Thunderstorm storm shook the sky with its booming sound and flashes. Wind was strong and rain was ready to pour down any moment. Dua looked out through her tinted windscreen. She had to go further up after hours of hunting and tracking back their footprints.
“How many signals and frequencies are within ten miles of this place?” The place was secluded and well-hidden on a hill among thick trees. There were no signs of human life which made this place a perfect spot to carry out all kinds of heinous activities.
“Thirty within sixty meters radius of you.” Dua clutched the wheel tightly. “Eighteen within forty meters radius of you.” Dua grabbed the tab from the seat and scanned the place once more. “Fifteen within ten meter radius of you.”
“Are there any CCTV cameras?” She tapped on all the green spots and zoomed in to get a better view.
“None.” Dua cursed under her breath.
“Jam their phones. Make sure they couldn’t connect to anyone for next four hours. Track down Wasiq Baig and Jian Wang’s number. Enter Russian Cartel in their log via e-mail.” Dua placed the tab back on the seat and picked her guns. “Connect them to MSS and transfer three marked confidential files to their data.”
“Time of completion, forty-five minutes.” Dua loaded her guns and got out of the car. She tucked them in the back of her pants and fixed her gloves before checking the dagger hidden in her boots.
“Add two camouflage IP address to de-track them Ayn and leave a bug in their IID to mask our footprints.”
“IP address has been connected. System rebooting in ten seconds until action.”
“Set the countdown on my watch.”
“Countdown has been set.” A loud thunder shook the sky.
“Interlink me with Xian and Aya after sixty minutes.”
“Time set to reconnect with Aya, sixty minutes.” They still couldn’t get in touch with Xian and it started worrying Dua now. “System is unable to reach Xian Wang.”
“Keep trying.” Dua fixed the shuriken in her high-tail. “If my watch loses my heartbeat” she checked the time on her watch, “Shut down i-9ine and activate self-destruction mode.”
As expected, their men were spread outside around every corner. Dua added silencer to her guns when she closed in on the building. It looked like an old factory.
“What’s the point in keeping this watch?” One of the men spoke in Chinese. “No one even know about this place.” Dua leaned against the wall on which they were standing. “Forget humans I haven’t even seen animals around this place.”
“Boss said those people will come.” The one standing beside him answer. “Can’t believe how tough that little cunt is. I thought she was already dead.” Dua looked up at them with raging eyes. “What about the baby?”
“If they didn’t come, we will be sending his bod-”
Two bullets and they fell down in the heap.
Dua looked at them in disgust and jumped up the wall after making sure no one was patrolling the area.
Two down, fifty-three more to go.
“Any news?” Wasiq asked Jian for the hundredth time. “It’s been a week already.” Jian didn’t move an inch from his position. His arm stayed on his eyes and he kept tapping his foot on the floor lazily. Jian was sick of his continuous whining over past months but he couldn’t do anything to shut him up. All because of his father’s orders.
“Is your phone working? I don’t know what the fuck got in mine.” Wasiq slapped his phone on his palm. “It’s not-”
“Can you shut up Wasiq?” Jian removed his arm to glare at him. “You are giving me a headache.”
“I’m just worried for our necks.” Jian scoffed loudly. “Why didn’t you make any calls? How do you think they are going to find out? What if they are still unaware that we have-”
“I said I have everything under control. I don’t know about Haider Shah but that woman-”
“You are underestimating them too much.” Wasiq was continuously fiddling with his hands. “You don’t know what I know. You have not seen what I have. My whole life turned into a nightmare Jian.” He wiped his forehead furiously. “I don’t know about rest but that woman, D. Almas Sahi is not to be underestimated.” Jian barked a loud laugh and sat up straight on the couch. “You think this is funny.”
“Not at all.” Jian snickered in response to his anger. “For being a man that fucked women like a lollipop, you sure are a pussy around this one.” Wasiq turned red at his mockery. “I wonder how weak your preys were.”
“Lower your voice you fucktard.” Wasiq looked at him with wide eyes when Jian shoved the gun down his throat. “I am more annoyed by your whining than that little mutt. Be glad that my dad asked me not to kill you or else I would have blown your head long ago.” Jian shoved him back and stood up. “I am very much aware of that woman and that is exactly why I sent her that beautiful gift.” His expressions turned sadistic. “I can’t wait to meet her. Last I remember, she was only sixteen.”
