Shackled Exemption

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CHAPTER 46

Dua didn’t even blink when blood splashed across her face and clothes. His wide open eyes were staring at her in condemnation, as if cursing her to death and damnation in his last moments. The scene of him falling down in the pool of his own blood and scattered pieces of what was supposed to be his brain was anything but cruor. But it was not enough to make Dua look away.

Everyone walked out of the shadows and circled her. Aya waited for her further orders but Dua had her eyes transfixed on the blood that was slowly crawling across the floor and towards her.

“Coward to the end” Dua touched her cheek and observed the blood on her fingertips while walking out of the room with Aya hot on her tail. “Spare no detail and make them see everything they should.” Dua took the handkerchief Aya gave her. She wiped her face and threw it away after lighting it to fire.

Shaheer opened the door to backseat of their car and Dua got inside. Aya handed the phone to her and nodded at Shaheer. Dua looked at the building through rear-view mirror as their cars drove away. The whole place was in the clutches of fire whose flames roared higher in the sky.

By the time they will die, nothing will remain.

“Wind up everything within next twelve hours and come back.” Dua picked up the file lying beside her and read through the contents carefully. “The final hunt is about to begin.”

Afroz Sherzai! I am coming for you.

Xian ended the call right when the door behind him opened. Heavy footsteps followed the path to where he was standing against the table, back straight and shoulders squared.

“You posture is exactly like him.” His eyes stayed on the damp wall. “But Jordell was not a coward to show his back after striking his enemies so hard.” Xian turned calmly. “You are indeed his son.” Kuo chuckled lowly, “But you turned out far more formidable than your own father.”

“At least, I gave your son a proper cremation ceremony” Kuo gritted his teeth. “Unlike you who burnt down my family after butchering them inside our own home.”

“I should have killed you with my own hands rather than sending Jian after you. Now and then.” Xian smirked at his seething expressions. “I should have never taken my chances. Even now. If I knew you would turn out to be such a malice-”

“I gave myself to you uncle dear. I came to you on my own two feet.” Xian looked straight in his eyes. “But you were more inclined to torture me for your satisfaction rather than looking beyond what your eyes were showing. Alas! Karma caught you good.”

“You never gave me a reason to doubt your capture, you bastard. If only I knew the extent of your madness. Who walks into enemy’s den with their head held high? Even a child knows better.” Xian scoffed bitterly.

“That’s exactly why you are standing here right now.”

“I know my arrest was just for the show.” Kuo looked around the go-down like place one more time before looking back at Xian. “I think I don’t want you to answer why you let yourself be caught, beaten and went as far as faking your own death at my son’s hands. But” he walked past him and sat on the lone chair opposite the table. “I would really like to know one thing.” Xian turned to face him. “How did you get hold of the records to my deals?”

Silence was all that Xian gave him.

“It’s Sherzai, isn’t it?” He bit out acridly. “Which one of them sold me out? Was it-No, no. It can’t be.” He shook his head, “He won’t betray me like this. It can’t be-He knows. That bastard knows” Kuo boomed angrily. “He wanted Globaviations. He cannot have it without me. Those people-”

“Those people were the butchers you introduced to Feroze Rahija and Ibtesam Shah through Andrew Thompson.” Xian interjected sharply. “It was not just Sherzai and his lapdogs. I know about each and every person that is involved in Globaviations, on the surface and behind the curtains.” Kuo gulped visibly. “I know why and for what reasons and I assure you” Xian leaned over the table with palms flat on the surface. Until he was eye to eye with him. “You will pay the price to your last breath. Every last one of you will.”

“You think you will be spared after this?” Kuo hissed lowly, “You think she will live after this? No. Not at all. This is just the beginning. This is more fucked up than you think. There are more faces to this scheme than you know of. The truth is far more brutal than what your feeble mind can comprehend. We were only the puppets of a hand that never even showed its shadow.” Xian pressed the muzzle to his forehead. “What will you do o’ little lamb? How will you know where to point your gun now? Even if you know those people, they are not the one who planned this entire game.”

