room which Kyungsoo had infiltrated a couple of weeks ago, though none of its contents consisted of medical-related talks.

Instead, Exodus has picked up on a large number of names belonging to kingpins and leaders of underground societies scattered across the globe, as well as the Russian militants trying to overthrow its current government.

"It doesn't matter; we have enough proof to pin the crime on Park Kyungjin. You need to get your ass out of that mansion and back to HQ. Lee Taeyong already knows who you are, and I doubt he's going to let you go this easily," Minseok pleads with her, but Kyungsoo isn't having any of it.

"You and I both know that audio recordings aren't the strongest form of evidence; his lawyers can always accuse us of fabricating it," Kyungsoo reminds her, knowing that Minseok still remembers that one lawsuit which has been thrown out of court because there wasn't enough compelling evidence, so to say, when the organisation in their neighbouring country was exposed of possessing the technology required to copy the voice patterns of a person's speech and produce full conversations from it. There's no certainty that the same thing would happen to them, but it doesn't hurt to be as thorough as they can be.

"Bloodhound is going to have your ass if you get killed in action," Minseok grumbles again, the fight leaving her completely, and Kyungsoo breaks into a small smile.

"He can kiss my ass if I get out of this alive and with the hard copy of Alpha's dealings in my hands," Kyungsoo says, earning a laugh from Minseok, but she keeps her eyes peeled on her surroundings regardless. She can never be too careful, even when Minseok has hijacked all the security cameras in the Park mansion to do their bidding. A split second's inattention could bring about dire consequences, and Kyungsoo would really rather not die a pitiful death in this mansion. Chances are no one would be able to find her body, and she'd probably be swimming with the fishes soon enough.

Park Kyungjin's private wing of the house and the corridor leading to his study is mercifully deserted, though Kyungsoo supposes it's due to the fact that it's barely even five in the morning, and everyone would still be asleep at this time. There's no time wasted as Kyungsoo sneaks up to the door of his study, hooking a device onto the keypad at the entrance and whispering, "Hit it, Lynx."

The keypad lights up in a multitude of colours as the decoder works its magic, and before Kyungsoo even knows it, the keypad beeps softly, and the sound of the door unlocking soon follows. Just as she had done before, Kyungsoo quietly slips into the study and locks the door behind her, then immediately goes to work.

By now, she has learnt that Park Kyungjin keeps all of his most important files in his laptop, though she has never been able to hack into it, owing to the fact that he never hooks it up to the mansion's public connection. Kyungsoo had discovered another heavily encrypted internet connection several weeks earlier, and no matter which program she had tried, she still couldn't decrypt that damned thing through a third party software. It only serves to strengthen Kyungsoo's suspicion that Park Kyungjin is hiding the very things she needs in his laptop, and she will not rest until she retrieves all his files.

On the other hand, at least Kyungsoo knows that Park Kyungjin's computer isn't safe from Exodus's decryption device, having tried and tested it before when she had first entered the Park household as a spy. She quickly plugs the thumbdrive into the laptop, and Minseok is already at work the moment Kyungsoo gives her the signal, downloading whatever she can from Park Kyungjin's hard drive.

It's a good thing they don't have to worry about Park Kyungjin walking in on Kyungsoo hacking his laptop this time, since the tracking device which Kyungsoo had implanted beneath his skin shows that he's well on his way to the airport without being any the wiser that he's been bugged. The airport security device might pick up the tiny metal chip when he passes through it, but Kyungsoo would have been well and gone by then with everything Park Kyungjin has been hiding from the world.

In the meantime, Kyungsoo takes the opportunity to dig through Park Kyungjin's shelves once again, hoping she'd have better luck with her search this time. She picks a small torchlight out of her pocket, flicking it on before holding it between her teeth as she sifts through the folders as quickly as she probably can without missing anything of importance. Being a secret agent has taught Kyungsoo to never think that she has the luxury of time, because her missions can go terribly awry in the span of a few minutes to seconds.

Unfortunately, this is exactly one of those instances that Kyungsoo finds herself in a tight spot, when she's preparing to move on to the next shelf, only to find the barrel of a gun aimed at the middle of her forehead the moment her torchlight shines past a corner of the room.

Fuck.

"Well, well. What do we have here?" The owner of the voice is practically unmistakable, and Kyungsoo can almost imagine the smirk playing on the man's lips even in the dark. "Playing dumb is never a good thing to do, Thorned Rose."

