Yes finally I'm starting to post my version of Last Sacrifice! I am super excited about it.
I want to give a big BIG thanks to ShadowKissed23 for taking the time to proofread my story. It's very sweet of you.
I really hope you'll enjoy reading it as I enjoy writing it.
Please don't forget to review as you know how much I love reading you!
I was sitting on my cell bed staring at the opposite wall, still having problems to grasp everything that happened since this morning.
I've been accused of being a traitor and put in jail. The Council found enough proof against me, I didn't know what all this proof was but apparently it was striking.
The question was who would hate me enough to get me out of the picture? One name was coming to mind …Victor Dashkov.
I freed him from his jail but I knew many things about him. I -even if I hated to admit it- knew how he functioned. Maybe he thought that with me dead he will be safer… But that didn't make a lot of sense, plus he had to have a lot of connections here at the Court in order to pull something like that. Kill the Queen for Victor Dashkov? That was more than friendship, it was devotion! I didn't think that anybody would be crazy enough to do that for a criminal on the run just in order to frame me.
It was true that I was important, but I was not cocky enough to think that framing me for something was worth being caught assassinating the Monarch, that was just ridiculous.
I sighed looking at the two Royal guards standing in front of my cell and laid back on the very uncomfortable narrow bed looking at the ceiling. I couldn't help to let my mind drift to Dimitri and if I could barely fit on that bed, it had to be bad for him.
Yes I'm finally sharing Dimitri's bed, I thought with a humorless laugh.
I looked at the bars just in time to see one of the guards eyeing me curiously before concentrating his attention on the wall in front of him again.
I looked at the ceiling again and kept replaying the hearing in my head trying to find something more, I knew there was no point to do that but I knew I wouldn't sleep tonight.
What did I miss, what did WE miss?
I almost wanted to get into Lissa's head but I knew it would only make me worry more. I had to let everything settle for her and the others, I was sure that - right now- it was anarchy out there.
Why is getting rid of me so important? I couldn't help but think again. I was nothing special except- I stopped, eyes wide. I was very important as far as Lissa was concerned. I was her protection, her shield against darkness, and we all knew that it didn't go that well for her when I was not around. With me dead, they'll have a weak fragile Lissa and even Dimitri The Great wouldn't be able to compensate for that.
I balled my hands into fists and rested them on my eyes. I heard noise outside my cell, probably a change of guards and I peeked to see one of them settle a platter of food. I closed my eyes again knowing that I wouldn't touch this platter, at least not tonight. I was hungry yes, it was not the two éclairs I had in the morning that would settle my stomach but I also knew that eating anything would make me puke.
I didn't know how long I stayed on my bed staring at the ceiling, it could have been an hour, it could have been 5 hours I wasn't sure.
My stomach started to growl loudly and I decided to go check on the food.
I touched the sandwich and the bread was getting hard now, yes it had probably been hours since they brought it here. Did I really space out for that long? Well I guessed that being accused of high treason did have this effect of you.
I lifted the sandwich and looked what there was inside, ham and I quickly got a sniff at it.
"It's not poisoned," said a deep voice startling me. It startled me for two reasons, first because I didn't think a guard would talk to the crazy supposed murderer and secondly because the idea of poison didn't even cross my mind.
Stupid! Someone apparently wants you out of the picture and you don't think about poison? I shook my head before concentrating on the guardian again.
There was only one guardian now and he was leaning against the wall facing me. His pretty laid back stance led me to think it was probably night in our world and that no High Moroi would come visit me soon. I could see from the red pin on his collar that he used to be a member of the Royal guard, that was probably why I never saw him before.
"How can you be sure?" I asked with defiance but I knew that I was starving enough now to take the risk.
"I supervised the preparation."
"Why should I trust you?"
"You shouldn't but that's all you'll get."
I nodded silently biting in the sandwich, it tasted as horrible as it looked but it was good to take.
"What time is it?" I asked once I was done eating, drinking some water from the small bottle they brought me.
"Why is that important? "
I sighed shaking my head. "I need to use the restroom."
He made a gesture inviting me to turn around.
I swirled on myself to find a toilet and a small sink with a bar of soap and a towel.
"I…You've got to be kidding me? I can't use that! In front of you."