“Shut up” Xian hissed lowly. “How many lives you ruined for your sick gains? How many families you destroyed just to keep your pockets full.”

“This is exactly why your father was unfit to rule.” Kuo didn’t even blink when Xian put his finger on the trigger. “In our world, there is no place for guilt and conscience. This is the sole reason I wiped out my own kin. I knew my brother would never understand what it means to be a true businessman.”

“This is not business.” Xian snarled. “You trade life for money-”

“It’s a game of survival my dear nephew” Kuo smiled viciously, “If you don’t have the power to invoke fear that gives you full control over one’s mind and body, you are not fit to live in this world.”

“You are one sick being.”

“Less than a few.” Kuo started laughing like a madman. “Damn that bastard Asfandyar. Never thought he was going to slit my throat with my own hand. That shows how much dangerous his ambition is. More than that man’s-”

“Who?” Xian asked calmly but all Kuo did was snicker. “WHO?”

“I highly believe he is not aware of the fact that he raised a wolf in his den. It won’t be long until he-” He left his sentence hanging just to spite Xian. “You thought you needed to save your little Dua from us? You are so wrong. We were not the real enemies. But you will never know.” Kuo tsked and then chuckled. “No one stands in his way now but that little girl and I assure you” He looked at Xian meaningfully. “Once he is done with her, you won’t even get the forewarning until he done away with her.”

“Not at my watch.” Kuo hummed thoughtfully.

“Should I make this game a little interesting?” Xian gripped the gun tightly when he leaned forward. “I sent a small gift to your little one. I hope she will like it.”

Kuo was glad he made that decision even if it was in the spur of moment. It might not benefit him since he won’t be living the next moment but he was at least going to die with the satisfaction of knowing that he threw the last card. It didn’t matter whether it cuts the little Rahija or flip everything on Sherzai. What mattered was that no one was going to be spared by the end of it.

“What did you do bastard?”

“Why don’t you find it yourself?” Kuo smirked wickedly. “I am Kuo Wang and I won’t let you get the satisfaction of winning my dear nephew. Even my death will leave you my best regar-”

Shot

Xian didn’t even stop to see the aftermath and was on his way while calling Aya. He knew Kuo was not toying with his mind just now.

“Aya!” Xian got in the car hurriedly, “Listen to me carefully.”

**********

“Ms. Sahi!” Yawar rushed forward with his guards to receive Dua. “I thought you were not coming.” Dua took off her shades and looked around in mild amusement. The whole place was bustling with people. Huge containers were set up with large screens and seating areas.

“Quite an uproar you have created Mr. Gill and you said people won’t come to support you. The saying is true though. It’s always the one who makes the most fuss.” Her statement made him chuckle. “You won.”

“I’m grateful for your help Ms. Sahi. Not only did you bring the truth of my father’s murder to light but also helped these people break free from the tyranny of Azfar Baig. You don’t know how many lives you have saved.”

“I did nothing of the sort Mr. Gill.” Dua put her shades back and looked at him levelly. “His cup was full and overflowing and you know what happen when things start to overflow.” Yawar watched her carefully. “Did you receive the gift?” He nodded grimly. “Do you know what you have to do with it?”

“It’s already done.” The screens came to life and the hype of the crowd died within a second. People watched Azfar confess everything on live broadcast. Not only did he admitted his every crime but also his son’s doings. He also didn’t spare the details and names of those who were part of every sin he ever committed.

But he didn’t mention anything about those who were the main culprits and it made Dua fist her hands in anger.

From money laundering to murdering, he exposed every hideous act of his life that made people gasp in horror and curse at him in anger.

“You-” Yawar look at Dua in bewilderment. His head started spinning as he connected the dots. “Is this-”

“You should know what you have done just now Mr. Gill” Dua interjected him calmly. “Some are still alive and breathing. There is no doubt about it that they are seething and burning in rage right now and they are going to come after the one who exposed their hideous faces to the world-”

“I don’t care.” Yawar replied calmly. “I knew the moment I met you that it was not going to be a piece of cake. Don’t worry Ms. Sahi, I am going to stand by what I said.” Dua crossed her arms. “So, it’s just Afroz Sherzai?”

