'Put your cards down face upwards on the table.'
The stave thudded into the side of her head and she sprawled grotesquely forward off her chair and lay still. Blofeld's sword whistled down, inches from his shoulder. Bond twisted and lunged to his full extent, thrusting his stave forward in the groove of his left hand almost as if it had been a billiard cue. The tip caught Blofeld hard on the breastbone and flung him against the wall, but he hurtled back and came inexorably forward, swishing his sword like a scythe. Bond aimed at his right arm, missed and had to retreat. He was concentrating on keeping his weapon as well as his body away from the whirling steel, or his stave would be cut like a matchstick, and its extra length was his only hope of victory. Blofeld suddenly lunged, expertly, his right knee bent forward. Bond feinted to the left, but he was inches too slow and the tip of the sword flicked his left ribs, drawing blood. But before Blofeld could withdraw, Bond had slashed two-handed, sideways, at his legs. His stave met bone. Blofeld cursed, and made an ineffectual stab at Bond's weapon. Then he advanced again and Bond could only dodge and feint in the middle of the room and make quick short lunges to keep the enemy at bay. But he was losing ground in front of the whirling steel, and now Blofeld, scenting victory, took lightning steps and thrust forward like a snake. Bond leaped sideways, saw his chance and gave a mighty sweep of his stave. It caught Blofeld on his right shoulder and drew a curse from him. His main sword arm! Bond pressed forward, lancing again and again with his weapon and scoring several hits to the body, but one of Blofeld's parries caught the stave and cut off that one vital foot of extra length as if it had been a candle-end. Blofeld saw his advantage and began attacking, making furious forward jabs that Bond could only parry by hitting at the flat of the sword to deflect it. But now the stave was slippery in the sweat of his hands and for the first time he felt the cold breath of defeat at his neck. And Blofeld seemed to smell it, for he suddenly executed one of his fast running lunges to get under Bond's guard. Bond guessed the distance of the wall behind him and leaped backwards against it. Even so he felt the sword-point fan across his stomach. But, hurled back by his impact with the wall, he counter-lunged, swept the sword aside with his stave and, dropping his weapon, made a dive for Blofeld's neck and got both hands to it. For a moment the two sweating faces were almost up against each other. The boss of Blofeld's sword battered into Bond's side. Bond hardly felt the crashing blows. He pressed with his thumbs, and pressed and pressed and heard the sword clank to the floor and felt Blofeld's fingers and nails tearing at his face, trying to reach his eyes. Bond whispered through his gritted teeth, 'Die, Blofeld! Die!' And suddenly the tongue was out and the eyes rolled upwards and the body slipped down to the ground. But Bond followed it and knelt, his hands cramped round the powerful neck, seeing nothing, hearing nothing, in the terrible grip of blood lust.
The door at the end of the ward sighed open. A doctor in a white coat stood and held it. Goldfinger, looking brisk, cheerful, walked swiftly down between the beds. He was followed by Oddjob. Bond wearily closed his eyes. Christ! So that was the score.S葄DFu緢[崊 鞼] 袪V嚺操宑kn錶]腘
One coffin stood open, its lid up against the wall and its side hinged down. This seemed to be the one destined for Bond.
'I have only one difficulty, aunt.'
The line of climbing men was now almost at the summit of the two-hundred-foot wall, and sure enough, with only yards to go, the end man lost his foothold and, with arms and legs flailing, and with a scream of terror, fell back down the sheer black face. His body hit once and then crashed into the calm waters of the moat. The instructor muttered something, stripped off his shirt, clambered on to the rail of the causeway and dived the hundred feet down into the water. It was a perfect dive, and he swam in a swift crawl towards the body that lay ominously face downwards in the moat. Tiger turned to Bond. 'It is of no account. He was going to fail the man anyway. And now come into the courtyard. The invaders have scaled the wall and they will now use bojutsu on the defenders, that is fighting with the stave.'
Bond turned away. The priest had gone. Kissy Suzuki said impatiently, 'Come along, Todoroki-san. The kannushi-san says I am to treat you as a comrade, as an equal. But give me one of those two little bags to carry. For the sake of the villagers who will be watching inquisitively, we will wear the Oriental face in public.'