Chapter 1: Lightning in the City of Avalon
IMPORTANT INFO: This is the sequel to The Diamond Spy. Read that first. :) x
Princess of the Shadows - Chapter 1
Jumping off the balcony would have been a favourable way to die. To feel like you’re flying - right before your face makes love to the concrete. Ah, yes - but I didn’t know how advanced my genes really were. Would I reconfigure after jumping off 100 floors? And if I died - I wouldn’t have the chance to quarter Reuben and set him out on his family’s clothe’s line for the crows to eat.
I smile to myself - the darkest humour always seemed to get me through. That, and the beautiful sun sets seen from Avalon Tower. The nightly parties in Reuben’s family penthouse were often and strangely humorous. If I wasn’t stuck in a concrete cell while Reuben went out, I was allowed to prance around looking pretty and occasionally scaring his visitors with my mutations. I had insanely sharp hair and nails. It was a seemingly useless mutation in Frankincense City, yet so abhorred in Avalon.
Plus, these parties were my little chance at revenge.
You see, the fool behind me laughing and mocking his friends and colleagues - hadn’t laid a hand on me for the entire year I had been in his company. Once Reuben realised my sharper than diamond hair and nails were not to be fooled around with, he quickly gave up trying to come onto me. Apparently the pure humans of Avalon couldn’t handle any kind of pain. A couple of slithered paper-like-cuts to the palm of his wandering hands had officially scared him enough to back off permanently.
Hence, Reuben, in my eyes, was basically a man of long and fancy educated words but he was first and foremost a coward.
So, while I was his eye candy at parties and I pretended that we were intimate by smiling and winking at him on occasion, he never tried to get physical.
Thank god - since the thought of sleeping with anyone besides my four beasts made me want to puke.
Now, just that thought makes my heart clench and my stomach roll. I thought I had loved my beasts, Dale, Serge, Ace and Jose. But apparently I wouldn’t really know what love was until I had spent a year apart - thinking about them every second of every damn day.
However, I wasn’t sure if I was in love with the idea of being in their immoral company or more in love with the idea of planning an escape, a rebellion... and maybe some personal revenge.
“...your escort is so beautiful, may I speak with her?” one of Reuben’s friends asks curiously and innocently while I have my back to their group of twenty or more.
New people came to each party, mainly because Reuben found it hard to make loyal friends, surprisingly.
They always asked about my beauty, but I was also always dressed in stupid cock tail dresses that were too over done for my liking. I liked flattering - but I hated ruffles. Reuben, of course, loved me in ruffles - probably because he knew I hated them. So, I was adorned in a new cocktail dress of such a fashion, every day. Hence, I literally looked like a pea-cock on show for Reuben. For a whole year, I hadn’t been regretful that my hair and nails usually shredded the material within minutes of wearing any hideous outfits Reuben bought for me.
“She doesn’t like to talk, but sure, say hello to Alyssa,” Reuben replies casually to his newest party attendee as I slowly place my champagne glass down on the concrete barrier of the balcony. I slowly turn and smile widely, planning to scare the living day light out of the naive, innocent and pure human.
When my eyes take in the man I’m faced with - I almost falter. Reuben happens to catch my eye at that moment, almost seeing the recognition.
However, I retain my smile, blinking slowly.
“I didn’t put that scar across your face, did I?” I ask, over the top sultry and flirty as the familiar face glances me over, almost hesitating just as I had.
“There isn’t a single woman out there that’s managed to leave a scar on me,” Serge drawls far too politely and he takes a step closer to whisper in my ear, “...only a princess ever did.”
I gulp as he leans back and my tight lipped smile almost falters.
“I think I need another drink,” I stand tall and prepare to walk past quickly - as I’d usually dismiss Reuben’s company. I do so while my hand is out stretched, to come into contact with his.
Serge grasps mine tightly - and tears instantly swell, so I must close my eyes for a brief moment to linger in the touch I missed so dearly.
But I also feel him pass to me the scrunched up paper that I saw him holding, and I snatch it from him and then open my eyes, aiming to continue on my way.
