Tea Leaves and Sapphire Earrings


Match Twenty: Sukkub:

This is Valya.

She sat in her white prison smirking at her captors. Most of the members of Vozrozhdeniye feared her. Valya didn’t have to do anything to make them nervous. But what were they going to do with her?

Fyodor wants her to make her debut in Ikebukuro.

“That’s what he wants,” Alisa insisted. The other members didn’t look so convinced at first. Why did she always talk to the leader personally? Come to think of it, none of them have ever since Fyodor’s face. Who was this guy? Ivan had his suspicions. His boss wouldn’t let him ask questions.

“Just do your job with this game,” he told him. Ivan didn’t complain. He didn’t care at this point. He just wanted this to be over. It looked like that was coming sooner.

Valya sat in her room. She doesn’t move. The camera stayed on her. She doesn’t blink. Her breathing through the mike made Adrik shutter. He tried to not make eye contact.

“What is wrong, comrade?” he heard behind him. The scientist turned around. Alisa leaned against the doorframe. He shook his head. His comrade walked to the glass.

“Beautiful, isn’t she?” she asked. The crazed woman’s eyes shifted towards her. Adrik took a step back.

“Not really,” he admitted. Alisa turned to him with a twisted smile on her face.

“That’s the beauty of it,” she said. “A monster can be both ugly and beautiful at once.” She twirled around for a bit. Adrik nodded as he gave her an odd look.

“If you say so,” he said. Adrik looked at that creepy woman behind the glass.

Ivan just had to do some digging for himself. Digging about everything. He sat down at his computer in his office. Wang Ja had been in here snooping again. He was going to have a chat with his butler about that. Ivan filed that away in his mind.

He started with searching through the history of Vozrozhdeniye. Not much to look at there. Just the founding and early roots. Background on the members. That didn’t interest him. Ivan wanted the head of this serpent.

Fyodor’s profile was blank. Just as predicted. Was it marked private? No. But something didn’t seem right about it.

Ivan looked up when there was a knock on his door.

“Enter!” he said. Wang Ja poked his head inside.

“Oh, I’m sorry, you’re busy,” he said. “I’ll come back later.” Ivan had no emotion on his face.

“No,” he said. Wang Ja looked up at him.

“No?” he asked.

“Close the door,” the Russian man said. Wang Ja closed the door behind him with unease in his eyes. Ivan’s face didn’t change.

“How are you with computers?” he asked.

“Pretty good,” his butler said. “Did you need me to do something on a computer?” Ivan rose to his feet and pulled out the chair.

“Sit,” he said. Wang Ja looked at him at first.

“Come on,” his boss said. “I’m not going to hurt you. Just take a seat.” Like Wang Ja had a choice. The young man walked over and took a seat.

“What do you want me to look up?” the butler asked.

“The Vozrozhdeniye hidden files,” Ivan said. Wang Ja turned his head.

“What are those?” he asked.

“Just do it,” the boss said in a low voice. The Hong Kong man could feel his on his back.

“Yes,” he said. Wang Ja began typing.

Valya would be shipped out to Japan in October. She’s already hungry for blood. The members Vozrozhdeniye still had tests to do. Could they even pull them off in time for her debut? Alisa seems to think so.

“This beautiful angel will crush those tadpoles,” she said. Why was she so obsessed with the tadpole still? They had a super soldier of their own now.

“It’s not enough!” Alisa said. “We need more! We are trailing behind in this game! Tandeki and Mam are leaving us in the dirt! We need to catch up with them!” She did have a point. The other two sides were advancing in their own ways. Tandeki had the tadpoles and the Dis Program. Mam was spreading out in Europe. They had their sights set on Italy. And what was Vozrozhdeniye doing? This would not do.

“She will give us the edge,” Alisa insisted. “Fyodor told me so.” There she goes again with Fyodor. Why was he never at their meetings? What did he have to hide so badly?

“It’s funny,” Alexander said.

“What?” Alisa asked. The comrade cocked his head.

“Why does Fyodor only talk to you?” he asked.

“He has his reasons.” She didn’t even blink as she said that.

“And they are?” he asked. All eyes fell on Alisa. She stood up straighter.

“Reasons,” she said again. Boris sat in the back corner, frowning.

-Six Years Ago, Moscow, Russia-

Boris sat a bar in Moscow University. He had just delivered a lecture today. Just some philosophy that he was paid to peddle to the youth. Sure, the lecture had a kennel of truth to it. But this was not what he wanted to say. Boris took another drink of his whiskey. His real talents felt like they were being wasted.

“They don’t understand me,” he mumbled. “It’s all lies! Why did they have me teaching lies to the people!” Boris slammed down his glass.

“I understand how you feel,” someone said next to him. Boris paused and turned. A woman with long dark hair brushed against her shoulders. A smile plastered against her pale face. Boris narrowed his eyes.

“Did you need something?” he asked. The woman took a seat next to him.

“I saw your lecture,” she said. Boris frowned.

“Heh,” he said. “That old thing. They have me give the same lecture every year at a different college.”

“I can understand,” the woman said. She held out her hand. “My name is Alisa Sazhin and you are?”

“Boris Oleneva,” he said.

“Nice to meet you,” she said. The pair shook hands. Alisa ordered herself some vodka. She downed her shot and turned to the gloomy-looking man.

“You know something,” Alisa said. “Your talents are wasted here.”

“Yes, they are,” Boris agreed. She rested her elbow on the bar.

“I am part of a movement to change this world,” Alisa said. At first, Boris rolled his eyes.

“Oh,” he said. She raised her eyebrow.

“What was that for?” the woman asked.

“Are you one of those crackpot revolutionaries looking to form a cult?” Boris asked. Alisa threw back her head and laughed.

“No, of course not,” she said. “What do you take me for?” Her face became serious. “No, this is bigger than that.” Alisa didn’t even wait for him to speak.

“I can’t describe it out in the open,” she said. “But here.” The woman reached into her bag and showed a pink flyer to him.

“Come out and check out our meetings,” she whispered. Boris gave her a strange look.

“I don’t get it,” he said.

“Get what?” she asked. Boris held up the flyer.

“Why are you giving me this?” he asked. Alisa smiled as she turned to the bar.

“Because,” she said. “You have skills that I would hate to see go to waste on sheep in Mother Russia.”

-Present Day-

Boris kept his eyes one Alisa. He pushed his glasses up on the bridge of his nose.

You might want to be careful, Alisa, Boris thought. I don’t think you can keep this scheme up any longer. Alisa eyed with a cat-like smile on her face.

Back at Ivan’s house, Wang Ja managed to come across something.

“Boss, look,” he said. “I think I found something.” The Russian man leaned in for a look. He had no emotion on his face.

“I see,” he said. “This changes everything.”

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