“That is not your concern Mr. Gill. You should focus on making all the wrongs right.”

“I will do what is the right thing to do Ms. Sahi, no matter what.” Dua nodded curtly and turned to leave. “You are not going to stay-”

“No.” Dua turned in time to see Asfand standing in between her and Yawar. Menace was all around him as he glared at Yawar. “She is not a political person nor does she intend to be.” Yawar backed on his step upon seeing the silent threat in his eyes. “But I do have some business to discuss with you.” Asfand look at Dua over his shoulder. “If you may?”

Aya came and stood by Dua’s side when Asfand walked away with Yawar. She looked the way both men left with their army of guards until they disappeared completely out of their sight.

“We need to leave.” But Dua didn’t move an inch from her place. “Xian’s flight is landing in an hour.” She remembered what Xian told her last night and if what he said was true, Dua was in constant danger right now. That means leaving her alone for even a second was out of question.

“Did you find anything?” Dua turned and walked towards their cars.

“Dead end.” Dua huffed lowly. “But I might have stumbled upon something.”

“I want to know everything.” Aya nodded and stepped ahead to open the door for her. “Not now. We are not leaving right now.” She looked at Dua in question. “I have some unfinished business.” Aya knew what she meant.

Aya saw the silent interaction between Asfand and Dua just now. Though they were maintaining their stoic expressions, one could sense the change that they were hell bent on denying and ignoring.

“Get inside the car and wait.” Dua leaned against their car with crossed arms right when she saw Asfand coming towards her at steady pace. “I don’t want him to see your real face.” Aya was reluctant in following her command but she did what she was told. Before Asfand could notice her properly, she got in the passenger’s seat but kept a vigilant lookout for things around them.

“I wasn’t expecting you to actually wait on me.” Asfand stopped right in front of Dua. “Since when did you start listening to me?” He palmed the hood with one hand and leaned over her.

“Here to get a politician for a present?” Her words were not poisonous enough to wipe off his smirk. “So! What did you offer him?”

“I’m afraid my offers were not tempting enough to make him change his mind. His expectations seemed high and I am not willing to give what he might actually want.” Dua smirked. “I wasn’t expecting you to be this cruel towards a dead man” Asfand pointed his thumb to the giant screen. “What now?”

“What now?” Dua stood up straight when Asfand stepped closer to her. Their bodies brushed lightly and his arms caged her completely. Her heart started thumping when she felt his hot breath on her cheek. His scent forced her to close her eyes and inhale sharply. “What are you doing?” Dua whispered breathlessly when his one hand dropped to her side and his fingers drummed against her waist lazily. “We are in public.”

“And I am with my wife.” Asfand whispered huskily in her ear. “First, I am not doing anything wrong. Second, even if I did, I don’t care. I am not a person of morals and manners to begin with. Not that you didn’t know it already.” Dua knew it better than anything but for a change, she didn’t mind. “Try avoiding to mingle with that politician janaan.” Dua watched his dark expressions through hazy vision. “I might not bear understanding towards your certain interactions and I would hate it if I have to make it clear through unpleasant means.”

“Are we at that again?” Dua asked quietly. “You think I am trying to seduce Mr. Gill to get my ways?” Asfand pursed his lips and glared down at her hard. “Are you going to raise hand on me again?”

“I might” Asfand admitted honestly. “But not on you. I’m not worried about what you might do. It’s the other party I don’t trust.” Dua blinked at him in surprise. “You are not that cynical.”

“Excuse me?” Asfand chuckled at her incredulous expressions, “You-”

“Excuse me” Asfand mimicked her and stood up straight. He pulled out his ringing phone from his pocket and his early musings turned to a deep frown when he saw the caller. “I-”

Dua pushed Asfand back a little and got inside the car. “Drive.” She looked at Asfand who was glaring angrily at her through the tinted window. Dua wasn’t aiming to but her eyes caught Saba’s name flashing across the screen. She didn’t want to but she couldn’t stop herself from getting angry.

