The Adventures of the Jade
Episode 7 The Black Leopards Triumph
Chapter 23 Lifes a Gas
Gas? There was no other explanation. Li Mei felt her knees weaken. Quickly she held her breath hoping that it was not too late. She had held back in the attack on Zhuangs henchmen. Why work up a sweat when there were three superheroines in the room to do it for her? But now she was in trouble, as were Jahlen and Elenah. The two other women were staggering, unaware that they were being poisoned.
Zhuang, she thought. She had seen him push a button on the wall and then he had disappeared. Her chest convulsing, she moved toward the place she had last seen him.
There. An innocent looking mark on the wall must be the button he had pushed. Desperately she stabbed her finger into it. There was a slight click and a panel in the wall swung open. She pushed into the dark space within, allowing the door to close behind her. Only then did she take a deep breath, sucking in as much air as she could. It was not entirely dark in the room. A single bulb provided dim illumination. She noticed a large lever in the down position. Acting on a hunch, she pushed it upwards, guessing that this was the lever that had released the gas into Zhuangs audience chamber.
She waited a few minutes and then feeling her head clear, she took a deep breath. Releasing a catch on the secret panel she pushed it open and reentered the audience chamber. As she had surmised every person in the room was now unconscious and sprawled in various attitudes about the room. Everyone with the exception of the Jade Dragon and Scorpion. They hung limply in their chains, their arms almost dislocated.
Traces of gas no doubt lingered in the air, but she was certain that as soon as Zhuang felt it was safe he would send his men into the room to recapture the unconscious women. The first thing was to make that difficult for him. She had to move fast, she couldnt hold her breath forever. She did, however, have excellent control over her breathing and could go much longer without taking a breath than average.
She dashed over to the area around Zhuangs divan. If she understood anything about Zhuang she would find what she needed over there. It took her a few seconds to spot it. A cat burglar with her level of skill didnt need much time. There was a tiny bronze lever next to the divan, within easy reach of the position Zhuang assumed when lounging upon it. She gave it a flick and was rewarded with a rumbling sound. Thick steel doors descended to seal off the entrances to the room. That should give her more than enough time to do what she wanted. She only had to worry about Zhuang or some of his men returning through the secret passage. Now she needed another breath. Probably the air was clear enough by now, but she couldnt take any chances. Quickly she returned to the hidden room and exhaled. She spent and few seconds breathing deeply and then taking another deep breath she returned to the room.
First on her order of priorities was the rescue of Elenah. Picking up the tall beauty she slung her over her shoulder in a firemans carry and hauled her to the secret room. Taking another breath she returned and picked up Jahlen. She wondered as she did so if she was doing the right thing. After all, she was saving a woman who only a few days ago had tortured her more brutally and painfully than she had ever been tortured in her life. But there was something about her. Ever since she had looked into those frightening yellow green eyes she had been strangely captivated. She set the mysterious villainess beside Elenah. Both women were breathing regularly. No doubt they would soon sleep off the drug. Now it was time to collect her prize.
She reentered the room and made her way to the Jade Dragon. She would have to hurry. Already she could hear noises on the other side of the door. It took her only a few second to release the Jade Dragon from her chains. Without returning to the secret room she then dealt with Scorpion. She took a bit longer, as the clips had to be detached from her nipples. Li Mei nodded approvingly. Chen really knew how to make things painful for his victims. Scorpions breasts were badly stretched and the teeth of the clamps had cut into her flesh. She glanced over to Chens limp body. She had something for him before she left.
She returned to the hidden room for one more breath. She suspected that the air in the room must be clear by now, but she did not want to take any chances. She would have to hurry though. It was always possible that Zhuang or his henchmen might show up in the hidden passage. By now both Elenah and Jahlen were stirring. She took a few minutes to help revive them, gently slapping their faces until their eyes opened. Both women were quite confused for a minute or so, but Li Mei was patient with them. She had to be. She needed them for the next part of her plan.
Jahlen experienced a moment of panic as she regained consciousness. Her last waking thought had been her escape from her chains with the help of the Black Leopard. They had been attempting to get away from Zhuangs audience chamber, and then she had felt a strange sensation come over her. Too late she realized that she had been gassed. As her eyes refocused, she was aware that the petite oriental who had tortured her so effectively and painfully was now trying to slap her awake. Reaching up, she caught the wrist of her rescuer, signaling her return to wakefulness. There was no exchange of words, just a glance between her and her former torturer. There was an understanding in that quick exchange. She would cooperate with the oriental villainess. At least for now.
Now that her two companions were awake, Li Mei explained her plan. Elenah frowned. She just wanted to get as far away from Zhuangs HQ as she could, but Jahlen smiled. It was the sort of thing she would have approved of if she had thought of it first.
