The Wheel Of Fortune

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Chapter 23-Agreement

RYOUHEI DE VAL FRANSICH’S POV

Two weeks ago.

Knock, Knock

“Come in.”

I push open the door and find Ada sitting behind her desk. She turns her attention away from the computer and her face brightens as soon as she gets a look at her visitor. She must be expecting me. I close the door with one hand and give her a small nod as a greeting. She motions towards the chair, “Take a seat.”

“You were expecting me,” I state while taking a seat opposite her after dragging behind the chair. “You know why I am here, don’t you? I don’t think there is a need for me to explain anymore.”

“Where is Nadya? She didn’t come with you?” She changes the subject and asks while looking out of the window in her office.

“She waiting for me at the headquarters. I am here to tell you that she doesn’t want to involve herself in the case, nor do I and you know why.”

“Is that the reason why you came here?”

“One of the reasons. There are other reasons as well...I want to give you the pen drive we found at Safan’s house.” I take out the pen drive from my front pocket and put it on the table before pushing it towards her, “It looks important. Take it.”

She picks up the pen drive and inspects it with careful eyes. "This..." She glance at me with shock. A minute later, she puts it in her drawer and slowly looks back at me, “How did you find it? I have been searching for it since Safan died, the information inside is...dangerous. I almost thought ‘they’ took it.”

“I am aware and that’s why I came to give it back to you.” Nadya doesn’t have an idea of what is inside the pen drive and it’s for the best. “Now that you have the pen drive and I have already told you everything about the case last night, I will be dismissing myself.” I get up and bow a little.

“I want you to continue with the case.”

I come to a standstill and sit back down. I knew this was coming and I was waiting for it. I eye her face for a few seconds and cross my legs and lean back, “Why? Why should I? You asked me to take the case to let Nadya get experience and she has already gotten that so there is no need for us to continue. And the case is under Kang’s jurisdiction so why should I involve myself in the matter? I am not getting paid for it as well.”

“Will you continue if I pay you for the case?”

I raise my eyebrows and give her a smile, “No.”

She opens her mouth to say something but stops before a word could leave her mouth. She removes her glasses and pinches the bridge of her nose, “Then...Then why do you not want to continue the case? It’s a great opportunity for Nadya.”

“If it was really good for Nadya, I would have continued it but...Nadya’s current level is...will not save her if anything goes wrong. She has just started getting a hang of the power system, how can she involve herself in such a high-profile case when she has no backup and no power?” I pause for a moment before continuing, “I know there is another motive behind all your movement but I don’t want you to involve my duo in all these. Leave her out of this.”

She nods, “I understand what you are trying to say but I am doing this for you. Your Grace, don’t you want to know why I choose Nadya for you?”

I straighten up. ‘choose Nadya for me’? What does she mean? Didn’t the Council choose her for me based on our personality? What does 'choosing Nadya' has to do with this case?

"What does that have to do with this case? Tell me the reason, I might consider the case again."

“I see, you haven’t realized yet. Your Grace, if you want to find the answer to why Nadya was chosen as your duo, please continue with the case and go through with it till the end.”

“Wasn’t it just by chance?” I can’t understand what she means by there was another reason for choosing her.

An amiable smile graces her lips, “Even if I haven’t chosen her as your partner, you would have still met her somehow or another.” How? Just how? How would we have met if we lived in two different worlds? I can’t make out if she is being serious or she trying to make me continue with the case.

“Let me think for a moment.”

“Take your time.” She says before taking a sip from her cup. I think for a few minutes while thinking about all the possibilities of why they chose Nadya for my duo but can’t conclude anything. What could be the reason? What is the other reason for choosing her?

After thinking, cup my mouth and lean back, "What if I still don't want to take the case?" I ask only to observe her reaction.

"Are you going to not take it?" She asks back without a change of emotion.

I lower my hand and lean forward,"...I will take the case."

“Okay. I will continue with the case but if I take the case I will be withholding the information I need to, ” As soon as I complete my sentence, Ada seems to be unable to control her smile. I continue, “Secondly, I might ask you to cover for me seeing the direction the investigation is heading. And lastly, due to my position, I want my involvement in the case undisclosed. If you agree with all these conditions, I am fine with taking the case.”

“I agree with all your conditions.”


NADYA SHARMA'S POV

I walk over to the table and take the first seat on the right. I watch as everyone starts making their way to the table seeing me sitting. Liana is the first one to reach the table and take a seat opposite me. One by one, Elodie, Valencia, Fajah, Gloria, and Alva join us.

“How did you injure your shoulder?” Elodie asks as she takes a seat.

