Chapter Three: (Edited Again)
8 years earlier
Ras, age 18:
You would think someone who's fury matched that of an untamed fire would make more noise, and cause more chaos. But I have learned over the years that Nicholas was silent in his fury. Almost like how silent Anya is when she is being sneaky, his wrath isn't something you see until it's right in front of you, the steel barrel of a hun pressed against your temple.
The first signs that alerted me to the fact Nicholas was back, was the gunshots. Three shots were fired in a consecutive order, my body immediately flying out of my chair in the basement and walking up the steps. Opening the door to the basement, I watched as one of the guards that I had called back in at his request were shot in the legs, falling to his knees.
Before he could fire again, I cleared my throat and nodded down into the basement. "Sir, you have a guest waiting for you downstairs."
He seemed to ignore me, the only sign of him acknowledging my words being that he lowered the gun, instead firing into the guard's right shoulder. "You let an enemy into MY home. You let him touch MY daughter. And you were not there to stop him. I should kill you for those things alone."
A chill ran down my spine at how calm and cold his voice was. He was talking to guard as if he was simply discussing the daily news. The calmer sounding he was, the angrier he was. And when he was talking as if it was a conversation about the weather, you had to tread carefully.
I stood there as he finally lifted his eyes to mine. Stepping over the bloody man on the floor, he walked over to me, looking down into the basement. He stood there silently for a moment, the only sign of his rage being that his jaw was tense.
"Ras. I'm assuming she's safe, yes?" Nodding my head silently, I turned and walked out of the garage. "She's still asleep. She hasn't woken since telling me that it was him." A grunt came from Nicholas as he walked behind me, his mind probably having similar thoughts to mine.
If she didn't wake up soon, something serious could be happening. But until then, I'm just as powerless to fate as he is. The fury he felt matched mine at the powerless feelings I had. You could have all of Moscow in your pocket, yet you can't protect those you want to.
As we walked down the hallway to my room, I glanced down at the main floor where Anya had been last night, seeing the spotless shining floor staring back at me. Shaking my head, I look up and take note of something I'd never noticed before.
I always walked slightly ahead of Nicholas, not exactly equal, but not so far in front that it was as if I was leading him. More like I was a human shield for him.
A feeling of slight rage at the thought of my life meaning so little filled me before it died out. The only reason I was even alive now, was because he had found me after the shooters at my house had left. Sure, I wanted to be more in life, but Nicholas had given me that life. If he wanted to use it to protect himself, I would let him.
But why should you? You were meant to become something greater than a lackey or a human body shield. This little voice in the back of my head whispered, tempting me with promises of something greater. My thoughts went back to the message I had gotten last night, from the anonymous sender.
Do you know who you serve? What did that mean? I served no one, except Nicholas. And I knew everything about him, things that would get me killed if I spoke of them to anyone else. Things that would make little Anastasia recoil in fear, disgust, and horror.
Nicholas Romanov was a major player in the Russian Bratva and a Mafia boss of his territory. He held half of Moscow in his pocket. But the other half was held by someone that had no name. Someone that no one knew. He ruled in the shadows and held power over the legal business in the city.
While Nicholas was powerful, he was also power-hungry and had tried multiple times to take over territory from the Shadow Boss, as he was called. But each time he was thwarted somehow. In this past year alone, Nicholas had tried 10 times to take over the Shadow territory. And each time it resulted in a loss of men and illegal shipments of all kinds of products.
These past two months, he had slowly begun getting more on edge, with threats being received of harm to his family if he didn't stop attempting to take over territories that weren't his. All attempts stopped after receiving a picture of Anastasia as she left school, her younger brother Alexei walking with her.
At least that was the last attempt I had heard of, until Dimitri Morozov suddenly became a player in the territory battle. We had been in the middle of a deal bargain with him, but he turned his back on us. When we tried to find him, he vanished. Until last night when he decided to try and infiltrate the house.
I stopped outside my bedroom, opening it and allowing Nicholas in. Not even trying to follow, I leaned against the wall, not surprised when the door slammed shut on my face. He was feeling as angry and powerless about this situation as I was. And he felt the guilt, knowing this was a direct attack against him.
Nicholas had tried to keep her out of the spotlight. She was the only one in his family that he did not want involved in this life. She was like a dragon's treasure he coveted. He shielded her from all the darkness in the world, all the bad things he could. It was why her sisters didn't get close to her. They had been exposed to the harshness of the Mafia, to the darkness in this world, and each of them turned out different because of it.
Tatiana became a bossy little thing that thought the world was beneath her feet, including her siblings. Olga became skittish, jumping at the slightest noise or movement, afraid she was being targeted. Maria had become rebellious, fighting her father and ditching her guards whenever she could.
But Anastasia had been shielded from that pain. From the cruelty that the world held. And they all resented her for it. They isolated her from themselves, her innocent mind thinking it was simply because she was younger than them.
But now... now she had gotten a brutal taste of something that she should have never suffered from, a punishment that was never hers. And the scars would never fade. The scars she will have from the trauma, and the ones I would bear on my heart for not getting there sooner.