Together the three women entered the room. Loud crashing noises outside the main door told them that Zhuangs men were trying to force the door. Between the three of them they hoisted the limp bodies of the Jade Dragon and Scorpion from the room. They left the bodies of the other three heroines where they lay, but before Li Mei departed, she performed two tasks. One was the arduous one of collecting all the canisters of film that Zhuang had stolen from her and placing them where they would not be found right away. She hoped that eventually she would be able to come back for them. She found a suitable hiding place in the back of the one of the cupboards containing various unused torture devices. From the look of it no one had made use of the equipment in years. With any luck Zhuang would never think to look there and would probably suppose that Li Mei had taken the film with her.
Her last task was more pleasurable and took a little longer. Elenah was frantic by the time Li Mei had finished, certain that if they delayed any longer Zhuangs men would break through the door and recapture all of them. Jahlen on the other hand, was quite pleased to help her out and did not seem to mind the delay in the slightest. Finally finished to her satisfaction, Li Mei was ready to leave.
Li Mei had given Elenah the task of scrounging up some suitable clothing for them. The leather outfit Zhuang had provided her with was alright up to a point. But she wanted something to cover her breasts more adequately. The Italian villainess managed to find a few appropriate outfits. For reasons Li Mei could only wonder at, Zhuang had a complete wardrobe of womens clothing, most of it tight fitting and very revealing. Quickly she changed her top and replaced it with a form hugging black silk blouse. It would do until she got back to her lair. Elenah and Jahlen chose suitably comfortable outfits and then the trio headed for the secret passage.
Li Mei didnt worry about the other unconscious heroines. She left them for Zhuang to deal with or vice versa. Novas belt was gone. Zhuang must have made off with it. It would have been interesting to stay and see what was going to happen to them when Zhuangs men broke in, but she had other plans.
Between the three of them they managed to haul the two pregnant heroines through the secret passage. Elenah helped a little, but it was Jahlen that was the greatest asset. The woman possessed amazing strength. Li Mei made a mental note to encourage Elenah to develop her physique a little more, and another never to underestimate Jahlen. Whenever possible Li Mei scouted ahead. She had no idea where the passage went, and at any moment she expected to run into some of Zhuangs henchmen. A short distance along the passage divided. Not knowing what would be the best choice the three women took the right hand fork. They went along for only a few seconds more and the passage divided again. This time they took the left fork, reasoning that taking the right would bring them back the way they had already come. Then the passage divided several more times.
Were going to get lost, Elenah wailed. Li Mei just looked at her. For a villainess, her companion was something of a whiner. One thing the Black Leopard was not worried about was getting lost. The cat burglar had an almost unnatural sense of direction. Actually the twists and turns of the passage were reassuring. If Zhuang did send his thugs into the labyrinth it would make it more difficult for them to find her. Still, she did not want to wander below Zhuangs HQ indefinitely, and it was a relief when the passage went straight for a few hundred feet and then sloped upward, ending in a metal door.
The door was locked, but it took Li Mei only a few seconds to pick the lock. Cautiously, she edged the door open. She found herself in a dark alley. During her stay in Zhuangs HQ she had lost track of day and night. The darkness was a relief to her. She had moved within its soft embrace for so many years that she felt quite at home. If any of Zhuangs men were hanging about they would have a hard time finding her.
They set down the bodies of the two sleeping heroines. They had bound their wrists and ankles just in case they woke up, but the effects of the gas seemed to be quite powerful. They slept on like two babes. Li Mei was, however, getting tired of lugging the two gravid females around. They were carrying quite a few extra pounds and it was time to find some other form of transport for them. She slunk out into the darkness, motioning for Jahlen and Elenah to stay put. Creeping to the end of the alley she spotted a parked car. It was some sort of Ford. The make did not matter. It would get her where she needed to go. Silently she returned to her waiting companions. Quickly she explained her plan, and then dragging the two unconscious heroines with them, they crept up to the car under the cover of darkness. Once more her burglars skills proved useful in breaking into the car. But once in, she had to make a painful admission. Can either of you drive? she asked.
Jahlen nodded as did Elenah. Both women looked at her curiously, and Li Mei found herself blushing. She had never found it necessary to learn to drive a car. One of the Pussies had always done that for her. Then lets get these cows into the car and away from here, she said, covering her embarrassment.
It turned out, however, that although Jahlen could drive she knew nothing about starting a car without keys. Surprisingly, it was Elenah who solved the problem. Move over, kids, she said disdainfully. Crouching under the dashboard she ripped out a couple of wires and hot-wired the vehicle. With a roar the engine came to life. With the Jade Dragon and Scorpion safely stowed in the back seat, they headed for the Black Leopards lair.