He turned around. "Better now?"
He was lucky I needed to be on my best behavior or I was pretty sure I would have thrown anything I could find on the back of his head.
I quickly did what I had to do, washed my hands and face before tightening my hair into a high ponytail.
"You can't expect me to wash there do you?"
"You'll be taken to the shower in the morning," he said turning around again.
"But why am I guarded by a male guardian? It's not supposed to be a girl?"
"You could easily overpower any female guardian," he said simply. "It was not an option."
That's when I got into smart mouth mode again. "I bet I could take you, too."
I saw his lips quiver up slightly on the side, he was trying very hard not to smile.
"You wouldn't go far," he simply replied.
I knew he was right about that and I could hear by his tone that conversation with him was now over.
I laid back on the bed but, even if I was exhausted, sleep was refusing to come. My brain was just boiling with thoughts, me being framed, Lissa's mysterious sibling, and the guard that was probably staring at me as I tried to sleep.
I didn't exactly know when sleep found me but it seemed only minutes later that somebody called my name to wake me up.
"Rose, Rose come on wake up. I brought you breakfast."
I turned on the bed and my back hurt like hell. Mikhail was standing in front of the cell with a tray.
He gave me a friendly smile and it was like sunlight. "Rough night?" he asked and I could hear the compassion in his voice.
I shrugged slightly reaching for the tray from the little opening in the bars.
"I'm so happy to see you," I said sincerely. "But how did you manage to get duty here? I hope you didn't get into trouble."
He shook his head with a small smile. "No, I've been assigned here until trial. I guess your lawyer has a lot of influence."
"Who?" I asked taking in the heavenly sent of coffee.
"Abe Mazur? He is your representative right?"
I nodded. "Yes he is." I thought it was best for our strategy to keep our family history hidden, nobody would expect him to fight hard for someone that was not his own blood.
I couldn't help the little shiver to go through me as I replayed his words 'you will not go to trial, you will not go to prison. I won't allow it. Do you understand'. I was worried about him and that was a first.
"Have you heard anything? Is he working with anyone?"
Mikhail threw a wary glance around.
"Oh I understand you can't socialize too much," I said waving my hand dismissively.
"No I don't care. I just don't want to be removed from guarding you." He took a step closer. "I don't know much, but he was with Adrian Ivashkov all evening."
"Adrian," I sighed closing my eyes. Both of them teaming up was the worse idea ever. Adrian would turn traitor to save me, I knew that and if I was worried for Abe, I was terrified for Adrian but I knew it would be pointless to try to stop him anyways.
"You better eat fast Rose, the other guardian will come soon with your spare clothes for the shower."
He shook his head negatively. "You are way too dangerous Rose, lethal. To be honest, I don't even know why they only assigned one guardian to your cell."
I sat down on my bed. "So I'll shower with you guys?"
"No I'm the one assigned to your cell, I'll be the one getting in the bathroom with you."
"Oh that's so much better," I said sarcastically.
"Well at least you trust me and you know I won't peek."
I smiled. "Yes, better you than the creep I had last night that's for sure."
"Liam Trent?" He grimaced. "He is one of the youngest Royal guards. Believe me to make it that high before being 25 well, for sure he is not charming."
"He talked to me though."
A flash of surprise crossed his face but he didn't comment. "Well if it makes you feel any better most guardians I know think you're innocent and that somebody is trying to frame you, even Hans Croft."
"They don't think I'd have it in me?" I asked relieved.
He chuckled slightly. "Oh they think you could do it just fine, they just don't think you'd be stupid enough to leave all this evidence behind you."
I grimaced, it was good enough. They could picture me as a murderer just fine except as a methodical and smart one. Oh well it was something to take.
I nodded closing my eyes slipping into Lissa's head. She was pacing restlessly in her small living room with Christian sitting in the sofa. I was really grateful he was here for her.
"Are you sure?" She asked and I could feel her fear and tiredness. She barely slept the night before and I could see from the shadows under Christian's eyes that it was the same for him.
He nodded. "Tasha told me in the morning, apparently it's like a temporary assignment to see if he is right for the job but Tasha is pretty sure that it's to make sure Rose's allies just go away."
"Poor Eddie," Lissa sighed and sat beside Christian resting her head on his shoulder. "I bet he argued."