Asfand stepped back when the engine roared to life and watched her drove away from him. Not again. His fist balled and he inhaled loudly to compose his anger before answering the call. Asfand didn’t want to but he had no choice.

But that doesn’t mean he was not going to deal with the temperamental queen. He just needed to make sure that everything was wrapped up and done with before he did so.

**********

If only it was that easy.

Azfar’s live confession around the globe fucked things more than what Saeen and Afroz could have imagined. They couldn’t take any action as they pleased because government and army now had their undivided attention on Afroz. He was the only one left and in their eyes, he had every motive to kill them.

If looks could kill, Afroz would have murdered Asfand when he came to the meet but since Saeen was on the line and his favor inclined more in his direction, he couldn’t even spit poison to his heart’s content.

Asfand knew Saeen was going to confront him about what he did to Kuo Wang. He didn’t say anything in Afroz’s presence but that doesn’t mean he was going to let it be. Asfand made him suffer a huge loss and that man was anything but a forgiver.

“When are you going to explain why you did what you did?” Asfand looked at the ceiling with bored expressions. It’s been nearly a month that he has been here and he has lost count to how many times he was asked the same thing. “Avoiding the question is not going to put an end to everything Asfandyar. I thought I could trust you.”

“Yet you didn’t.” Asfand finally looked at him. “You called Azfar Baig. May I ask why when you said the game forsake him already?” Asfand smirked inwardly at the elderly man. “It’s just like you said.” He stood up and buttoned his jacket. “Everything is for greater good and I intend to achieve it. Kuo Wang was just a milestone in long run. He would not have been taken out the way he did if he kept on listening to me.”

“Are you saying that we don’t stand on same ground?” Saeen fisted his hands at his calm expressions. “So! You are going to stand by your ene-”

“I never gave you the reason yet you chose to take action behind my back.” Asfand interrupted him sharply. “That explains everything. As for what I do and where I stand, I will decide that. Not you, not Afroz Sherzai or anyone else.” Asfand took off the ring and placed it on the table.

“It has always been my game, even before you decided to involve me in it and I am going to move my pieces as I wish. You can do whatever you please but bear in mind one thing” Asfand leaned over the table. “If you wish to stand against me, be prepared for the consequences. I don’t spare my enemies and you have seen the little demonstration of it already.”

“Are you going to keep that girl by your side?”

“She is not a girl but a woman” Asfand replied coolly, “And what I do with her should be of no concern to you. If that is all?” he stood up straight and shoved his hands in his pockets. “I would like to take my leave now. This place is not in the least listed in my favorite dwellings.”

“Asfandyar!” He stopped. “You think you will get Globaviations because now you have no one standing in your way?” Saeen was now seething behind his back. “It’s not that easy my child. Those people have their money invested. You think they are going to stand by and watch someone come and take over what was supposed to be a gateway to their kingdom? They-”

“They cannot do a shit.” Asfand faced him coldly. “If they had a spine, they would have taken it by now. But for people like them, saving a petty face to the world is more important.” Asfand spat bitterly. “And it’s not their money. It’s what they traded for their conscience and soul and I’m not afraid to deal such people.”

“What about her?” Asfand stopped again. “Do you think Dua will hand it over to you just like that? You are a Sherzai yourself. If not directly, you were part of everything that happened to her family.” Asfand fisted his hands. “She is not going to spare you Asfandyar because you didn’t give her a reason to look past your blood. Not now, not then.” Asfand walked out of the room angrily but he did hear what he said in the end.

“Only time will tell” he whispered lowly as he walked through the dark corridors and out of the main building. His guards followed him closely when he stepped out through the huge gates and walked straight to his Lexus. “Next time, it will not be you who will call.” He looked at the tall building in pure disgust before getting inside his vehicle.

Safan looked at Asfand in question but all he did was bark the order to drive. He knew better than asking him what transpired in there. But he could sense a shit was about to unfold.

“Take me back home.” Safan looked at him through rear-view mirror. “To Islamabad.” He nodded and got on the call to schedule his flight. Asfand rested his elbow against the window and fisted his mouth while watching the darkness blur past him.

I am coming janaan. I am coming for what is mine.

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