In the background, Minseok's cursing colourfully and hissing I told you to get out of there into her mic, and Kyungsoo almost wishes she'd listened to her best friend for once. It's too late to regret it, though.

Kyungsoo does flinch, however, when someone flicks the light switch on, and she's momentarily blinded when the light floods the room, pupils having accommodated to the darkness earlier. But true enough, Taeyong's standing there with his gun raised when Kyungsoo regains her sense of sight, smirk wide on his face.

What he doesn't know, though, is that he's made a big mistake of not shooting Kyungsoo when he had the chance.

Around them, there are several other thugs with Taeyong, their own weapons at the ready while they await Taeyong's orders. Kyungsoo mentally calculates the amount of moves she needs to take them down, and her pathway to escape through the door.

"What are you doing here?" Kyungsoo asks, knowing the question sounds dumb, but she needs to buy herself and Minseok some time. Even if she doesn't say it, Minseok knows that she needs to get all the files out of Park Kyungjin's laptop before they lose possession on it forever; she can hear Minseok typing frantically across her keyboard. It would be a huge shame, if they were to fall at the final hurdle. Kyungsoo isn't quite prepared for all her hard work to go to waste and die in the process.

"Funny you should ask," Taeyong retorts, one hand casually stuffed into his pocket while the other keeps the gun trained on Kyungsoo. "That should be my question."

Kyungsoo slowly backs off towards the desk where the laptop is when Taeyong closes the distance between them in slow, taunting steps. Her hand reaches behind her carefully, inching towards where the thumbdrive is sticking out from Park Kyungjin's laptop. When she finds it, Kyungsoo makes a point of keeping her fingers on it, preparing to unplug it the moment Minseok completes the transfer.

"You already know of my codename. Shouldn't you be able to make an intelligent guess, Doctor?" Kyungsoo taunts back, all while fervently praying deep within for the file transfer to be done already. In this enclosed space with only a Beretta 92F and several throw knives to serve as her defense, Kyungsoo's growing to be a little worried. She may be good at close-quarters combat, but there's only so much she can do with all the furniture in the way.

"Then that makes it easier for us," Taeyong smirks again, cocking the hammer of his gun. "I'll let Park Kyungjin know that you decided to resign with immediate notice."

At that particular moment, Minseok hisses into her in-ear, telling Kyungsoo, "Done! Now unplug that shit and get your ass out of there, now!"

Kyungsoo really doesn't have to be told twice, merely smirking at Taeyong as she carefully unplugs the thumbdrive from the laptop and keeps it in her palm, shielded from view. Letting Taeyong and his bunch of thugs get their hands on Exodus' devices would be their worst nightmare, when it's possible for them to find a way to duplicate the program and then resell it to the rest of the world. Instead, Kyungsoo only taunts Taeyong even more, saying, "I'd like to see you try," before whipping her 92F out of the holster strapped to her thigh, shooting at the doorknob to destroy the locking device then at the light source above them.

There's a chorus of incensed yelling that fills the space when the room is plunged into absolute darkness, but it doesn't stop Taeyong from blindly firing shots in every direction. Thankfully, Kyungsoo had the sense to put on her handy glasses that night, triggering the night mode function and kicking out at Taeyong's dominant hand to disarm him. Once she's successful, Kyungsoo ducks and dodges the encircling arms of one of the thugs who'd decided that it was a brilliant idea to crush the neck of the first person he gets a hold of. Amateur move, really, and Kyungsoo rolls her eyes in exasperation as she knees him right in the crotch and leaves him writhing on the floor in pain.

She doesn't even hesitate when she finds a burly man standing right at the only exit of the room, whipping out a hold dagger from the inner pocket of her bodysuit. Once she's close enough, Kyungsoo tugs on the collar of the man's shirt, causing the man to fall forward from the sheer suddenness of the event, and slices the dagger clean across his carotid. Kyungsoo doesn't stop to check for any signs of life in that man, merely throwing the door open and hurtling out into the hallway, making a run for it.

It's probably a good thing that Kyungsoo has experienced such situations before (though Ryeowook would probably have a lot to say about it), and she's already an expert at shooting while running away from her chasers by now. The same can't be said about Taeyong's group, and Kyungsoo can hear the multitude of curses interspersed with missed shots as they try to catch up to her.