"It wouldn't be good for himself or for Rose, I hope he didn't," said Christian kissing Lissa's forehead.
"I want to see her Christian, I'm sure she is scared," she said with a chocking sound that brought tears to my eyes.
"I want to see her too but we have to trust Mazur on that, he wants Rose out as much as we do and if he thinks it's better to stay away from now well…'' he shrugged.
"I know…'' said Lissa reluctantly. She hoped we took the right decision to trust Abe blindly and a little voice inside of me kept telling me it was the right thing to do. I'd seen it in his eyes, heard it in his voice, he would do anything to save me and clear my name and no illustrious lawyer could ever top that.
"Where is Adrian?" asked Christian.
"Probably with Abe, since last night they became inseparable," said Lissa and I could see some glimpses of last night. Adrian argued with his mother as she wanted him to stay away from Abe, asking him to support his family by helping with the funeral. He replied that I needed him more and that I was what meant the most to him and he left to meet Abe who was waiting for him by the hall door.
I groaned inwardly. Abe was really trouble for Adrian.
"Shower time Miss Hathaway," said Mikhail with such a formal voice that I knew he was not alone.
I slipped back into my own body to find Guardian Trent standing beside Mikhail with a pile of clothes.
"Missed me already?" I asked when he opened the cell to let me out. "You couldn't sleep without thinking of me?"
Mikhail threw me a reproving look but said nothing.
"Whatever helps you sleep at night," said Liam coldly but it seemed to surprise Mikhail that he even answered me.
When I reached the bathroom I was pleased that Liam whatever didn't argue on Mikhail being the one escorting me inside because he had the power to do so, as a former Crown guard, he had a higher authority which made me wonder why he even bothered with me.
As soon as we walked in Mikhail pointed to the towels and cleaning accessories such as the bar of soap and the toothbrush before turning around looking at the door.
I quickly stripped down, put the note Ambrose gave me into the back pocket of my new jeans.
I was horrified to notice that there was no door or curtain to give you some privacy in the shower well… I guessed that once you were suspected of a crime your right to privacy and human decency were revoked. But I couldn't help to wish I were a little mouse when Dimitri showered there.
I sighed loudly. "What do I do with my dirty clothes?"
"Just leave them on the floor, they'll take care of that."
I groaned turning on the water trying to regulate it to the right temperature but it was mostly cold and I knew I could forget the idea of a hot shower to easy my painful muscles. I was incarcerated, not on holidays and I was pretty sure they didn't give a rats' ass about my comfort.
I showered quickly brushing my teeth in the process to go faster. I didn't even bother to look in the mirror to brush my hair. I simply brushed it all back and tightened it in a ponytail.
"Done," I said from behind Mikhail.
He turned around and gave me a sad smile. "I'm sorry about all that Rose," he said quietly to make sure Liam wouldn't hear us.
I shrugged like it wasn't a big deal and truth be told it wasn't such a big deal, the 'being a traitor on the verge to be condemned and executed' was.
"It will be over soon," he whispered by my ear.
I looked up at him and met his troubled, pained eyes. I didn't think he could keep his mask on when he was around me, we were too much alike.
"Don't do anything stupid trying to help me," I whispered urgently. "Many stupid people are already putting their lives in jeopardy here, I don't need you to do the same."
He looked at me silently not answering me. "Let's go," he said opening the door.
Liam was leaning against the opposite wall talking in the guardian earpiece he was wearing.
"Yes she is done, you may let him down now," he said eyeing Mikhail and I curiously. "Your lawyer is here," he added to my benefit. "Well if we can call that a lawyer," he added with a sneer.
"None of your business," I snapped. Well it was true that, in any normal circumstances, it would be insane to chose Abe Mazur as a lawyer but it was not normal settings, he was my father, my blood…Not that I wanted Liam to know that.
"Indeed," he said simply opening the door of my cell, gesturing me in. He locked the door, whispered some words to Mikhail that I didn't really understand but it sounded a lot like orders.
Less than five minutes later I found Abe standing in front of my cell. He was wearing a pair of tailored black dressing pants, a white shirt with a green tie that was matching his scarf.
"Honestly old man, if I were you I'll step down a notch with that flashing fashion sense of yours."