My phone vibrated against my leg, startling me out of my thoughts. Pulling it out, I saw it was a call from the same anonymous number as before. I hadn't responded to it, unsure what it had been about.
I didn't know what this person wanted, but I had a feeling they wouldn't leave me alone if I simply ignored them. Sighing, I answered the call.
I didn't hear anything on the other side for a moment, then a voice came through, a robotic voice that was being disguised.
"Go to the office on the third floor in the right-wing at midnight. There will be a key on top of the desk. Open the bottom drawer and pull out the file on the bottom. Your answers will be in that file."
Before I could say a word, the phone beeped as the person hung up. Feeling even more confused, I pulled the phone away and put it in my pocket.
Who was this person? What did he mean by answers? And why was I so damn curious that I wanted to do what they suggested?
The only way I would find out anything was by going to that office. And I had to do it, tonight.
Anya, age 22:
I walked down the streets of Moscow, ignoring the whores and pimps that called for people to come and see them, my skimpy uniform hidden under my long coat. The corset was tight around my waist, lifting my breasts until they practically spilled out of it, while the shorts barely fit long enough to cover my ass. Fishnet stockings covered my legs and black heels completed the stupid outfit. I loathed wearing it, but it was either this or stupid nipple pasties and a bikini suit that would expose my Romanov tattoo that covered my scars.
I shivered at the cool breeze that ran into my face and under my coat. Summer in Russia wasn't as cold as winter, but that didn't mean it was warm. A sigh left my lips as I heard the telltale steps of someone following behind me. I didn't have time for this tonight. Pooka was running low on food, and I needed ammunition for tonight's kill. I wouldn't be able to infiltrate a drug shipment with only knives and one clip of ammo. I needed the powder and casings so I could get home and make my bullets.
And the man following me was an unnecessary delay. So instead of speeding up, I stopped and bent over, pretending to adjust my heel as I slid out one of the knives I kept sheathed in my coat sleeve into my palm. As soon as he was only two feet away, I stood and spun, holding the blade to his throat. The man was large, a pudgy belly sticking out over his pants.
Judging by the way he dressed, he was probably one of the customers that had been at The Grand Duchess tonight and decided that it would be easier to get some unwilling pussy than it would be to buy some. Too bad for him, he picked the wrong woman to follow home.
Looking at his face, I smirked as I recognized him being a major CEO of a business company that ran security software. Perfect. I knew he had dealings with him, and it would get back to him that he had died.
Stepping closer to the man, who had frozen at the feel of the blade against his throat, I pressed my body against his. "Excuse me, Sir. Can you do something for me? If you can I promise I'll let you go."
His eyes were wide, and it was obvious he had never been in this kind of situation before, based on how much he was sweating and how his breath came out in gasps and pants.
Over time, I learned something as an assassin.There were a few different reactions to someone knowing their are about to die. And you never knew which one you were going to get.
One is they freeze, almost as if going into shock, much like the man in front of me. Another option is they panic, resulting in loss of thought and becoming irrational. Those people were the ones you needed to watch carefully. They might do anything, and it was best to kill them quickly, or else risk them escaping.
Some tried to beg and bribe their way out of their fate, as if they thought all the money they had to offer would be worth their pitiful excuse of a life. These kind of people I despised the most. They have no shame, or regrets for what they did to land them on my list.
Then some fought. Those who refused to give up and die. They struggled, shot back, and didn't take it lying down. I respected those kinds of people, even though they all ended the same as the others.
And then there was the final kind. The blank kind. Emotionless. A kind of death that was purely physical. Those people, I understood. Those people were killers. Because if you felt anything when you died, you gave your killer the satisfaction of a good kill. Take away the high of seeing emotions in your eyes, and they are left feeling unsatisfied. And they knew this.
As I stared into the eyes of this kill, I felt a thrill run down my spine at the fear shining in them. He nodded slowly, his voice not working as he stared into my own dead eyes. A smile spread on my crimson lips, and I leaned in close, kissing his cheek and leaving a red stain before I whispered in his ear.
"Send Mr. Gregori my regards."
My hand moved before he had time to process what happened, a spray of red landing on the ground in front of him as I moved out of the way. It wouldn't do to have his blood on my coat as evidence if someone miraculously traced the murder back to me.
Turning and cleaning my blade on his shirt that was slowly becoming soaked in his blood, I watched as his knees gave out, a look of confusion on his face as he slowly bled out.
Turning on my heels, I walked to the end of the alleyway, then pulled out one of my burner phones I kept on me. Dialing the police, I put on my best performance yet.
"Help please! I just saw someone kill a man! Please hurry!! They just ran away headed down Duchess Avenue!"
Keeping my voice high pitched and panicked, I walked calmly away down to a dumpster and then hung up the phone, throwing it in the dumpster after wiping the phone.
Continuing to walk away, I smirked when I was a block away and a couple of cop cars drove past me, sirens going off. I paused for a moment when I saw a black SUV pull onto the street, driving past slowly. Staring at the window of the car, I immediately knew my message had been received. But he had no idea it was from me.
After all, the dead can't kill.