“You wouldn’t want to” Wasiq stood up as well. “I dared look her way just once and Asfandyar almost gouged my eyes out. I hope you knew what is coming.”
“She means nothing to him.” Jian twirled the gun around his finger and glared at the door when Rayan started crying loudly. “You don’t know him that well but I do. He is one dangerous man that can go to any lengths in getting what he wants.”
“And his wife is what he wants.” Wasiq interjected impatiently. “You don’t know how much possessive he is of her. If-”
“It’s not her” Jian interrupted him calmly. “It’s what under her name. Like I said, you don’t know him as much as I do.”
“Does he know about this?” Jian chose to turn the other way. “And you said you know him better.”
“I highly doubt that he doesn’t. If he cared as much as you said” Jian looked at Wasiq over his shoulder, “we wouldn’t be sitting here alive.” He groaned in anger when Rayan’s cries become uncontrollable. “I am going to shoot a hole in that mutt. This is enough. We don’t need him alive-”
The door burst open and Dua barged in like a raging tornado. Their men took aims at her and looked at each other in silent question. They couldn’t comprehend this situation. There were more than forty men outside, twice or thrice her size. And she dealt with all of them? They couldn’t digest the thought as they looked at her walk inside calmly and confidently.
“They are dead.” Dua threw the body she was holding on the floor and watched them blankly, guns aimed at them. “All of them.” Jian raised one brow in amusement while Wasiq paled. They could tell it was not an easy fight. Their men were trained and her appearance told the tale clearly.
Some were easy targets and some actually put on a fight against her until they were lying in the same heap by her feet as their comrades. Dua was covered in bruises, blood and sweat. She was panting slightly but was far from falling down. Her hands fisted when her ears picked feeble cries of Rayan.
“So, this is where you were hiding.”
“But you found us.” Jian walked up to her leisurely. “I expected nothing less of you Ms. Sahi. After all, my brother took you under his wing.” Dua gripped her gun tightly when Jian stopped right in front of her. “But unfortunately, this is as far as you can go.”
“We will see.” Her blood was boiling at the mere sight of them. Especially Jian Wang. He looked so much like Xian but Dua knew better.
“You have changed a lot doll.” Jian circled her leisurely. “I couldn’t have known you bloomed this much.”
“And you are same as ever.” Her answer made him chuckle. “I can’t believe daddy dear let you out of his sight.”
“What can we say about need of the hour?” Dua didn’t blink when he stepped in her personal space. “But I am glad I did. Else, how would I have known this-” His hand was caught before he could have touched her face. “Feisty.”
He was the same as Dua last remembered. Downright disgusting. That encounter itself was not very friendly. He came with his father to their estate to take Xian back. It wouldn’t need a genius to know why. He was the last and true heir to Wang family and they couldn’t do anything as long as Xian lived. They would have succeeded in their vile plans to take him out as well.
Alas! Feroze Rahija and Ibtesam Jahangir Shah stood in their path.
Because of their intervention, Kuo Wang couldn’t get hold of the entire Wang Enterprises. Above all, he couldn’t get past the humiliation he received at their hands. He bore a grudge that turned to an open enmity. But he couldn’t do anything until Sherzai came into picture. And once again he managed to annihilate another family in the most brutal way.
Kuo Wang thought they didn’t know about his part but they did. Dua did and she drilled it in her memory. And now, she was going to make sure she paid the debt back in a way that his seven generations will remember.
If there was any spared.
“We can do it in a civilized way or I can pave my way out of here on your dead bodies.” Dua released his hand with a jerk and looked at Wasiq. “Take your pick.”
“And if we don’t?” Their guns were up and aimed at each other. “You sure are quick with your hands. Let’s see how much better you can put them to use.” Dua blocked the punch with her elbow. The guns slipped from her hands when she raised her arms to dodge another attack. “Like I said, this is as far as you can go.”
“Is that why your predecessor is still alive?” Dua forced Jian to drop his guns as well. “I will make sure to drag you down as well.” Jian snarled and charged forward but Dua was quick to act. She ducked under his arm and back-kicked him after gutting him hard. She knew who trained Xian.
But Disciples are meant to surpass their mentors.
Jian was invincible when it came to combat and they knew how ruthless he was as a fighter. But right now, a little woman was standing on par with him, countering his every blow like it was nothing.