"Fuck," Minseok curses again, and Kyungsoo can feel the exasperation in her voice. "I told you to abandon the mission! Now look at what you've gotten yourself into."

"Yeah," Kyungsoo huffs into the air, knowing that Minseok can hear her just fine, owing to the sensitivity of the microphone embedded in her earrings. "Like that's going to help me now, Lynx. At least Exodus has the files now."

"Where the fuck do you think you're going?!" Minseok suddenly screeches when Kyungsoo makes a sharp turn around the corner, before running down yet another long hallway and hoping that the heavy thud of her boots against the wooden tiles won't wake the entire Park mansion up. "The exit's the other way!"

"I know!" Kyungsoo yells back, quickly loading up her 92F again before Taeyong's group manages to catch up to her. She's already lost them for now, but there's no saying if Taeyong would be able to pick up on Kyungsoo's thoughts and realise where she's ultimately headed to. "But I can't leave Princess behind. He will use her to lure me out of hiding, and you know that! I can't possibly let her suffer because of me!"

Even if Taeyong hadn't outwardly commented about it, Kyungsoo remembers the way he had glanced between Kyungsoo and Chanyeol during the charity ball, a knowing look on his face as he watches their interactions. There's no doubt that Taeyong has managed to pick up on the attachment formed between Kyungsoo and Chanyeol, and Kyungsoo is deathly afraid that he'd use it against her.

Again, Ryeowook was right. Forming attachments while on a mission would impair her judgement. She wishes her heart had listened, but it's much too late for regrets right now.

"I swear to God," Minseok hisses, "I'm going to kick your ass when you get back, so you better make sure that you come back alive, bitch."

That term of endearment makes Kyungsoo smile despite the sticky situation she's gotten herself into. "Gotcha, Lynx."

Chanyeol's still in a deep sleep when Kyungsoo bursts through the doors to her room, and she quickly bolts it shut by sacrificing two of her daggers, leaving them crossed at the metal handles of the door. When she's done with that, Kyungsoo grabs several clothing items from Chanyeol's dresser before bounding towards the bed, roughly shaking the sleeping princess awake. In an alternate universe, Kyungsoo would probably still be burrowed in Chanyeol's warm sheets after sex, cuddling with the girl on the bed. This is not the universe Kyungsoo had envisioned for herself, unfortunately, but there's no time for regrets.

"Chanyeol!" Kyungsoo growls when the girl doesn't even budge, and pinches her hard in the arm, letting a red mark join the rest of the bruises Kyungsoo had sucked into her skin earlier. "God fucking damn it Chanyeol, wake the fuck up!"

At the very least, she manages to wake Chanyeol up, who yelps in pain and curses colourfully at the person who'd disturbed her sleep. Right, Chanyeol isn't a morning person, but Kyungsoo really doesn't have time to deal with this shit right now, especially with Minseok ordering her to get the fuck out of that room, with Taeyong and his gang closing in on Chanyeol's bedroom and all.

"What the fuck? It's ass o'clock in the morning! Why aren't you sleeping like the rest of us normal people are?" Chanyeol grumbles, groggily rubbing the sleep out of her eyes, and Kyungsoo somewhat finds it endearing. Her mind snaps back to the emergency situation at hand, and immediately tries to get Chanyeol dressed in under ten seconds.

"There's no time to talk about it right now, Chanyeol!" Kyungsoo yells, the frustration growing within when Chanyeol's uncoordinated limbs make things all the more difficult for her. "Lee Taeyong is here, in this mansion at this very moment, and he's going to fucking kill us both if you don't move your ass now!"

Thankfully, the mere mention of Taeyong's name has Chanyeol sobering up at once, and she doesn't give Kyungsoo any more trouble, silently putting on the clothes Kyungsoo had retrieved for her. Both their gazes snap towards the double mahogany doors when someone begins pounding on them, though Kyungsoo's mind is already quick at work, working up other possible escape routes for them both. With Taeyong and the rest of his gang members at the door, running through it would be akin to suicide, and Kyungsoo would loathe to have the barrel of a gun pointed at Chanyeol if she could help it. The only other exit is through the windows, followed by a ten feet plunge to the garden below, but at this point of time, it's not as though they have the luxury of time – or choice, really.

