//this chapter is the censored ver.
“I can’t believe the pres actually allowed you to go out,” Martinez said, wiggling his eyebrows at me as he leaned closer. “You’re lucky he’s in a good mood, huh?”
I didn’t take my gaze off the window, ignoring Martinez’s yapping as everything that comes out of his mouth was pure garbage. Being stuck in a car with him for six hours was a much greater torture than being beaten up by my older brother for days. I’d rather have Tyler strap me in the electric chair than to be forced to listen to Martinez’s annoying voice.
I could have left him in North Vale, but he was adamant on coming as he had to meet another girl he’d been texting for quite some time. Martinez kept on badgering Paolo about it, often showing photos of different girls he’s been fucking around in and out of the school like it’s some kind of trophy—everything about Martinez screams dirty. His mouth, his mind, his face and his damn attitude.
Nevertheless, being the son of a multimillionaire, Remus Martinez knew he could buy anything and everything he wanted—and that shows on how much he’s been playing around with women, buying them stuff as if he was some kind of sugar daddy, truly disgusting.
“So, I’ve been talking to this girl for weeks and I really can’t wait to taste her, boss,” Martinez quipped, his grin as big as his nose. “She’s damn pretty too. I can tell she’s still a virgin. Lucky me!”
Paolo grunted. Even if he was focused on driving the van, he could still hear Martinez’s voice from behind the car. “Shut the fuck up, Rem,” he scolded.
I kept my focus on what was outside, enjoying the greenery of the forest surrounding North Vale like it’s some kind of enchanting world that I’d definitely be a part of if given the chance. Leaving everything behind, the Torres-Shao group, my family and the responsibility they’d been pushing on me, I’d gladly let myself be enchanted away than to face the reality waiting for me.
I could still remember Tyler’s words before leaving his office. His gaze had always been dangerous, it’s eating me alive, slowly sinking his teeth onto my skin until nothing’s left. I cared for my older brothers, they were the ones who took care of me as dad was too busy making the Torres-Shao group bigger and stronger. Kenneth and Anthony both had their own lives now, and even if they were still bound to serve the family, they could do whatever they wanted. Kenneth still goes home from time to time even if he had his own penthouse in Manila, but Anthony had been staying in Beijing, China for almost a year. I envy the two of them as they were free to live their lives, unlike from before that they had to do everything dad tells them to.
“I want you to go to Manila and deliver these.” Tyler pushed a small rectangular box wrapped in packaging tape across the table and I immediately caught it before it could fall. It was light yet compressed and but without even looking at the content, I already knew what’s inside. “It’s the new drugs made by the Russians. They sent it to us to test how effective it is.”
I narrowed my eyes at Tyler, knowing where this conversation would go.
“And you want me to do what?”
“Don’t be stupid, Liam,” he snapped, his glare cutting through me like a dagger. “Didn’t I just say I want you to deliver that?”
I tried not to show I still get hurt by his words even if he had been constantly abusing me, verbally, physically and mentally. Tyler always had a way to make me think how insignificant I was, as if I was the stupidest person in the room. Maybe it’s how he talks to me, often looking down at me because of how weak I am. Unlike my brothers who were trained to be a bona fide psychopath, I was the only one who was born…different. My father saw the potential my brothers didn’t have and asked Tyler to help me enhance that ability. I understand Tyler’s hostility towards me. To be chosen by our father to take over the Torres-Shao group just because I was his favorite son, Tyler had been working hard to please him but could never get our father’s attention because of me.
“I’m sorry,” I said, lowering my head out of shame.
“You can’t even ask the right questions. How will you take over the god damn family with that kind of head?” Tyler berated.
One more reason why I hated this family, it’s all because of how they see me as nothing but the next leader of the group. It’s not as if I begged dad to give the title to me, I’d be more than willing to pass it on Tyler and make him the head. But we had no right to question our father’s decision.
“Who am I going to deliver it to?” I asked, finally finding the right words without sounding like a terrified kid that Tyler used to frighten back in the old days. I wanted to believe I’d matured the past few years my brother’s been messing up with me, but every time I stood in front of him, I could feel his hatred seeping through his skin—wishing for nothing more but my slow demise.
“Isn’t it dangerous?” I asked without even thinking, and quickly regretting it when I was Tyler’s annoyed expression. He didn’t like that, of course he wouldn’t. Displaying even an ounce of sympathy towards those people that didn’t need it would only tarnish the family name. And God knows how much Tyler hated anything that would humiliate the Torres-Shao group.