“Damn you!” Jian grabbed the punch Dua threw at him and held her in a death-lock. He didn’t expect her to hold her ground for this long and it was making him lose his cool. No one could ever touch him in a fight and this little woman managed to injure him and bleed.
But he could also see that Dua was spent. Her attacks became sluggish and she was having difficulty in standing upright. She received more damage than him. Her injuries and blood loss was taking a toll on her.
And no matter how strong of an opponent you are, once your weak spot is caught, its game over.
“There, there little princess” Jian cooed in her ear. “Don’t try to get ahead of yourself now.” The more Dua tried to break his hold, the tighter he trapped her. “I have a little question for you. Where do you think my little cousin is right now?” Her thrashing actually came to a halt at his words. “Did you get in contact with your right hand man after he left that night?”
“You can’t fool me.”
“Who is fooling whom doll?” Jian snickered at her expressions. “That is exactly why that family fell down. They were always just too full of themselves.” Dua grunted when he leaned near her ear. “I was waiting for the chance that my cousin provided me himself. How foolish of him.” Jian tsked. “He should have known better than messing with us. If he couldn’t do anything all this time, how could he believe he can overthrow us now. How very stupid. Look where his arrogance took him to.” Jian pointed to ceiling. “Not sure where dad threw his bod-”
“Shut up!” Dua knew better than believing his words. But she also knew the dangers his plan involved. She knew of the outcomes and this was what she feared the most.
There was no report because he went solo. They were unable to track or connect to his watch. And right now, every kind of possibility was possible.
“It is time to sleep” his grip around her neck tightened. “Would you like to hear a lullaby? Wasiq! We are done here. Throw the baby in the chemical bath. I’m sure his screams will be music to her ears.”
Dua screamed like a wounded lioness and tried to hit Jian but it backfired. He twisted her around and threw a hard punch to her gut. She doubled over but he didn’t let her touch the ground. His hand around her neck choked her further as he pulled her up roughly.
“You are one tough woman.” Jian raised her thrashing body above the ground. “I won’t forget this night doll. You are such a turn on but” her vision turned blotchy, “I can’t forget what we had to lose because of your fucking father.” Dua went limp in his hold.
“Wasiq!” Jian glared his way over his shoulder. “What the fuck are you standing there for, you dumbfuck. Get on with it.”
Gathering all her energy, Dua swung her body to left in Jian’s hold. Her action made his grip loosen and she threw a kick in his face that he barely dodged. Dua landed on her fours while gasping for air and before Jian could have taken hold of situation, she threw the dagger in his leg and kicked him back before making a dash forward.
“Kill her.” Dua barely managed to cross the door right before the bullets charged her way. Her eyes landed on Rayan’s carry that was hanging on top of a boiling container.
“Ayn!” She barked in her earpiece while running forward. “Establish the connections now.”
“Connection established. Uploading in twenty seconds.” Two men came in front of her out of nowhere. But Dua was fast. She slid to the floor and shot them down before they could have even aimed their guns.
“Connect me to Aya.” Dua barely dodged the rod that came for her head out of nowhere. She jumped back a few steps when six men surrounded her from either side.
“You didn’t think it was going to be as easy as stealing a cookie, didn’t you?” Jian came in her line of vision. “You fucking bitch!” he threw the dagger aside and snarled at her like an angry bull. Dua saw what Xian meant about him. Jian was insane and she made his fuse blow just now by hurting his ego. “You made a huge mistake woman and I will make sure you see it with your own eyes what happens when you mess with Jian Wang.”
Dua fisted her hand when Jian started limping towards her. She had only a minute before things went completely out of her hand. She was spent and she could only do one thing right now.
“Ayn!” She whispered quietly, “now.”
“What the-” Jian howled like an animal when lights went off. “Don’t let her escape.” But Dua was already on the move. She put on the glasses and slid past them the moment it happened. She had only forty-five seconds until the power restored. “DUA!” His angry screams reverberated around the hall which made Rayan cry loudly. “Kill the baby. Fucking kill that baby right now. Shoot blindly. I don’t fucking care.”
Dua jumped over the fence and wrapped the chain around her arm. She aimed her dagger on the rope that was holding his carry and threw it. Dua didn’t calculate anything. She was relying on pure luck right now.
And the luck did pay off this time.