Kyungsoo immediately grabs Chanyeol's hand and runs towards the window, throwing it open with relative ease. The cooling night air hits them in the face, and Kyungsoo shudders a little at the sudden dip in temperature, but pays it no heed. She pulls out a grappling hook from her belt, shoving the hook into the stone structure the balcony's railing, and throwing the rope attached to it down the side of the house. Kyungsoo tugs on it several times to make sure that it's firmly in place, because falling to death while making an escape is honestly the most embarrassing thing that could happen to a trained agent like her. Chanyeol's somewhat pale as she looks over the balustrade and realises what Kyungsoo's crazy plan is, but she makes no noise of complaint heaving herself up onto the railing, which surprises Kyungsoo. It makes her feel proud that Chanyeol's not as princess-y as the nickname Kyungsoo had given her, though.

Squeezing Chanyeol's hand, Kyungsoo turns to her and asks, "Do you trust me on this?"

There's absolutely no hesitation when Chanyeol nods in response to the question, mouth pressed into a thin, determined line as she holds tightly onto the rope and slides all the way down, just as Taeyong and his gang bursts into the room and opens fire at them, the sound of gunfire ringing into the night.

 

 

"Ow, bitch, can't you ease it down a little with the pressure?" Kyungsoo snarls when the cold metal instrument digs far too deep into the wound in her left shoulder where she was unfortunately shot by Taeyong, and turns around to glare at the perpetrator. Jongdae merely flashes a cattish smile at Kyungsoo, but resumes her evil work regardless.

For someone who works as a doctor, Kim Jongdae can be really scary when she puts her mind to it. Sometimes, she wonders if Minseok and Jongdae have secretly been plotting Kyungsoo's demise while she's out on her missions, because Jongdae has never failed to cause her more pain whenever Kyungsoo would return to base with multiple injuries on her as a result of ignoring Minseok's advice.

On another hand, Kyungsoo thinks that Minseok and Jongdae are a perfect match; they just need to leave her out of their messy, neither-here-nor-there relationship.

"Serves you right for throwing yourself right into the thick of danger," Minseok, who's been watching the entire ordeal from the sidelines, smirks at Kyungsoo. Kyungsoo flips a finger at Minseok for that comment, which Minseok cackles loudly in response to, but secretly, Kyungsoo is just glad to be back at the headquarters. She can see the relief in the way Minseok's looking at her, too, and knows that there are no hard feelings involved, after all.

"Fuck you all," Kyungsoo says regardless, injecting as much scorn into her tone as she can, hissing when Jongdae accidentally misses the bullet that's embedded in her shoulder and hits her muscle again. "Ryeowook is going to murder you for torturing his best agent, you know, so keep it up."

Jongdae snorts from behind her, and Kyungsoo can almost see Jongdae rolling her eyes at Kyungsoo. "Yeah, you mean after he gets your ass whooped for insubordination? Be my guest."

There's a sinking feeling in Kyungsoo's stomach when she's reminded of that fact. Right, she still has to report back to Ryeowook once Jongdae's done patching her up – or killing her, though Kyungsoo's really hoping for the latter – and he will not be happy with her, especially after he'd given her a stern warning to not get too attached to the people she meets in her mission. It would be a miracle if he doesn't execute her on the spot, favourite mentee or not; he's called Bloodhound for a very, very good reason after all.

Then again, Kyungsoo also has something else to worry about, and she thinks that this other matter overshadows Ryeowook's wrath by a landslide. Minseok seems to be able to read her mind, though, because her expressions mellow down as she chides Jongdae to stop being so hard on Kyungsoo. Jongdae grumbles a little, but complies nonetheless, making quick work of removing the bullet and sewing the layers of torn muscle and skin up; maybe Minseok isn't the only one who's whipped, but Kyungsoo will only know once Minseok gains enough courage to confess to Jongdae that she wants Jongdae's ass in her bed.

"She's in the adjacent room," Minseok tells her quietly while Jongdae's putting her equipments away to wash, and Kyungsoo squeezes the older woman's hand in gratitude before slinking out of the treatment room. Jongdae would yell at her for not staying put, but Kyungsoo has other priorities right now. The pain is easy enough to ignore, anyway.