“Isn’t it obvious? Of course, it will be dangerous. Why else will I ask you to give it to those sluts?” Tyler retorted. “I want you to come back on Monday, at exactly seven in the morning. Come back one second late and I’ll whip you for a week, Liam.”
His threat sent shivers down my spine. He had done much worst and yet the thought of being tied down naked and exposed while being whip until I lost all the blood, I had scared me more than anything. Nevertheless, I didn’t show Tyler how horrified I was, keeping it all to myself just like all the other times I had been tortured to death by my older brother.
“Two days are enough for you to finish this job, right?”
It took me a second to answer. “Yes.”
“Good. You can take anyone you want but make sure Paolo comes with you,” Tyler said, turning the swivel chair away from me to browse his phone.
It’s a given that he wanted Paolo to come with me. Not only was he my best friend, he’s also been tasked by my brother to keep a close eye on me and report everything I do to him. “Okay, I’ll do that.”
I was about to leave but stopped when Tyler spoke. “Don’t disappoint me, Liam. Even a stupid shit like you can finish something as easy as this.”
I inwardly sighed, hoping that the time would come for me to get out of my family’s control and live as normal as I could. But of course, it’s nothing but a far-fetch dream now that I had been chosen to—
“I heard the pres is going to personally teach the Cuaresma group a lesson,” Martinez informed, shaking his head in amusement. What he said snapped me out of thoughts that were filled by Tyler. “Well, I guess it’ll be the last time I’m going to see Jo.”
The Cuaresma, huh? They’re a little group of thugs in the senior high department that had been causing trouble for section B. I think they belong under Keanne’s group. But then again, that gorilla didn’t care what his members had been doing—and even if they come and terrorize the other kids who’s in the same section as the Cuaresmas, Keanne wouldn’t do a thing. He’s too lazy, I didn’t even know how he became a gang leader. All he knew was to eat, fuck and sleep.
Not everyone who come to North Vale had a criminal background. Most of the students were orphans who the government couldn’t support and was handed to the school to take care of them. They provide those students with loans—lodging, meals and school fees, and in exchanged, they’d be forced to either pay their debts by working for the school after they graduate or choose a family that were part of the school’s board of directors to come and work for them. Whatever they choose, they’d still be under North Vale’s command and nothing would be worse than to be treated like a slave for the rest of your lives. And it’s not like those families who had been sponsoring the school had good reputations. Yes, they might appear good in the public’s eyes, but behind those livelihood projects and charities they host hid the most corrupt people who’d do anything for the sake of money and power.
Of course, one of those bastards were my family, the Torres-Shao group. The owner of North Vale and the largest distributor of drugs in the Philippines. Ah, what would I give to pick a different family to belong to, huh?
“What do you think the pres will do, boss?” Martinez asked, nudging me with his elbow. “You think he’ll decapitate them and hang their heads in the courtyard? That will be an amazing show, kind of like Game of Thrones, huh?”
I sighed. “Want me to call Tyler for you and ask what he’ll do to them?” I sarcastically asked, turning to Martinez to give him a sweet smile.
He pouted at me and crossed his arms a like a kid sulking. “I’m just curious! Your brother’s the definition of evil. No offense, just stating the truth,” he said, grinning at me.
Oh, don’t I know how evil my brother could be. Out of everyone in North Vale, I’m the only one who had the right to say how merciless and brutal my brother could be. I had been abused by that motherfucker half my life and the wounds he just left on me a while ago was still not healing. I’ve been learning how to ignore the pain and turn it into…something that would inspire me to do better, but only him could totally numb it out.
I checked my watch, dreading that I still had five hours to stay in the car with Martinez. I guess feigning sleep like I always do to ignore the beatings of Tyler would be helpful in this kind of situation.
Six hours of sitting in a car plus and an hour of constant stopping over, we’re finally in Manila. How North Vale was located in the middle of nowhere, surrounded with a forest that perfectly hid the school from outsiders was mindboggling that even I had been attending that school since I was in kindergarten, it still amazes me. There were only a few times when I had been allowed to go out of school, but now that Tyler’s been giving me more work, I’m a little bit glad that I could get out of that prison and see other people—people who’s been living their lives as normal as possible, I couldn’t help but envy them. They lived as if they weren’t fearing for their lives, that a single simple mistake could make them end up bedridden for a month.
I really wanted to have that kind of life.
“Finally, we’re in Manila!” Martinez yelled, waking up the three more guys in the van with us who Paolo chose to come as bodyguards. I told him not to bring too many, but he insisted that I needed people to look after me.