“We were working on a case, it was an accident.” I lift the brown cardigan that I have worn over a black spaghetti with bell-bottom jeans and glance at the bandage. “I will be fine in two weeks.” I hope so.

Valencia the last one to reach the table, slows down on reaching the empty chair on the corner, right beside Elodie’s. She glances at Elodie before hesitantly taking the seat. I look away from Elodie when I feel someone grabbing my hand on the table. I turn to Liana, “Yeah?” I ask while leaning forward.

“How are things going between you and Ryouhei? Did you make progress?” She asks with a giggle.

At her words, the time when he tied my bandage flashes in my mind but I ignore the thought. Why am I thinking about that? He was just helping me, nothing less, nothing more. I shake my head, “What is going on between us? Nothing. Didn’t I tell you before what you saw was a misunderstanding?”

She gives me a teasing smile, “Really? Though I have dated only once, I have seen enough to understand when something is going on between two people.”

“Oh, and what do you notice between us?” I put my chin on my fist. “Because I don’t notice anything.”

“Liana and Nadya, what are you going to order?” Fajah asks while pointing at the menu, “You both are the only ones left.”

“Order for me, Fajah, you know the best about food.”

“For me too, I am fine with anything veg.” I am not vegetarian but I try to avoid non-veg as much as possible. I would occasionally eat eggs just for their nutritional value but otherwise would not even touch them. I face Liana and continue where we left off, “So what do you do notice between us?”

She raises her hand and wiggles her fingers with a toothy grin, “Sparks, I notice sparks flying both of you that will burn everyone around.” I scoff and raise myself up from the seat to slap her hand away, “And I extinguished that spark, sorry.” I fall back on my seat and watch her as she narrows her eyes in a playful glare. Despite my efforts, I can’t suppress my smile on seeing her actions.

“Deny it all you want but the day will come when I will say, I told you. And I will be waiting for that day.” She ends her statement with a smirk.

“What are you both talking about?” Alva leans towards Liana and looks back and forth between us. I immediately turn my expression placid. “Nothing important. How are you doing? How is the training going?” I interject before Liana could say anything. I can see her still giving me teasing smiles from the corner of my eye but she doesn’t say anything.

“I feel encouraged after making some improvement, I almost thought all my training is going into vain. Where are the boys? Didn’t you all say the boys were coming as well?” She turns to glance at each of us while asking the last sentence.

“Hiroyuki went to meet his parents, Saul is at home, Marlon is out with his girlfriend, again and Ryouhei is attending extra classes since he did not go to university last week. I am telling you what others told me.” Valencia shrugs, “It happens most of the time.”

"Do you all want to meet up again tomorrow?" Asks Liana, "I want to go shopping."

"I am going back to meet my parents, not tomorrow," Elodie answers as she swipes on her phone.

"I have to complete my pending assignments."Says Gloria. "Maybe next time." Since everyone had something to do, we postpone the date. I reject her as well since I am planning to head to the library to prepare for the exams.

Fajah finishes telling the waiter our order and turns to join the conversation. The prattle goes on for a while before I ask the thing I have been waiting to ask for a while, “I heard Ryou was the first member to be admitted to Sequence 13 followed by Marlon and Elodie so who came after that?” I have been wondering about the status of Sequence before I came for some time.

“That would be me,” Gloria says while raising her hand, “I came after Elodie and Marlon and as far as remember Liana was chosen after that, am I right?”

“Yes, I came after that, I remember it correctly since that’s how I met Elodie.” Liana glances at Elodie. “It has already been 3 years.....”

“Yeah, it has been three years...After that came, Fajah, Valencia, then Saul, Hiroyuki, and then you at last.” Elodie completes from where Liana left off. “I am the oldest in the Sequence and Gloria is the youngest. Though it sucks being the oldest. Who likes being old.”

“Nadya, do you know when Ryouhei was chosen as the Captian of the team?” Asks Liana,

“When?”

“Before the Sequence was formed...which is strange but we all agree that he deserved the post. I still can’t understand why did they choose him before even the Sequence was formed since the Captain of the team is only appointed when there are at least 5 members in the Sequence. Shouldn't they follow the formality even if it is for namesake?” Elodie comments.

“Hey, Valencia.”

All the conversation stops at once and we all turn towards the source of the voice only to catch sight of the girl who always glares at me in university. Why is she here? I look behind her to find one of her friends following her, I have seen them together before. I glance at Valencia as she stands up to hug the girl with a creepy stare. Are they friends? I hope not.

“What a surprise? You all are having a gathering and didn’t even invite me?” Creepy eye girl says while looking around the table, her eyes stop at me a moment longer than everyone else. She flashes me a fake smile so I give her the same treatment in return.