Right when the carry fell, she broke the hinge off the chain which thrust her body forward. She caught Rayan in time and swung the chain to jump off the other edge. Dua made sure Rayan was covered in her arms when she ran ahead and jumped through the glass. She rolled down the slope and broke into a sprint.
“Hey!” She smiled at Rayan breathlessly. Glass pierced her flesh but she bore with pain. She hid behind a tree when she heard them yelling and coming her way. “You are going to be okay. Nothing will happen to you.” Rayan was looking at her with his big blue eyes. “Your aunt is going to make sure you reach your parents safely.”
“Dua Feroze Rahija!” Jian screamed over the bullet he fired in the air. “You are not getting alive out of here.”
Uploading successful. Dua smiled down at Rayan. Countdown to the alarm in five seconds.
“Re-establish my connections with Aya and Xian.” First drop of rain fell on her face and the outpour came before she could have blinked. Dua took off her jacket and wrapped Rayan inside it to keep him from getting wet. They were searching for her like hunting dogs and she knew it would be impossible to hide here. She needed to get on the main road right now.
Connected to Aya. Unable to establish link with Xian. Her heart dropped.
“Keep trying.” Dua adjusted Rayan in her arms and reloaded her gun. She took one deep breath before breaking into another sprint. Her injuries were taking their toll on her but she paid no heed to them. Right now, getting Rayan out of here was her top priority.
Their screams and footsteps faded in the background but Dua was not ready to take chances. Within minutes, she hit the main road and ran towards her car. Her legs were barely supporting her weight and the rain only made it worse.
Wasiq was the first one who spotted her on the main. He knew he was supposed to tell Jian but their phones were not working. And this was his moment. His revenge for the humiliation Dua put him through. He had to go in hiding, flee his own country and now stoop as low as bearing with dogs like Jian Wang.
“You!” His lips twisted into a disgusting smile as he took aim at her head. He could see she was all out of steam. “This is for ruining my life, you bitch.”
Dua gasped loudly when her feet gave way and she fell forward. But her body crashed against something firm and warm rather than the hard and cold road. Strong arms came around her in an iron hold and twisted her body so that she was semi hidden behind him.
An all too familiar scent flooded her senses and she closed her eyes to let its calming effect wash over her jumbled nerves. She leaned into the pillar that offered her all the support she needed right now.
All the support she ever needed.
Her eyes focused on his face and the dark expressions it bore. His eyes were hard and jaw was locked angrily. One arm was wrapped around her and other extended forward with a gun in hand that just shot five holes in Wasiq’s body.
“Asfandyar!” Dua blinked when Jian arrived on the scene with his men. He looked at Wasiq and started laughing like a madman. “Well! That went down the drain in the right way.” Dua felt his muscles tensing when Jian looked their way again.
“Good job in catching that one. Not that you would let her escape in the first place. That bird holds the key to your kingdom, no? You ought to keep her wings clipped.” Asfand neither lowered his gun nor moved when Jian started coming towards them. “I know she is your prey man. I just want the baby. You know, orders from above.” Dua clutched Rayan tightly to her chest which made Asfand look at her.
“Over my dead body.” Dua whispered only for Asfand. His blankness twisted into an arrogant smirk and he looked back at Jian with a hum.
“If that is the case” Asfand looked at Dua coldly. “By all means” Dua could only look at him when she felt his grip loosen on her waist. “Claim your price as you want.”
Jian was two steps away from them when his path was blocked by a dark shadow. He couldn’t even get to spit anything out because of the punch that came to his jaw out of nowhere.
“Dua!” Haider rushed towards them with Amber. Aya and Safan were hot on their tails. They nodded towards their respective bosses and stood before them with guns pointed towards the opposite party that were greatly outnumbered in the moment.
Within a blink, their men surrounded them with guns. Dua handed Rayan to Amber and watched the couple shower their love on their child.
“My, oh my!” Jian staggered back to his feet, “What a nasty surprise.” He jeered but couldn’t elicit a reaction out of Xian. “You sneaky little bastard.” He threw a punch towards Xian which he easily dodged. “You won’t just disappear.”
A hell broke loose when both charged forward. Their men watched them beat the shit out of each other but they knew better than intervening. It was a battle of bosses and only death was going to determine the end result.