Chanyeol's seated with her long legs hugged against her chest when Kyungsoo enters the room, and the confusion is plainly written on Chanyeol's face. It actually hurts for Kyungsoo to witness such a sight; apart from the other time Chanyeol had talked about her mother, Kyungsoo had never seen her so vulnerable before, not even when they'd been attacked on the streets after Chanyeol's gig. It must've been too much for Chanyeol to absorb, seeing Kyungsoo with so many high-tech equipments, and learning that Taeyong's actually chasing Kyungsoo down, not Chanyeol as Kyungsoo had made her think before this.

"Hey," Kyungsoo calls out softly as she shuts the door behind her, leaving them both in their own space. "How are you holding up?"

Chanyeol doesn't even move, merely raising an eyebrow to look at Kyungsoo. "Fine," she says, then adds, "my life was fine before I met you. I don't even know you anymore."

Kyungsoo flinches at the hostility lacing Chanyeol's words, but she doesn't run away like she's tempted to. It's only fair for her to let Chanyeol in on the truth, especially with the near-death situation she had put Chanyeol through back at the Park mansion. She doesn't try to get any closer to where Chanyeol is, however, for fear that she'd agitate the girl even more. "I'm sorry for everything that has happened so far, Chanyeol. But please, give me a chance to explain."

There are several heartbeats of tense silence that ensues while Kyungsoo waits for Chanyeol to make a decision, but in the end, Chanyeol exhales noisily and turns to face the wall. "Fine, one chance, beginning from your real identity. Make the best of it."

Kyungsoo has never felt more relieved that Chanyeol's willing to listen. She works up the courage – something which she's never been required to do before, but Park Chanyeol has her own way of giving Kyungsoo a brand new experience all the time – to seat herself on Chanyeol's bed, keeping a good distance between them, not wanting to be too intrusive.

"My real name is Do Kyungsoo, codename Thorned Rose, and I am a secret agent under Exodus. You're currently in the basement of our headquarters," she begins, watching as Chanyeol clenches her jaw at the confession. It's not really an accusation, when Chanyeol had said that she felt like she didn't know Kyungsoo anymore. Kyungsoo hadn't been completely honest with Chanyeol, and she really wishes they could have met under different circumstances. Maybe then this conversation wouldn't have had to take place. Maybe Kyungsoo's heart wouldn't be shattering with every truth she tells Chanyeol about herself. "I attended the interview for the position of your personal assistant in the beginning, because I needed to go undercover for a mission – one which you've, unfortunately, gotten embroiled in. It was never my intention for this to happen."

"What sort of mission?" Chanyeol croaks, throwing an accusatory look at Kyungsoo. "Investigating my family's private life, and uncovering how fucked up we actually are?"

Kyungsoo really, really shouldn't have gotten this involved with Chanyeol. "I'm sorry for the circumstances surrounding your family, but that's really not it," she reassures Chanyeol, then sighs again when Chanyeol narrows her eyes at Kyungsoo. "It's about the cancer research project which your father is funding. Exodus has found a significant number of anomalies associated with the fund over the years since its establishment, and I was tasked to uncover the truth."

"What about the fund?" Chanyeol challenges again. "How could you place suspicions on something with such a noble cause?"

Kyungsoo awkwardly rubs her nape at the question; this is more difficult than she had imagined. "We have a legitimate reason to. Your father has never disclosed any of the research project's progress, nor has he allowed anyone to set foot on this so-called research facility."

"It's top secret," Chanyeol defends. "Of course he isn't going to let just anyone walk into the facility."

"Yeah," Kyungsoo concurs, "but even you? You're his daughter, and he doesn't even trust in you enough to tell you about the project's progress. A project which he's supposedly funding in honour of your mother and younger sister. And don't you even try telling me that you don't care, because I'm not buying it."

At the very least, Kyungsoo manages to sow the seeds of doubt in Chanyeol. Although Chanyeol has always proclaimed that she wasn't interested in the shit her father does (her words, not Kyungsoo's), Kyungsoo doesn't think, even for a moment, that Chanyeol is as aloof as she pretends to be. Kyungsoo has seen it in the way Chanyeol had talked about the cancer research project a few months ago, when she'd teared up at the mere mention of it, that she wants to know how the project could change the lives of others.

"Fine," Chanyeol huffs. "Assuming you're right about the fund being shady, what else have you uncovered about it?"

That's when Kyungsoo fishes out a playback device, which contains the audio recordings of Park Kyungjin's many conversations with Taeyong, out of her pocket. Before she hits the play button, though, Kyungsoo holds Chanyeol's gaze seriously and tells her, "What you're about to hear will permanently change your perception of your father. Even so, are you willing to go through it?"