"Thanks heaven you are not me," he said eyeing me curiously.
I walked closer to the bars. "Well I'm a part of you," I whispered quietly.
"Yes you are," he said with a grin. " Probably the very best part of me," he added with so much fondness that it startled me. "How are you doing? Are they treating you right?" he asked with a clear cold threatening edge to his tone.
I nodded. "I'm fine, they're okay. The guardians are…" I quickly glanced to Mikhail direction. "Thank you."
He smiled, pleased and nodded. "Can we have some privacy? You know….lawyer-client confidentiality. We don't need some hearsay going around."
Mikhail bowed slightly before retiring. I supposed he went to stand by the main door.
"Hearsay?" I asked with my best 'what-the-fuck' face. "Are…Are you really a lawyer?"
"I'm a lot of things…" He grinned. "I'm smart, sly, vicious and I don't take no for an answer… yes, you might say I'm a lawyer."
I laughed. "So how are the investigations going?"
His mood darkened a bit and I didn't take that as a good sign. "Well, it's still going, it's way too early to know anything. We have a lot of things to go through."
"We? As in you and Adrian?"
"Possible… and others," he added quickly glancing toward Mikhail. I didn't know if it was because he was part of the plot or because he wanted to make sure he couldn't hear us.
"Don't put Adrian in too much trouble please, I- He is more vulnerable than he might seem, and all in all, not that stable I-We don't want him to get hurt please, please keep him more or less safe."
Abe looked at me thoughtfully, like he was seeing another person. "You really do care a lot about him don't you?"
"Of course I do, Adrian- Adrian is unique," I simply said not really knowing how I could put things.
"Believe me or not but getting him that involved with me is keeping him safe. He would have tried to save you with or without me and -Let's just say I can keep him in check. He won't get hurt I promise but right now we need to concentrate on you, if you want your friends safe you have to get out. So please, lets keep your consideration for other people's safety and reputations aside for a moment alright?"
I was about to asked bout my mother but his little speech stopped me, he was right.. I nodded. "What can I do to help?"
"Do you have any idea who would want to frame you for that murder?" he asked bluntly.
I shook my head with despair. "No I don't know I-I spent most of the night thinking about that. I- I just don't know."
"It's alright," he said patting my hand that was resting on the edge of the bars. "Now I need you to relate me your day in full details again, well until Adrian came to your room. Don't base yourself on the time the janitor gave, tell me what YOU think happened, at what time YOU presume he showed up. Really anything any details, if you crossed someone paths, heard voices ANYTHING."
I nodded and repeated him everything in details even telling him about my fight with Dimitri, not really getting into details there. I literally relived the day, giving him the exact way I took for my lonely sulking walk…everything.
Abe nodded and I could almost see the mechanism of his brain. "It will be okay, everything will be fine," he said talking to himself. "I'll see you later Rose," he said squeezing my hand turning to leave.
"Don't do anything stupid or reckless," I said keeping my grip on his hand.
He has a small smile on his lips. "How do you think I made it where I am? I'm smart enough to do stupid and reckless secretly."
"It's not worth it."
Abe threw me a dark look, "You are worth it. I will see you later." He winked and left briskly.
He whispered some words to Mikhail and I had to do my best not to call back after Abe to tell him to butt off and leave Mikhail out of that but I knew it was pointless, both of them would do just what they wanted.
Mikhail came back to stand in front of my cell and seemed lost in his thoughts. After about ten minutes I decided to go and visit Lissa's mind again but I heard Mikhail earpiece crackle.
I looked at him curiously.
"Yes? Okay…" He looked at me. "Just one second let me ask her."
"You've got a visitor," he said simply.
"I can have visitors?" I asked before remembering Lisa's chat with Christian. I had right to visitors, Abe just deemed better not to get Lissa involved and I was grateful for that.
"You are only held in preventive awaiting trial Rose. Yes, you have the right to have visitors."
I smiled knowing it was Adrian and shockingly I was eager to get a kiss and get the warm feeling that was feeling me each time his lips touch mine.
"Who's my visitor?" I asked with a bright smile.
Mikhail stayed silent for a couple of seconds wiping my smile away. "Dimitri Belikov,
" he said grimly.