It’s not like I’m incapable of taking care of myself. Yes, I lived my life like royalty thanks to my family’s limitless wealth, but I knew how to at least turn the gas stove on and off. That’s something, right?
I looked out the window, admiring the tall skyscrapers that would greet anyone who’s coming from the nearby provinces. The smog that covered the air, the dozens of vehicles stuck in traffic as they wait for the stoplight to turn green, and the people dressed in either casual clothing, school or office uniforms walking on the side street, minding their own business as if the world revolves around them—it’s such a different sight compared to North Vale. And quite honestly, I kind of missed this kind of environment. It’s always busy in Manila, and even in the wee hours of the night, there were still people coming in and out of different establishments, either enjoying their spare time or working for their family.
I felt that growing anger and disappointment inside me, but I calmed myself, knowing full well that letting my emotions take over me would bring nothing but disaster.
Paolo stopped in front of a warehouse, opening the window to signal the bodyguard outside to open the gate for us. Recognizing the car and Paolo’s face, the man pushed the gigantic steel gate that prevented the people walking the street to know what horrifying things were happening inside the building that looked like any other warehouses. Paolo drove the car inside, parking it on the wide lawn the Cagadas owned.
I hadn’t even come out and yet I could smell the stench of filth that surrounded the four-walled building the Cagadas built for their prostitutes.
Paolo was about to open the door for me, but I beat him to it. No use in treating me like a prince when it’s clear that I’m not. We grew up together, with Paolo’s family working under the Torres-Shao. I didn’t want him to act as if I’m some kind of bigwig boss. We’re friends, damn it.
“Let’s go?” Paolo beckoned.
“Yeah,” I said, steeling myself as I walk towards the devil’s den.
Lei Cagada welcomed me with a big hug, treating me as if I was his lost son. “It’s been so long since I last saw you, boy!”
Being partners with the Torres-Shao, the Cagadas became one of the closest aids my father had. He had been hanging out with dad for a long time, introducing him to some of the girls he offers dad to…satisfy him. Fortunately, as evil as my dad was, he’s always been loyal to my mother. They might not be together now, but we knew they’d been seeing each other from time to time. Mom absolutely hated how foul my father was and it drove her insane. She wanted nothing to do with him, sick by how he lived his life. They broke up after having Kenneth and Anthony, but obviously, they’d been seeing each other as Tyler and I were born right after the two.
It amazed me how easy it was for mom to be lured in by dad. Maybe she still loves him, but who knows. All I remember was the endless bickering the two have whenever they’re together, and it’d end up with dad hitting mom only to carry her in their room and God forbids me to know what they do after that. I shivered at the thought.
“It’s been long,” I said, forcing a laugh.
Remember, Liam, don’t disappoint Tyler.
“Did you bring the package Tyler told you to bring?” Lei asked, his eyes sparkling in excitement.
I bet he already knew who he’s going to use to try the drugs. Poor girls.
“Yes,” I said. I gave the package to him and he took it as fast as lightning, looking at the box as if it was a lost treasure.
“Ah, I heard the Russians made this ten times more potent than the last one,” he said, giggling in happiness.
His men who stood in the living room guarding us eyed the package in interest. I sat on the couch, staring at the orange juice that was served. I wanted to take a sip as I had been parched but Tyler specifically told me not to take anything anyone would give me, even if they were friends.
“Yes, Tyler told me,” I said, smiling at him. “I’m sure your girls will love it.” I wanted to throw up from what I said but held the smile I plastered on my face.
Look as menacing as possible, Liam.
“Right, the Molchalin really knows how to make these things,” Lei said, mentioning the group that produce the drugs. I heard the Pakhan belonged to that group, and they had been dominating in Russia for a long time now. Lei eyed me, grinning. “Do you want to try it, kid?”
I gulped. I wasn’t particularly interested in the drugs nor what the effect was, rather I’m scared to see how effective it was. The Molchalin never messed up these kinds of things, manufacturing different kinds of paraphernalia, making them the richest Mafia groups in the world, along with the Blaise.
Remember, Liam, don’t disappoint Tyler.
Should I say yes? If not, I’d definitely show Lei how much of a wimp I was. But if I say yes, I’d be sinking lower and lower along with these people. What would be the difference between Lei and me if I use those girls the same way he did?
I hid my trembling hands in my pockets, pulling out a smirk I perfected the past decade to fool these people to think that I belonged to them.
If I don’t, I’d only let the monster out of me.
And I didn’t want that.
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