“How did you escape?” Jian gritted when Xian blocked his fist with his own. “I saw you breathing your last then how the fuck are you alive?” He pulled out the dagger from his sleeve and slashed it across Xian’s chest. His shirt ripped open as Xian jumped back in time. “You still have it, you fucker.” Jian pointed to the white tiger tattoo on the left half of Xian’s torso. It was a symbol of Wang Clan. The white fang. “And you said it didn’t matter to you anymore.”
“It doesn’t” Xian grabbed hold of his arm and landed three solid punches to his gut before throwing him back with a roundhouse kick. “Because nothing is left of it that makes me the white fang.” Xian didn’t give Jian a chance to get up and by the time he stopped, Jian was nothing but a bloody mess.
“Fuck you!” Jian snickered when he aimed his gun to his head. “My dad won’t leave you after this.” He glared at Asfand balefully. “He won’t forget this betrayal.” Asfand just scoffed lowly.
“He won’t even get the chance to do so.” Xian shot the bullet through his head and watch his body fall down like trash.
No one moved from their positions. No one talked or dared to talk. Their men caught Wang’s men and took them away. It fell eerily quiet with only rain disrupting the silence with its harsh slashes.
“Dua!” Asfand removed his arm when Haider stepped forward. “I-”
“Stop” Dua interrupted him sharply. “Just stop now.” She looked at Amber before looking back at him coldly. “Not anymore.” Dua took a step back when Haider tried to reach for her again. “We are not family. Not anymore. What made us family” her voice cracked but she was determined to hold till end, “is not in this world anymore.”
“And you have no right to behave like you care. You don’t. You didn’t, that’s why you never came to stop us from going that time. You never came when she screamed your name. You couldn’t save her and this thing doesn’t matter anymore. You don’t care Haider. You never cared enough. You never loved her enough.” Dua fisted her hands to keep their shaking. “It’s just your conscience that is not ready to bear that you are partially responsible for Ammara’s death.”
“You ended everything Haider. You did with your own hands. You moved on in life when you said that no one could ever take her place.” Amber lowered her head when Dua looked her way. “But look at you now. Where is Ammara in your life right now? You went to look for her culprits and you brought a wife back. You said Ammara was a piece of you and you discarded that piece so easily. When was the last time you actually thought about her?” Haider looked away from her.
“I don’t want this anymore.” Dua steeled her expressions when he looked back at her. “I don’t want you in my life anymore because I don’t want to clean up your mess. This doesn’t concern you anymore so stop stepping in.”
“You don’t know what you are saying-”
“Mir Haider Shah!” Dua looked him dead in the eye. “Don’t ever show me your face ever again.” Dua didn’t turn when he grabbed her hand. She tore her own hearts to pieces but she knew this was the only way to keep them away from the dangers that were bound to follow her in future. Her soul was carrying enough and adding more lives on her part was not something she could afford right now.
“Is this what you really want?” Dua didn’t blink when he forced her to look at him. “Do you really want to push me away?”
“You did.” Dua pushed his hands off and stepped back. “Being a sister and being like a sister are two different things. I was just like a sister to you.”
Amber couldn’t stop the tears of shame that cascaded down her cheeks upon hearing Dua. She knew she was responsible for this and there was nothing she could do to undo the damage that has been done. She broke their family and even if she shed every drop of blood in her body, she knew she would not be able to bring them back ever.
“Keep Dar-jee out of this.” Haider composed his expressions to neutrality. “That’s the least you could do.” Dua left without answering. “Keep her safe Xian.” Haider was looking at Asfand.
“Because that child doesn’t know how to care for herself.” Xian just nodded. Asfand shoved his hands in his pockets when Haider turned away from him.
“Just this once.” Haider whispered loud enough for Asfand before walking Amber to their car. “I hope you will prove me wrong just this once.”
Her confident steps faltered once she was far away from them. Her heart felt heavy and the weight of it weighed down her body.
“I am all alone now.” She whispered to no one as she continued walking down the empty road that held no destination. “I was all alone to begin with.”
Dua was too lost in her thoughts that she didn’t notice the shadow that was walking closely behind her.
Asfand wanted to reach out and pull her in his arms but he refrained from doing so. All he could right now was watch over her from afar. He knew she was going to piece herself back together but seeing her hurt like this didn’t sit well with his heart. He didn’t want to care but he couldn’t stop his heart from caring.
Not this time.
“You are not alone Dua” Asfand whispered softly while watching her defeated frame. “You never will be.”