Please, don’t tell me they are going to sit with us.

“Why are you both here?” Valencia questions as she side hug the other girl.

“I was free so I called her to hang out.” The creepy eye girl replies. “Since you all are here, why don’t we sit together?” I immediately take a look at everyone’s expression at her suggestion. Liana discomfort and Elodie’s dislike can be seen on their faces as clear as day. For a moment, I think they will refuse but no one says anything as Valencia calls the waiter to add 2 more chairs.

The waiter adds two chairs on the opposite ends of the table so the creepy eye girl sits on my side while the other girl takes the opposite end. The creepy eye girls sit on her chair and extend her hand towards me, “Hey, you must know me since we have seen each other before but let me introduce myself again. I am Kaira.”

I shake her hand with a smile, “I am Nadya, Oh, sorry but I don’t know you. I don’t pay attention to people who are not related to me...Ah, but I have seen you slapping a girl near the parking lot that made an impression so I remember you.”

She stiffens for a moment but still answers, “Yeah, I went into a fight then. There was bitch I didn’t like and there was some misunderstanding but we solved it later. Now we are friends.” She laughs it off and turn towards Valencia. As they start speaking, I take notice how everyone except three people have fallen silent.

The waiter places our order on the table and I start moving the plates so everyone can reach get the dishes they ordered, seeing me Liana also helping me. I wait and watch till everyone start digging before digging in. Kaira and her give their order before Kaira calls Valencia out again.

“Valencia, you still remember what we talked about, right?”

“Which one...the thing we talked about last time?” Valencia says while looking at her with a thoughtful expresssion

“Yeah, did you talk with Ryouhei? What did he say? Did he agree?” Ryouhei? Why is she asking about him? I perk up at his name and my hand stop moving for a moment but as soon as I meet Liana’s eye, I look down and take a bite. Why is she giving me a smile?

“Shit! Sorry, I forgot about it. Damn, it left my mind with all that assignment and case work. I will ask him and tell you later.” Valencia looks at her with a guilty expression.

“Come on, Valencia, aren’t we friends? How could you forget about your friend? I have been waiting for you to ask him egarly?” She looks at Valencia and lets out a frustrated sigh and run a hand through her hair.

“What are you both talking about?” Elodie asks while leaning forward so she could look past everyone sitting on her side at Kaira. “What’s so interesting? Share with us.” For a second, I almost mistook her for my teacher because of the way she is speaking.

“I asked Valencia to set me up on a date with Ryouhei. But it looks like he is busy. I wanted to try dating him.” Kaira glances at me before turning back to Elodie. I press my lips in a thin line as I realize the purpose of her look. “You know who my father is, I don’t want to spread the word but since Ryouhei has already been chosen as the Crown Prince, The Cabinet has been trying find a fiance for him and the list of candidate has been formed.”

I stop eating. It's the first time I am hearing about it. Does the Prince have to choose his fiance this early as well? And who is her father that she knows such a piece of news? As I am thinking about what she said, Liana leans towards me and whispers in my ear, “Her father is The Supporter of the Economy, that means her father a lot of fund to support the government and in development. The Minsiter usually look after their department while The Supporter of Economy provide funds, though they have less power than a Minsiter but they still enjoy some benefits.”

My mouth form in an ‘o’ as I take everything in.

“What do you mean?” Asks Elodie, “Even if he chooses someone, why should it be you?”

“I am on the list and I want to help him. Wouldn't it be easier if the people getting in the marriage know each other from before?” Kaira says like she is pointing out the obvious.

“Uhm..” All the eyes turn to Liana, “Kaira, but don’t you remember the last two King married the one they chose and loved rather than choosing someone from the candidate list? And as far as I know Ryouhei, he would do the same as his father and grandfather. Its more like a family tradition.”

Kaira smile fall away completely. All of sudden, Gloria interjects, “Oh, I still remember reading their love stories in the library and the butterflies it gave me. Both of them went against the Cabinet to marry the one they loved and never married again once they wives passed away. Seeing the way Ryouhei is, he is heading in the same direction as his father.”

“But their love stories are tragic,” Fajah adds while shaking her head.

“Just because he can chose his partner doesn’t mean he will not choose me so I can still try, after all we are like each other. Our personalities are the same.” Suddenly, she turns towards me, “What do you think, Nadya? You are his partner, he wouldn't mind, right? You must know.”

I flash her a smile, “Sorry to disspoint you, but I don’t know. Ask him yourself.” There is silence for a few seconds before Kaira starts speaking again.

"Valencia, ask him and don’t forget this time, I will wait for your call today."

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