Nina’s attack was textbook – three steps out and a forward lunge, knife point aimed perfectly at the jugular vein. But as the steel blade made contact with the man’s neck, it flickered and vanished leaving her looking from side to side foolishly. She gave a hiss of frustration.

“Really now, did you think -”

She pivoted and threw one of her knives at the voice without hesitation, but there was no gasp of pain, no thudding noise of metal on flesh. She threw again, with the same lack of result.

“- that it would be so easy? Smoke and mirrors, my dear. The closer you look, the less you see.”

Nina went for a third knife in her boot, but her hand unexpectedly found a flat rectangular card instead of a knife handle. It was plain black, printed on heavy stock with a gold jug in the centre.

“Now, I can see you’re not in the mood to talk at this moment, so there’s my calling card. When you’re interested, come and find me.”

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