However, not before a sharp zap runs from my fingers up to my shoulder, hitting my heart and making my neck tingle. And no, it wasn’t a spark of romance.
It was the pain of lightning.
Pure and simple.
Only someone with enhanced genes like myself could take it, but still, I resist the urge to turn and glare at Serge, to turn and swear and yell, to turn and run into his damn arms.
Instead, I walk to the bar, paper in hand with a barely controlled and neutral expression adorning my face.
“Champagne?” The bar tender asks me with a wink. I smile back - because this bar tender had a third nostril - a clear sign that he was a stolen inhabitant from FC. He was one of the only mutants I had had contact with over the year while he was stuck in this too-white penthouse with me.
“Whiskey,” I answer gruffly - I hadn’t had whiskey for a while. I had stuck to champagne on Reuben’s preference. He said it was more feminine.
But right now? I didn’t care.
As the bar tender pours my drink with a casual shrug, I glance over my shoulder to see Reuben engaged in conversation.
I also see Serge dismiss himself - dressed in a god awful brown wig and a suit too small for his beastly body. He towered over everyone, but his disguise has somehow been accepted. I had no idea how he even got in here, where he came from or what the plan was.
“I’d ask for a couple of bucks, but...” the bar tender shrugs, he makes the joke every single time. The poor guy doesn’t get paid a dime, he just gets a bed in the cell next to mine.
I take the whiskey silently and down it all in one go as I casually watch Serge leave past the bar, towards the exit, without glancing back once in my direction.
I still felt the pain of his lightning running through my veins.
"Asshole,” I hiss under my breath uncontrollably - a year of waiting for such a moment and, of course, I am electrocuted as we reunite.
“Um, excuse me?” the bar tender looks utterly shocked by my insult. I smile and shake my head.
“Not you, who do you think?” I nod my head towards Reuben and the bar tender nods in understanding, “Here,” I hand him my glass, “Hide the whiskey glass before he sees... thanks.”
As the bar tender takes my glass and turns his back, I have a split moment to glance at the tiny paper in my palm.
I open it slowly and only glance down for a moment to read the two words.
Why did I have the feeling that particular message had been written by the Lord of the Underworld himself?
If I was correct - at least two of my beasts were together.
Dale and Serge.
Ace and Jose could be anywhere, with them, in a lab, in a prison, dead, in hiding... but at least I finally had contact with one of them. Most likely two, if you considered the specific words of the note as direct evidence that Dale had planned this meeting between Serge and I.
“You okay, miss?” the bar tender turns to me as a betraying tear escapes my eye.
“I’m fine, just allergic to strong alcohol,” I joke and force on a smile.
Some might say tears were a weakness - but I hadn’t cried once since I landed in Reuben’s possession.
Seeing Serge’s stupidly handsome but scarred face had completely broken my long term period of numbness.
As I glance at Reuben, who continues to mock those around him, my nails puncture the marble bar - cracking the rock.
“Miss!” the bar tender looks at me in exasperation.
“I’m fine,” I snap, while still glaring at Reuben.
My emotional barriers were down and I was quickly being flooded with a well brewed, year old rage.
I wanted kill the man that bought me.
He had controlled me for too long. I never saw them... but he threatened the only girl friends I’d ever had; my beloved Brownie Squad.
Reuben made a strong point that he’d have them killed or maimed if I upset him too much. So, I was mostly docile for their sake - if he even had them.
I had no proof, just his threats.
Now the note handed to me finally changed all that.
It changed everything.
For the moment, however...
...I had to be patient.
One wrong move and any chance of freedom could be obliterated by the New World if they found out there was any chance their rule could be undermined.
I smile as I glance at Reuben - he was far too complacent. Sometimes, I think he completely forgot about my original design; my original purpose.
Yes, I was designed to be an excellent whore when I wanted to be, but I had other genes that were never removed so I could be a match for every member of STRIKE; my four beasts.
I was an Ultimate - and I was going to be the Princess of the Shadows again - one way or another, I would find a way.