Chanyeol swallows hard at the question, but the determination is strong in her eyes when she nods for Kyungsoo to go ahead.

Kyungsoo already feels sorry for Chanyeol the moment she lets the recording run, because it's as incriminating as it can get. The audio clips aren't even the only things they have at hand; Minseok's currently sifting through the large amount of data they've downloaded from Park Kyungjin's computer, which will definitely pin the crime of running an illegal arms trading syndicate on his head.

Amongst the audio recordings are snippets of Taeyong warning Park Kyungjin about the potential failure of their negotiations with the Russian militants, should Park Kyungjin not yield to the Russians' request of a price reduction, to which Kyungjin had responded with a snort and a condescending laugh, telling Taeyong that the militants should forget about doing business with them if they don't have the funds to purchase the firearms. There are several others detailing Kyungjin's conversation with the heads of the underground gangs in Seoul, thanking them for their tireless patronage over the years.

Chanyeol has turned incredibly pale by the time they arrive at the end of the recording, her hands trembling visibly as they clutch onto the sheets beneath her. Kyungsoo doesn't immediately speak up, allowing Chanyeol some time for the information to sink in. Way too many things have happened in the past couple of hours alone, and Kyungsoo really feels terrible, that Chanyeol had to uncover the truth about her own father in such a manner.

"My father–" Chanyeol croaks after what seems like forever, and Kyungsoo yearns to reach out for her when she sees the shattered look on Chanyeol's face. She doesn't, however, act upon her desires, knowing that the state of the relationship between her and Chanyeol is much too fragile right now. One wrong move, and Kyungsoo would probably ruin everything they've ever shared. "–there's no way my father could be involved in this... this thing."

Chanyeol doesn't even appear to be convinced by her own words. Kyungsoo swallows again. "You heard the recordings. Exodus doesn't blindly send in an agent for a mission, unless they've ascertained that there's reasonable evidence for them to work on," she tells Chanyeol, trying to cushion the impact of her words as much as possible by speaking gently. "And unfortunately, the evidences we've collected so far all point towards your father as the main culprit of this illegal trade. The crime rate involving firearms in Seoul has been climbing at an alarming rate since three years ago, around the time when your father's fund had been set up. There's almost no doubt about it, now."

"Then are you going to send him to jail?" Chanyeol asks, the tears of frustration brimming in her eyes this time, and Kyungsoo's heart shatters all over again. Chanyeol's smile has been such a permanent fixture in Kyungsoo's life in the past couple of months that she can't imagine living without it, and watching Chanyeol cry only serves to tear her up from within.

But a duty is a duty, and when Kyungsoo had taken her oath on the day she was initiated as a member of Exodus, she'd vowed to keep her nation safe no matter what. The law is hard, but it is still the law.

"I'm sorry, Chanyeol," is all that Kyungsoo manages to say, before Chanyeol throws her arms around Kyungsoo's smaller frame and cries her heart out.

 

 

Chanyeol doesn't stop Kyungsoo or the rest of the Exodus agents from doing their job, something which both surprises Kyungsoo but makes her proud of the girl at the same time. It's never easy, having to hand over a loved one to the authorities and watching them throw her father into prison. Most people won't be able to do it, and would end up begging Exodus to have mercy instead, or attempt to bribe them into letting their family members go.

Then again, Chanyeol isn't like most people, and she's proven herself as someone who lives by a strong principle. For someone of her social status, Chanyeol's surprisingly adept at determining what's proper and what's not, and she doesn't turn a blind eye on her father's obvious wrongdoings either. In fact, Chanyeol even gave them the password to her father's safe, located in the confines of his office at the bank's headquarters.

"His passwords are always made up of the numerical representation of my mother's name, Haejung," Chanyeol had told Kyungsoo once she was done crying, even though Kyungsoo hadn't asked. It's then that Kyungsoo finds Chanyeol's courage and sense of justice extremely admirable. "That corresponds to 4-2-3-5-8-6-4."

It was a long shot, because there was no saying if Park Kyungjin would have opted for another combination of numbers to keep the contents of his safe away from prying eyes, but the Exodus special op agents who were sent to storm Park Kyungjin's office had decided to give it a try, and had succeeded in retrieving the most incriminating form of evidence they could lay their hands upon – signed agreements of Park Kyungjin's dealings with various individuals.

Perhaps, if there's one thing about Park Kyungjin that's true, it's the fact that he loved his wife more than anything else in the world, until the lure of unlimited wealth had blinded him and sent him wayward.

With the help of the Interpol, Exodus managed to nab Park Kyungjin the moment his plane had landed in Amsterdam, pressing charges which the man would not be able to refute even with the services of the best lawyer in the world. At least the man did not resist against his capture, instead allowing the authorities to handcuff him in public, head hung low in shame. Lee Taeyong and the rest of those implicated in the illegal firearms trade were also nabbed, thrown into a maximum security prison while they await trial.

Of course, Ryeowook hadn't been pleased with the way Kyungsoo had put herself in such a dangerous situation for the sake of the mission, but he didn't reprimand her as harshly as Kyungsoo had thought he would. Instead, Ryeowook had sighed and told her that he was getting much too old for this, that he was going to die from a heart attack at the rate that Kyungsoo's going, doing things so recklessly.

It was easy to pacify him, with the promise of a long vacation from the head of Exodus, Leeteuk. Ryeowook doesn't have to know that Kyungsoo had struck up a deal with the other man, anyway.

Nevertheless, with Park Kyungjin behind bars and Kyungsoo with a completed mission, she no longer has a reason to stick around in the Park mansion. Discussion is rife amongst the top ranks of Exodus, trying to decide if it would be best for them to wipe Chanyeol's memories of Kyungsoo and her relationship to Exodus clean, because an agent's identity is of utmost importance for them to safeguard. Kyungsoo's left in a constant depressed state, because if Exodus went ahead and erased all of Chanyeol's memories, she would be left with the burden of remembering everything which had happened between her and Chanyeol in the last couple of months.

Frankly, Kyungsoo isn't ready for that to happen. There's just so much more potential for them to develop their relationship further, with Kyungsoo's mission out of the way and Chanyeol free to mingle with anyone she pleases, without the fear that her father would disown her for preferring women over men. Kyungsoo isn't in the position to protest against the top leaders' decision, though, not when she has the offence of insubordination hanging above her head. They pardoned her for being able to complete the mission successfully, but it doesn't mean that they'd tolerate demands from her.

Chanyeol, on the other hand, hadn't uttered a word when Minseok had let her in on her possible fate, for knowing about a top secret organisation and the identities of several of its members. It's considered a great security threat, for someone outside the organisation to learn about them after all.

Kyungsoo doesn't know what she had been expecting, but to see Chanyeol keeping mum instead of protesting against the forceful altercation of her memories shreds Kyungsoo up from within. It's almost as though Chanyeol wants to forget about them, wants to forget that she had ever met Kyungsoo at all.

Perhaps it's for the best, in order for Chanyeol to live as normal a life as she probably can, but it doesn't stop Kyungsoo from wishing that things could be different. She doesn't hold herself back from telling Chanyeol that everything that had happened between them came from her heart, that Kyungsoo had shown her truest self when she was with Chanyeol at the bar, and in bed. Chanyeol hadn't responded, either.

Kyungsoo doesn't stay for the top leaders' announcement about Chanyeol's fate the next morning, deciding that it was best for her to keep the happiest memories of her and Chanyeol to herself. She doesn't think she'll be able to handle talking to Chanyeol after the erasure of her memories – a test which they'll surely put Kyungsoo through to ensure the success of the deed; she's seen enough of it to last her a lifetime – only to have Chanyeol ask her, do I know you?

Kyungsoo isn't such a strong person, after all.

 

 

epilogue

 

 

The sound of heavy bass and drums that drown the crowd's cheers in the concert hall nearly makes her deaf, considering her close proximity to the speakers, and Kyungsoo thinks that she really needs to have a serious talk with the person who had gotten her a ticket for the concert. Maybe with the help of cleverly-hidden blades; Kyungsoo still has a lot of time till the end of the concert to make her decision.

In the meantime, however, Kyungsoo decides to sit back and enjoy the concert. Even though The Renaissance is a fairly new band, they've already amassed an impressive number of fans over the last couple of months, Kyungsoo included. Admittedly, there are some hits and misses with Kyungsoo as far as the band's sound is concerned, but she can still get used to it. After all, the main reason why she even became a fan at all lies with the main vocalist of the band.

Park Chanyeol's radiance is unrivalled on stage, especially now that she's sporting a head of fiery red hair that's accentuated by the stage lights, the thin sheen of sweat covering her skin glistening under the neon. Kyungsoo's actually happy that Chanyeol had decided to screw her socialite status and signed with a record company after her father was thrown into jail for gunrunning, chasing after her dreams of being a performer. She indeed shines the most when she's doing music, and Kyungsoo finds herself smiling in relief when she hears the crowd sing along with the band.

The magnitude of the concert really makes Kyungsoo's skin erupt in goosebumps, and remembering the advice from Luna at the bar all those months ago to just let loose and enjoy the music, Kyungsoo does just that, bobbing her head along to the beats.

It ends almost too soon, though, and Kyungsoo feels a pang of disappointment as the members of The Renaissance to express their gratitude for their fans' support and attendance that evening as part of their closing speech. It doesn't stop her from cheering loudly along with the other fans in the venue with her, though, and she can even feel the smile threatening to split her cheeks apart, seeing how happy Chanyeol is by just being on stage.

She doesn't immediately take her leave though, even as the other concert goers file out of the venue while chattering excitedly about their experience, younger girls gushing over how hot the band members are when they're in their element. Instead, Kyungsoo breaks off from the crowd and quietly disappears down a secluded corridor, making sure that no one has caught her in the act.

Minseok had been so gracious to provide her with a blueprint of the concert venue the night before, detailing all the pathways and exits Kyungsoo could take. Kyungsoo had stayed up all night memorising it, of course, and she's going to make her preparation worthwhile.

And it definitely pays off, when she slips into the room she had marked with a red cross on the blueprint, only to find Chanyeol's eyes widening in surprise when she sees Kyungsoo, an bright, toothy grin brightening up her features. "Soo!" Chanyeol exclaims, running over to scoop Kyungsoo into her arms just as Kyungsoo locks the door behind her. "I thought you couldn't make it tonight!"

They've been going steady for a while now, ever since Kyungsoo had learnt that Exodus didn't go through with their intention to wipe Chanyeol's memories clean. Apparently, Chanyeol had begged for them not to do it, even agreeing to a no-mentioning clause which essentially required Chanyeol to be fitted with a chip beneath her skin that would self-detonate the moment she speaks of Exodus to someone else outside the organisation. Kyungsoo had been furious to learn about it, of course, but Chanyeol had pacified her, telling her that she didn't care, as long as she could keep Kyungsoo by her side. It was a sacrifice she was more than willing to make, and it had warmed Kyungsoo's heart thoroughly.

Kyungsoo shrugs at the question. "Well, you should start learning the ways of detecting a lie by now," she says, and Chanyeol rightfully pouts at her for the comment.

"I was so disappointed, you know. I even wanted to reschedule the concert so that you could make it," Chanyeol tells her, and earns a light flick on the forehead, courtesy of Kyungsoo.

"Don't you ever dare let your other fans down because of me, Park Chanyeol," Kyungsoo warns, but breaks into a warm smile almost immediately after. "You did great, I'm so proud of you."

There's a spark in Chanyeol's eyes which Kyungsoo knows oh-so-well by now, and her suspicions are further confirmed when Chanyeol asks, "So do I get my reward now?"

Kyungsoo doesn't offer Chanyeol a verbal response, instead wrapping her arms around Chanyeol's neck and pulling her in for a deep kiss, feeling Chanyeol smile against her lips. As usual, things get heated soon enough between them, and Chanyeol's in the midst of pulling Kyungsoo's top off her when Kyungsoo's phone rings jarringly in the silence of the room which is only punctuated by their laboured breaths and wet kisses.

Chanyeol groans when Kyungsoo fishes her phone out of her jeans pocket, only to find Ryeowook's codename stamped across the screen. "Really? Why does your boss always find a way to disturb us when we're about to sex it up?"

The younger girl has a way with her words, albeit crude, and it makes Kyungsoo laugh before she switches her phone off and tosses it aside.

"He can stuff it. Now where were we again?"

Besides, Kyungsoo's sure there's nothing important enough that demands her immediate presence at Exodus's headquarters right now, when she's supposed to be dormant from missions. Ryeowook's call can wait till she's done wrecking Chanyeol in her dressing room for the night.